Our home for winter

I had initially thought the next few months would drag by until we are able to set off on our 2016 adventures in April but am surprised how quickly the days pass  as there is always something to do or somewhere to go – not that we rush to do anything these days. Charles buys his guitar, a late Christmas present from me and diligently practices every day and has certainly  improved.

Charles’ new guitar

My first race is a half marathon in Maraussan at the end of February and then the Paris marathon in April so training is a priority and I am trying to follow a training scheme kindly provided by Simon for the intermediate runner – this entails running five days a week plus a cycle ride which has been included to add a bit of variety and to work on a different set of muscles.  As a fair weather runner I have to admit that I miss out some days. In fact running during our first week back in Narbonne is put on hold while I am bed ridden suffering with the flu which I believe my beloved brother Paul passed on to me – thanks for nothing!!! I am rarely ill but must have decided that Charles cannot exclusively have all the sympathy but after four or five days am back to my old self.  Unfortunately it would appear I have caused a domino effect as John followed by Lizzie and then Maggie all get the flu – time to keep my head down and well out of their way……….

P n Marg visit
Dinner on Gesina with visitors Margaret and Peter

Margaret and Peter  who we moored with last year in Briare on their boat ‘Vintage Crew’ make a visit to Narbonne. They bring along their puppy Yeti who has grown considerably since we last saw him.  Maggie and Nigel host an evening for them together with John, Lizzie, Charles and I and we have a lovely fun evening. Nigel makes a tasty seafood paella. We reciprocate the following evening  and it is so nice to catch up with old friends – although it is funny how the conversation always reverts to medical conditions which seems to be a theme amongst the boating fraternity.

Charles misses out on the flu but not to be out done develops another medical problem seeing stars and floaters in his right eye – naturally he researches the problem on the internet and is convinced he has a detached retina so we find the nearest ophthalmologist who after examining his eyes puts his mind at rest by reporting he has posterior vitreous detachment – which happens to old folk and not to be worried about!

Damien attacked by Zombies! (Charles opted out of this experience and had a quiet pint with Simon!)

Charles and I take a short three day visit to the UK – him to Manchester to enjoy Damien’s stag do and me to Leeds to have  a girlie weekend with Laura. We have a lovely evening enjoying cocktails and a Thai meal and drink far too much – I find a bit of time to get a quick hair cut and to obtain a medical certificate from my Doctor which allows me to run in France – probably a good job I didn’t tell him about my piriformis muscle giving me jip or that I have lost two toe nails from my previous marathon and have four black toe nails – and I thought running was good from me!!! Think I have sorted out the latter problem by smothering my feet and toes in vaseline, wearing two pairs of socks and coating my toe nails in a special ointment for traumatised nails – they are looking so much better and I hope will be in an acceptable condition when its time to wear flip flops again.

Maggie returns from a trip to the UK with a haggis and a veggie haggis for us all to celebrate Burns Night – she is a bit miffed when customs confiscate a jar of marmite we think because it exceeded the 50 ml allowance but they didn’t seem bothered about the haggis although they probably had no idea what they are.  The party is reduced to five as Lizzie is too ill to attend and Serena and Christopher are still back in the UK but we have a lovely meal with plenty of whiskey toasts. Click the picture for a bigger one:


On Sunday the 7th February Narbonne puts on their own Mardi Gras with a very colourful parade passing through the town centre.  It is great fun with a lot of noise and we join the Sunday lunch crowd to celebrate – we all end up covered in confetti which I am still finding around the boat – clearly not that serious about cleaning….

On Sunday the 14th February Captain Tosh organises a Valentine brunch at CO Bar with plenty of champagne and an opportunity to practice our French – fortunately there are plenty of English speaking folk around too but its a great opportunity to get to know more people living in the area.

Valentine lunch – Champagne, sausage and scrambled egg!

I had intended to host a Valentine evening but postpone it as Maggie is not well but so later in the month Maggie, Nigel and Lizzie come around for an evening meal – hope they like nutroast!! John is back in the UK doing up his house so he can put it on the market – Lizzie has had to deal with their poorly cat, Patrice, so doesn’t stay too long as she is worried about him being on his own after not long being out of the vet hospital.

Charles and I make the most of the good weather and take a few long cycle rides.  We visit Port-la-Nouvelle which made a 28 mile round trip to the coast and are hoping to find somewhere for lunch but as neither of us fancied the only choice of duck on the menu settled for a cup of coffee – as I had done a 15 mile run the day before accompanied by Charles on his bike we are both pretty tired.

Boat yard on the Canal du Robine
A lovely day

The weekend of the marathon arrives along with the most horrendous weather to date – The French like to name their winds – well who doesn’t and just now we are experiencing The Tramontane which comes from the north west – to be honest I don’t care what its called or where it comes from I just want it to go back to where it belongs and please stop raining – don’t they understand I don’t run in the rain.  On Saturday morning I venture out for a short three mile run and get drenched and then Sunday arrives and I dither about whether to travel to Maraussan at all but decide as an optimist the weather may turn – and so it does.

A bottle of (good) wine and an engraved glass for registering!
2 minutes to go!!
And they’re off!!
Vineyards and hills

I was not the only one to dither as there should have been 300 runners but only 234 turned up along with 42 for the relay. It does rain off and on and its a bit windy but all in all its a good race and the scenery is spectacular – running through vineyards and along country roads.

2 hours and 7 minutes!

There were a lot more hills than I expected and I couldn’t manage to finish it under two hours but did manage 2 hours and 7 minutes which ain’t half bad.  The French certainly look after their runners who each receive a shirt and medal plus a bottle of red wine, an engraved wineglass and a rose for the ladies.

a Medal and a rose (for the ladies) to finish

Afterwards we made the most of hiring a car and drove into Béziers to have a look around before returning to the boat to collapse.

Lovely evening sky back in Narbonne





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