Wednesday, 25 May 2016

15th - 21st May 2016

The 3rd week of the season and what an adventure we've had these past few days. Due to heavy storms over the weekend plus the light showers during the previous week, the Canal du Nivernais and the river Yonne have been forced to close because of flooding. This however was no deterrent to our fearless Captain, who bravely and instinctively decided to head north, away from our usual haunt of the Nivernais canal, and into the safely enclosed and river free Canal de Bourgogne. Now of course we very rarely navigate other canal systems and as such we are not familiar with the Bourgogne, hence the feeling of adventure. 

Captain Francisco and Matelot Tom consulting the map every 10 minutes, trying to work out where it's possible to moor for the evening. The navigation was hugely successful though, bar the 2 hour wait for a lock keeper, the rest was perfectly smooth. In total this week in 5 days we covered 125km and passed through 55 locks, so double the distance of our regular cruise of around 60km and 30 locks. We arrived on friday evening to the fairly sizeable and very nice town of Montbard, closer to Dijon than to Auxerre!

A breeze catches our Burgundy flag on the bow of the Luciole

We were very fortunate to be joined by some wonderful guests this week, half English and half American and with an age range of twenties to our very youthful Charlie Boy of 92! Thankfully all were very happy with the change of route that allowed us to navigate and gave us the chance to explore a bit more of Burgundy and it's wonderful landscapes. Thanks to them it made the week as smooth and enjoyable as ever,  A different week of curious happenings, but a week that certainly won't be forgotten in a hurry.

The impressive Abbaye de Fontenay

8th - 14th May 2016

Week 2 of the 2016 season and our first cruise back from Clamecy to Auxerre. Once again a week of smooth sailing, aided in no small part by our contingent of wonderful guests, all American and all extremely enjoyable company. This group was always happy and always helpful, assisting with locks and helping Captain Francisco steer the boat, otherwise they were off cycling or walking alongside the boat as it cruised, arriving back just in time for cocktails and a refreshment. Even loveable mascot Bob the toy duck was on hand to brighten up the deck and put a smile on everyones face. The weather was a mixed bag of sunny days and wet evenings, fairly common for this time of year and the reason we're fortunate to live in such a lush environment here in Burgundy.

Bob the toy duck is our mascot but the swans are frequently visiting too

Additionally this week we were very sad to say goodbye to hostess Emma, heading back home to sunny England after her 2 weeks of training up our new recruits Amelia and Arthur. As well as our Technical man William going back to the UK after 7 weeks straight of preseason preparation. We wish them both the best and hope they enjoy the chance to rest.

1st - 7th May 2016

The Luciole 2016 season has finally begun! The period of refitting the boat has drawn to a close and we welcomed our first group of passengers to the barge. We couldn't have asked for a better group to kick things off, an American family travelling together, as well as an American couple and an Australian couple. We had a calm but very funny week filled with laughter, wine, cycling and new friendships. The perfect week for new crew and old alike to get into the swing of barge life and remember just what a pleasure it is to cruise down the lovely Nivernais in the spring sunshine.

Chef Marc's delicious pork medley

We were fortunate to boast an enormous and impressive crew of 9 this week, as hostess from previous seasons Emma was onboard all week for training purposes, and technical manager William bolstered the numbers even more. It made for a busy Galley at dinner time but allowed for a seamless and pleasant week, a very nice bonus to start on such a high.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Pre-season preparations

The pre-season preparations are always a busy time on the Luciole.  So much to do every year!

Thankfully we have a wonderful team of workers, who beaver away before the crew arrive for the final push before passengers arrive.  In the photo there are three from the Liley family, myself and two sons, William and Arthur.

Merci millions and 'WELL DONE TEAM' for your hard work and for the laughs!

The pre-season crew from left to right:
William, George, Emma, Marc, Penny, Roy, Amelia, Arthur, Tom and Francisco
Francisco - the Captain - Everywhere man
Andy the tour guide - turned bathroom constructor with William - the everything man
Marc - our chef - keeping us all fed
Amelia and Emma - our hosts - and inside cabin queens

Tom - the matelot - outside painting chief
Roy - the painter and decorator - superior

George - the host - turned furniture restorer
Arthur - the host - turned barge painter