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Capel W.I. – August 2013

The Last Horse Drawn Boat in the South East!

On a perfect summer’s afternoon in early August Capel WI embarked on the ‘Adventure of a Lifetime.’ About 40 of us met at Godalming Wharf and were privileged to be able to board the Iona, a vintage packet boat. We were given a short introduction to the boat’s history together with the necessary safety precautions. Perhaps the most startling piece of information was that it had been build by Harland and Wolff in 1935 …. the very company who had been commissioned to build The Titanic!!!! No worries there then ……

We were assured that Buddy, the Clydesdale horse who would be pulling us would not be overburdened with the load. Indeed, it had been easily pulled by the owner’s small daughter so Buddy was in no danger of over-exertion. Buddy was a stunning creature, huge with enormous feathered hooves and a long plaited tail. He was content to be led along by a long rope and stopped often to sample the delights of the hedgerows and tasty riverbank treats along the way. Occasionally the rope went in the water as he lowered his head to sample some mysterious morsel – resulting in some of us being treated to a sudden shower.

The journey along The River Wey was delightful. We waved happily to other boats on the river one of which was festooned with balloons as its navigator was celebrating his 70th birthday. The scenery was beautiful, late summer flowers grew along the riverbanks and there were many birds and butterfiles.

Of course the highlight (this is Capel WI and our trusty readers will know that we enjoy our food) was the cream tea. it was delicious and enjoyed by everyone. Even the tea was good-I feared it might be in a plastic cup and reminiscent of dish water but it was not. We were treated to real cups and saucers and excellent Yorshire Tea……. ‘Eee by heck it were grand.’

Thankfully, Hatland and Wolfff had obviously learned from their mistakes with The Titanic and all too soon our journey was over and we were safely back in Godalming. As we gathered on the riverbank for a photo opportunity, we had all enjoyed a brilliant afternoon.

Our grateful thanks to Rosemary for organising it.

Frances Collins

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