Carcassonne is a good town to winter, with only one draw back, the winds. They blow off the sea, the Pyrenees, the hills and across from Provence, it's either a warm or very cold wind, though you notice when it is not there. It's an exciting town with much going on, especially the history. It has a world-famous mediaeval citadel, and the Canal du Midi runs in the middle of the town.
We are moored with 23 other boats, we have made friends already. Carcassonne has an airport and train station, it's between the Camargue and the city of Toulouse, close to the border of Spain (If you want more sunshine). Boy do the French smoke the cafe's & bar's are filled with smoke, though on the up side the skies are a wonderful blue most of the time, so you can sit outside the cafe's even in winter, (with a warm coat on).
November seemed to arrived in the blink of an eye and we have a lot of work to do in order to prepare the boat for winter. Much maintenance work to be done before we leave for our month long trip to England. We love our new home in Carcassonne Marina as it allows us easy access for Family and friends to visit which is important to us.
We do enjoy eating out more and are feeling more comfortable in France, though we still have our moments thinking "oh what have we done". We hope to experience better weather here in the south….so far so good. Fingers crossed, as the sun is what we came for. We have met several English people who own homes in and around Carcassonne, and one of the boaters has bought a plot of land to build his own home here. Nice winter project we thought.
We re-arranged our flights to England and brought our trip to the UK forward to include a week in Canada to visit our daughter who needed our support. We traveled via train to Nimes, boarded a flight to Liverpool and enjoyed two nights with family. Sadly two of my sisters are ill in hospital but it was nice to visit them both before traveling on.
We then headed to Manchester, flew to London then on to Canada where we spent a week helping our daughter move out of her home. We then all traveled back to England together, and parted ways at Heathrow where John and I caught a flight back to Liverpool and Louise went on to visit friends in Newcastle.
We had a wonderful time in Liverpool. My brother Stephen picked us up from the Airport and Mum cooked all my favourite things for our arrival. It was great seeing all my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephew's, and really enjoyed their wonderful hospitality. My brother in law, Tommy, had found a new car for us for when we arrived, and we couldn't wait to get back on the road again.
Simon's 18th birthday bash as seen here, was a real family gathering and much fun. We purchased our new car, with much help from Tommy, (bless him and all the work involved) and crossed our fingers in hope that it could cope with all the Xmas presents now being packed into it as we travel around England visiting. There were many magic moments though out the trip particularly when my niece Sharon informed my sister Jean of a new baby on the way, much celebration's & delight. Congratulations Sharon and Steve. It's the 8th great grandchild for Mum.
While we were in Leeds Mike took a week off work to take care of us all... cooked us our favourite meals, made his flat very comfortable, filled with goodies for us all. We were under orders to rest & chill. We sat in, watched videos, talked endlessly and laughed a lot.
We thoroughly enjoyed being spoilt by our son. Louise taught him to knit... and they knitted & talked over the events of the last year.
Once we'd gathered back our strength we enjoyed spending time with John's family, his mum, sister Susan & family, and his brother Tony & Paul. So nice to catch up. There was also some repair work to our rental properties which needed our attention, John felt like he was back at work. Oh boy, the traffic on the roads and the rushing around. We viewed some properties for sale while home which we enjoyed, I love property hunting though I was shocked at the price of houses now. We spent time with our eldest daughter Teresa in Manchester, and had wonderful curry in Chorlton. Teresa took a week's holiday from work and joined us in Leeds... camping out on Michael's lounge floor with Louise & Mike. John enjoyed time with his friends, while I visited my friends Sue & Phyllis.
We enjoyed Xmas shopping in Leeds, I think it's the best place in the world. All my favourite shops are here, though there have been many changes in Leeds over the last year. I love this photo of Brigate taken by Michael.
We wish you all a happy December, and are looking forward to seeing more family & friends during Dec before traveling back to France for a family Xmas aboard the Moet in Carcassonne. We are considering coming home for longer next winter, though as you know we change our plans often...