Thursday 21 June - 1230 arrival, hatch key, unwrap, Cacor, bye, concerts

We arrived at the barge in Moissac at 0030hr and let ourselves into the wheelhouse. But we were surprised to find the hatch down to the galley closed and locked - and we didn’t have a key on us. We searched for keys in the wheelhouse, and tried them all, but none worked. We were getting ready to settle down on the couches in the wheelhouse, when a final desperate search found another key tucked away in a drawer. Luckily, it was the hatch key. So we let ourselves in downstairs, made the bed and went to sleep.

A 9am rising saw us up and preparing the barge for habitation. First thing was to unwrap the boat from the tarpaulins we had wrapped the cabin in at the end of last season to try and keep her a bit cleaner and protected from the sap of the plane trees above. It seems to have worked OK, so the cleaning task in the next few days won’t be quiet as onerous. Our winter wrapping wasn’t quite as professional as Rovi’s across the port, but it seems to have done the job.

Around 11am, the Taggerty mob arrived and so we settled down to a late morning brekkie on the rear deck.

We then gave them a taste of barging, by moving Kanumbra about 50m up the quai to opposite the Capitainerie (where we would have good wifi reception for our Skype interview with DELWP next week). Not a long trip, but it was interesting for them to see how the barge could be manoeuvred. I was quite pleased with my efforts at getting a 16.7m barge into an 18m mooring space! We are now nose-to-nose with Hilda May (not for the first time).

We then went for a walk along the canal to the Cacor Aqueduct over the River Tarn, and then back for drinks and dessert at the Uvarium Cafe. Since they were all flying out of Toulouse tomorrow (some to Australia, and some to Norway), they had booked a hotel in Toulouse overnight to get an early start. But before they left, they wanted to have a look at Nico’s handiwork at the house in Moissac, so we gave them directions and off they headed. But as soon as they were out of sight, Rita and I jumped in our car and took the short-cut to the house, to meet them as they arrived there. And then after a short while, it was truly goodbye to them, until we see them again in another country.

That evening, Rita went to a choir concert with some Moissac muso friends, while I settled down to write some answers to the interview questions posed by DELWP, since they were due by 8am the next morning (4pm Melbourne time). As I was doing this, I heard an Aussie voice say “hello”, and met Phil and Kathy Tyson, the new owners of Effie, a Piper barge previously owner by Graham and Linda Barley who we had encountered many times on our travels. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of them over the course of this season. Rita arrived home about 8pm, and raced downstairs to collect her steelpan and a tchembe, since she had been invited to play with the Jazzelas jazz group, in a June 21 concert at the port. Too good an opportunity to refuse. While I continued on my answers, I heard that Australia had gone one step better by drawing with Denmark 1-1 in the World Cup, and since France had beaten Peru, that meant we were still in the running for 2nd place in the group, if we beat Peru next and France beats Denmark, both possibilities. So as the band played on into the night, I fell asleep in bed to the lilting sound of steelpan and jazzzz…..