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John Liley

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    316
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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Cheshire

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    Holiday Company MD
  • Boat Name
    Luciole
  • Boat Location
    Auxerre

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  1. When the Jam Hole traffic ended in 1970, the regular run with coal from Atherstone to Kierley & Tonge's plant on the outskirts of London, the craft on the last trip were unexpectedly held up by a stoppage for lock repairs on their way back up the Grand Union Canal. As ever, the three pairs of boat's in the Blue Line fleet were moored according to a certain pattern. The reason is explained by a tale passed on by an apprentice woodworker at the company's Braunston base: Wanting to return a screwdriver he had borrowed from the Whitlock family of 'Renfrew' and 'Lucy', he asked Arthur Bray, who was passing by, if he could drop it off for him, whereupon Arthur drew himself up straight and announced "I havn't spoken to them for the last nineteen years and i'm not going to start now." Hence the mooring etiquette, with the Bray's 'Roger' and 'Raymond' separate from the rest. For all that time, in what was to be the last regular traffic on the cut, all that had been exchanged were the stoniest of stares.
  2. The Yonne at Joigny, and its meeting with the Seine at Montereau (Seine coming in from the left, Yonne under the sunset)
  3. Our boat as she was when we bought her, and as she is now (Roof raised, larger windows install, stairway shifted). Lots of other mods elsewhere, including hull lengthening, cabins rearranged, machinery changed, toilets installed ..... and so on. There are still a few original bits somewhere, I think.
  4. Nivernais scenes. The straight bit is the portion near Cravant, cut under the Freycinet programme to bypass an uncertain reach of the Yonne.. The other photo is of the river itself at Rechimet
  5. Our neighbour at the moorings in Auxerre lives mainly on freshwater mussels, the shells of which get left on the deflector plates of Luciole's rudder. He does, however, also like the occasional croissant
  6. With the River Yonne running in and out, the Canal du Nivernais has some splendid weirs. In our earlier days with the Secunda I used to moor for the night at one of these, just resting against the stonework, but was asked to stop by the section manager, on the grounds that our mooring spikes would damage the structure. When I pointed out that we did not use any spikes, just laid a rope laid round a big stone buttress at the upstream end, he thought for a while, then said he would be grateful if I stopped mooring there all the same lest it set a bad example to others who might use spikes after all. There have been changes in personnel since then, so maybe we could start again. It was always a smashing mooring.
  7. My apologies to all concerned. Must try harder. Glad to hear the good ship Edward Elgar is still around, however. JL
  8. My apologies to all concerned. Must try harder. Glad to hear the good ship Edward Elgar is still around, however. JL
  9. For those of us in the hotel-boat business, a telling commentary in the 'Oldie' magazine a few years back. The Edward Elgar described was subsequently sold, then sank while under tow to new owners across the Irish Sea. The article rang a few bells for me of my own early days. But we never did quoits.
  10. The Aster was launched in 1951, possibly the last timber-built freighter in France. At 30.42 metres she was of the type known as a batarde, being shorter than the standard 38.5 metre peniche, and as such was capable of navigating the sub-standard section of the Canal du Nivernais. When the regional authority took over the running of that section in the late 1970s she was consverted to passenger-carrying and ran for many years before falling foul of up-dated regulations requiring intermediate bulkheads, stability testing, etc. She is now preserved on the Saone at St Jean de Losne. When the Aster was motorised the traditional rounded stern was by no means suitable for a straightforward propellor arrangement. Instead s shaft was positioned below the rudder with a propellor at the after end. The boat's bow rudder was also extensively deployed (in a fashion beyond my own understanding!) A similar dilemma arose in the late 1920s with the Ponctuel, now our own hotel-barge Luciole. Originally drawn by mules, she had the same bluff stern, but being of steel, rather than timber a tunnel arrangement could be contrived, as in Picture Three. It still works well.
  11. I think the old lock house belonged then to someone who kept the place in order, but it has since lapsed back into wilderness. I tried then to persuade people to join in making the old lock into a dry-dock, a sorely needed facility for those of us in the hotel-barging trade, for whom the alternative is a journey of several days to the River Seine, (an unattractive prospect if you have suffered a damaged propellor). The cost, however, knocked this project on the head.
  12. I several times used this mooring myself, an appreciated alternative to the basin at the start of the Canal de Bourgogne. In my early days there was all-night shunting on the railway lines beside the basin, plus the thunderous roar of TGV trains which went through at the time, all reasonably subdued at this nicer spot around the corner.
  13. Sunken 30 metre barges on the old link with the river at Cravent, Canal du Nivernais, superceded by the Freycinet route of the 1880s
  14. Fro the days when wire cable was used for making fast. Terrible stuff, and dangerous. I inherited some when I bought the Secunda You had to wear gloves, and check regularly for strands that might have parted. Artificial fibre ropes took over, to the relief of all concerned.
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