May 2008 Moissac to Villeton - Canal de Garonne

Moorings at Moissac Port

outside the Capitainerie France Afloat base run by Iain & Kaz

While John was away in England I enjoyed watching the hire boats come & go from this port, a lovely place to start a holiday - The port was built in 1991 and is now becoming very much part of the town thanks to Iain & Kaz who have work very hard to make this happen. We enjoyed many a drink and swapping of our idea's again this month.

The boat "Nell" was sold in the port during out stay and we enjoyed a beer with the seller & delighted new owner. Who asked Iain a qualified instructor, if he can book his ICC Inland Waterways & Cevni Test with him. Good way of combining this examination with a holiday or buying a boat.

Ursula happy painting away

Kaz & Iain proudly own one of her paintings now displayed in office

I thought I was going to have peaceful painting days on my own - John was in England for the first few days of the month. I was busy with life in the port and many visitors too - much fan mail from the web site to reply too.

Kaz & I were swapping creative ideas with each other. Ursula & Mike were very busy getting Bon Adventure ready for cruising again. We went shopping to Castelsarrasin and caught up with Jan & John. Happy to be out of the boat yard & back in the water. We managed to see Bernard from the boat yard who promised our roof ladder to be made before we leave Moissac.

Ursula & I managed managed just a few hours to paint together this month. I cooked a meal on the Moet for their last night in Moissac. Karen & Mick also joined us for a drink that evening. I was sorry to see Bon Adventure depart. We met up again at the end of the month in Villeton.

If space is a problem take a look at this new facility, own laundrette will travel.

I drove to Bergerac once again to pick John up again enjoying the good weather & wonderful countryside. It was so nice to have him home again. John had a hectic but wonderful time in England with friends & family. He was bearing gifts - a new laptop, also a new (storage) hard drive + more cards for my thriving card business! It was so good to have him home again.

We set about washing the boat inside & out and enjoying our time in Moissac - before we knew it we had spent a month in Moissac Port. The biggest fair I have seen moved in for "Fêtes De Pentecôte" some amazing camper vans arrived with their own laundry facility - plugged direct into the electric and water which the town supplies.

Our new deck ladder arrived as Bernard promised.

Bernard turned up unannounced he started fitting our ladder - we were thrilled to see a job well done - John nipped off to the bank for money. Judging by the amount of people coming to shake his hand, very pleased to see him - very well liked and respected. Bernard has far more work than he can cope with. We are so pleased he found the time to make our ladder, only a few weeks late. Indeed ladder is a welcome addition to the Moet. Bernard has now promised to make us some stainless steel pegs too - we can have a side canopy. (no date given)!

Iain and Kaz are looking forward to having their boat lift next month for some sandblasting and then painting. We look forward to seeing the new Orca on our return.

Moet's office - much activity this month, when Willem my web guru arrives - what's the problem!

I spent almost a week on my new computer - Willem was helping me - we set up 'Skype' so we could talk free over the internet my hands were free to work. Willem talked me through up loading my web site onto the new computer - very frustrating as the new Visa programme on my new computer - is so controlling you can't do what you want, too many safety pop up windows. The lap top was perfect - I do not like Vista - I am used to windows XP and in my opinion XP is far superior.

Willem help I shout do you want to come for a few days. "I'm afraid Yes" was the reply, "when I said". How about tomorrow. John & I went shopping to stock up with nice food and wine for Willem's four day visit.

Willem enjoyed his time said it was a real holiday and change for him.

Willem drove six hours from Chagny to Moissac and arrived in time for dinner. Bless him my web guru what a friend. "It's raining up North" he said "I can't paint my boat". Willem took the stress away and was a very calming influence, I was about to throw my new lap top in the canal.

Willem worked hard sorting out my lap tops, teaching me more on dreamweaver & fireworks and photo shop tricks.

Willem enjoys finding out what is going on - here he is asking "why are you giving bread away", this bread was made with Pastis, it was nice!.

Birthday breakfast with bubbles...

