Out of the blue, I received a telephone call today from Steve, a colleague I used to work with at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) to say he and his partner, Ruth, were on holiday and wondered whether I was around to drop in and say hello ... and see the donkeys of course.
As was customary with people who left ISER, they were given a farewell get together and Steve gave a small speech to those present at mine. I shall never forget one of the leaving gifts he presented me with was a very large potato wrapped up in a posh blue ribbon ... the product of a compost that had been regularly provided with manure by my own two donkeys!
As soon as I got a call from the Visitors' Centre to let me know they had arrived, I picked up the camera and headed over. By the time I got there, Steve had already bought a cuddly donkey for his grandson... I'll check with him later to see if he actually sent it to him or if it's sitting on his desk at work as a reminder of his visit to the Sanctuary!
As it was a lovely sunny day, we headed down to the Main Yard to see some of the resident donkeys. Quite a few were already out and the first to come over and see us was Solo (aged 33) who has been living at the Sanctuary since 1990. Soon to follow were Consuella (aged 35) and Susie Tangye (aged 27).
Next we walked round to see Rosie and her little foal, Francesca, who seeing she had visitors, came over for her ears to be tickled. Francesca has such a lovely coat at the moment - it's all fluffy!
We walked passed the building works where the new veterinary hospital extension will be before heading off to see one of the tallest donkeys here at the Sanctuary - Torrent, a Poitou donkey who shares his paddock with a mule called Gypsy.
On our way back we met Brian, one of the grooms putting on a special padded helmet onto one of the donkeys in the blind group. He told Ruth and Steve a little about each of the donkeys. One little donkey called Poppy has just joined the group having had an operation to remove one of her eyes.
After a final walk around one of the new walkways, it was time to say our goodbyes. Thanks Steve and Ruth for dropping in and hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday. Look forward to your next postcard :-)