Friday, 10 April 2009

Donkey hotey

As a former wild child, or as I tell people, a child bride, I am lucky enough to have a three-year-old grand-daughter at an age where fellow bloggers have children. She is a delight, the love of my life and nudging Number One Son in the Chosen One Stakes.

This week, I spent a delightful day at the donkey sanctuary with my grand-daughter, along with Number One Son and my friend Pelly. This was a good place to visit because 1) it's close by 2) it's free 3) it takes care of abused animals.

I have mixed feelings about this place. It's rather like Old Ladies' Legacy Land. The donkeys live a life of luxury with no expense spared. The donations boards are full of the names of the great and the good, predominately single females with double barreled names, whose bequests help keep it going. This is not a bad thing. It is lovely to see otherwise abused donkeys enjoying their senior years in the paddocks of Devon.

But I always think if I won the lottery, I would set up a cow sanctuary.

Don't get me wrong. I love donkeys. As a child on the farm, we used to have one every winter. In the summer Rosie would take children on rides along the sand (or mud) at Weston. When autumn came, she would be transported to our farm and be ours for the winter. Or mine, to be exact.

But I have always felt a strong attachment to cows. They give us milk, their beef brethren feed us but when the dairy cows are barren their days are numbered. Are there old ladies to keep them in luxury? No. They end up as dog meat and their feet are boiled up for glue. Is that the way to treat something that has provided us with the sustenance of life? This is why I would make a crap farmer, because I would want to keep the cows in their retirement as a way of saying thank you.

So I did something at the donkey sanctuary I shouldn't have done. I tried to keep it real. Which is not fair when your grandchild is only three and your friend Pelly is a vegetarian. As the grand-daughter went into raptures over the fluffy donkeys I told her that Grumps (aka Mr Grigg) had eaten donkey when we were in Italy last year. In rather too loud a voice she said earnestly, with tears in her eyes: 'But why did Grumps eat a donkey?'. She said this over and over again, as we passed the old ladies who in a few years time would be bequeathing their money to the donkey sanctuary, and as we passed the children just enjoying the fluffiness and cuteness of the donkeys all around them.

Me and my big mouth. A case of foot in mouth rather than foot and mouth, thankfully.

I have Easter to repent my sins, which includes a quiz in the pub and a family gathering on Sunday chez moi for 26+.

That's about it
Love Maddie x


  1. we kept passing the signs to the Donkey Sanctuary when we were on holidy last year - the family decided it was not in my best interests to get in there....

  2. Donkeys have a way of melting peoples hearts. They were always such beasts of burden. I never thought about the poor cows.Nature does have its cruel twists.

  3. I adore donkeys and am often tempted to rescue a pair. I may visit Sidmouth one day,

  4. Happy Easter baby. I've loved your blog lately. What do you think about my blog?

  5. I'm not mad on donkeys, but enjoyed your blog.

  6. I've always wanted a donkey - we once lived on a horse farm that included two Sicilian donkeys and I fell in love with them.
    You're having 26 to Easter dinner? I want to read about this. I'm having 19 and am feeling quite beleagured and sorry for myself. I've quite lost the joy of it and daren't blog in case someone reads my true feelings.

  7. Did he really eat donkey, baby, and if so, what did it taste like?

    I did an interview at the donkey sanctuary in my radio days. Princess Anne was there and I got in her way by committing the radio reporter's faux pas, spooling up because I didn't have a tape in my Uher.

  8. Gail, baby, Mr Grigg said it was very rich. He had it in a casserole. I couldn't face it. So hypocritically tucked into some beef instead (poor cow).
    Your comment about interviewing Princess Anne reminded me of The Stranglers interview. Remember that? hugh Cornwell and Jean Jacques Burnel were grumpy old men and my tape recorder didn't work.
    Pondside, get your lot to bring food with them. Stick it on a table and put a few chairs out here and there. It works for me.
    Maddie x

  9. Oh dear! M&D have a 14 year old ex 'house cow' called Morag, a pale red hairy Highlander now rickety with arthur-itis. There are a LOT more cows than there are donks to rescue, so don't stop playing the lottery just yet, even if you win. Where would you house them all?? You have to think of the practical aspects Maddie!
    Great thought though.


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