Passing Carcassone to our right we head for the village of Marsiellette to start our next house sit. Surrounded by vines at the edge of the village Adrian and Annmarie’s stunning home is set on beautiful grounds overlooking the Canal du Midi with views of the Montagne Noir mountains. Once part of a vineyard estate the house sits alongside the Gite business they run today.

The Old Vineyard

We are here to spend time with Inkie (Labrador) and the very vocal Stripes (cat), tend to the pool and water the garden if needed.

Inkie who loves a carrot
And stripes who likes to be heard

After sharing a delicious dinner with Adrian and Annmarie on the eve of their departure, we wake the following morning to explore the fabulous walks along the towpath of the Canal where we walk Inkie twice a day. Inkie loves a dip in the canal and she certainly won’t let us forget the carrot treats we have in our pocket as we walk back.

On the edge of Marseillette village

Marseillette is a small village with just a couple of restaurants, a bar and a small shop. Considering the number of boats that pass through here it doesn’t feel like a tourist destination, however, it does seem a little lived-in, with its small streets extending out from the sides of the main road. 

The Obelisk that details the canal
The clock face that dominates the village

This part of the canal is very pretty, with lots of large, shady platans and the lock operates between 9 am -7 pm daily, so whilst eating our meals we watch the boats being cycled through the lock which always draws a crowd from passing walkers and cyclists.

Cruising this 300-year-old waterway, I read that you meant to savour the slow easy pace of life but it’s quite a spectacle watching some of the less experienced boaters manoeuvre slowly down the canal putting their few navigation skills to the test, dropping the guide ropes, bumping into the sides and there’s always someone running along the towpath in the hope they haven’t missed their slot.

A couple of days after we arrive here the weather changes and becomes cooler during the day then by nightfall the storm starts and heavy rain sets in, that old saying be careful what you wish for is very true.

Inside the house even though it has had major renovations you still get a sense of the old building with its stone staircase, creaking wooden floors and one remaining wine vat.

Looking down the old stone staircase

During our first night here our bedroom door opens 5 times even though we made sure it was closed. When I tell Annmarie the following morning she explains over the years there have been strange goings-on that they couldn’t easily explain and refer to it being the old Vintner. We are not necessarily believers in the supernatural, but over the time we are here the lights go out upstairs and there are several bangs that we can’t explain, I guess this spirit as some unfinished business it needs to deal with.

I managed to swim a few times before I am unwell…..
…and John cycles once
We get to meet Adrian and Annmarie’s son Calum . Calum is a professional rugby player and has been selected for the commonwealth game this July.

When Adrain and Annmarie leave for their holiday they still have guests so over the next few days we have a glimpse of a Gite owner’s life. 

Canal view gite

The gite guests are friendly so it doesn’t take long for us to get chatting and with it being their last night here we spent a lovely evening on the terrace eating dinner with Paul and Julie. 

Moored up along the canal

Unfortunately, a few days later John becomes unwell and tests positive for covid so we don’t venture anywhere else whilst here. However, this has made us realise how tricky it can be when you are unwell and travelling when there’s no pharmacy nearby and the Doctor who speaks English doesn’t work Wednesdays ( so being unwell that day is a no-no) and works sporadically the rest of the week, there’s only one thing to do, we dig deep into the medical box I carry.

After numerous paracetamols, hot honey and lemon, and throat lozenges, and in the words of Jordan Belford from The Wolfe of Wall Street 

“Over 72hrs John consumes enough drugs to sedate Manhattan, Long Island, and Queens for a month!!” 

But with little or no improvement we have no choice but to raid the medical cupboard at the house sit.

We find antibiotics but they are out of date, however after nearly 2 years in storage, these little capsules had developed a delayed fuse and took a while to kick in but when they did ‘phew’ John starts to improve, fortunately for him there’s no tingle phase and he’s been drooling for years so it’s hard to know if there are any side effects. 

Don’t try this at home…dodgy drugs….it was either this photo or us drooling!!

Shortly after John starts improving it seems it’s my turn and soon we are both using the dodgy drugs, and drooling together!

So for now we are off in search of a pharmacy to try and restock the medical box we supposedly don’t need, isn’t that right John!!

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