On Saturday 8th July I am very excited to be collecting Matthew and Helen from Montpellier airport but not sure he is so keen on the long trek back to the boat. I thought of getting a taxi but with my French we could have ended up anywhere!! In the morning we descend the chain of 9 locks and find it a lot easier than our ascent two years previously.
Its not long before Matthew and Helen are in competition with rope throwing – its a tough call but I have to go with Matthew as the winner (sorry Helen but I am of course biased)
We moor up in Villeneuve and take a meal at the port restaurant with Helen and I ordering roasted Camembert to start which are enormous (and rather embarrassing) but would probably have been okay if we each hadn’t ordered a pizza for mains – thank goodness France do doggy bags.
Afterwards we wander around the little town which is hosting a music festival. Unfortunately there is one small square which hosts five different style musicians all playing at the same time – novel but not really our cup of tea.
On Monday we head to Vias where we enjoy a rather competitive game of crazy golf, one of Matthews favourite holiday treats when he was a kid. Helen’s sense of direction is interesting and we ensure that we stand well away from any potential direction the ball may decide to take.
On Tuesday Matthew and Helen brave the Mediterranean sea which looks warmer than it is whilst Charles and I watch over a coffee before we turn around and head back to Beziers and find a nice restaurant by the Saint Nazaire Cathedral.
On Wednesday we take the train to Carcassonne to visit La Cité the setting for Robin Hood The Prince of Thieves.
Coincidently we eat at the same restaurant and on the same table when Laura visited the previous year and am pleased to say that although Helen has a fear of pigeons she didn’t react in the same explosive manner Laura tends to employ.
Their visit is over far too quickly for my liking and On Thursday we take the train to Montpellier where we enjoy a few hours walking around the town – we won’t mention walking to the wrong place to catch the little tourist train!!! Then its a flight back to the UK for the usual Doctor check ups, hair appointments and catching up with the family with the weather being kind enough to enjoy a bbq.
Back to France on Sunday 23rd July where we discover the centre bit (bollard) is missing – it transpires a new member of VNF staff left a lock paddle open all night which drained the pound and because I had threaded the rope through the ring three times before securing it to the bit the rope stayed firm but the bit snapped off. VNF have admitted responsibility and we have a letter from them so will be able to claim the cost of the repair from them. I hadn’t realised how much I relied on the centre bit and am missing it especially in the large locks.