Sunshine Blog Awards


As mentioned in yesterday’s post, this blog has been nominated for a Sunshine Award, and now I have to do the following: 

  1. Write 10 pieces of information about yourself.
  2. Nominate ten fellow bloggers “who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.
  3. Leave a comment on the nominees’ blogs to tell them of the award.

Since it is a wet January morning here in the Costa Blanca and I am recovering from the exertions of yesterday – not improved by poor sleep and a nightmare in which a Catholic deacon had stolen my sandwiches and fed them to a fake digital dog called Basil) – I shall stay indoors in front of a log fire and offer my Sunshine Awards list, starting with the ten pieces of information about myself.

  • I began this blog while on the road three and a half years ago, not knowing quite where it was leading.
  • It has since become a blog about my life with four donkeys and it has a small but enthusiastic following.
  • We live a somewhat precarious life here, in a rented rural property with a small piece of land for the donkeys, and the bills are paid from my modest earnings teaching in a local school.
  • I bought the two original donkeys, Rubí and Matilde to walk the Camino de Santiago, but they were both pregnant and we ended up with a herd of donkeys instead.
  • Maybe, one day, we could get funding and the support of some kind donkey benefactor to set up as a donkey sanctuary and take in other less fortunate animals.
  • Was this part supposed to be about me? It’s all about the donkeys as usual… Must get back on topic.
  • As you see from the Vatican flag on my blog, I count myself a Catholic, although a former Anglican Franciscan friar many years ago. I keep in touch with – and give moral support to – other Catholics on the blogosphere, although this donkey blog rarely addresses religious issues directly.
  • I am becoming increasingly interested in the history of Benidorm, and Finestrat where I live. I am excited by new archaeological evidence that Cala Finestrat was not originally an Iberian but a Roman settlement.
  • I like Estrella Galicia beer and a drinking friend and I persuaded the Bar Cantonet in Finestrat to stock it. The proprietor orders four crates a fortnight for us but when we sometimes see other people drinking it we growl and grumble.
  • One thing I hope and pray for in 2014 is that the majority in the Muslim world will finally stop supporting the extremists, cut off their funding and halt the disgusting massacre of the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East.  Maybe if some western governments – including the British – stopped funding these jihadist murderers, that would also help…

Now I have to nominate ten fellow bloggers “who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”. Many of my favourite blogs have already appeared in the Sunshine Awards list: Eccles, Rorate, Linen on the Hedgerow, Jessica, etc, and so my list will be somewhat donkeycentric after the first two outstanding blogs:

  • Father Hunwicke’s blog has recently returned after a long missed absence. One of the best Catholic blogs and encapsulates for me all that I once admired about Anglo-Catholic tradition, learned as an eager Christian convert in the 1980s. He has now crossed the Tiber and long may his erudition enlighten Catholics!
  • A quite different but equally erudite blog is the Benidorm history blog written by Francisco Amillo Alegre. His most recent post is on Abd-el-Kader (a founding father of modern Algeria) with the suggestion that he was born in Benidorm.  Paco writes equally well on subjects as diverse as the archaeology of Cala Finestrat and the aquiferous rocks of the region, and he provides plenty of material for my classroom!

    A noria: well with animal extraction power. From the histobenidorm blog

    A noria: well with animal extraction power. From the histobenidorm blog

  • And now the donkey sites. First is the great place in France where they are saving the once-endangered  Baudets
  • The Brooke equine charity does great work with donkeys, mules and horses, all around the world.  Their blog gives news of their rescues and their education work.
  • Hannah Engelkamp walked around the entire coast of Wales with her donkey Chico last year, keeping a very inspiring blog diary. Now she is hoping to make a film about it and hopes to raise funds for the project. Good luck Hannah!

    Hannah's donkey Chico (with owl)

    Hannah’s donkey Chico (with owl)

  • The Dancing Donkey. Not just donkeys on this blog, but a whole farm full of animals in the USA. Homely and inspiring blog. Makes me wish I had spent my whole life with animals!
  • In Crete.
  • Last but not least, here’s the Madrid burro sanctuary, Amiburro. Happy new year Juan Aparicio and the team, and your great work with donkeys in Spain

And Happy New Year to all people everywhere including donkey people.  If you don’t know what the fascination is with donkey people, watch this: a  short video by the writers of “The Mystique of Equus Asinus”


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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2 Responses to Sunshine Blog Awards

  1. I’ve nominated you as well, Frere – HAppy New Year!

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