Friday, 29 July 2011

Castelnaudary to Toulouse

Jun 11

Actually it should be back and forward to Castelnaudary, then to the UK, then Toulouse.  After a quick recce of Castelnaudary we pushed off to the west killing time.  We turned around just beyond Le Segala - a tight squeeze in a stream entrance that was actually 'the Parting of the Waters' ie the Midi watershed.

a typical Midi ecluse
A slightly underpowered peniche
Then we pottered back, getting to Castelnaudary again in mid July.

Angela's sister and brother in law drove down from Bonn to dogsit Kes - a fairly arduous trek that was much appreciated. The guilt was enhanced by the onset of intermittent rain for 10 days.

Angie and Vanessa
Then it was a weeks trip back to the UK for our son's wedding - the first time Peter has worn a tie for about seven years.  Several beers later and suitcases full of shopping it was time for Heathrow.

Once back, it was a few days relaxing in Castelnaudary and Angie's first proper meal out since April - quel horreur!

Castelnaudary Grand Bassin
Castelnaudary Port/Petit Bassin
The tourist season has started - Brit motorists blocking our access.

As an aside, never send two sisters out together or they frequent dodgy looking streets and partake of strong drink, even Kes is hiding his face.

We went to the 'night market' which wasn't particularly special, but was enlivened by a good trad jazz band - so we retreated to the wheelhouse with a few bottles of wine and some good cheese, listened to the music and solved the problems of the world.

Night market
An afternoon's romp to Villeneuve le Comptal  (10km round trip sans Peter) in one of the fine patches. The message has finally sunk in that Angie's average 10 km a day with Kes is keeping her in better trim than my internet surfing.

Villeneuve le Comptal
Castelnaudary Windmill
The changeable weather was giving us good sunsets.

Coypu have become endemic.

To blow away the cobwebs we then had a days canal outing to (you guessed) Le Segala.

New deckcrew
Then the family departed for the Black Forest to finish their holiday and we went to Le Segala again - same old locks but now the holidays have started they are all manned by attractive female university students which improves the scenery.

Nice ecluse steps dated 1766
Still raining, so a short hop next into Port Lauragais where we moored against the restaurant balcony.

Voila, the sun finally came out and we pushed on.  The first automated locks for months but badly designed as a crew member has to go ashore to activate them - I wouldn't want to cruise single handed. Another Thomas Jefferson plaque at an ecluse - what happened to Franco-American amity (must be de Gaulle's fault).

Then it was into Toulouse (St Sauveur) and the end of the Canal du Midi - La Capitaine did a superb job reversing around boats into a difficult temporary berth. Peter then retired to the sofa while the distaff side got on with the washing and cleaning, Kes made friends with a cat on the adjacent boat.

Toulouse Cathedral
It is strange seeing all the street signs in two languages - French and Langue d'Oc (aka Spanish)

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