Monday, 27 August 2012

19th - 25th August

This week saw the arrival of our new chef who we will finish the season with us; Stewart from England cooked up some serious storms for our passengers. Adding his own touch to some classic French dishes, yes the photo above tasted as good as it looks!

The weather was blisteringly hot, up to 40°C! (+100 °F ),  but the welcome breeze and our air conditioning throughout made a wonderful difference. Drastic measures were required to cool down and so all my hair had to go! The weather was great for our guests (and what fantastic guests we had) and the for the crew who had plenty of swims in the river sections to cool off. In August, starry nights follow the days with the 'Milky Way' appearing particularly brightly at the moment.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

5th - 18th August

A scheduled two weeks off in Auxerre, to give the crew and the Luciole a bit of a mid-summer break and opportunity for a 'spruce-up' thanks to our old friend and expert painter Roy. Neil went home to his house in the Morvan. While Izzy, Alex and I went to London.  I met up with my parents (John and Penny) and brothers to celebrate my Grandmother's 75th birthday.  We organised a surprise picnic for 35 family and friends and I swapped cork pulling in rural Burgundy for the English countryside.  Thankfully after the good weather of the Olympics, it just about stayed dry for us too!

Cork pulling in England as opposed to Burgundy

Francisco stayed in Auxerre and gave the outside of the boat a new coat of paint. We also said goodbye to chef Dave who returns to his job in England after helping us out for the last two weeks - before our new chef, Stuart joins us until the end of the season.

The Luciole moored in Auxerre under the imposing Abbey of Saint Germain

29th July - 4th August

This week we had a family from Japan charter the boat. They were fantastic, both passengers and crew loved every minute. Language barriers required a lot of hand signals and the family were incredibly polite. The three youngsters helped the chef and spent the days in the wheelhouse, sat next to Francisco, the 9 year old even put the boat in a lock. A pleasure to have onboard, and hopefully my Japanese will improve before our next group.
The Medieval centre of Auxerre with painted timber framed buildings and imposing clock tower

22nd - 28th July

A visit from an old friend and past chef, Dave. A true English gentleman and pleasure to have onboard. Joining us to fill the gap for the next two weeks after chef Dan and Liane left to continue their travels. Francisco spent the week teaching various passengers the skill of barge piloting, he makes it look easy – it isn’t!

Navigating into a lock takes skill and practice
The Luciole as like most barges spends most the time going the way she wants and not the way you want her to. A long delay in response time between turning the wheel and her reacting doesn’t help, plus a 170ton moving object with no brakes takes a long time to stop. Built for the maximum carrying capacity (not to be aerodynamic!) and previously pulled by horses, steering her takes a surprising amount of skill and a lot of practise

Saturday, 18 August 2012

15th - 21st July

Alex and Izzy walk up to a glacier in Chamonix
A weeks gap meant some well earned rest. Francisco visited Amsterdam with his 5 year old son and partner. Izzy, Alex and I took a car down to Chamonix in the alps where we spent the time walking and admiring the spectacular scenery - Alex even managed to catch some of the Tour de France and do some paragliding. Neil spent time at his home in the summer heatwave that has hit.