A Donkey in the Meadow
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The fourth title in the Minack Chronicles tells the story of how Derek and Jeannie acquired two donkeys, Penny and Fred. From the first steps and learning all about donkey foibles, through to picnics in the meadows, this is a further charming instalment in the tales of the Tangye's life at Minack.
higher with thrown-away stems. She had been at Minack when Lama was first seen, a black spot in a meadow, and when Monty died. She had known Jane and Shelagh of A Drake at the Door when each had first arrived, Jane with the corn-coloured hair touching her shoulders, Shelagh with the shy smile, both with the gift of making us feel happy that they were with us. Funny times . . . she was in the cottage on Jeannie’s birthday when, after a night of raging wind, I went out to find the cloches scattered
shown to Mr Marples as the man finally responsible for instructing Trinity House to build the lighthouse. Veiled accusations were made that Trinity House should have acted before. The Minister must act! Gradually, with the persistence of a steamroller, the illusion was fostered and believed that a new lighthouse would banish wrecks from the Cornish coast for ever. The snag of the illusion lay in the facts which the campaigners seemed to avoid. There had not been twenty-three wrecks in twelve
wavelength; and the fact they so obviously believe in their superiority over me only increases my frustrated fury. But I take wings when I meet someone who possesses the gift of enthusiasm and who distributes it among those with whom he has dealings. My mind awakes. I am willing to climb Everest. One hot afternoon we had a caller who was the salesman for our flowers in Covent Garden. Of all the businesspeople I have ever met, flower salesmen are the most genial, despite the early morning hours
Jeannie had bought; and these too were dangled before him in such a way that when accepted, kudos was obtained. Penny, meanwhile, was having her own passage of fame. Fred being too young to carry anyone, Penny had to play the role of the patient beach donkey. Can I have a ride? Can I? Can I? Up and down the field she went, solemnly and safely. Sometimes two astride her back, sometimes even three. She plodded on in the manner of a donkey who knew how to earn its living. She waited quietly as
contrary self.’ I changed gear, accelerated, and passed the lorry, blowing the horn. I found comfort in doing so. ‘It means,’ I said, ‘we won’t have the chance of going away again for a year. You know that. We won’t have a chance what with the tomatoes, the freesias, the daffodils all following on each other. We’re committed to fight it out this year.’ ‘You can write a book about the year in between.’ ‘Between what?’ ‘The year in which you decide whether to work with your mind or work with