September 2008 More family gather in Moissac Port

Iain gave both John's some tuition on how to handle Winifred before we left the port.

Iain & Kaz were unfortunately too busy to take one of their boats for a film shoot, port was very busy indeed. They asked us if we would like to take part in the filming with a hire boat or the Moet, "YES was our answer" we choose to take the hire boat, were we hoping to become film stars, "we should be so lucky".

My sister Kathy & husband John were staying with us for a few more days. We enjoyed the experience of cruising with Winifred a France Fluvial hire boat. Brother in-law John expertly took Winifred into his first lock, and said shall we hire one for a family holiday, more room than they thought with this 3 bedroom boat.

Tourist board were making a film of the cyclist on the via duct crossing over the Tarn river

John was a little apprehensive about taking the hire boat - worried he might damaged the boat or the film crew or lose the camera overboard. No need to worry John & John took turns & handled the boat very well. A most enjoyable cruise and picnic lunch on board, the weather could not have been better for our cruise. Not sure what film will be used in this tourist video due out in November. We did not sign any contracts, so I don't think they will show us in the film. I am sure in the end we were just part of the film crew, moving the boat along the Canal de Garonne, filming cyclists and other boats, the film crew shouted to John can't you go any faster, we thoroughly enjoyed the days experience.

Kathy, Irene John & John - film stars in the making

We brought the hire boat back to Moissac Port enjoying another wonderful evening together. Site seeing was on our agenda. A day out in Montauban hospital was next.

Montauban town does have quite a bit of urban sprawl, which perhaps doesn't create the best impression on arrival, we found the hospital hard to find, the town centre though is very impressive!

We found the hospital at last (good job we left 3 hours early)! X-rays first then a scan after a dye injection into John's knee, "your" John never complains "Kathy said".

We bumped into boating friends Margaret and David in the hospital waiting area - what a small world it is they were moored in Montech.

Kathy & John loved the beautiful village of Lauzerte especially the local beers in the square, we saw a lovely sunset here too and enjoyed driving around some villages in the area. All too soon it was time for their flight home from Bergerac. We had a typical September morning's drive, with lots of low lying mist - flight thankfully was on time.

I finished my painting at art class very pleased with what I learnt here in Moissac. John re-wired the boat for a second fridge, all these visitors not enough fridge space, so we will be shopping for some new fridges in the winter ready for next year's visitors.

John's right knee - plumbers old knee's surgeon said to him, they need some oiling.

A doctor's appointment for John's results on our return to Moissac. You need to see a surgeon was the GP's reply. An appointment was made to see a knee specialists. Sorry we can't operate it won't help arthritis. The surgeon offered John a course of 3 lubrication injections over three weeks which may well help and keep the inflammation at bay. He will also remove the excess fluid. You can start cycling again but be careful was the surgeon's reply. John start's the treatment next month.

We are impressed with our experience of France's health system.

Tina, Wendy Steve & John on board Amethyst - Moissac Port

We enjoyed a couple of days with Wendy & John (yes another John) they arrived in the port aboard Amethyst. We were all invited up to Tina & Steve's house for Sunday lunch, Tina & Steve ran a local pub across the road from Wendy & John's house back in England before retiring to France, we were well fed.

Two hire boats cruised too far on the Garonne river and became stranded on rocks. This almost happened to John & Wendy on Amethyst when they cruised the Tarn with Tina & Steve. The end of navigation is very un clear in the book so do be careful.

If you see the motor way bridge you have gone too far Iain told us, we held this in mind later when we cruised again with sister Jean. It will be a good cruise when river is fully restored to Montauban.

The River Tarn will one day open up for cruising from Moissac to Montauban

Lock onto Tarn River from Moissac

I have heard the year 2011 mentioned for completion of the opening up of the Tarn, this will indeed make a very enjoyable cruise. We will be cruising to Montauban (by canal) next month so I will investigate a little further how the work is progressing if any.

