April 27 – May 4
After three nights in the middle of town we were straining at the tow ropes to be out in the country again. After a rapid excursion into town for bread and tomatoes we left Carcassonne, on a grey but warm day, heading for a rural mooring outside Trèbes.
At the first lock, St-Jean, we caught up with a large holiday boat that was having problems mooring up to wait it’s turn descending, so we slowed down, backed up, and hovered.
It was a pleasant place to be stuck, and for the rest of the morning, through the three Fresquel locks and on towards l’Évëque we proceeded slowly, enjoying the scenery.
We had a ‘first’ between the Fresquel ‘simple et double’ locks, passing an ascending boat in the holding pound in between.
The l’Évëque écluse has interestingly large shoulders! Stu says it’s because the lock has been lengthened and that was the original place for the gates. Expect he’s right!
We arrived at Villedubert at noon, so ‘moored by the Aude’ for lunch.
Unfortunately although l’Aude is just a few yards away it is difficult to see – just a glimpse! Also glimpsed a heron atop some conifers, ‘tho’ a bit distant for clarity.
But there were lovely irises to photograph. And a tiny frog climbing up the lock wall.
We carried on another two kilometres to our planned mooring, only to find friends on Jazz had got there first! However around the bend were a row of sturdy mooring posts near a bridge. We tied up, waiting for the shade of the newly planted plane trees, and got ready for a very blowy night.
That evening we ventured the kilometre into town, becoming overawed over the Aude, for a couple of beers and a pizza – only we didn’t find the pizza! So supper aboard.
Next day was forecast heavy rain so I took a quick and pleasant walk into town for bread before the wetness set in! A lovely Spring morning walk.
Later the rain, and wind, arrived, but cleared for my afternoon tea break, and for sunset.
Stores were running low, so an excursion to the supermarket was planned, with bikes, panders, basket and rucksacks!
On our return we had visitors. Can corn buntings and ducks sense new food supplies?
Our flexible plan had been to leave next day, but we discovered that next day was May 1st, and whilst French éclusiers would not be dancing round maypoles, they do expect a day off, so no lock operations.
Lovely; we could settle down to another pleasant 24 hours at PK116, beginning with a falling sun illuminating our bridge.
Its such a lovely bridge that I’m including more photos!
Going out to listen to birdsong, and trying to see an elusive nightingale, I came upon a riot of wild flowers, including, maybe, a marsh orchid.
Next day being a public holiday, next best thing to a Sunday, a full English seemed to be in order – with Spam, not bacon!
To work it off, after a decent spell comatose, we walked into Trèbes through the grapevine fields, with the church tower our landmark in the distance.
And then for our last evening at PK116 we enjoyed a Stewart style tapas supper with accompanying sunset.
Then next day, Wednesday (I lose track and have to check on the calendar!) we carried on eastwards on the Midi, firstly over the aqueduct and into Trebes.
As we approached the lock we saw Jazz moored up waiting to go down the treble and went in behind her – or tried to, but a gust of wind caught the wheelhouse, pushing Calliope lengthways across the canal! No time for photos as the Captain reassesses the manoeuvre, aligns us in a hovering position on the other bank, and we await our calm entry into the lock.
We went down the three locks in tandem with Jazz, a refined gentle experience!
Then on down stream through a pretty portion of the Midi, with Spring greenery and flowers all around us.
We arrived at Marseillette at lunch time, moored up behind Jazz, and stayed three nights!
This was less to do with the delights of the village, although it is ok with its tower and art deco bridge rails, and more to do with the gale force westerly winds that blew and blew and blew.
Each day I found us a delicacy at the boulangeries (here a salmon and spinach crocque, whilst Stewart had a more traditional crocque madame) …….
….. and each day we walked round a different aspect of Marseillette, culminating in the final day with a look at our first lock for the morrow.
Week 3 begins in the morning ……