About the canal

One of my sons is something of an expert on the Scottish canals. This developed from a fascination with bridges when he was quite young. We used to go for walks on a Sunday to see aqueducts and other canal features. At that time, however, the Scottish canals were largely disused, with broken locks and numerous blockages marked by an accumulation of lurid green weed and shopping trolleys.
The Canal du Midi isn’t like that at all. The locks function well and usually have a resident lock-keeper to operate them. The towpaths are neat and usually have a surface that’s easy to walk on.
However, we did manage to find a small stretch that reminded us of home! Just below the locks at Fonserannes, near Beziers, there’s a disused section which has silted up, with damaged locks. We didn’t actually see any shopping trolleys, but it was the kind of place where there could easily have been shopping trolleys. Alongside the disused section of canal runs a road where there are some quite scruffy-looking garages and lock-ups.
After writing ‘Murder in the Midi’ I feel as if I know this area extremely well, since part of the action of the novel takes place there. I am now having trouble differentiating beween what I really know of the place and what I’ve imagined! I think I will be rather disappointed if I visit it again and don’t see Henri and Etienne, the car mechanics of my imagination.

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