with PaRs, which are consumed and morale is boosted. We make a couple of failed attempts to find somewhere to buy string, then head into the medieval narrow lane centre of town. The market stalls are everywhere in all directions plus heaps of people to go with them, so we have to push the trike through and escape to quieter roads. Re-assessing the spare tyre problem we find that it fits quite neatly around our day bag on the top of the rack and sitting on top of the panniers behind the rear seat. Sheila produces a specs cord surplus to current requirements to attach it to the rear of rack and the mini-bungee she found earlier (remember this?) is perfect to fix the other end to a piece of the rear seat shock cord.
Sheila phones a hotel in Narbonne from the list she has brought with her, explains our requirements, including secure off-road parking for the trike, which she describes in detail. Glad to know we have a room sorted for the night, we set off again.
An ace performance by the rear seat navigator takes us through Alignan du Vent, Servian, Bassan, Corneilhan and Maraussan to bypass Beziers and take us via some very unlikely small lanes to negotiate tricky major road junctions in a virtually car free manner.
Reaching Maureillhan, we stop at a convenient bench for our picnic lunch. From there it is a short distance to reach the Canal du Midi for a pleasant run beside it until we reach the bridge that takes us across and into Capestang. We know Capestang well, so pause to buy some food and cold drinks and then head for a bench in the square behind its large church. While we are there we persuade a passing Australian tourist to take a photo of the two of us clutching our drinks cans.
The road to Narbonne becomes increasingly busy for the last 20km, with uncharacteristically pushy rush-hour traffic in no mood to be held up on their dash home. There is also some undiagnosed clonking from the trike rear mech, but we are not inclined to stop. Narbonne is equally busy, but after a couple of attempts we get to the OdT and Sheila goes in to get a street map to take us to our hotel. A bit of tricky roundabout negotiation and we arrive. Hotel owner looks at the trike and rather grumpily says no way, you can’t stay here. We are told that there is another hotel just around the corner. This is on Sheila’s list so we set off to find it. Just around the corner turns out to be a gross underestimate and we are making slow progress pushing the trike along the pavement the wrong way up a one-way street, so Sheila is sent ahead to recce on foot while John sits on the trike and waits. She returns with good news – we have a hotel room and a garage.
S&W, then into the city centre for some sightseeing and shopping, including a trip to Monoprix to replace Sheila’s nightie that was left behind by mistake in Aniane. On our wander we see the rather grand but shabby hotel we had previously stayed at was now all done up and on sale as fashionable town centre apartments. Pizza and pasta supper in the main square.
Not too many, but some thing come up so often in the course of our cycle touring that it is not worth writing them out in full each time:
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