Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Déjà vu 2

Oct 12

Into Toulouse for our longest stay ever and negotiated the cost for a fortnight - it still looked like the national debt (of NZ not UK - not being politicians we can't visualise trillions).  A quick restock of Peter's favourite foods (and a miserly doling out of 'housekeeping money) before Angie departed to UK courtesy of Easyjet or is that an oxymoron.

Tucked onto the Esplanade at Toulouse
Peter settled in to watch Sports channels without being nagged. .Just so Peter didn't completely vegetate the French version of the DBA (Paroles du Mariniers) held a rally in and around Kotare's mooring - so Peter moved into the main port 'single handed' for the duration - not bad for deckcrew.  There were boats everywhere with peniches using Kotare as a turning point - actually the handling was quite impressive and not a bowthruster to be heard.

Angie apparently enjoyed her UK shopping and the visits to relatives and arrived back with all the normal goodies - but she wasn't particularly impressed at bacon, eggs, mushrooms and chips as Peter's celebratory Dinner! Once the cheddar and pork pies had been consumed we departed a few days later for a leisurely crawl towards Castelnaudary.

Lots of hire boats on the water enjoying Autumn rates - judging by general traffic density over the year 'Locoboats' are doing well - 'Le Boat' OK and 'Nichols' trailing in well to the rear.

At La Segala we were joined by the local fauna - Kes was not impressed.

Quite a lot of barge traffic with everyone heading to Winter quarters - Gladys and Sirius were a day or two ahead of us, but we caught up with them at Castelnaudary as they were off for holidays in the sun (?).

'Fandango' demonstrating the best route
Castelnaudary rapidly filled up with barges - as well as 'Gladys' and 'Sirius', 'Jane Louise' and 'Carolyn' came in for the Winter and 'Linda', 'Acadia' and 'Tigers Tail' transited for a few nights. A few drinks catching up with the cruising season news and the usual tales of 'there I was upside down with the wire cutters and the wife started the engine' and general moans about hireboats. A howling gale for a few days (120 kph gusts according to the VNF) but after that all reverted to normal.

Grand Bassin
Nice sailing barge
So farewell to Odile (La Capitaine) at Castelnaudary and off on the last week of the 2012 cruising season. We were blown out of Castelnaudary by a developing gale - 10 ecluses (some multiple) in 80 mins must be near our record speed and that was with a lot of reversing to remove claggage from the rudder after each ecluse.

Sheltered from the wind at Villepinte for the weekend - Peter is busy on Amazon ordering 'bits' for delivery to Carcassonne and Angie is using the Wii to get ready for Pilates classes. Our usual moorings were a bit crowded but the sunny days are back with us, though we are covering the plants at night in case a frost surprises us and the shame of it - the CH had a trial run one night. Then back into Carcassonne on 31 Oct.

We have done 1360 km this season - half our normal cruising distance.  Peter is wincing at the imminent diesel top up (400+ litres) but just as well to keep Kotare full as, given Hollande's tax measures and the general French despondency, who knows when the cries of 'Brits Out' (and all other foreigners) will begin.

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