Well, these are my essentials, at least…

I guess everyone has their list of things that they cannot do without when out and about writing a travel blog.

My list has essentials – cannot do without and some – ‘nice-to-haves’ – of course the camera is up there at first position along with the iPad and the notebook – yeah, I know, double usage.

When I am out and about in the Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc Roussillon regions of Southern France, I go by motorbike as it is so much easier to access places, park up and just stop on the roadside to take a photo, than it ever could be in a car.

So you have probably guessed that I am a bit of a fairweather blogger – well, yes, and no. I will be doing this in winter but probably not on the bike, when it starts getting cold.

I take reams of notes and lots of photographs, I also like to paint what I see, using watercolours – if I have the time, or I start the painting and finish it off at home later from a photograph that I have taken.

I love sitting in a café, watching the world go by, and it is generally at this point that I attempt to get some shape to my blog post, directly on the iPad.

One of the most useful applications that I have found for the iPhone is “EveryTrail”, I love it!

It is a simple application that is really helpful, especially if I have forgotten the details of where I have been – which happens often as I follow my nose to the next great spot.

With Everytrail – I start it when I set off and stop it when I return in the evening – I can then see the details of where I have been, including stops, then download and share it as a Google map – ingenious.

Another thing, which clearly gives away my nationality, is a miniature camp stove to brew tea or heat food at lunchtime, if I don’t go to a restaurant on the way – this is probably ranked at number two, next to the camera.

I tend to pick up brochures and pamphlets everywhere I go, which makes my office at home pretty cluttered at times but really helps with some nuggets of information that can then be researched further.

Often, I happen upon a drop-dead-gorgeous landscape and there is nothing else to do than get the kettle on, set up the easel and start painting.

Why paint, when photos are so much easier and quicker? (and in my case, a better result).

Anyone who paints will understand, how totally mind-clearing painting is.

Painting also opens the eyes to what is around us, texture, colour, shadow and hues – that at first sight we often do not see – suddenly come alive.

In fact this is what it all boils down to for me – breathing in the beautiful sites that I see on a daily basis, but spending a little more time and taking a step back and finally sharing all of this with you, the reader.

The more I see and learn about the beautiful Midi Pyrenees region, the more I realise there remains to learn about and see and the more my curiosity and enthusiasm grows.

I hope I am able to share just an iota of this with you and perhaps you will come and visit our beautiful region – if you see someone brewing tea and painting alongside the road, stop and say hello, I’ll always carry a spare cup – just in case.

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