Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The pilgrims donkeys.

Long time readers of the blog will know that the little lane that runs past the front door of the rickety old farmhouse is part of the Chemin de St.Jacques. This is the route that tens of thousands of pilgrims follow to the Cathderal of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. It's said that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried there.

Yesterday afternoon two Italian pilgrims, eye surgeons from Turin, dressed in their red pilgrimage shirts and wearing the traditional broad brimmed hats, stopped by the village church to fill their water bottles. They unsaddled their donkeys, settled down on the bench on the green for a rest, and within two minutes were blissfully and ignorantly asleep in the late afternoon sun . However, the donkeys were far from asleep and were soon off exploring.

The first we knew about their presence was when the ever watchful Wilf wandered outside into the garden for his afternoon constitutional . He was decidedly put out to find two large intruders munching their way across the flower beds. Wilf barked which had the immediate effect of getting the donkeys braying. It took a large bag of carrots and much gentle encouragement to unite pilgrims and their steeds. Our family fellow followed events from a respectful distance not quite sure what to expect from these large noisey visitors. Donkeys and eye surgeons reunited, he followed me back down the lane with a long suffering look on his face that said - " another crisis successfully dealt with by Wilf - time for a sausage ".

To the vet for the ten day check-up. 35 days. There are three vets in the practice. Two who cover Wilf with bisous and tickles and the third - a Parisienne - who is more 'clinical' in her approach. We got the third. Some stiffening of the hip and the first , tentative, signs that perhaps the liver is now being damaged. 'What about the confusion ?' I asked. "Oh, that's to be expected as he gets older " she replied. Then looking straight at me she said " We all get like that ".

Once outside I lifted Wilf tenderly into the back of the car. ' Did you hear that comment about getting older? ' I said to Wilf. "Women !" he replied, the pain of the Polish farmboys rejection by the French show girl obviously still smarting. We both headed off to the cafe in the square for a reviving coffee and choux pastry bun. Still no pain. Real cause for celebration. Our own little early, unexpected, private Thanksgiving.


  1. Good for Wilf going along so well with his life and loving every minute of it even those big donkeys to deal with, haven't we all had to deal with donkeys at one time or another !

  2. A glorious 35 days! and we were only given 3..Wilf honors us all with his life and I thank you Angus for sharing.


  3. Happy Thanksgiving dear Wilfee, Angus + the font. Hope there's roast turkey on his menu for the one with the big black nose this week!

    Have a good week ahead. *hugs to the fluffy*

  4. Oh Angus, still no pain what a wonderful post to wake up to in a bittersweet way. This is the first thing I do every morning as soon as my coffee is made I check on Wilf. I am thankful he is still bringing his wonderful Wilfy-ness to the world and to you. The Parisienne is right about confusion coming to us all with age I get more confused with every day. You write with such a way I can picture events in my mind as I read them and the donkeys have made me chuckle this cold morning.
    Thank you for sharing Wilf and your life
    With Love
    Momma Tea
    xx x xx

  5. Can't believe it's 35 days! Days to savour and learn from. Days of memories.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  6. Angus - what a lovely story! I'll be walking the Camino in 2012 and would love your permission to post this piece on my blog, I know it is going to be enjoyed by all!

    Funny, I just spoke about getting older yesterday as well - a friend gave me this little gem: 'Age is determined by what happens between your ears!'. Well, Mr Wilf still seems to be doing pretty well in that department!

    Glad to hear that changes are still regarded as 'tentative' and not aggressive. Hugs to your boy!

  7. Are you sure that you really are living in the 21st century there Angus? (We have been reading an interesting article in this week's New Scientist 'Quantum time travel - who needs a black hole to go back to the future?)' and think some of it might apply to your idyllic corner of SW France..
    Cheers, Bertie and Gail.

  8. I'd have given him a sausage. i mean, donkeys... they could put an eye out with those ears...

  9. Such asses! Wishing you a wonderful french style Thanksgiving with lots of sausages for dear Wilf who may be slightly confused, but still on top of his game when it comes to garden intruders!

