Friday 2nd July
Yesterday we considered staying another day here in Bezier but to get to the centre of the historic town, which is a mile or so away, and after climbing the hill last night we had second thoughts!!! I do have to say it was certainly worth the climb last night, we had a very enjoyable evening and after COVID, it was great to see all the locals out enjoying themselves either in the cafes and restaurants or just wandering through the park with all the effigies with their children; it was more like life used to be, just hope all the close socialising doesn’t bring on a new outbreak.
Again we got up to blue skies and blazing sun, another “hot ‘un”, defiantly factor 50 on our noses, but unfortunately we can’t hang around as there is a given time to traverse the staircase and it started at 1000am: if we missed it we would had to wait ‘till 1600hrs.
Today we are heading upstream and arrived at the first lock, just round the bend from the staircase 3rd in the queue, but fortunately they are very big locks so they got all 3-of us in ok.
This first lock was gentle, only took us up about 2-meters and we now headed towards the staircase. Whilst going in ChristIne was told she had to get off “Daisy” with her line and walk, but by this time we were in, still that was her instruction so she had to scramble from the fly bridge to get ashore. The female lock keeper we think was a descendant of “Hitler”, barking out orders, “don’t do that” or “don’t do this”, all three of our boat crews were given their instructions by “Adolfina”, anyway we were in and attached. By-gum, there is no quarter given by these lock keepers, the deluge of water hitting us certainly throws the boats around, no wonder they don’t recommend plastic boats on the French Canals.
Whilst all this was going on and I “cruised” between the chambers, ChristIne climbed the 100 plus steps!!! As I said earlier we started third in line to access the locks, but with all the shuffling that went on, we were first out at the top, result or what, we knew the other two boats were slower due to too much “faffing about” on their part.
Irrespective of our thoughts regarding Adolfina , we must say the whole crew of lock keepers were extremely efficient.
Yesterday we used the parasol they gave us between bridges as the sun was too strong. Today we did the same but the wind was a little stronger. Whilst ChristIne was on the helm and I was downstairs fetching something, I heard a clatter and as I looked behind me a saw our parasol disappearing under the water, sunk without a trace; Oops, add it to our bill!!!
We stopped for lunch at a village called “Poilhes” because according to the “book” there was a shop selling assorted provisions, so kill two birds with one stone. We waited ‘till after 1400hrs as we know the French like their lunch hour but shock, horror, they didn’t open ‘till 1630hrs; we needn’t have stopped!!!!
Mid way through the afternoon we were really missing the parasol and the sun was beginning to get to us “up-top” on the fly bridge and we started to look for a night mooring, but to no avail. We were heading for Capestang; good moorings and as we know, a great restaurant, but alas there was no room whatsoever. There were a good number of “Linssen” boats all together, perhaps they were the “Linssen owners club” having their rally; whatever it was our, plan was scuppered🥵🥵🥵 so on we travelled. To alleviate the situation, we re-located to the helm inside the boat, oh yes, we should have done this before, much more comfortable.
Next we noted another restaurant en-route so I looked it up, it was called “Le Chat Qui Peche” (The Fishing Cat) ah yes, with a name like this it sounds promising, and the reviews were all very good as well, so that was our next destination. Oh dear, another business failing to grasp what they could have, passing trade from the canal but of course no where to moor; disappointed we moved on and eventually found a mooring on the junction with the Narbonne. Had to pay €20 for the privilege but we were hot, tired and hungry but the good news was, it included electricity and water, so long showers were the order of the day.
Adjacent to our mooring is a very odd, dingy looking hut, that purports to be a food outlet, to call it a restaurant would be an exaggeration, but enquired nevertheless from the man who took our money. He told us it served “Mauritian Cuisine” and that it was “very good” so after our showers and a couple of aperitifs, we ventured in. What we had missed when we first had a look was that there was a decking, partially hidden overlooking the other boats moored.
The guy who served us also doubled up as a broker, shipwright, mooring attendant and now waited at table. It turned out he was from Leicester and had moved to France over 20-years ago.
Looking at a rather limited menu we took our chances and ordered, a bottle of wine to start to dull our senses if the food wasn’t quite what it should be, then 2-Mauritian dishes with rice. Firstly we chose “pork dishes” but were informed pork was off but they can do the same dish with “chicken” instead, oh well, whatever. They took a little time to materialise which we took to be a good sign, freshly cooked. After a few mouthfuls our faces lit up, the food was excellent, any preconceived ideas were put behind and the old saying about judging a book by its cover came to mind.
The deserts, though fairly plain were homemade and very tasty as well, so overall a big thumbs up from us.
Back to the boat for crib, ( I lost again c xx) no tv you see, then bed as very tired, worn out, but happy as we had eventually travelled 41-kms