Exhausted but happy

Wednesday 14 July

Knowbury to Titterhill

After breakfast, Viv suggested we try the back way down. It is about a mile of steep uphill and I walked it with the dog. I was pleased that I did because the stones would definitely make the boys slip and the ruts would not be safe – it was definitely a 'no no' and Peter was equally worried about bringing the trailer down such a precipitous slope. That decided it for me because the route via the road is equally dangerous and I thought 'Why risk the boys injuring themselves down such dangerous slippery steep slopes so we decided to box them for the last little bit – about 2/3 of a mile. I was glad I did in the end. At Knowbury Elizabeth and David Hatchell were waiting to see us off and we had a quick chat to them as we harnessed up the boys. The boys were very wary of going down the drive of Crown farm as it was steep, stony and slippery but after surveying the scene they gritted their teeth and very gingerly made their way down. Nearly the whole day was on tiny country roads winding along the edge of hills with the most stunning of views, when gates in the high hedges permitted. We had such fun! The boys, once they got started were amazing! Nelson ran nearly the whole distance. We had to do half a mile of main road but Peter and Neville were waiting. Another car was also waiting to give us a donation! Neville was a masterpiece at stopping the traffic and Peter drove the trailer behind with a big notice DONKEY CARRIAGE IN FRONT – PLEASE PASS VERY CAREFULLY. The driving was perfect and at one point we were able to pull the boys onto a verge and let the traffic pass. Peter counted 65 cars!

Neville had gone ahead and in true 'Juliet' fashion had spoken to a local farmer who allowed us to use their field for the boys to munch grass and for us to picnic. It was a lovely sunny day and a soporific feeling overcame us! However, knowing that we still had a way to go we set off but not before we had spoken to the farmer and his wife and given them a pot of Donkathon marmalade as a thank you for their kindness. It was 'onwards and upwards' as we wended our way along beautiful country lanes – not a care in the world. Nelson was able to run alongside most of the time and we had a 'ball' ! Part of the way along we came face to face with a car. There was no-where for us to go so the car had to reverse. Poor man he got very flustered as he weaved his way backwards for at least 200 metres. He looked quite upset but his wife leapt out of the car to stroke the donkeys and give us a donation! (I felt as if I should give him a donation for all his effort!) We then came to a very pretty cottage with roses growing up over its windows. There were four geese who made such a racket when they saw the donkeys that the owner came out to see what was up. He and his wife were very excited to see the donkeys and gave us a donation. This whole journey has been such a positive experience and there have been so many wonderful people on the way.

We met Peter and Neville and boxed the boys and while Peter and Oscar went back to fetch the carriage I settled the boys into their very smart stable. Neville and Oscar are camping on the lawn below the stables and we are all off for supper – exhausted but happy.

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