So, it’s now two weeks into our little sojourn at Donkey HQ and we have well and truly settled into the rhythm of life here. Aside from the morning and evening feeding, grooming and mucking out of the donkeys we’ve had an interesting and varied week.
We celebrated Kerstin’s birthday last Sunday with a cycle into town for some lunch followed in the evening by some ouzo we’d brought back from Greece last year and Kerstin’s homemade quince crumble with a carton of Ambrosia custard we’d had kicking about in the van for several months.
The following day we took a walk up to see how the vacation donkeys were getting on with their temporary families. Flor and Luna were saddled up to take the young children for a spin around the outside of the enclosure.
Not wanting to be left out the other donkeys followed us along the inside of the fence. All was going well until Olivia decided to vault the fence to join us. If there is going to be any trouble you could put money on Olivia being in the centre of it. She’s a bit flighty and none too bright. She’s intellectually challenged shall we say and always acts before putting her very modest little brain into gear. After untangling her from the fence she joined our little party looking very pleased with herself indeed. She raced up and down, backwards and forwards like a dog.
If donkey show jumping was ‘a thing’ in Portugal then Sofia should sign Olivia up.
All of Sofia’s donkeys are a range of ages but she has four (Romano, Jeko, Mokka and Margarida) who are known collectively as ‘the oldies’. From time to time as a change of scene for them we can take two or three of them down to a large area of grazing in the valley a twenty minute walk away. I call it Donkey Day Care.
It also gives Romano a break from Mimi. Mimi is like an annoying younger sister to Romano. She follows him everywhere and she hee-haws if she is separated from him.
She has been here for over a year but the other donkeys can be mean to her so she sticks like glue to Romano as he is the only one who seems to have any time for her. Mimi is rapidly becoming one of my favourites. She’s super friendly but with a really cheeky naughty streak. I’m pretty sure it was Mimi who dragged my jacket off the side and trailed it around the floor of the stable last week.
It’s also been a musical week this week. Tim was invited to play with a friend of Sofia’s who has a small group and who had been booked to play at the Christmas Market in Aljezur at the end of the week.
And we were invited to a choir practice. Now I’m no singer but thought I’d give it a go. Tim came along as well. It was all very civilised with wine and nibbles on arrival. On hindsight we could see why the wine was a necessary part of the evening. Making numerous bizarre animal noises all featured as part of the warm up exercises. Had it been a team building event in a work situation Tim and I would have been heading straight for the door whilst muttering several expletives. The wine did the trick though and we barked, mooed, meowed and oinked along with everybody else as if it was a perfectly natural thing to do. We were even disappointed that the next practice won’t be until the New Year.
Since meeting the inspiring Colfer family a few weeks ago and reacquainting myself with wild swimming I’m going for a dip whenever I can. There’s a small lake a five minute walk away in the valley where I have braved the cold water most days. It’s cold enough to give me ‘ice-cream neck’ (the same as ice-cream head but there’s no way I’m going to put my head under as well).
On our day off we took a trip on the bikes to Amoreira beach.
We had the whole beach to ourselves so I didn’t feel too stupid trying out some yoga before a swim in the estuary.
The yoga and the swim was followed by guilt free toasted sandwiches and chips at a cafe in Aljezur.
More music ensued on Thursday with a lunch for all the people who live locally and have helped with the donkeys this year. It was like a garden party in the sunshine but without the dressing up bit.
Then the finale of the week was the Christmas Market in Aljezur. Our friends Di and Chris who are doing a multiple month trip of France, Spain and Portugal arrived this week and we met them at the market for a catch up over a mug of Gluhwein.
More next week.
Tenha um bom dia!