April 2009 Cruising Canal du Midi and Wine Festival

Boat painting

Painting the Moet was a long job, but thankfully all painting is now finished, time for darts! John & I enjoyed many a Monday night in the new Irish pub the Celt in Carcassonne, meeting many friends here too.

John painting the boat

playing darts in Irish pub the Celt in Carcassonne

John thoroughly enjoyed painting the Moet, he started in Feb with Earl, it's been well worth all his effort, he learnt a great deal. John worked very hard on the preparation first, we are so proud of the newly painted Moet. She is all ready for cruising. I am sure Moet will have lock rash soon enough!

Mike's 70th Birthday in Le Parc Restaurant Carcassonne

Mikes 70th birthday

John & I had car problems this month our car spent some time in the garage ( x 2) having the turbo renewed. Ursula & Mike drove us to Beziers (100km) to leave our car with the Honda dealer.

We drove back together in their car, enjoying a wonderful birthday breakfast en route then lunch in Carcassonne. We could not have picked a better restaurant to celebrate such a special birthday with special friends. We had a lovely day together. Ursula & Mike are cruising very soon, so this was also our last meal of the season together. I am sure we will be meeting up at some point during the summer, many good bye parties right now.

Moving our boats on one of the worse April days

Carcassonne port in the rain

Beate & I enjoying coffee in the rain while we wait for the lock.

drinking coffe in the rain

As usual we all had to be out of the port at the beginning of the month, we wanted to move the boats before Toques et Clochers (the wine festival). The hire boats are now starting to come into Carcassonne port, Stephanie needs more mooring space's. We moved out into the Canal du Midi below the lock, with Bon Adventure, Suki, Grass Matinee, Amethyst and Liza.

Wet through we decided that we must all go out for a liquid lunch 24 of us turned up! A glass or two was drank for everyone's birthday too. Darts night followed lunch, John having had too many pints, fell into the canal on his return this soon sobered him up, no harm was done except his pride.

Toques et Clochers Wine Festival 2009 Malras

Village of Malras celebrating the wine, music, song, food and air display's over the village too.

Air display Malras 2009

The air display was spectacular. I had fun with my camera here, bands playing in every corner of the village.

Malras Street Party

Malras Street Party

Toques et Clochers Wine Festival is to celebrate the region's finest chardonnay's then having a massive street party! This was the 20th Toques et Clochers wine festival and our forth, it is sponsored by the wine producers Sieur d’Arques.

Some very nice wine indeed we sampled, perhaps a little too much! Our boat is now stocked with this wine and ready for the season.

We were all glad of the peace of Fiona & Earl's walled garden to retreat to when necessary, kept for friends & family, we had such good weather on the day of Toques et Clochers, we enjoyed many live bands. Our own private BBQ later that evening.

house in Malras

John & I enjoyed staying with Earl & Fiona, this weekend, they worked very hard this winter getting their home & garage ready for this wine festival.

It was a pleasure watching this village over the winter, prepare for this huge event, with over 35.000 people visiting they wanted this village to look it's best and mead fallen walls and re-paint the houses.

Toques et Clochers was started in the village of Malras in 1991 with Malras now again Malras hosts in 2009 also.

Toques et Clochers started in Malras in 1991

Fiona & Earl were our hosts in Malras for the weekend, their garage was turned into a wine bar.

Wine bar in the garage

BBQ in Malras

With art and photography on display, friend Maureen had a painting in the festival, sadly she was not here to see her painting on display for us all to see. Well done Maureen, sadly I never entered yet again! Perhaps one day I will gain a place with a photograph or my art, that is when I am confident enough to show. The posters designed & entered were very good this year. A few days rest over Easter for us before we cruised on.

John's sister Susan & son's Joe & Tom arrived in Carcassonne from Leeds for a holiday with us.

family arrives

Much celebrating with our next visitors. John's sister Susan's birthday, John's mum's 80th birthday, Tom's 11th birthday this week. I enjoyed baking with Tom, baking cakes, toasting everyone's health and cruising from Carcassonne to Trebes & back again having two night out, and a great BBQ was magic.

This was our first cruise of the season, we are pleased to say that all went very well. Our engine worked well after all the servicing and the generator a dream.

