It may have been raining cats and dogs outside this morning, but inside the barns Phil, the donkeys and myself were warm and dry. There is something very comforting about sharing a barn with donkeys when the weather is atrocious outside. Some donkeys snuffle about in the straw, pushing it about with their muzzles, or they bury their heads in it and then shake it all about! Others stand still and methodically chomp on the straw, whilst still others browse and nibble as they shuffle around the barn. Phil and I did none of the above - instead we brushed, cuddled and watched the donkeys, and forgot about the weather outside.
This afternoon however - the clouds broke up, bits of blue sky joined together and the sun came out ... as did the donkeys. Time for the promised walks!
Last week we'd promised Steph, one of the grooms, that we would take some of her foster donks out for a walk. Merlin and Tommy were particularly excited about going for a walk, as were Murphy and Moses, so we were not surprised to find said donkeys, along with several other willing donks, waiting at the gate for us when we arrived at Garmston Barn soon after lunch.
Head collars were fitted onto Thistle and Tommy and off we set towards the gate - accompanied by all the other donkeys who were determined to wave us off. " Waving off", involved a bit of a kerfuffle at the gate and a loud chorus of braying. But still, off we went to wander at donkey-speed across the fields in the sunshine. Tommy and Thistle showed great interest in all things green and edible, although they were equally transfixed by the sight of 20 large Poitou donkeys grazing across a neighbouring paddock.
This exercise was repeated in turn by Merlin and Willow, who did the whole thing in quick-time, and then by our old walking stalwarts - Murphy and Moses, who insisted on doing the route twice! Every week Murphy comes and asks to be taken for a walk - he has that look in his eyes... you know the one I mean, but we don't always have time for walks. So this afternoon Murphy made sure he got his money's worth and round we went again!
And that's pretty much how our afternoon was spent today... walking in the company of donkeys. Life doesn't get much sweeter than that!