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Carcassonne & Canals to the coast at Valras Plage, Farnce

The French canals and Job Hunting

[b]Friday 16th April

Woke up to a knock at the door, after getting out of bed I opened the door to find a woman from the Marie’s office asking for payment for parking at the aire! As we were now awake we decided to head off towards the old walled city of Carcassonne. It ended up being another day of travelling around, finding out aires no longer existed and the one we found was right by a noisy main road. After filling up there with water we decided we didn’t want to spend the night, so drove off to find somewhere nicer to park up for the night. We ended up finding a lovely spot down a very quiet small road on the Canal du Midi.


Saturday 17th April

Got up to a lovely sunny day by the canal, we decided to head to Carcassonne down the canal path on our bikes. Before this though I went up on the roof to try and replace the roof vent cover. This ended up being a lot longer job than I had expected, the screws were very rusty and didn’t want to budge. After spraying some WD40 the screws still didn’t want to budge, all I was managing to do was rip up the heads. Lorna knowing the job was taking a while decided to give inside the motorhome a deep clean. The problems I was experiencing ended up a blessing in disguise though, as we met a lovely British couple in the Dutch barge moored up by us. Graham leant me a hand and his tools, after a while we managed to remove the screws and I fitted the new cover. During a tour of their lovely self built barge, we learnt they had been commercial divers and were both musicians. Before their barge, they had sailed around the Med and also over to South America. Now they lived on their barge around the canals of France. The journeys they had been on seemed a lovely prospect, it must be lovely to sail and well life on the canal, always seems so tranquil. They were a very friendly, lovely couple and very interesting to chat to.



We eventually got on the bikes and headed off down the canal to Carcassonne, 8 miles away. The medieval old walled city was a picturesque place and very lovely to walk around within the walls.


As one might expect the place is very touristy but apart from all the shops full of tack, it’s like it would have always been. We ended up wondering into the cathedral while a four man choir was singing some traditional classical vocal pieces. The acoustics of the cathedral and the harmonies were something special. The type of music I wouldn’t maybe pay much attention to on record, but here in these surroundings it was hairs on the back of your neck stuff. By the time we left and cycled back the sun was setting.



[b]Sunday 18th April[/b]

After the red wine last night, we had a slow start to the day! Before we left we chatted to Graham and his wife, about our travelling and looking for work. He said it might also be worth trying boat hire companies, as the boats always needed cleaning after they are returned. It was an option I hadn’t thought about, so he let us know where all the hire places were along the canal. They also told us of places where we could get water along the canal. We hadn’t really thought about it before, but the canal seemed a great option for parking up. It is always nice being by water and generally there are small quiet roads we could park up on, alongside the canal. The area we were in was beautiful, full of vineyards and the canals seemed a great option to stay by. We said our goodbyes to them and headed off.

After a stop in the new town of Carcassonne at the laundrette, we headed off down the roads along the canal stopping at Terbes. Here I went to the boat hire office to enquire about available work. As the season hadn’t really kicked off I was told non was available, but I might have better look further down at the bigger boat hire places. We carried on along the canal to the village of Puichein and found a spot by the canal for the night. I decided to put together a basic French CV and also learnt how to ask for work in French.

Monday 19th April


Continued further along the canal to the village of Homps and found a spot by the canal mariner with several other motorhomes. The day was sunny and hot so we got the chairs and table out, to have lunch by the canal. Homps had two larger boat hire offices, so after lunch I went over and with my practised French phrases asked about work. I was understood and I also understood their answers in French, which were basically no. I would need to keep looking, still the sun was out and the spot we had was nice, so we decided to stay where we were today and continue the job hunting tomorrow. It would take a while, I’m sure, asking in places before I got lucky with any work. No doubt more work opportunities would be across in the Province region by the coast.

We are all under the money god I suppose, like Orwell says in one of his books, some more than others. I suppose a trade always helps, being qualified in something means you always have something to fall back on.

