Thursday, 27 June 2013

NHS Interlude

Jun 13

Our first two weeks in Castelnaudary port involved a bit of maint (after doing the cabin roofs in Carcassonne Peter needed to paint the wheelhouse roof) and a bit of social activity (Charlie and Lynne off Acadia came to dinner).

Peter pottering
The latter showed impressive stamina as they had managed to fluke a week in the VNF drydock and were in the midst of doing a hull paint.  Virtually all done in 4 days of hard work. We were surprised they had the strength to lift a glass.

Interesting stern 'cut outs'

Gale force wind as usual
Angie got her Helmsman Chair (aka barstool) - it is similar in effect to the peniches that lift the wheelhouse above a double stack of ISO containers on a hydraulic ram but Angie being light it is on a slightly reduced scale.

After a few weeks paid mooring we pulled into the non serviced end of the port ready for Angie's trip back to UK,  A gaggle of barges doing it on the cheap.

Angie's trip back to the UK turned into an NHS nightmare the original 2 to 4 weeks stretched to seven and that was just for scans so watch this space - the medical side of the NHS might be OK but the bureaucratic inefficiency and general incompetence is appalling - certainly the 'customer' is treated like an inconvenience..

Peter grabbed a better mooring in Angie's absence, much approved of by Kes who could lie out all day and Peter settled into bachelor routine thriving on scrambled eggs enlivened by salmon or anchovies (and enhanced by lots of rugby).  John from 'Tigers Tail'was in a state of disrepair (generator, motorbike, stern mods .... etc  so Peter enjoyed watching others work with the usual 'I wouldn't do it that way' comments.

Castelnaudary port has spent a lot of money on replacing the old plane trees - new lighting etc so in a few years it will be back to normal. The Midi overall is slowly changing with a lot of dead trees and gaps appearing as swathes are ripped out.

Whilst walking Kes early Peter managed to get some almost unique photos of the Bassins - given the usual wind levels

Petit Bassin

Grand Bassin
Balestra (Bryan, Margaret and CoCo) had been sharing our mooring and booked into Castelnaudary Drydock to do their hull - they had almost constant rain so did well to get it done.

One man, no dog and only between coffee breaks - VNF Drydock
Angie failed to turn up by mid Jun as the Air Traffic controllers went on strike so, given we were due in Agde for lift out n the 24th, Peter single handed Castelnaudary to Carcassonne to meet her. An interesting trip (for the deckcrew) as the hire boats are on the move and the eclusiers felt the oval ecluses should be packed full - but taking appropriate navigational advice from Kes all was well.

Angie arrived and after a suitable celebration at L'Italia we pushed off for Agde.

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