We enjoyed good food & wine. Susan thoroughly enjoyed her break away from work, a chance to re-charge her batteries.

Peaceful night just outside Trebes the boys fishing we set up the BBQ - Blissful

Fishing in the Canal du Midi at Trebes

Sun bathing on top of the boat, was one of Susan's highs. We had very mixed weather during their stay, but much better than we all expected.

Joe & Tom really enjoyed their stay in France, especially the fishing Joe said.

I loved baking my birthday cake Tom said, then eating it, he shared some cake with Fiona & Earl when they arrived for a drink.

This is our dream life and when family want to visit and share or explore with us, it makes us very happy indeed.

We celebrated nephew Tom's 11th birthday on the Moet and Joe catching so many fish.

Tom's 11th birthday

Joe catching big fish in Trebes on the Canal du Midi

Happy Easter it was, Joe & Tom saved a chic's life in Trebes.

Joe and Tom saved a chic's life in Trebes

We packed in so much in the five days, Joe caught many fish, it was such a joy to watch him enjoy his favourite sport, he's very good too. Enjoying French lesson's from John, though he knows many words already.

Tom caught his very first fish, he was so thrilled, everyone was so pleased for him. Saving this chic's life from angry ducks. Joe & Tom returned the unharmed separated chic to it's mother.

Tom made friends with all the dogs in the port and enjoyed walking with them & friends around Carcassonne.

All too soon their visit came to an end and John drove them to Nimes to catch their new flight home.

Colibri cruising the Canal du Midi from Carcassonne to La Segala

Barge Colibri cruising the Canal du Midi

We enjoyed a great Jazz night out at Gayda, staying the night in Malras with Fiona & Earl, just before their cruising started. It was nice to have the time to catch up with them, not much time when their busy season starts next month.

Some of our friends have left Carcassonne port, on their way to new destinations. We are not cruising again till next month, so we settled again up in the port for now.

Colibri is cruising the Canal du Midi this year. www.bargecolibri.com

Alan's 50th Birthday celebrations in Carcassonne with family & friends.

Alan's 50th birthday

Beate arranged a surprise party for Alan, arranging flights for family & friends from England & Germany. Some good friends arrived in their boats, friends that had departed earlier by boat either arrived back by train or car to help celebrate.

Beate asked us if we could put Chris & Sue up on the Moet, of course we said. John met Sue & Chris at Carcassonne airport with David arrived on our boat in time for coffee. John drove them to pick up their hired speakers in Beate's car, (our car was in the garage again!).

A surprise lunch in Chez Felix bar, we all waited for Alan to arrive, what a surprise it was for him to see so many people sitting inside and outside.

A long 4 hour lunch well into the afternoon. Drinks on their boat and ours after lunch. Later we enjoyed a wonderful meal near by with live music, especially flown in from Liverpool. Alan, friends & family shared a great birthday celebrate.


They were a delightful couple to have stay with us on board, we had several friends including Ursula & Mike who drove back for Alan's 50th they joined us too, We could not all fit with Alan & Beate and thought it nice for them to have time with their friends & family who had flown in. Beate did an amazing job, she is such a good events coordinator, I would book her if she offered.

Easy Street Music

Sue & Chris from Easy Street Music

The Carcassonne LadiesBacking vocals by the Carcassonne Ladies

Sue & Chris brought many good songs, music & fun to the party, especially the joy their backing singers, The Carcassonne Ladies. We all had a ball. Easy Street play six months in England and six month in South France, we hope to catch up with them later next month in Ventenac.

Wine on Kimsute with Chris & Carole when they arrived.

Before we left for London Chris & Carole arrived in Carcassonne, they moored next to us, it was nice catching up finding out their cruising plan's. John & I are well known for changing our plans at the drop of a hat. Chris & Carole stayed in the port for a week, then moved off towards the Med for the summer, they joined us for our final darts night of the season in the "Celt". We will meet up again next month.

Our next few days were in London, my sister Kathleen's son Theo and fiance Gemma are getting married in the the chapel in the houses of Parliament, all the family are looking forward to this special wedding, tomorrow the bells are ringing our hat's & flowers are ready, suits pressed to go.

It's a big family day tomorrow, sadly mum can't make this journey today.

Theo & Gemma's Westminster weddingWestminster Wedding

The wedding flowersWedding Flowers