We now have a full moon. Since every commentator on Rubi’s condition has said, ‘She is waiting for the next full moon,’ I spent all night awake in my tent listening for the sounds of a foal being delivered. It was a bit like the sleepless nights I remember at Christmas, as a child, when I lay awake expecting Santa Claus to come down the chimney but instead watched the less impressive spectacle of my father creeping into the bedroom with a sack.
At about 3.30 am, looking out of my tent at the bright moonlight, it occured to me that Rubi was in the stable and therefore might not have noticed it was a full moon. I put my shoes on, went into the stable and found Rubi munching straw as usual.
‘Come and look at the full moon!’ I said, and pushed her out of the stable. Once outside, she looked sulkily at me, pushed past me and returned to the stable to eat straw, without so much as a cursory glance at the lovely full moon. This is a donkey who clearly cannot be bothered to spend time looking at the moon and therefore will not necessarily have her foal to coincide with this astronomic phenomenon. Another theory goes down the drain. How long will she hang on to this foal?
What sign is Rubi looking for, then? She will perhaps wait for something more down to earth, like indigestion after eating too much straw.
Update, Monday 12th September
I slept indoors last night, as I really needed a good night’s sleep before Monday morning and a full day’s teaching, but at 4 am I was wide awake after a dream about donkeys in distress (!), so I put on my dressing gown and raced down to the donkeys. They were sitting close together, snoring in the last of the full moonlight coming from the southwest. Another night of full moon had passed without the expected foal.
At the end of the school day today, and after my lift home to Finestrat, I had to make a difficult decision. Cold beer in Finestrat or straight home to see if there is a foal? It was a tough decision. I went straight home. There is no foal yet…
Somehow, Rubi’s foal has become the pivot around which life turns at the present. One pupil in my new year 8 form probably spoke a great deal of truth when he said, ‘When the little donkey is born, you will be a very proud father.’