Carcassonne Port busy as ever with many problems on the Canal du Midi this year

We met up with friends in Carcassonne (three day trips to Carcassonne town & airport this month). Sitting with Wendy & John on Amethyst just out side the port, we were almost thrown onto the bank as a hire boat went tearing past Amethyst as we were leaving. It was a very uncomfortable feeling indeed especially after the calm waters of the Canal's we have all been cruising this summer. So many complaints this year regards cruising on the Canal du Midi especially the waiting around at locks.

Irene & sister Jean site seeing in Carcassonne

My sister Jean flew into Carcassonne airport from Liverpool for a four day visit, we enjoyed lunch & a day out in the Medieval cite of Carcassonne before driving the one half hours back to Moissac. We managed to fit in so much during Jean's stay with us. We cruised, dinning out, visited many villages, and she meet some of our friends. She enjoyed getting a taste of our French way of life. Jean must have really enjoyed her visit as when she got back her son Keith e-mailed me "I have a dream" (I think he meant fishing from the Moet) he is a keen fisherman like his dad. Jean was keen to pick out all the good fishing places as we cruised the Tarn. We did not have time to cruise on the canal this time.

Jean navigating the calm (till we arrived) Tarn river.

John thoroughly enjoyed giving Jean some expert tuition on turning the boat in the river, thankfully it was wide and open without another boat. I forgot to remind Jean about sun cream and we finished the day like lobster's "oops" we forgot sun cream too.

The Tarn River is a one of Europe most dangerous rivers, along with the Danube River. The famous flooding of March 1930 saw the Tarn rise more than 17 meters (56 ft length of our boat) above its normal level in Montauban in just 24 hours, with a discharge of 7,000 m³/s (average discharge of Rhine River is 2,200 m³/s, average discharge of Nile River during the traditional annual flooding before the building of the Aswan Dam was 8,500 m³/s, average discharge of the Mississippi River is 16,200 m³/s).

Jean loved The Tarn River, Moissac is famous for its brutal flooding's here in the 30's

One third of the Tarn-et-Garonne department was flooded, about 300 people died, thousands of houses were destroyed, the low districts of Montauban were destroyed, the town of Moissac was almost entirely destroyed. Thankfully Moissac has grown into one of Tarn-et-Gronne's finest towns (my opinion), an artists dream here.

We had a wonderful lunch time stop on the Tarn before continuing on our cruise.

I enjoyed my last painting lesson this month and was like a child coming home from school with my painting - this could be my next greetings card. Jean really had a good time in Moissac visiting some of Moissac's finest architecture and trying out the different foods.

Auvillar a most picturesque village - Roman-Galic village.

A village not far from Moissac, Auvillar has a wonderful square with wooden houses built in the 16th, 17th & 18th Centuries, it also has a circular corn market built in 1825 on the ruins of a former quadrangular one. A really good exhibition of life on the banks of the river Garonne was on. We enjoyed our visit but sadly no where open in the centre of Auvillar to have a coffee.

Our next village stop over was Valence-d'Agen thankfully the coffee bars were all open. Later we drove onto Malause village to meet up with Ursula Mike who were moored in the port. We enjoyed catching up over a glass of vino.

Jean enjoyed shopping in the market - she especially loved the variety of foods we found.

I enjoyed cooking many meal's for family, visitors and friends this month and in return we were invited out such a lot. I need a rest I was heard saying " my body batteries are running low".

Every day someone we know arrived in Moissac Port, now a very busy port indeed, not always room for everyone to moor this month, booking ahead is advisable more than ever. Many boats are already moored up early for the winter and this does cause problems for boats still cruising. Not sure if this is due to the Euro dropping to an all time low as well as the diesel prices... this year we found it more expensive.

Jean with granddaughter Imogen-Jean born this month.

Jean's brief visit was soon over, John & I really had a great time such amazing weather for her visit which always helps - Jean was soon on her was to Bristol to spend time with her daughter Sharon & family, she was especially looking forward to holding new arrival Imogen-Jean, she is adorable as we can see here.

John and I love having visitors but we also looked forward to some time to catch up with jobs on the boat, time on our own too. I finished my painting this month and made many cards for boaters and for Iain & Kaz

John re-wired the Moet ready to take another fridge we found we did not have enough fridge space this summer so intend to change one of our pantry cupboards for beer or food fridge? OUr next project was car.

