Buddy. 27th July


Tilly was given freedom of the towpath for an hour or so as the weather sorted itself out. A bit of a damp morning which gradually improved. Once Tilly was back on board we locked up and headed off into town.

Hanging baskets overflowing with blooms

Considering we were moored so close to Sainsburys we had quite a walk round to Town Bridge, which meant in the end we were closer to Waitrose. I’d already prepared a short list of things we’d not bought yesterday hoping it would amount to £10 to be able to get a free newspaper. With our list complete we then spent a good five minutes trying to find something for 20p or more to get us over the threshold. Marmite came to the rescue.

A pretty town

The Godalming Art Shop provided me with a new sketch book for work. This was followed by a walk up through the town to see what we could see, just so happening to coincide with a Farmers Market! Oh dear!! Fortunately it was by no means the largest market we’ve seen with only about 8 stalls.

Our purchases

The first stall caught our attention. Large posters for Binary Botanical, ‘Tangy like prosecco, refreshing like beer’. Samples were being handed out, so it would have been rude not to try it especially as it was gluten free. Very tasty, we ended up with three bottles. A sausage roll stall also received some of our money in return for a pork and black pudding roll for Mick. Now with a heavy bag we headed back to Oleanna for some lunch.

A cat walk day

Second shore leave had Tilly coming and going, Tesco Pillow Pockets seem to be going down a treat. A chap came past and asked how easy it would be to lower our pram cover, no problem at all, we’d been expecting to have to do it. At around 1:30 the doors were closed, no more shore leave and Mick flattened the pram cover, then checked for anything on the roof that might cause a problem.


Back at the wharf preparations were being made. Iona’s hold was now full of passengers and there was just one thing missing, Buddy a 22 year old Clydesdale cross gelding. The white band on his nose just visible inside the wharf building.

Buddy striding out

Two ladies donned high vis and brought him out to walk him round to Town Bridge and back down along the towpath to opposite Iona’s mooring.

Winding with no power other than that from the river and a pole

After an introduction talk to the passengers, the chap at the helm walked up to the bow and gave it a push, then the stern was pulled back into the winding hole, the flow of water keeping the bow moving to wind her. He then walked along the roof to the bow which needed a little help at the bend, so a few pushes from the barge pole.

A quick snack before work

By now Buddy was chomping his way through the undergrowth on the towpath, having a snack before his work commenced.

Attached to the roof

The tow line was thrown to the bank, attached to the boat’s roof at one end and with a large toggle on the other which was then passed through Buddys harness. He had his eye on a tasty branch which he swept down as he moved forward to start pulling the load. This wasn’t a popular choice of his with the ladies, it was soon confiscated and thrown back into the hedgerow.

What a tail

With Iona now winded, Buddy took on the work and started to pull her downstream. Once she was moving they had Oleanna to contend with.

Up and over

Buddy was slowed to a stop whilst the other lady gathered the tow rope on the ground to give her enough slack to hold the line above our roof. Iona had enough momentum to keep moving by herself.

A two hour silent trip

Our pram cover would have been quite a problem had it been left up. We checked how long it would be before they returned, a couple of hours, as it wasn’t raining our hood stayed down and we headed back into town.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trips to town, 1 free newspaper, 1 sketchbook, 3 bottles beer/wine, 1 horse, 46 passengers, 1 giant toggle, 1 dry day, 2 loads washing.