Saturday 13th August we return to Fontet after dropping Laura off at Bergerac airport and I find the boat a bit too quiet so set about cleaning and tidying up, my usual therapy. I am now well into my training for my marathon in October so on Sunday morning we are up early for an 18 mile run with Charles cycling alongside.
On Monday we cycle to Castets-en-Dorthe which is the end of The Canal de Garonne and decide not to bother taking Bluegum there so will stay in Fontet for another couple of days.One can descend a couple of locks to get onto the tidal river and into Bordeaux but again we decide not to on this trip. As our excursion is around a 14 mile round cycle we stop off for a beer – well it would be rude not to.
On Wednesday we drive to Aubeterre sur Drone; the gateway to Périgord to meet up with some friends; Carol and Nick who are holidaying at their flat in Royan so it takes around two hours for all of us. We enjoy a coffee before taking a walk around the pretty village who’s name derives from Albaterra which dates to 1004 meaning ‘White Earth’ as a result of the white chalk face overlooking the village. In the 12th century the lords of Aubeterre erected a castle above the monolithic church of Saint Jean.
A must for all visitors is The Suberranean Monolithic Church of Saint-Jean which is an underground church carved into the cliff overlooking the Dronne in the 7th century and then in the 12th century it was significantly enlarged by a community of Benedictine monks which includes 15 metre high galleries. The village also houses The Convent of the Poor Clares founded in 1620. When I was a pupil at The Bar Convent in York I once declared that I was going to join this order but the Mother Superior told me she didn’t think so as I would be unable to keep silent for more than a minute so later I joined the Police instead!!
We spend the next few hours catching up on all our news on families and what we’ve been up to since our last get together and find a lovely restaurant with spectacular views for a leisurely lunch. A final coffee and then we go our separate ways.
On Thursday we leave Fontet and cruise a short distance to Meilhan-sur-Garonne where we are fortunate to find a mooring as a widebean Xenia with Charles and Pam is just pulling out. There is a steep path up to the town where we are rewarded with wonderful views over The Garonne valley.
Whilst of no interest to me the Boucherie is famous and well used by the restaurants in the area and also featured in Rick Stein’s television programme when he produced a series travelling by barge in the South of France whilst cooking local fare.
After another long run of 20 miles on Sunday (21st) we continue on our travels and move to a small mooring near Bout de la Cote (PK152) a distance of about 25 kilometers. There is a restaurant which is surprisingly open on a Sunday so we enjoy a meal on the terrace in the evening.
Restaurant Bout de la Cote
We move onto Villeton on Monday morning where we will stay for a few days. On Wednesday just as we are on our way to a swimming lake Gesina turns up with Maggie, Nigel, Tashi and their son Andy with his daughter Marine who are spending a week with them. We have a quick chat before our 40 minute drive to Le lac de Lougratte where we thankfully cool down in the lake and enjoy a few hours of sunbathing. On Thursday we join Maggie et al at the restaurant opposite our mooring and have a fun evening.
On Friday afternoon Charles witnesses a poor lady falling off her bicycle onto her face. I invite her onto the boat where we clean her up. Liz is on holiday with hubby Robin and their daughter Amy who is rather frightened and upset about her mums accident – not sure if it helped but I said she’d be more upset if she had fallen and it was her face in pain!!! I have a way with kids…. I reassure her it doesn’t look too bad with a few scratches but she is convinced she has broken her nose – just glad she didn’t bleed all over the wheelhouse!!! – only joking……… After a good old cup of tea they are on their way – our good deed for the day.
We spend the weekend in Buzet and stock up with a few cases of wine – to take back to the UK for Christmas if it lasts that long. We enjoy some cycle rides and my long Sunday run of course which is only a half marathon as I don’t want to over do it. On Tuesday we travel a short distance of 7 k to a remote mooring with a nice wooden quay near Feugarolles.
We have the place to ourselves for a few days and then Judith and John arrive who are a lovely couple who have been cruising for many years all over Europe. We enjoy an evening drink taking shade from a picnic table under the trees nearby. It’s a good opportunity to get a few domestic jobs done but its so hot we only work for a little while and then hide away in the cabin.