I normally write these from a hotel room, in some far flung country, but, for most of April I've been here at the Sanctuary, at my under-used desk in the Overseas Department. Why? You may ask, well the answer is Donkey Week.
What's that? You ask, well, I'm not really the person to tell you as I was overseas last year and missed it. But, as I understand it, it's the event of the year, aimed at you, our supporters, who come down for the whole week, spend some time with us, find out what's been happening, see their favourite donkeys, and generally have a nice time going around the farms, and catching up with old friends. Some of you have been coming regularly for over 20 years I'm told, so I'm looking forward to meeting you (I'm the handsome one with the beard!).
Just as importantly, for me anyway, it marks the opening of our new Overseas Display in Box 16, just below the Hayloft Restaurant. When I started here last year I was shown around for a day or two, and commented on the fact that there was very little information on our work overseas ... me and my big mouth. "Jolly good" says Harriet, our personal assistant, "I'll put you down for that then shall I?"
Well, it was my first week, and Harriet didn't seem to be the sort of person to accept excuses or any other form of negative response, so I sort of gulped, and meekly said "Yes Harriet" in a very small voice. I can't complain really, since I'm away a lot, my involvement has been simply passing the buck onto others!
Anyway, be that as it may, the Overseas Display will open up on the first day of Donkey Week and will feature various news articles, artefacts, stories, and photos that my colleagues and I think you might like to see. All of this will be artistically set against a backdrop of each country, painted by local schools and colleges.
You obviously can't see me now, but it's Thursday, there's a Bank Holiday weekend looming, and no one has actually finished anything yet, so I've got everything crossed here (which is making typing kind of difficult). We had one board left over. I think Jenifer, our Web Editor, is going to attach a photo or two of this, which we've had to paint ourselves.
Fortunately for everyone we found some very talented volunteers, I think that's the right word, though they may think more along the lines of having been press ganged, either way they've saved the day , but if you can spot a little Donkey in the background ( looks a bit like a Wallace and Grommit character) well, that was me, plus some of the splodgy bits.
If you're here next week, you may see some of us giving talks, or I'll be in Box 16 on a couple of occasions, making up copies of the harness we make overseas, so come along for a chat, or have a go yourself ( please, nice comments only about my painting efforts).
I'm off now, but before I go I really want to say "Thanks", to everyone who's been involved with this, especially those of you who've gone that extra yard.