Do you want a beer Willem... I'm afraid yes

John & I in turn enjoyed spoiling Willem.He so deserves this. Getting him off the boat and away from the laptop for fun sun & rest time was hard. I will just do this or finish this... it's your birthday - we all celebrated. The weekend was spectacular for birthday celebrations, we both enjoy Willem's company, and John's French improves too. The Fireworks at the end of the weekend was something special, John said to Willem "we laid fireworks on special for YOU.

Willem had work waiting at home and departed- we were all that much happier for this visit. THANK YOU

Moissac - Marins Fete de Pentecôte, fireworks on the Tarn - thankfully no rain today.

This boat Vent du Nuit placed a personal order for me to photograph his boat, make some personnel cards for him to sell. I was thrilled he like my cards. Not sure if any sold or not! I took so many photographs for boaters this month.

Romanesque art a real treat here in Moissac especially for my new recruits to art this month

It was a wonderful day when John asked, can I have a go at painting, I feel ready, he has an eye for detail and colour and we found a new desk for him to work at - we were able to put the broken laptop and screen away, hey presto we have more space again, very precious on a boat.

I dream of having more space and occasionally shout I need to spread out a bit more, especially for my artwork, then I think if we had a base, perhaps the creative flow would disappear or I would not give it as much time. Perhaps my life would revolve in looking after the garden and the house, not sure if I am ready for this again, but we continue to look and explore the possibility of buying some where in France. The right place, the right time, also the right location will, I know, happen one day.

Lauzerte Tarn et Garonne

We visited this town for a second time, (Sept 2006) not much time here the first visit due to a storm. Well worth coming back again to explore. Built upon a rock pinnacle, the village proudly dominates the neighbouring valleys and provides magnificent panoramic views from the ramparts. Many of the old buildings have been restored to preserve the proud heritage of the village.

The splendid paving in the central place is curiously raised up at one corner, I am not sure why.

This area we are visiting in our car is known as the Quercy Blanc (white Quercy) and has many other small and beautiful villages - Montcuq, Castelsagrat, Montjoi, and Roquecor.

This region is characterised by the abundant white stone (which I love), many pigeonniers dotted across the landscape. I took pleasure in taking lots of photographs of door handles and old doors when visiting again, some great doors in Lauzerte. I had just painted in water colour a door. I now enjoy looking at door's thanks to my art teacher, who loves to paint doors.

We enjoyed some stunning drives around this area, some times it was like a roller coaster ride, John has cycled to many of the villages too.

Villages we have visited or on our wish list to explore. It is impossible for me to write about all villages we visit. Though our journey is also about the people we meet.

Autoire, Auvillar, Bruniquel, Cardaillac, Carennac, Lacapelle Marival, Lauzerte, Loubressac, Montflanquin, Poujols le Haut and St. Cirq Lapopie ...

Moissac from the view point

You can see the river Garonne and also the port (by church spire)

Moissac sits on the north bank of the Tarn which provides the perfect setting for Fete De Pentecôte also the famous classical concerts to be held here in July and August. To add to the attractiveness of this town are the buildings and the people here are so friendly, almost a village feel to this town.

Moissac is a useful point for the Gorges du Tarn or the Gorges de L'Aveyron - escape the hot plains of Montauban for forests of chestnut trees that provide the perfect setting for a cool, summer walk.

We enjoyed driving in this area, from many various points in our journey. John cycled a great deal into the hills, then drove me to best sites later.

Web fans visits the Moet

Thanks for all the information and time given, then treats us to lunch out

We are very lucky to have so many people interested in what we are doing who enjoy reading the web site and let us know, I enjoy the feed back. Many e-mails from many different countries - asking for information on the canals, rivers, moorings, house buying, boat building, boat buying, cycling around France or just saying thanks we enjoy your stories and photographs. Several people have visited our boat who found us on the web site, or in the Fluvial magazine.

One such e-mail we received read :

"Hello - thank you for sharing your pics and experiences. Nearing retirement, we have been looking for property in or near Carcassonne, but we are now thinking of canal life for a starter - till we find our ideal home. your web page has been most inspiring. Bon chance jl"

I was moved when I read this.