  10. 35 wonderful days! We are sharing in your "thankfulness" :)

    Blessings and Love,
    Janelle and Maggie Mae

  11. Yeah for 35's to many more!! Cheers

  12. Cherish these days. And enjoy all of the "sausages" life has to offer.

  13. wonderful time ask for the Vet that is compassionate!
    hugs to Wilfie!

  14. A quick post today sweet boy to send you all my love, cuddles and bisous.

  15. Good news with a "qualification". That calls for a celebration with sausages. Enjoy the intentional droppings from the Thanksgiving table.

  16. Rental donkeys? One way or round trip? Our saddle or yours? Marvellous. Donkeys, delightful entertainment for Wilf brought right to garden.
    Since you are right there, did you ever think of following the Chemim de St Jacques as an act of complete faith? Donkey optional of course.
    We know a bit about confusion and age and find it comforting to hear it may be age and not his disease process.
    Our prayers and purrs are with you, dear Wilf.

  17. Yes, your private Thanksgiving. I'm so happy that you have this time together.

  18. Another enjoyable post! Never a dull moment Angus--Or is there?! I'm confused, I can't remember if there is or not...That 'age thing' ... :-)

    We send our continued prayers for more good days, and more moments of grateful Thanksgiving!

  19. I can hear Merv singing "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode as the pilgrims passed by.

    And my 4 uncoiffed scruffy Alaskan French Poodles were horrified by Josephine's snooty tooty behaviour! They assure Wilf they would NEVER give him the kiss off. They would invite him over to see some moose and join their friend Petey the Sheltie for a hike!

  20. we are happy every day that we come here and Wilf is still with us!

    so sorry that you got the 'clinical' vet. vets need to have compassion and a sympathetic dog-side manner. we wouldn't have blamed Wilf if he had peed on her car tires.

  21. Angus, it's as though you live in the middle of a James Herriot story. I shudder to think how loud that bark was when Wilf saw the donkeys. I know that bark pretty well and it can make one's ears ring.

    Wilf will be mentioned in our Thanksgiving prayer.

  22. Well done Wilf!! Nice to hear that its been that long and you are doing just fine. And just imagine! Donkeys in your fields! The only thing we get in the fields around here are geese and ducks, the odd deer. Lucky you! Enjoy your day Wilf and keep on going!

    With love, your pals from snow bogged Canada,
    Dianna along with Tor, Willow and Tucker

  23. Decades ago, Art Buchwald described Thanksgiving for the French in a now legendary column in the International Herald.

    Le Jour de Merci Donnant

    Featuring Kilometres Deboutish...

    But you don't need it to be Thanksgiving for sausages and ear rubs!!!

    I can only imagine the two-part bray/bark harmony shattering the peaceful pilgimage!!!

    xxx Joan

  24. I had to look up 'bisous'. What a wonderful word!! I do hope you're making videos of all of this so I can watch it when the tv series comes on! :0

  25. Happy Thanksgiving! I already wish I was eating at your house instead of my inlaws! No doubt Wilf will be eating something delicious and sophistocated.

    Wilfee, I'm sure that Josephine is the only female in the world not taken in by your charm!

  26. Is Josephine Poodle, perhaps, a parisienne?
    Sure would explain a lot...

  27. I disagree with the vet. Confusion does not necessarily come with age. It may indeed be so in Wilf's case but too many elderly persons are dismissed because they are old and of course, no longer on top of things. Poppycock. Hilarious post - I "heard" the bark and the responding brays - not something heard everyday. Keep on keeping on, Wilf, Angus and the "font." You are blessed.

  28. Thank goodness the donkeys were enticed with carrots and not Wilf's croissants and delicacies he so enjoys.

    Molly, Taffy and Monty

  29. And that is the point of Thanksgiving - to pause for a day and say thanks for all of the little - and big - things. Happy Thanksgiving from the U.S.

  30. Hello Wilf!

    We are happy to celebrate your 35th day of grace! We continue to keep our paws crossed for you, Angus and the Font.

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai & Wai-Max

  31. There's always something going on there and it never ceases to put a smile on my face, reading your descriptions.

    35 beautiful days of grace for Wilf.