The Wisdom of Donkeys…

It was the last day at school before a five day break.  The weekend and then three days of local fiestas.  We return to school next Thursday.  Consequently the kids were quite wild and – being Spanish kids – very noisy.  I was not impressed.  It was a normal school day with normal lessons, as far as I was concerned.  If we are bringing a normal English school discipline to a situation where the parents pay for a normal English school discipline, well – by golly – they got their money’s worth today: eleven in detention at lunch time.  A new record.

And what did I do with eleven kids on detention on the last day before the fiestas? What fiendish detention torture did I devise?

I read them a passage from the book I am reading: Andy Merrifield’s stunning and beautiful account of his walk with a donkey in Auvergne, reflecting on life and on eternity.  I directed the kids to focus on the way in which the book encourages a calm and sensible view of the world around us, and in view of the fact that most of them were in detention for being excitable and silly, this seemed to be an appropriate response.

They all said, “Thank you, Mr Gareth” as they left the detention, as the kids do generally: it’s a bit unsettling, I must admit.  One boy stopped and said, “That book: do you really like it?”

“It’s wonderful, isn’t it? ” I responded.

“I think it is boring,” he replied.  He looked at me in that challenging way that the hardened four-detentions-every-week teenager develops, expecting a reaction.

“Of course it was boring,” I said.  “This was a detention.  It’s not a beach party.  Off you go, lad!”

I’ll write a review of this book as soon as I finish it.  I have five days to relax and do more donkey preparations in the garden, and finish the book while drinking some beer.  I have not read anything so good for a very long time and I want to finish the book sitting under my olive tree where the donkey shed will go.

Some clown in  an English shed company in Altea has just quoted me two thousand Euros for a 10′ x 10′ pine shed.  On your velocipede, Fred!  No way Jose…  The people around the Benidrome here in Manchester-by-the-Med will put up with any old scam.  It would be cheaper to pay the extra and bring a shed out by Ryanair!


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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3 Responses to The Wisdom of Donkeys…

  1. joyfulpapist says:

    Rabit, I see that you had a pleasant day to celebrate your birthday. May you have many more happy birthdays in the years to come.

    Best wishes for your shed! We are currently building one (for tomatoes, not donkeys), and redoing over and over again the spreadsheet with the prices as we remember things like special nails for the polycarbonate cladding. I’m learning a new vocabulary, and can now talk about dwangs and roof trusses. No matter how often I add up the figures though, the sum is always more than I thought. Sigh.

  2. Karin says:

    Wow..for 2 thousand, I’ll fly from the US and build a shed!

  3. Wonky Pilgrim says:

    Just bought a copy from Ebay. £2.78(delivered)’s worth of happiness. Thanks for that…
    Re: Ryanair; that would be a shed within a shed!

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