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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two great gigs, Carcassonne and back to the Barn!

We're back at the barn! After 6 weeks on tour and an impressive 1080 euros raised so far with another couple of gigs to go closer to home, I think Cancer Support France will be very pleased with the cheque we hand over and we certainly feel as if we've done both ourselves and the charity very proud indeed.

Reflections on the tour are many and varied but on the whole it's been enjoyable, we've met many wonderful people and been to some wonderful parts of France. Carcassonne was one of the highlights for me and it's certainly a place I'll be heading back to to in the not too distant future because I didn't get chance to visit and photograph the walled city part, I really wanted to but on the evening I'd planned we got a gig in a local restaurant. No worries though, I've promised Gabrielle a trip out there next year and I'm thinking that Spring in that part of France will be outstanding ...we might fly out, we might be in a camper van, but whatever we'll be together and in truth not being able to share all of this with her has been the hardest thing to bear on tour.

Here's a pic I found on Google of the aforementioned walled city of Carcassonne and you can maybe see why why I need to get back there with the camera!

The slighter newer part of town is non too shabby either. Whilst we were there we were lucky enough to catch a bit of the city's annual music and arts festival and here's a clip of one of the free gigs we were at (just click the link) - Lucky Peterson - I believe I'll dust my broom

Our last couple of booked gigs in this neck of the woods were both marvellously entertaining affairs. The first of these was in a very isolated but totally awesome campsite called La Fargassa. It was way up in the mountains close to the Spanish border and the road trip up there was not for the faint hearted .... no wonder campervans are not encouraged! Such was the beauty of the place we ended up staying there for 4 days and the hospitality extended to us by the owner Madhu will live long in the memory - I took a shed load of photographs whilst I was there, partly due to Madhu asking me for some publicity shots for her site, but largely down to the fact that it was just a beautiful place to be in. Here's a sample to show you what I mean

Personally I love driving up and down mountain roads like this but Jane n Mark's van struggled for headroom on more than one occasion and apparently many campervans have been trashed trying to get to the site!!

Worth the effort though, this is a superb wooded mountain range with some beautiful streams that you can swim in, in the high valleys. 

 Safely installed and though the mountain streams were inviting it's practice first as always!

And now for that swim!!!

Here's a few before, during and after our splendid gig on the Sunday eve ... such a great atmosphere that night with neighbours from the adjacent valleys present, lots of kids and animals too .... all up and dancing through the night (apart from the animals)

Our wonderful host at La Fargassa, Madhu, making a charity call

The campsite is very eco orientated, child & dog friendly and is run with the help of several overseas volunteers who stay free of charge in return for managing the site and associated farm. If you'd like to sample this wonderful place here's link for you to explore - La Fargassa campsite & gites it comes highly recommended but DON'T take a campervan!!

Our last event on our tour we took as paying gig because we had reached our target for Cancer Support France - we ummh'd and arghed a bit about this but felt justified in this since we had taken very little in the way of expenses throughout the tour. It was at a campsite just outside the town of Trebes which is on the Midi Canal and just 10k from Carcassonne so an excellent location. Thanks to Guy, the campsite owner we again enjoyed 3 nights free camping, all our drinks and 150 euros for the gig which was perhaps our most enthusiastic audience ... 3 encores and still they wanted more! Not sure about this but I think any audience with plenty of Dutch folk present is a good one, especially if they're a bit piddled ... and we had both here in abundance and if they could they would have gone on all night!!

Sadly not much in the way of pics but here's a great one of Guy with my guitar and a random Dutch guy getting it on after the event.

Once again, a great site and highly recommended here's a link La Commanderie

OK time to wrap this blog post up but I have many photographs still to sort through after 6 weeks touring Southern France plus a short hop into Spain so will be putting these together in due course.


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