Wonderful BBQ day

painting - sunset - horses - open air cinema, screen was Glyn's transit van

We spent some time with Glyn, Angie and daughter Eve this month they are staying on some land owned by friends near to their land. They will soon start building - three houses - are you looking for a new house?

They moved to Moissac with a dream. This project take two years. They would like to live in France, if able to cope with the language.

Even the horses are more laid back here in France.

Would this be the new life for them? It is not always easy living in a camper van, but some advantages too. Daughter Eve (aged 12) is enjoying home schooling. Both Angie & Eve joined me in the art class's, now they are attending weekly. We enjoy each others company. Eve is enjoying horse riding, Angie is over coming her fear of horses by feeding and mucking the horses out (5). One day I will ride! We felt inspired sharing their dream, and admire their spirit.

GOOD LUCK TO Glyn, Angie, Eve & partner Ann-Marie & Paul, we look forward to seeing your progress.

Glyn's building machinery was used to help move Steve & Kit's old engine out and put new engine in.

Moissac Port Steve (from Leeds) & Kit were busy fitting a new engine on their boat. Getting the engine in and out was a major job which was well done with help from many sources. Steve & Kit have been cruising in France since the early eighties and are full of knowledge and a Leeds Rugby fan. Steve & Kit were soon on the move again, new engine running smoothly. John joined them one very wet day in Malause for the Leeds final football match at Wembley sadly they lost. It was an hours drive away - John said it's an away game! Computer day for me in peace.

Breathing in new life as we cruise on the Canal de Garonne Moissac to Villeton distance of 116km.

I was feeling unwell after leaving Moissac. We stopped at Malause port for one night only. Working the locks was not enjoyable at all. I had no energy. I had unexplained anxieties, insomnia and nausea. Son Michael suggested looking at my diet, I cut out tea, coffee, coke, also no alcohol. I needed to take some time out for me... We moored at the side of a lake. No boats, no people just birds, water. Occasionally sound of our generator + the odd boat passing by, 3 nights bliss.

We enjoyed being by ourselves. Soon we both felt much better. I was sleeping blissfully again. My energy level's started returning. It is amazing how our food effects us and our moods. I had been drinking more coffee and coke than usual to try to pick me up, but both drinks were pulling me down. I miss going out for a coffee and trying a new bottle of wine with friends., though I want my energy more than the coffee. I endured a lot of pain from my neck which was not helping this month, due I think to the damp conditions and all the rain this month.


The Canal Bridge is the second longest in France (580 metres).

This bridge is of dressed stone, built between 1839 and 1843. Ten metres high and spanning the River Garonne, it offers a panoramic view of the town. Just after this bridge, there is a 12.5 metre descent through a system of 4 automatic locks, that you have to press twice. We enjoyed this decent in dry weather - we moored just passed the four locks for a very peaceful night away from the city.

We cruised on the following day 37km to Villeton a good port to rest and settle we love this area. The weather turned again, more rain. I think it rained none stop for four days. No chance of us cruising the river's just yet, most rivers here are closed.

River Lot flowing with much water no chance of our cruising this river just yet

We enjoyed a full day out in the car visiting different towns & villages we had to have our picnic in the car - rain - rain thankfully not for long.

We stopped off to look at the rivers for a closer look. This is the second lock on the River Lot - it was a big muddy mess as was the River Baise and Garonne - fast flowing with muddy water & trees. A boat on the river Lot has been stranded for 3 weeks - due to the flow on the Garonne.

Cheers to all our friends & family

one of our dry nights in Villeton to end the month

We enjoyed meeting Brian, Paula, Rosie & Mike they were in camping van's near the port. When Ursula & Mike arrived in the port we enjoyed afternoon tea on the moet then carried on and all enjoyed a meal together and also for the next nights too. Ursula & Mike are having problems with their electric's. This kept blowing the port, all hands trying to locate the problem.

John drove Ursula Mike and Michelle back to Colombiers for their cars. Stopping off for lunch with Maureen & David in village of Saint-Martin-le-Vieil. The journey from Villeton was around 700km so it was a very long day. Ursula & Mike took us out for a meal to say thank you to John for all the driving. I spent the day on the computer, web site is now up to date.