(32) Winter 2011/12 La Croisade, France and Shepperton, England.

La Croisade, France

After dropping me at Bezier Airport for my flight to Luton, Peter returned to the peace and tranquillity of ‘Aurigny’ and the prospect of spending several weeks alone fixing a leak in the oil cooler and servicing the engine, replacing belts and filters and changing the oil. Fortunately he is happy in his own company and loves being on the barge.

Winter mooring 2011.

Paul Adams (who had helped us during the move to France two years ago,) visited for a week at the end of November and provided welcome company and help putting the engine back together. They motorcycled over to Capestang to view the low bridge and also took a look at the drained canal at Salleles D’Aude………………ah so maybe that was the reason why we weren’t able to moor there over the winter?

Peter had tasted the red wine at the local cave and at less than 3 euros a bottle it was worth buying. The cave was a small one run by a pleasant octogenarian who walked past the barge most days. With that and Peter’s homebrew, the chaps had plenty to drink in the evenings!

Peter returned to England mid December on the BMW and sensibly stopped en route just south of Paris, it being a very long way………..especially on a motorcycle.

Shepperton, England.

Meanwhile, I had arrived back in England only to discover that my debit card wouldn’t work! I had tried to use it to pay for our train travel to Montpellier (to collect our new Carte Bleue) a few days before and after two unsuccessful attempts at the PIN had put it back in my purse. Apparently the number was now blocked and could only be reactivated by my using an HSBC atm in the UK. This of course was of no use to me at Luton Airport trying to pay for my train ticket to Shepperton!!

Fortunately, I had my credit card with me………..and what’s more could remember the PIN. This enabled me to buy said ticket and I was soon on my way. The journey was very easy with just one change at Wimbledon and I was back at Dad’s mid afternoon. Travelling with just hand baggage is certainly easier, but nonetheless I was still relieved to find that I had enough clothes in Shepperton for my two months stay.

Back in England I had various things to do the most important ones being getting down to Winchester to visit the dentist and putting the Micra back on the road. The former was to take four visits and a huge bill for a crown and the latter – Insurance, Road Tax MOT and more expense!…………………and a shock when I was stopped by the Police en route to Sally’s at Church Crookham. The car was still SORN on their computers and I’d only taxed it the day before…phew!

Amazingly, the Micra, (having failed to start the previous January,) did start with the help of jump leads. After an initial fifty minute drive to charge up the batteries the car behaved impeccably for the whole visit and excelled itself by once more making it all the way back to the barge, fully laden with furniture and cheese in January!

While in England I was once more able to spend quality time with family and friends and give my ‘culture’ a boost with visits to the cinema and theatre, seeing ‘Wicked’ with Laura and ‘Jersey Boys’ with Karen.

Peter arrived safely mid-December and the BMW was serviced and MOT’d before being taken to the garage at the flat where it will remain until we return for the Olympics in July.

We had another lovely family Christmas in Shepperton and were pleased to be able to see more friends together. Peter then drove back to France and amazingly did it all in one day. I stayed another couple of weeks and then caught an Easyjet flight back to Montpellier from Gatwick.

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