To start to travel has opened the fact that there are many places to travel to. Also I would like to maybe find a niche and an opportunity to enjoy a lifestyle somewhere nice. Maybe even a campsite somewhere warm and by the sea, who knows maybe I’ll find somewhere travelling. As long as you can get by and enjoy time, rather than working all the hours and enjoying the time later in life. Still it all requires money to make money, or at least buy somewhere! I suppose though if there’s a will there’s a way and just a short while with your head down working and not spending can a crew enough.
In the motorhome its surprising how little you need, there are no bills just food and fuel.
There is a path I will find at the end of the road, I’m sure.

If you plan too much, you’ll miss the present
But if you plan to little, you’ll mess the future
It’s about a balance I suppose, life is always about a balance.
At the present I’m enjoying life on the road, travelling and experiencing places and having the time. I am finding where my future lies, maybe?
Many idea’s, either creative or business, I suppose again there’s a balance….

Tuesday 20th April

Headed further along the Canal du Midi to Capestang, along the way stopping at boat hire companies asking for work. In Capestang I went off to the tourist office to ask about locations of organic vineyards for work. I thought at the organic vineyards I might have more luck, as they normally use more manpower. They pointed me in the direction of a local organisation called CIJ who help people find work.

The man at the CIJ office was extremely helpful, correcting and improving my basic French CV, then printing me 40 copies. He told me unless I had a degree in wine production, there was no point trying the vineyards at this time of year. Campsite work or farm work would be a better option, as my French isn’t great. He showed me how to use the basic French job website and we found a job at a campsite, only problem being we didn’t have the details just the area it was in. Never the less, he printed me off a list of all the campsites in the area and I thanked him for his time and left.

It was now late in the day, but we decided on heading down towards Narbonne and the coastal tourist area where all the campsites were. That way in the morning I could get up early and head round them all, CV in hand looking for work. The place wasn’t motorhome friendly, with signs everywhere saying no motorhome parking and the only options were paying. After a drive around we managed to find a spot by a harbour on a road where we could park for 24 hours.

Wednesday 21st April

Woke up early, although we hadn’t got much sleep, as it had been very noisy all night. Headed off with my CV arriving at the first campsite for 9am, by midday we had managed to do the lot. With mostly all of them taking my CV and a couple sounded like they were looking for someone to work. All I had to do for the moment was wait for a call, hopefully. The last campsite was at a small place by a saltwater lake, called La Nautique, so we found a spot by the lake with some other motorhomes. As it was a good day and we were tired from last night’s lack of sleep, we spent the rest of the day relaxing by the lake in the sun.


By nightfall some motorhomes had left, but us and a few others stayed for the night by the lake. Just as we were drifting off to sleep mind, a few cars pulled up and then blasted out their music for the next few hours! I suppose that is the problem with free parking sometimes, you never know what is going to happen. Still it’s better than paying for the privilege of parking.

Thursday 22nd April

Got up early again to head further along the coast to Valras plage, where I had been told there were a lot of campsites. We spent the morning and early afternoon heading around the many campsites the area has. Most of them were not as friendly as yesterday’s, with only three or four places taking my CV. Still I was trying to find work as we moved on, the problem was really the season hadn’t kicked off as yet. I suppose though it only takes one place to say yes. By the afternoon we’d had enough of campsites and this stretch of coast, so headed back inland to the canals. We stopped for a night down a track along the canal, by a village called Villeneuve les Beziers. The canal seems so peaceful, I now have it in my head I want to live on a boat on the canal!

By the end of the day I still had received no calls regarding work, but it was still early days. My phone however, while in my pocket, had decided on ringing some English numbers and had used up my remaining £4 credit! It seems to have a trick of unlocking itself and dialling numbers while in my pocket, but not normally wasting so much credit. I decided to try to use a pin number to lock my phone, so it wouldn’t happen again. This turned out to be a very very bad idea, while trying to type in a new pin code, my sim card got rejected. No matter how many times I turned it on and off, I had the same message, my sim card was not registering. My card was now no use, and neither of us had any other number we could use. Our other two phones had gone over to pay as you go and we needed to register our credit cards to be able to top them up. Simple enough, but it would take seven days for the cards to register! All the CV’s I had been giving out had this contact number on, so if anyone did want me for work they would now not be able to reach me. I felt like it had been a waste of time. Still tomorrow I would try and find an Orange shop and hopefully they would be able to fix the problem. Now though I needed a few glasses of wine.

Posted by marklorna 16:09 Archived in France

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