With a couple of days free before Andrew and Kathryn arrived, we decided to leave our mooring by the restaurant ‘La Croisade. This necessitated us removing the wheelhouse for the low bridge at Capestang and manoeuvring across the canal again to crane the motor bike back on board. This proved less straightforward with the low grassy bank and very little to tie too.
The cruise to Capestang was pleasant and the low bridge presented no problems. We were soon moored up a couple of hundred metres downstream from the port.
The bridge at Capestang, looks quite different now with some of the plane trees missing.
After a productive shopping trip to the Intermarche, we cycled back, stopping at a local cave for a tasting before stocking up with some rose and red.
We left the next morning and enjoyed cruising through Poilhes, the Malpas Tunnel and Colombiers. Hire boats were a rarity as it was Saturday- changeover day.
On the approach to Beziers, we were on the lookout for a suitable mooring spot but ended up at the top of the flight of locks at Fonserannes late afternoon. Fortunately there was plenty of space and we decided to stop at the top and ‘do’ the flight with our new guests.
Andrew and Kathryn arrived after a trouble free journey and flight into Montpellier from Leeds Bradford. Peter cycled to meet them at the station, the one way system in Beziers being rather complicated and the route to the barge rather confusing.
We enjoyed catching up that evening and I was thrilled when they presented me with a copy of the old photo showing my Grandad working his barge in the London docks.
After a fairly dull start, the next day brightened up and Andrew, Kathryn and I walked into Beziers and up to the old part of the city and Cathedral. We had coffee and croissants before returning to the barge.
Kathryn and Andrew join us at Fonserannes and explore Beziers.
After lunch, we dismantled the wheelhouse, mistakenly thinking we needed to for the bridge half way down the flight. The light went green and we took our place in the queue of boats waiting to descend seven locks. Everything was going well until one of the ropes became caught and required cutting with the axe, always kept handy for that purpose. This was the first occasion we had needed to use it and Peter consoled himself with the positive thought that at least the procedure had worked! The rest of the descent was trouble free and considerably easier than the ascent had been a year before.
(My mistake with the rope by the way, not Nicci’s.)
The approach to Port Neuf was very pleasant, especially across the aqueduct with its views of the Cathedral and old city.
We cruised down to Villeneuve-les-Beziers where we had spent several days last year with Adam. This time we moored outside the pizzeria- ‘La Cremade’ where we enjoyed a lovely meal that night. Andrew and Kathryn ran and power-walked back to get the hire car while Peter and I put the wheelhouse back up once again.
We spent a couple of days there and took the opportunity to drive to the picturesque town of Pezenas about twenty minutes away. There we visited a door museum………..only slightly more interesting than it sounds and were treated to another super meal in an old square.
Outside the door museum and carved from one piece, must have been a big tree !
After lunch we drove to Marseillan (a port on the western shore of the Etang du Thau) and then to Marseillan Plage where we had a quick paddle. Once back at the barge, Kathryn and I visited a local cave while Peter, (ably assisted by Andrew) caught a rather nice carp. (Cue another fish photo!!)
Lovely carp, a really strong fish this one.
The following day we cruised to Cassafieres and stopped for a lunch of moules and Tielles (a local speciality fish pie) on deck. Unfortunately, the proximity of a wasp nest meant we had to move on, finally stopping for the night at Vias. Our planned barbecue had to be abandoned when we discovered that we had no charcoal!
A nice shadey spot but too many wasps enjoying the seafood with us !
While Andrew cycled back to Villeneuve-les-Beziers to collect the car the following morning, the rest of us cruised to Agde, sharing the famous round lock with ‘Anjodi’- used for the second part of Rick Stein’s ‘French Odyssey.’
Sharing the big round lock at Agde with ‘Anjodi’.
Unable to moor in the spot we had used previously which was full of fishermen, we picked Andrew up and had a little trip up the River Herault, stopping for lunch on a precarious but idyllic mooring. Entertainment was provided by men in camouflaged dinghies who were shooting at ducks……………we think!?!
Idyllic lunch spot on the river Herault.
We returned to our preferred mooring and eventually managed to moor up using pins, a tree root and an old concrete filled tyre.
A little later Paul, Peter’s brother joined us. He had hitched a lift on the cargo ship from Alderney to Cherbourg the previous day and driven down in his car. That evening we all walked into Agde and had a fish meal in one of the floating restaurants on the river side.
Andrew and Kathryn’s last day was spent with the chaps playing boules, fishing and shopping while Kathryn and I walked into Agde to explore the town. Sadly most of the shops were shut but we found a café open in one of the riverside squares where there was a live band playing. Three glasses of rose wine each later; we strolled back to the barge and somehow cooked a tasty Coq au Vin !
‘Well..alright then, anyway Keith Floyd seemed to manage pretty well with the odd splosh of wine’ !
Andrew and Kathryn left mid morning the next day after our lovely week together. On returning the hire car they discovered we had left our sat nav under the front seat. They took it to England with them, later posting it to Dad hoping he would be able to bring it back out to us on his visit with Laura.