Instructions - we have obtained our French registration for our English car.

To obtain our French registration we needed the following: Help from a friend Andy who informed us what he did when he reregistered his car.

  1. UK registration document (log book).
  2. Original sales invoice/receipt.
  3. A "Quietus Fiscal" stating that all taxes or duties have been paid on the car. John had to sign the registrar to this effect at the Hotel des Imports in Moissac (what ever town you are living or the nearest Hotel des Imports is to you).
  4. A control technique certificate (French MOT). We did not have to change our headlights as we first thought. In our case a Honda Civic 2003 and our car passed the control technique (MOT).
  5. A certificate of European Conformity. We obtained ours from Honda U. K. free of charge by simply printing off a form from the Honda U. K. web site, we filled this form in and sent it off to Honda UK our certificate arrived by return of post to France. We also needed an address in France.
  6. The port of Moissac gave us a letter of attestation stating that we lived on our boat.
  7. When we had all these bits of paper we took them to the Prefecture in Castelsarrasin who process all the paper work immediately, we paid 180 euros.
  8. Prefecture gave us our French log book, which we took to the local garage and they made us our French number plates they also fit them (French plates must be riveted on - not screwed) the plates cost us 20 euros.
  9. We were then able to insure the car here in France. This will now save us money and our MOT is due every two years and we don't need to tax our car. We found this no problems as long as you have all the bits of paper necessary. John's French improved no end in this process.

Tilly's lift out to inspect damaged hull & bow thruster.

Iain & Kaz asked us for our help, having no staff due to ill health. Iain needed Tilly in Castelsarrasin boat yard. A potential boat buyer Chris & Jackie were coming to look at Tilly same morning. Iain offered Chris & Jackie the chance to cruise with John & I. I enjoyed the chance to cycle again.

Our cruise to the boat yard took just over three hours. A storm came from no were, I was waiting at a lock in sun shire then whoosh a storm. I held on to a tree, the storm came & went in seconds but oh dear the farmer across from the lock lost many apples as they came to the ground like bullets flying every where.

Jackie & Chris own 8 gites in the heart of Black PĂ©rigord

The storm passed quickly lasting minutes, just as well as John was approaching the lock by this time, my prayers answered, I did not want Tilly to have any more damage. We missed the last lock into Castelsarrasin due to closure 12. 30 to 1.30. Iain & Kaz drove up to our mooring with lunch. We enjoyed a drink together as it was Chris's birthday.

The lift went well and Iain inspected the damage, (Tilly had hit a bridge a week before) some are parts needed for a complete repair. On our return journey to Moissac Chris enjoyed cruising and navigating Tilly into a lock - very well done too. Chris & Jackie are looking forward to buying a boat and cruising in France. I am sure we will meet up on the canal in their own boat.

Our last BBQ in Moissac port with friends

We enjoyed some wonderful nights sat out in the warm evenings - autumn is on it's way and those long warm evenings are now less as the month ends - a chill in the air when the sun goes down. John & I invited Ursula, Mike, Iain, Kaz, David, Rosie, Mick & Karen for the last BBQ in Moissac - everyone brought their favourite dish along with wine, we could have fed the whole port that night.

Before we left the port Iain & Kaz cooked us the best homemade steak & kidney pie we have had, it was a cold evening - we all agreed winter is coming so made the most of sitting out when we could. Iain & Kaz will be busy moving & painting boats next month. They want to use some of my port Moissac photographs for next years brochure, many of my photograph cards have been sold this month.

Moet Chandon & Bon Adventure depart Moissac for a slow cruise back to Carcassonne

Ursula & Mike arrived towards end of the month and we enjoyed time together as always. They invited friends David & Maureen to Moissac to join them for a trip on the Tarn, it was wonderful weather for their cruise and a great day for all.

John & I had intended cruising back up the Canal de Garonne but it was not meant to be. Bon Adventure & Moet are cruising together back to Carcassonne for winter.

It took a little time to settle in the locks with our two boats. I cycled to the locks to await boats arrival, it was just perfect weather. We moored up for a few days in Castelsarrasin.

Happy Cruising back to port everyone safe trip & happy wintering...