Three men in a tub …

Only it wasn’t three men and it wasn’t a tub.  Instead we have three intrepid SSRKC women paddlers aboard the improbably named Banana Oil, travelling the Canal du Midi in France from Carcassone to Agde:  Sue Alcock, Chris Drysdale and Vivien Griffin.


It all started when Sue had organised a SSRKC group to head over to Croatia for a fantastic paddling trip (actually it was a birthday celebration for her but she kept that secret).  I mentioned that a canal trip through France had always been on my bucket list, and these two foolhardy women signed up for the experience with me.


We made it to the medieval fortress city of Carcassone via TGV  from Paris, checked into our hotel and headed over for our briefing with the boat hire company.  Our instructor was somewhat bemused to find that they had hired the boat to three women but what could go wrong?  Hmmm!


The next day we checked out of our hotel, with Chris proclaiming that she loved our female proprietor!  Mine hostess looked somewhat nonplussed, but turns out Chris was trying out her French and thought she was telling her that she had liked the room!  It could only get better – but it didn’t.  Instead Sue as our fearless navigator, decided that we should enter our first lock sideways.  We blamed the fierce wind blowing us off course …


However, we got better at this lock stuff, and over the next 7 days negotiated one, three and even the famous Fonserannes seven lock system near Beziers.  Chris managed to injure her ankle so was relieved of leaping out and tying up duties, and Sue was similarly excused because she was already injured, leaving moi to the joys of this challenge.


At the end of each day, Chris was in her element negotiating our food shopping in local markets, and thanks to her we ate as one should when in France, that is to say, magnificently!  Did I mention the wine? 


Over the journey, we traversed beautiful countryside,  dreamy waterways, aquaducts, tunnels and bridges, and as the travelogues say, bid a sad farewell to Banana Oil when it all ended.  We caught the TGV back to Charles de Gaulle airport and flew out to Zagreb and our next adventure.


Thanks Sue and Chris for a marvellous trip!


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