May the 1st is a Bank Holiday in France so all the shops and locks are closed. It happens also to be The Mayors birthday and Montauban has an annual running race from the port. There is 1, 2 or five kilometre runs for the kids and a 5 and 15 for the adults. When I go to enrol I am initially a little perturbed when I am told it is a 55 kilometre run until we fathom out the ladies English isn’t too hot with number translation!!
I’m so pleased to enter as I like the competitiveness of a race and even happier when I come first for my age category and 135th overall out of 236 runners. I saw one woman who looked a similar age to myself and wasn’t going to let her overtake me ha ha!!
We stay in Montauban for the week. It is a lovely peaceful port (the nightclub isn’t fully open yet!) The weather is changeable and we are in shorts one day and raincoats the next.I get down to some serious spring cleaning and have to smile to myself when I recall Maggie saying she had bets on whether I would have cleaned the boat before leaving Carcassonne when we first set off…. I appear to have a reputation for forever cleaning. That is one of the side effects of living on a boat that it inevitable gets dusty and dirty all the time but the truth is I don’t have a busy life so its not hardship.
Charles and I take a lovely walk into Montauban and wander around the streets, window shopping which is Charles favourite type of shopping. We also learn there is a large supermarket about a 15 minute cycle from the port so make a few trips to stock up.
The Montech Canal is around 10 kilometers long with 9 locks and makes a safe running track. After the 15 k race on Monday which was just over 9 miles I do my long run of 15 miles on Wednesday which I find tough but that is probably due to the wine I drank the night before – not the best combination. Lots of interesting wildlife!
If we were not heading up north this year we would definitely have moored here for winter as it feels safe and the two capitains are very helpful and friendly. On Sunday the 7th we saunter the 8 kilometres along the Montech Canal with its 9 locks to moor at Lacourt St Pierre along side Nigel and Trish on Sirius. This is another peaceful mooring with a short walk to a local store. The main reason for staying here is that there is a good quay for putting our sun canopy together – again – hopefully for the final time. Charles has worked out that we will not be manoeuvring through any low bridges between here and Moissac after which we will have collected our new straight / sliding poles. We are getting quite familiar with it all now and it goes up in no time at all even with the bent poles.
On Tuesday the 9th May we leave this little canal to head off onto the Canal du Garonne and moor at a remote little place at St Porquier. As we are exiting the Montech Canal to turn right we have to slow for Lesley and Stewart on Piper barge Calliope who were just going into the lock but took the below photo of us on their way passed.
Checking the weather forecast we learn we are in for some storms so after one night at St Porquier we make our way straight to Moissac just in time to secure the boat before the heavens open and we are entertained by thunder and lightening. Then we see smoke and at first think a boat has been hit by lightening but soon discover the roof of a house near the Capitainnaire has been struck and is ablaze.
Whilst devastating the response by the pompiers is comical. First a tender arrives without any water but they sort of control the scene and 20 minutes later two tenders arrive being called back from their training day leaving Moissac without a fire service – by this time the house is well ablaze and we see/hear glass exploding and a floor collapsing. The owner arrives and is naturally distraught and one can only imagine how she feels. The scary thing is how quickly the blaze took hold and destroys the building and contents.