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BLOG 11 Delay

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on June 11, 2014 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I will write more about this at a later date but we have had to delay our departure to Land's End. Geronimo was supposed to  be with us on the 12th but now will not be arriving  until the 17th. However this has given us  extra  time to get everything packed up and  ready.  With the sunny weather  we have been able to sit in the garden  at home and mull  over the unexpected  happenings that make life so eventful

BLOG 10 Severn Bridge

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on June 11, 2014 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

A message from Hannah Englekamp. She walked through Cardiff  with a  donkey  with no problem! But can you take  a donkey over the Severn Bridge? 

BLOG 9 More Planning

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on May 25, 2014 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

We may have solved the problem of how to get around Bristol. Paul Cannon, who is bringing Geronimo down to Land's End and who is a specialist horse transporter, has agreed to pick us up in Somerset, somewere near Castle Cary or Somerton and drop us over the Severn Bridge into Chepstow which is the start of the Offa's Dyke trail. This saves the diversion round Bristol, which would take forever and would not be much fun, either for us or Geronimo. It will be interesting looking back in a few months time how much of this will actually come to pass or whether events will take us in a different direction.

BLOG 8 Room for a donkey?

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on May 25, 2014 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (7)

The question of which camp sites will accept walkers with a donkey has resolved itself. Phoning around the Land's End area, the divide quickly becomes obvious. Regular camp sites No, farm camp sites Yes. The penny dropped when I rang one regular site  and explained our predicament. There was a moment's silence and then the lady replied, quite sniffily: "I'm sorry but we don't accept pets."

BLOG 7 Planning

Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on May 15, 2014 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Slowly the route we hope to take is coming into focus. When we first began to plan this project, almost six months ago now, we thought we would go straight through, Land's End to John O'Groats. But with the slow pace of a donkey and with the need for rest days, this was not practical. At least not in one go. So now we plan to go up the North Cornwall coast to start with and then head in land over Exmoor and the Quantocks and the Somerset Levels. After that? Well there are all sorts of possibilities. Currently we are tempted by going into Wales. Up the Offa's Dyke trail and then branching off to go over to the coast near Machynlleth where a long time ago I used to live. The problem is how to skirt around Bristol? And can you take a donkey on the Severn Bridge? Almost certainly not. In the end all plans will be shaped by events, as yet unseen.


Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on April 18, 2014 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The name of the donkey to be, if all details can be arranged, is Geronimo! The journey went smoothly Arriva Trains Wales depositing me on the platform at Kidwelly in West Wales on a lovely spring afternoon. Three quarters of an hour later Mike turned up to collect me. There had been a lot of people wanting donkey rides on the beach and he had not been able to get away. For an hour I walked half a dozen donkeys down a small country lane by the side of Mike's farm. They were all, with the exception of one, adorable but Geronimo was by a head and shoulders top donkey. I am sure he will be bold and fearless as he leads us up the Cornish coast


Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on April 16, 2014 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (51)

Tomorrow is the big day. The visit to Wales to Mike's Donkeys where I hope to be able to select a donkey for our walk. The journey to Wales is going to be something of a magical mystery tour - I have always wanted to roll a set of dice and let the dice dictate the route and destination for a journey. This seems to be the next best thing. I am going to Kidwelly, a place that to my shame I have never heard of before. But then how many Welshmen have heard of Freathy in Cornwall where I live? But Kidwelly does have a station! So the journey will be Plymouth change at Taunton, change at Cardiff and then on to Kidwelly in deepest West Wales with Arriva Trains Wales. The man on the counter at Plymouth station did a lot frowning and scratching of his head as he sorted out the journey. It was the first time he had ever sold a ticket for Kidwelly. I was about to tell him that I was going there to buy a donkey, but decided against.


Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on April 12, 2014 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

After a month, the builders have finally packed up and left to go to another job. So now I can start to get the house back in order. In fact I will miss them and their cheerful banter, not to mention their inventiveness in finding a solution to every problem. There are four in the gang, led by Dan. He is accompanied by a dog that is so elderly and infirm it has to be transported on a special sort of litter. The chief butt of the jokes is inevitably the youngest of the gang. Every opportunity to comment on his lack of height is seized on. The difficulty is that he is not actually that short. But when it is no longer acceptable to make jokes about gender, ethnicity, mental ability or size of stomach, perhaps the only thing left to laugh at is people's height.


Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on April 10, 2014 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Sitting outside in the early spring sunshine. The builders who I am paying to renovate my house so I can rent it out while we are away are taking their ease, smoking cigarettes and drinking tea. The discussion turns to whether it would be possible to take a donkey the length of Greater Manchester in order to gain publicity and sell books. Thirty years ago the Chief Constable of Manchester  was a man called James Anderton who  was rather the hell fire preacher type. He would have either clapped us in prison or given us an official  police escort through the city.


Posted by lauren.downes.mtp@gmail.com on April 8, 2014 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

My thanks to Tracey and the others at the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary for an excellent day's training. Everybody had a smile on their face. We learned, among other things, of the dangers of overfeeding and laminitis. Donkeys originated in the Middle East and Africa and are geared for eating scrub grass rather than our lush grass. If we let them overfeed we are going to be in trouble! (see donkey sanctuary on links page)