Today is the feast day of St Dunstan, and of course my donkey Rubí is quite thrilled that the feast falls upon a Tuesday this year, as Tuesday is Rubí’s thinking day. She will obviously be reflecting on the life of this celebrated tenth century Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury, who once caught the devil by the nose using blacksmith’s tongs. There are some sensible hagiographies of Saint Dunstan, but if you prefer the ludicrous version, enjoy this: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/28915/28915-h/28915-h.htm#st_dunstan_and_the_devil
It is very rarely that I get through most of the month before writing a blog post, but it has been a particularly busy time as all my students are in exam classes and it is that time of year again. The busiest school week of the year for me, when I had to do final exam briefings for three classes of GCSE and A-level students, was the same week my new next door neighbour – for reasons best known to himself! – decided to open the agricultural water channel sluice gate (just out of interest to see where the water might go?) and flooded my donkey field while I was at work. He left it open, went indoors and forgot about it. Having discovered that he’d flooded the field, he just left it until I came home, later than usual after a drink with a friend after work. The neighbour has my phone number but didn’t think to phone and tell me my donkeys were standing there on a flooded field! If I had known I would have come home immediately, but instead I arrived home late to see the donks standing in a lake.
Worse still, this is half-treated water from the sewage plant in Finestrat and highly dangerous should the donkeys drink it. The work to drain the field kept me busy till after midnight, the day before doing exam briefings for two classes, so I was not exactly overjoyed with my neighbour! Not knowing whether the donkeys had drunk any of this toxic water, I also needed to consult the vet.
Next day, I had permission from school to return home during the morning to collect the medication from the pharmacy for a five day treatment for all four donkeys, and then the vet visited to check them. (Call out and injections one-hundred and fifty Euros.) However, things became more chaotic, as word got around among some students that I had gone home, so when I arrived back in school for the afternoon lesson some didn’t come to their final exam briefing in the last lesson before the exam. Aaaarrggh! Two year’s work to get the best results from my students, and my last chance to brief them before the exams ruined by a thoughtless act by a man with too much time on his hands and no commonsense!
You do your best in this life to try and keep on top of things: in my case with a full-time job and running a small donkey sanctuary single-handed. But then the Prince of Chaos finds a way to mess up your plans. Oh for Saint Dunstan’s pair of tongs to grab the Devil by the nose!
Oh well, here’s a photo of Rubí and I’ll leave her to think these matters properly through, as it is Tuesday.