Monday, 4 July 2011

Ventenac to Castelnaudary

Jul 11

We are really pottering now as we don't want to get to Castelnaudary till mid July.  We passed through Argens - just avoiding a hotel boat, that was overtaking a hire boat on a bend!!

Argens Abbey
 Homps offered free electricity and water the first night's stay and a good small supermarket with a shelf full of English goodies - so despite the high prices - Gingernuts and Chocolate Hobnobs went into the basket together with Horseradish sauce and  Yorkshire tea bags.  More holiday traffic so we are tending to 'greenbank' a lot, relying on the solar panels (and generator when needed).

We had hoped to meet up with friends in La Redorte but due to health problems they couldn't make it, but after seeing their cottage Angie has firmed up her idea of a 'winter bolthole' down south. 'Peter - make it happen'!  In the interim we checked out the local walks.

Peter recuperating
Some beautiful original aqueducts along the way.

Argentdouble spillway 1694
In Trebes we found a nice little secluded mooring under the weeping willows away from the town noise.and watched a pair of coypu (Rodentin to the French) playing in the water

Then it was off to Carcassonne to check out our winter mooring - always a nervous moment.  A good intro as 'Stephanie' La Capitaine recognised the boat name as a 'winterer' from a distance, speaks good English and seemed very helpful.  The mooring and ecluse entrance were a bit hectic at this time of year, but November will be a lot quieter.  Angie did a supermarche recce and got a hair appointment (another one?).

The next greenbank mooring looked enticing, but we ended up grounded/tangled in tree roots etc and a major effort to get off - the prop shaft seal is now weeping - out with the spanners for a temporary fix but something else to go on the maintenance list - woe is me.  The countryside is now very colourful with hectares of sunflowers and lavender in full bloom.

Peter is enjoying spotting all the old irrigation pump engines/machinery along the canal bank - it looks fairly vintage even by NZ standards.  On the Friday morning we had a hard run into Castelnaudary and to our surprise managing the 15 ecluses before lunchtime closing (despite sharing with a hire boat) we must be getting used to the oval locks.

Castelnaudary ecluses
Castelnaudary is where we are going to leave Kotare while we go to our son's wedding, but it is expensive at €20 a night so we will potter off and come back for Bastille Day before flying out from Toulouse.

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