Monday, 29 August 2011

Week: 21st - 27th August

Fantastic week, extremely hot to start with a lightening storm and spectacular stars. New hostess Helen and settled in and showed off her singing talent in spectacular form with Neil playing guitar, great send off to some great passengers, including chef Sebastian’s mother who was a pleasure to have on board.

Feature of the week: the boom. 

Now to explain; an arm hinged on a cable enabling travel from boat to bank without stopping. Very useful in the past for when the barge was horse drawn, however these days it’s use has come into its own. Various dangers include: stinging nettles, water and arriving back to boat too fast. The video above demonstrates how it should NOT be done, the correct technique is stomach on the pole and arms straight, using the legs to balance - however if a leap is required then different techniques maybe more appropriate, be sure to have tied your shoes on! Further complications arrive when the distance is too great, as can be seen bellow.

This week the boom was required for raising the lift bridge, running to the lock to wake up a sleepy lock keeper and most importantly delivering a vital gin and tonic to a parched passenger - James - delivering fine service the whole journey!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Week: 14th - 20th August

Luciole's chef, Sebastian cooks up a storm
A family travelling to the Luciole led by the highly respected matriarch; 90 year old Berle. An active group that lapped up the history from encyclopedic tour guide Neil. The younger generations kept the crew entertained late into the night, some good friends were made, “the best week of the season” - Francisco referring to this fun. Kat and David both naturals at steering the boat, with others setting the pace on bikes.

The return of Seb the chef, who excelled this week, and so a picture dedicated to his culinary creations. The loss of our hostess Fiona, who has returned ready for starting university in England.  Fi joined the Luciole at the start of the season - she ran a tight ship - and will be sorely missed. A fresh face of Helen arrived to fill the large gap.

A summer site to see are the areas farmers plant with flowers for anyone to pick. Our passengers stopped on the way home from a tour to pick flowers for the Luciole. The weather is still hot and sunny. Fields are being ploughed for their second crop, fruit ripening on the trees and the air filled with swallows. Burgundy is at its best.

Flower fields, for anyone to pick.  Luciole passengers gather bunches for our saloon 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Week: 7th - 13th August

A perfect entrance to a difficult lock.  Luciole pilot cheers at the success!
Francisco our pilot, cheers as he enters a lock - a difficult one - due to being straight off a river bend. The current sometimes catches the stern and pulls her round, entering at an angle is the worst way, with only 5cm to spare each side. Francisco an expert tailor as he threads the eye of a needle with a 150 ton thread. The deck sparse of bikes as passengers ride along the tow path.

This week saw a variety of new and old faces onboard: passengers, our website designer, crew parents, shareholder and agents were a great blends. Chef Dave produced some excellent cuisine, which I would like to thank him for and for fitting in so well while Luciole's usual chef Seb takes a week off.  Another week of laughs and blue sky for sure!

Week: 31st July - 6th August

Passengers enjoy lunch on deck as the Luciole cruises. 
Francisco at the helm with Fi serving red on deck. This week we stopped over night in Vincelles for a change, a great mooring on the River Yonne next to a weir, hopefully we will stop here again. 

Co-owner and long time barge-er John Liley was onboard this week (my Father) to pass on his expertises and knowledge, as well as to keep up his touch with the steering. My two brothers were also onboard; Tristram (15) helping out everyone - even the Chef, and Arthur (17) each spending free time fishing. It was nice to have the family around.

We are now into the second half of the season, it’s gone very fast! I hope the second half goes as well as the first and we all continue to have the same levels of laughter through out.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Week: 24th - 30th July

The Luciole had a week without passenger.  Crew travelled to distant places for a recharge of batteries (Barcelona in Spain and Brighton in the UK to mention but a few) and the Luciole received a mid-summer spruce up from our wonderful painter friend Roy.

The Luciole cruises the glorious Nivernais Canal

We said goodbye to hostess Alice (merci millions from us all) and hello to Izzy.  We have continued to keep it 'in the family'.  Alice is Giles Grenville's niece and Izzy, Tony's daughter -our website and brochure designer since 1975!  We have Fi (Alice's school friend) with us for an extra few weeks, before Helen, partner of my old school buddy Tim (they have both spent a number of pre-season work weeks on the Luciole over the last few years).  All sounds a bit crazy I know, but it works for us and we believe our passengers see so as well!  Roll on next week and the Luciole cruising the lovely Nivernais encore!