Monday, 5 September 2011

Castelsarrasin to Agen

Sep 11

We seem to have spent a lot of time covering not a lot of ground over the past two weeks.  From Castelsarrasin we were on fresh ground, we stopped at a canalside service station and Peter refuelled by jerrican (360 litres in the sun which was a good mornings work) and then we pottered off to Moissac going over the River Tarn (a big river) on a suitably big aqueduct.

River Tarn aqueduct
River Tarn
Moissac was an attractive town which would make a good wintering spot if it wasn't the most expensive spot along the Garonne.

Moissac Port
River Tarn moorings
Before everyone complains about the excessive number of pictures of ecluses and Ports - firstly after a month or so it all blurs so a picture helps identify places names and secondly, I wish I had had photos of some of the ports before having to decide on wintering spots (so this is a service to our bargee followers) - the defence rests.

Moissac is mainly famous for its Abbey and Cloisters (not sure the Cloisters are better than Salisbury though)..

Autumn is here with the plane trees shedding their leaves and the ground covered with conkers around the horse chestnuts.  The weather is mostly hot with the occasional violent thunderstorm to lessen the humidity.

Moissac lift bridge
In Malause we donated a surplus UK size spanner to a French couple fixing a problem with their ex UK hire boat - which turned into a fun evening on their boat swapping stories in franglais - a mutual interest in birds they had some stunning photos, but too much whisky and wine consumed as usual in these events enlivened by  'discussion' over the merits of NZ wine vs French plonk.

This part of the Canal de Garonne is less manicured than the Midi and quite attractive.

The next stop, Valence d'Agen, was another nice mooring, luckily with a barge we can moor to higher walls than most, so we had lots of room and just managed to reach electricity and water points. A booming little town with a good market and three old wash houses.  Given most of them were still in use well into the last century, one wonders what the English equivalent was - or did English reserve mean knickers etc weren't washed publically in a communal spot?

Valence d'Agen wash house
Finally into Agen - the least attractive spot so far but on a main line train station as Angie needed to get back to the UK for a few days.  Not sure train/bus/plane/hire car is better than driving back the whole way.

Agen port
We found a green bank mooring and Peter was left to shop, cook, wash and iron for 5 days (Angie thinks it is a good refresher in appreciating her usual efforts) - unfortunately there wasn't a Pizzeria/Bar/Restaurant within easy walking distance.  Judging by the performance Kes put on when Angie arrived back, Peter wasn't even an adequate dog sitter/walker. A big mistake by Peter as he rashly got Angie 'Sky Movies' to balance out his Sports packages (something to do do with the Rugby World Cup). Now she is so busy catching up with rubbish films that she has missed, the wheelhouse hasn't been polished for a week!!

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