© Sophie Breese

Dr Sophie Breese, Online English Tutor
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Literary Adventures in France - a blog

In May 2013, my partner and I moved to France to continue the restoration of a farmhouse in the Lot-et-Garonne. Alex is French himself and his family live only 40 km away in the Dordogne so I have been lucky enough to become part of the traditional local community from the start. My French was only O level standard when I arrived but I have been having lessons and listening and speaking as much as possible.
Meanwhile, we have just got back from our long adventure walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. You can read about the walk in my blog below.  One of the reasons I did this walk was because back in 2003 I couldn't walk at all - I was ill with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (see earlier blog entry about this). So to celebrate my being able to walk now, I raised over £5000 for the ME Association!
I am now settling back into every day life and have resumed my teaching. Have also decided to ensure  I write more. See my first published post since being back from the Camino on the amazing new website called 'bind', which uses creativity to engage with the issues surrounding climate change.
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7 Dec 2018

I have read some absolutely fantastic novels this year, all of which have been recent publications. Unusually I am also going to write about two films ("Radiator" and "Blade Runner 2049") because both have stayed with me and that’s relatively rare for me.

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“Reservoir 13” by Jon McGregor begins as a novel about a girl who disappears, and I have to confess this is what caught my eye. I have read plenty of thrillers about exact...

6 Sep 2018

So much for writing about the Camino over the last few months! (I have been working on something else, related to my adventure and separate to this blog though so all is not lost.) Meanwhile, my latest article has been published in Slightly Foxed - about the novelist Daphne du Maurier. The journal has been kind enough to let me publish it simultaneously on my blog but do have a look out for the journal itself which is a wonde...

9 Jan 2018

One of the things people have asked me about since we got back was who we met on our pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, what kind of people they were, and why they were doing it. And since a little bit of time has elapsed it seems right to start a few pieces about my experience on this blog with an article about our Camino Companions.

The first thing to say is that when we were planning our pilgrimage* not once did we consi...

3 Jan 2018

I have just had my first piece published about my walk along the Camino de Santiago. You can find it here, on a fascinating website called 'bind' which engages with climate change via creativity. My piece is about the forest fires which whipped through Spain while I was walking the Camino in October. We missed the fires by a day but got caught up in the smoke.

3 Nov 2017

So our walk to the end of the world is over. We are now on the train taking us to France where Alex's parents will meet us and drive us the rest of the way. 


Our last week on the Camino from Santiago to Fisterra was pretty special. The numbers of pilgrims dropped right down and I suspect there weren't even 20 a day doing the last 90 odd km. I have loved meeting the various pilgrims we have encountered but I was happy to...

1 Nov 2017

More to come but I am happy to say that we have done it! 1377 km to the end of the world. Here are a few pictures as a taster but I will write about the last few days during our 3 day journey home! 

And remember, do donate to my fundraising project if you haven't yet done so! Any currency and any amount is welcome. 

Www.juatgiving.com/fundraising/Sophie-Breese 

28 Oct 2017

We are now in Santiago, the finishing point for many pilgrims. Yesterday we received our certificates of pilgrimage - our Compostela - and today we went to the Pilgrims' Mass at the cathedral. No one had paid for the giant incense ball to be swung (it costs quite a few hundred euros apparently and was originated in the Middle Ages as a way of disguising the tasty odours of well-travelled pilgrims) but we were offered the exqu...

22 Oct 2017

Today we are in Sarria, the starting point for many pilgrims since to get the certificate (the Compostela), you only need to walk 100 km. It is Day 54 and we have walked just under 1160 km so far. 


After the mostly dry yellow plains between Burgos and Leon, we are now in the wooded mountains of Galicia. It's my favourite bit so far; everything I love. Plus delicious local food, my favourite being Caldo, a rich cabbage soup. W...

14 Oct 2017

Today we have reached this magic number! We are in Astorga, famous for its cathedral and its chocolate. We might even have a celebratory meal this evening. 

12 Oct 2017

Today we are in Leon. It's a national holiday here in Spain but luckily Leon cathedral with its beautiful stained glass windows was open this morning. It is day 45, we have walked 950 km and are more than two thirds of the way through our adventure.

The landscape in the last 8 days has been less inspiring than before: we have been walking on a plateau with little variations in terrain. Dry red soil. Some crops. Long stretches...

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Autumn Adventures

July 8, 2017

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