You’re never too old for a donkey!

6th July 2021

Ragley Hall to Sale Green

It is hard to express how truly wonderful all our helpers have and are being. We have just said farewell to Andrew and Sandra Knatchbull. Andy was at school with our son Clive and we have been friends ever since. They came up yesterday leaving their home in Kent at 6 am and then they spent the night in this amazing tent which is on top – yes on top of their land rover! They spent the two days running around getting us coffee and our lunches and being at difficult junctions to help us cross busy roads.

Today we harnessed up the boys who were extremely full of themselves having spent their night in complete luxury at Ragley Hall. Bex McKellar (Head groom, Ragley Hall) was her usual enthusiastic self, and gave us so much of her valuable time to help with the boys. We made an early start as we had a long way to go. Most days we do about 8 miles but today it was nearly 14 miles.

We set off through the beautiful rolling parkland of Ragley Hall to the back gate and set off on our long journey. The journey itself was fairly uneventful as we went along minor country roads and didn't meet many people. We had a coffee stop where the boys munched rather too long grass, so we didn't stay for very long.

The lunch stop was in a lay-by by a pretty lane and the boys were tied to the trailer and given straw to munch although we did give them an extra feed as the journey was so long. After lunch the heavens opened but we were well prepared this time with the donkey and dog raincoats on and us humans had yellow over trousers so we were very visible. We were looking for a little lane called Stoney Lane which I had found when I was doing a recce of the route. Just before Stoney Lane this lovely elderly lady was waiting at her gate. “ I have been waiting for you for half an hour” she said “ I was beginning to wonder if you had gone a different way! We passed you earlier in the car and I just love donkeys so I had to wait for you” She was walking with a stick so I helped her with her gate and she came over to stroke the boys. She was so thrilled to see them and was quite overcome “I want to get some donkeys” she said “but my husband says I am too old” It was one of those very poignant and moving moments and she thrust a wonderful donation into my hand. I feel this is really what the Donkathon is all about or what I would like it to be all about – just giving people pleasure and something positive to get excited about. The year with Covid has been so full of gloomy news it is quite uplifting to find the generosity and joy that so many people display.

A man and his son came out of their house as we passed. The little boy was called Luka and he loved stroking the boys. He kept talking about his donkey called Gondo and it was a while until I realised that Gondo in fact was a soft toy donkey that lives on his bed!

We arrived at Home Barn and settled Wizard and Muffin into another lovely stable. Elana elected to sleep in the stable next door to the boys rather than put up the tent. Poor Elana, she hasn't been sleeping at all well in the tent but has managed to remain cheerful and positive in spite of her painful back and lack of sleep.

We then drove to Lucy Harris at Green Farm in Crowle. Lucy is wonderfully welcoming and we have our own sitting room as well as comfortable bedroom and she has very kindly allowed Nelson to sleep in our room. He has spent rather too many nights in the car!

Another great day and a wonderful nearly 14 mile achievement for the boys!

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