Apparently the rabit piligrimin has been over-feeding the donkeys. As they chase the rabit around the farm constantly expecting treats of stale bread and carrots, I have been a very norty rabit and have kept feeding them. They are now fat donkeys. They are very iontelligent aminals, unlike rabits of small brain, so the solution is to apply some donkey psychology. When they chase me for treats, the clever thing to do is hold up a dead rat and say, “Here we are lovely donkeys! Special treat today. Rat a la ferme.”
Simples! Everyone’s a winner. The donkeys wander off in disgust, muttering “What’s got into that silly rabit piligrimin?” but they don’t get fat. Rabit piligrimin doesn’t get blamed for fattening the donkeys. The only loser is the dead rat. I have named the dead rat Lord Mandleson. Enough of this nonsense. I have more windows to paint.
At the end of the week a new piligrimin adventure looms. I am going to walk with Dalie donkey on the Chemin Saint-Jacques for a few days, just to get some experience of long-distance pilgrim walking with a donkey. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a book called Travels with a Donkey, about his time walking in the Cevennes. He had a very difficult time with his donkey, and unfortunate beast who he clearly did not spend any time getting to know properly, and it seems as if he thought donkeys were as stupid as horses – which they are not – so he really missed the opportunity to enjoy his time with the donkey. After he sold it, however, he seems to have gone through a period of remorse.
Dalie and I are going to set off from here on Friday – if the weather is still suitable – and walk to Montmorillon, then continue the Chemin Saint-Jacques into the Vienne river valley, going south. This is turning into a quite different rabit piligriminage than I imagined! First on a velociraptor from Canterbury on the Route des Anglais; then returning home in a borrowed car to collect my things and leave England; now preparing to do more piligriminage with a borrowed donkey; and finally, I have discovered there is a direct coach from Poitiers nearby, all the way to the Costa Blanca where I need to be to take up the teaching job I have secured for the start of the academic year. It begins to look nothing short of divine providence! Deo gratias.
The dogs wait eagerly each day for the arrival of the lady in the yellow van from La Poste and they bark vigorously at her while she delivers the letters.
Then they give her a head-start of about a hundred yards, then chase her all the way down the drive, barking. She is a good sport and revs the car to make the chase more exciting as she bounces along the rough track through the fields. What the dogs would do with a yellow Citroen van – if they ever managed to catch one – remains to be seen.
I am wondering whether the dogs might benefit from a little technical assistance, or maybe just a suitable outfit to make the chase more fun… A suitable dogfight kit is available from a company in the USA to convert your dog for aerial combat, which would be the last thing the lady from La Poste is expecting, and also a challenging subject for the blogue photographer. Unfortunately, I don’t see any obvious means of propulsion in this arrangement. Maybe you have to convince the dog to eat plenty of baked beans?