Tuesday, 30 October 2012

7th - 13th October

A lock keeper manages the barrage, removing stakes to allow more water to flow down
The end is in sight! After 8 months just one week to go. Big building work is proceeding on the quay in Auxerre where the whole water front is being rebuilt, they have progressed very quickly and it is shaping up to be fantastic and ready for the spring and our next season. The Luciole will moor for the winter on the city quay, close and convenient to Francisco's on-shore home, so he can keep an eye on her.

Great passengers onboard, unfortunately the weather could have been a bit better, but the river has started to fill again.  After the last 2 months the region is in need of rain. Neil was give the opportunity to taste this years Chablis, hot off the press and still fermenting in oak barrels. It is disconcertingly fizzy. Given time it will evolve and mature, the winemakers hope, into something special.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

30th September - 6th October

Sunset from the top of the coral cliffs

October already! Autumn has arrived, sunsets and night time are creeping earlier and in the mornings there are fantastic sunrises while walking to collect the bread. We must be getting nearer to the end of the season, tally charts from the crew chess games now fill the page and canal traffic slowing down. Good to see our friend the barge 'Randle' back on the Nivernais after spending some time south of Clamecy due to lack of rain, when asked how he got through the shallow stretch, as we passed each other in the cut, he replied; “Balloons”.  

We nearly lost the chef on Friday after he took a slip into the canal.  He was pulled out drenched by the crew, we can't afford to loose a good chef. Been there, done that myself! Never the nicest experience, but happens to the best of us, its a sort of 'Canal Christening'!

23rd - 29th September

The Chardonnay grapes of Burgundy
Grape picking has begun in the vineyards; the whole valley comes to life! Alien tractors covered in pipes - specific for the vineyards fill the roads – creating Burgundy traffic jams. Unfortunately, it has however been a terrible year for the wine makers.  Prolonged 2 months of rain in early summer, followed by 2 months of drought has had a dramatic affect on yield. We will have to wait to see what it tastes like and can guarantee that it won’t taste like any other year - they’re all different - that is the joy of Burgundy wines.

On the Chablis tour, tour guide Neil parked the bus beside the Grand Cru vines and our guests had the chance to get involved. “The bus is trashed!” Neil joked, referring to the muddy footprint throughout after clients pottered around the vineyards, I just hope they didn’t eat too many grapes!

A birthday special Captain's Dinner with a celebratory cake for a passenger and our hostess Alex, who sat down with the guests for the meal. 

16th - 22nd September

The Luciole in her Gurgy mooring

The hostess Izzy has now departed, returning to England to continue her final term of university. The replacement; Tim, is here to see us out to the end of the season as he did last year and a great week to welcome him back. Poor hostess Alex is now stuck with 5 men, coping with all the general clutter without a murmur of discontent. 

Living and working on a boat for 8 months can be difficult. Credit to all the crew, this season there has been a fantastic atmosphere behind the galley door and had remained as good as the first week, if not better. It’s a pleasure to work onboard and often I think to myself how lucky I am to have this job.  Sitting out on the stern of the Luciole with friends, eating fantastic food while watching the starlings flock by in the evening light, swans bellow and badger to be thrown bread and maybe for the crew in the evening a glass of Chablis to accompany supper. A tough life but someone has to do it!