CRUISING THE BARGE FOOD & WINE

Catching up on the French Canals…

“Time flies when you’re having fun” — who first said that?? I seem to have been starting each blog with apologies for not writing more and more frequently. It is always my good intention to write more often but….. But on the “Time flies” thing….. We have been at this now for EIGHT years – -well almost. We are half-way through our eighth season. When we started out we really weren’t sure how long we would do this but here we are still! And, we are still having fun!!!

The first half of this season started out with all sorts of challenges – -some I can share, and some left better unshared! Pre-season was fantastic weather – we couldn’t have asked for more. We were able to get all the outside work done in plenty of time for the start. And then……… it started raining! And it rained, and it rained, and it rained. Apocalyptic rains that caused widespread flooding and rushing rivers that deposited copious amounts of mud where they cross the canals. The canals closed a couple of times but we weathered that and made sure that our guests didn’t miss out despite curtailed cruising. But the big adventure came when they re-opened just for the hotel barges and we were told we could move. So off we set from our mooring and headed towards the next port. All was fine until we came out of a particular lock which exits right where a river crosses and then……. we hit the mud! And how -no matter how hard our pilot tried, Meanderer was NOT going to move. One of our hotel-barge friends roped up to us and did their best to help us move but in the end we became even more entrenched. So, nothing to do but have the VNF (the French canal operating authority) come and pull us off with a tractor. There are adventures and adventures!!! No damage done and we slid off and went on our way. But then the VNF decided that the mud was so bad in a couple of places that they closed the canal again!!! And this time they sent a dredger to clear the worst spots. They are muttering about proper dredging this winter — we can hope!
Now we are in the middle of a drought — we have had record heat and there are canal restrictions for small boats — not us, fortunately. Never a dull moment.
Our exceptional crew has kept smiling all along the way and we could not be happier. Let’s see what’s next…..
Watch this space!

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A Week On Board Meanderer……

This blog will be different from my normal because actually it’s not written by me! We recently had a guest on board who kept a daily diary. She was lovely enough to send it to me and after I read it I thought it would make the most wonderful blog. She graciously agreed to allow […]

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The New Adventures of Old Meanderer!!!

Well — where to begin? I’ve been very lax on writing blogs so I’m more than a year behind! There is so much to tell. To start I should say that the past two seasons were great. The 2012 season ended with a final cruise where we took guests to Paris. A first for us […]

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Please Chef, we want some more…….

Well, from the title of this blog, it’s not hard to guess what it might be about!!! But if I’m going to blog about the amazing food that our Chef produces I also should blog about the rest of our incredible crew. So while this will be mostly about the food I want to tell […]

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Purples and Yellows and Greens! Oh My!

………and a few other colors too! This blog is so long overdue it’s ridiculous! I’m not going to make any excuses — just admit that it should have been done a while ago….. Anyway we are enjoying our season although the weather has been challenging, to say the least. One of the wettest springs on […]

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Random Meanderer Musings…….

Why is it that there is never the time to sit and write? Or am I just not making the time? Well, we have been busy since the end of the season in 2011 with many things so I’m going to use that as my excuse for not getting to this sooner…..

So a reasonable […]

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The Wine Experience!

There’s no doubt that wines are a big part of the experience in France. The harvest happened about a month early this year thanks to the dry and hot spring. Early word is that it will be a good quality harvest (at least in Sancerre where we do our main visits). (Click on the photos […]

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Meanderer – a new season begins on the French Canals…

It’s July already and we are cruising of course. All my good intentions of writing a blog early somehow vanished…. Hopefully you agree with “better late than never”. Spring here has been remarkable. We have had the warmest and driest since we began our adventure here. We’ve been able to completely repaint Meanderer from top […]

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The Château of La Bussière

It’s hard to say which, of all the visits that we offer, is my favorite but I think that the gorgeous Château of La Bussière ranks right up there. I’m not sure whether it is the château itself or the incredible potager (fruit and vegetable garden) which dates from the 18th century. The château was […]

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French Canal Barging – Fun Facts

When we finish a season there is always time to reflect on how it went, how we did and so on. This time I started to wonder about how often we do certain things. So……………………..here are some fun facts and figures for you.

This year we cruised for a total of 16 weeks. We cleared […]

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