Life with the donkeys

Last Friday was the end of the school year and I have a one week break before starting a four-week July “Summer School”. I did not realise how exhausted I was at the end of the school year until I found myself sleeping through most of the first three days of this break. I didn’t have the energy to even go for a walk with the donkeys, though I had been waiting for free time to get them out and exercised. I did at least spend some time in those three days grooming them, scraping away with the curry comb to pull out the thick winter coats that are hanging on too long into the June heat.

Yesterday I began to snap out of my torpor and I managed to get Matilde out for a five kilometre walk, then Morris in the cart for a quick ride at a cracking pace: holding him back from a gallop is the real challenge! I enjoy being with the donkeys and I don’t want a regular social life any more. Apart from a drink and a meal in Finestrat with my friends, when my salaried work is over – till the next school session – life outside the donkey field doesn’t interest me. That’s why I identify with this cartoon:


Hat tip to @BruvverEccles for retweeting this Kieran Meehan cartoon

Oddly enough, while I might seek a quiet life at home, it is donkeys who are making the news this week. Everywhere you look there are donkey stories.

The BBC is reporting today that “Herdsmen in Turkey are tethering solar panels to their donkeys to power their internet sessions.”
solar donk

Yesterday we read about the braying donkey Jaffa fostered by a lovely lady called Mary, who acted like a guard dog in the middle of the night to prevent burglars breaking in.

Jaffa and Mary Beetham

Jaffa and Mary Beetham

Then we had Lola the braying donkey on balcony in a block of flats in Belgium, in the Daily Telegraph story “Belgian police demand braying donkey is moved from balcony.” (Of course, those of us who sometimes invite our donkeys into the kitchen will say, “What’s all the fuss about?”)

Rood norty donkey on a balcony

Rood norty donkey on a balcony

Then we had the Daily Mail World War 1 story of the stretcher-bearer with the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, who landed at Gallipoli in 1915, found a donkey wandering on the beach and used the animal to carry casualties.

Back to the cartoon, and I wonder again do “I like being isolated from society”? Well, put it like this: society seems to be catching up, with lots more focus on donkeys. That’s a good sign, and once society is fully involved with donkeys I will quit my isolation.

UPDATE 15.00

From @RifugioAsinelli URGENT: stolen donkey Pinpon, in La Spezia. If you see it please notify the police IMMEDIATELY!

Stolen donkey Pinpon, in La Spezia. If you see it please notify  the police IMMEDIATELY!

Stolen donkey Pinpon, in La Spezia. If you see it please notify the police IMMEDIATELY!


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 Life with the donkeys

  1. As an ex teacher I can identify totally with the end of term exhaustion…one of the reasons we left UK! I can now also identify with the love of isolation, home alone this week and my Italian friends have started referring to the house as the Roccolo hermitage! The Italian psyche does not deal well with the idea of someone being absolutely happy with no one to talk to…except a donkey of course. I’d like to say he doesn’t argue back unlike my son. But he does. He is related to Matilde I think.

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    I am glad I haven’t got the only donkey who argues back! Recently I have discovered that Matilde is much more compliant with instructions if I spend a few seconds STARING at her in full eye contact when she is being awkward. She doesn’t like it at all. Similar to cats, I think.

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