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.
her under an umbrella.’ ‘What a good idea!’ she said laughing. There was a jerk as the Land Rover went through the stream that crosses the entrance to Minack, the stream we call Monty’s Leap. It was here, when at last we had arrived at Minack, that on a magical moonlit night Monty had nosed his way puzzlingly down the lane; and on reaching the stream had ignored my readiness to lift him over and, instead, had leapt majestically across. It was here, too, beside this stream that he was buried.
dashed out of the door murmuring to myself: ‘It’s arrived!’ I nearly trod on Lama on the way, came face to face with a hissing Boris waddling up the path, and then in amazement saw why it was that Jeannie was calling for me. A huge horse was standing in the small meadow with the donkey beside it. ‘Good God,’ I said, ‘where has it come from?’ ‘Not the faintest idea.’ Our reaction was a mixture of merriment, irritation and concern. It was absurdly incongruous standing there, a giant of a
like all disasters, has a morbid fascination for those who live safe lives. They heaped themselves on the cliffside, little groups staring in silence, breaking it occasionally to ask the lone policeman, incongruous in helmet, some question he had already answered many times before. Below them, like a whale in its death throes, the object of their entertainment floundered in the waves, sea spouted from the broken windows of the wheelhouse, a rope flopped about the deck, a bell clanged uselessly;
darkness of the meadow, ‘come into the stables. We’ve got something for you.’ And after a minute or two, their shadows loomed, heralded by enquiring whimpers. ‘Fred,’ I said, ‘you’re about to have your first mince pie.’ Inside we lit a candle in an old-fashioned candlestick and put it on the window sill. The light flickered softly. It flickered on their white noses, their eager faces, their giant rabbit-like ears. They pushed their heads forward, nuzzling us in expectation. ‘Patience,
was no mass invasion of holidaymakers. There were no telephone kiosks or cars, and electricity was limited to those who made their own. It was a magical place to visit, sailing, fishing, lying in the sun on deserted beaches, somewhere in which time seemed to be poised in space. The war was close, but Jeannie and her friends used to play there, deaf to the noise of the dictators, gloriously believing there was no end to any day, bronzed youth swimming in still blue water, shouting to the heavens