Tuesday, 25 May 2010

12th May 2010 – 16th May 2010

Just as we are about to leave San Pere Pescadore, we get a message from Bryan (Crick), to say it is raining in Narbonne, just in case we want to re-consider our departure. But it is raining here too, so we go ahead as planned.

Narbonne – La Nautique – ACSI 2010-1447

This is one of our “regular” stops, a very nice Dutch run campsite about 3km from Narbonne.

Bryan and Joan are already booked in and have reserved us a pitch next to them. Apparently Bryan has already amused the other people in our immediate vicinity, one English couple, two Dutch couples and a German couple, with his lengthy maneuvering exercise to get their van correctly positioned, avoiding the low branches of the Olive trees, now it is my turn to provide the entertainment.

After the formal handing over of the precious ASDA teabags, and a large hug from Phillippa, transported to us by Joan, we spend the evening catching up on our respective adventures since we last met. We manage to make significant inroads to a 5 litre container of Rioja and a similarly sized container of Rose.

Unfortunately although the rain has stopped, it is still cool and windy.

The general consensus seems to be that the abnormal weather pattern we are experiencing is all down to the volcanic eruptions in Iceland. Typical of them, first we have the cod wars, next their Banks lose all of our money and refuse to pay it back, now they are disrupting our weather.

Kathleen and I cycle to the lock at Mandirac, about 5 miles away, on the Canal Robin.

There is an old wine barge being restored by the side of the canal, nothing seems to have changed in the 12 months or so since we last cycled past it, not one more plank appears to have been added.

Joan (a known domestic goddess and cake maker of renown), spent the morning washing clothes, and making a date and walnut cake in her newly acquired Remorska cooking device. Kathleen, whose nearest encounter with making a date and walnut cake, is visiting the cake counter in ASDA, lends helpful advice. Kathleen, then tells me she may have a try at making a cake when we get home. I am not holding my breath.

In the afternoon the all important hair washing, drying, and straightening activities take place.

This is followed by doing the crossword and then taking of the blood pressure, and checking pulse, just to check there is still life present.

Poor Bryan is falling victim to a cold, but he struggles on manfully and plays a full part in an evening of drinking red wine. He insists on apologizing to us all for being a miserable, grumpy old b*****d, what with his cold and all, but we three reassure him that we never think of him as old.

Friday, the weather is a little better, still windy, but no rain, and even some blue sky and sunshine. We decide to cycle to Narbonne, Bryan and Joan take the short route (about 3 miles one way), in deference to Bryan’s cold, Kathleen and I take the scenic route (10 miles), via the lock at Mandirac, then along the cycle / footpath beside the Canal Robin, returning via the short route.

Given the amount of alcohol we consumed last night, we have coffee in the square at Narbonne, possibly one of our favourite places in the whole of France. It is so typically French, a selection of pavement cafes to eat and drink, with superb cakes at the patisserie, and great opportunities for just sitting and watching the world go by.

As a nation I would say the French are more or less on a par with the British, for having a sizable minority of the population who are so ignorant they allow their dog to foul public places.

So it was no surprise when we saw just such an incident outside of the Marie (Town Hall) in Narbonne, with an ignorant dog owner allowing his dog to crap on the pavement. But within a few minutes an operative rode up on a motor scooter, equipped with a sort of vacuum device, and promptly hovered up the offending mess, and then rode off again. It was all so quick I did not have time to take a photograph of what is, in my opinion, a good use of council tax payers money.

We are invited to eat with Bryan and Joan, in the evening (Friday).

They have invited Julie and Hannah (their friend who lives nearby and her daughter), for a meal and drinks.

Julie arrives with a couple of dozen eggs each for us, courtesy of her free range chickens.

Kathleen provides some entertainment in the form of a few songs.

Joan and Bryan whip up one of their culinary masterpieces (as usual). How they manage to cook such a meal for six people with the limited facilities available is a mystery to me.

Joan in particular excels herself with two sweets, both cooked in her wonder Remoska device. We have a choice of Date and Walnut cake or German Apple Cake. For those of us with who find making a choice difficult, you can have both! An excellent evening is had by all.

Saturday, and the weather appears to be slowly improving, blue sky and sunshine, but still a very strong wind blowing.

We spend the day in Narbonne, there is a parade taking place, not sure what it is in aid of, but something to do with the war, they certainly continue to celebrate wartime anniversaries much more than we do, a factor of having been invaded I suppose.

My task is to attempt to buy a Daily Mail (for the crossword, not the inane political comment). It gives me an opportunity to practice my schoolboy French, asking the Newsagent if he sells English Newspapers, being told, no, but they sell them at the railway station. Then asking (and understanding) directions to the railway station. The end result is dismal failure, would you believe at a main railways station, the Newspaper / Magazine shop closes for lunch for one and threequarter hours, the French still know how to relax!

Sunday, we all cycle into Narbonne together, it is more windy than even yesterday! Kathleen and Joan go to mass, whilst Bryan and I amuse ourselves wandering around and drinking coffee.

In the afternoon, we go to Carnet to visit Julie and Hannah, and have a conducted tour of Julie and Khaled’s renovation project. It is an amazing house, you need a map to find your way around it is so huge.

Monday, we leave, heading toward the South of France, to see if we can get some better weather.

No comments:

Post a Comment