Monday, 17 September 2012

Derek finds a playmate

I never did get round to telling about the love-lorn donkey, did I?

I had meant to, and now I will finally get round to it.

'Derek' is this fine chap...

...and he lives in a field just near where we holiday in France.

It may not surprise you to learn that given that he is a French donkey, owned by a chap called Jacques and his family, he is not really called Derek at all.  In fact his name is 'Dou-dou', a fact we learnt this summer and a name which we do not think suits him one jot.  So we shall continue to call him Derek.

Anyway, when we were enjoying our summer sojourn in Limousin, the nights were so very peaceful.  The barn is far from any road carrying more than an occasional car, and there is only one inhabited house within half a mile, so night-time sounds are few.  The skies were clear and full of stars, so that we could lie on our bed beneath the Velux windows, counting shooting stars and making wishes all the while.  From time to time, you could hear an owl hooting, but other than that it was blissfully quiet...well, until Derek started protesting, sending up the most mournful of 'HEE-HAWWWWWW's at random points through the night.

Now, I don't know much about horses, donkeys, asses or mules, but I got to the point where I was feeling pretty sad for poor Derek, because I reckoned he was lonely.  Derek always welcomes human visitors (especially if they come bearing an apple or a carrot) so surely he'd like a donkey friend even more?  

When I talked to our French friends about donkeys, they confirmed that they are sociable and clever animals and need a companion.  But what could I do about it?  
Exactly nothing.

But then one morning as I was standing next to a window overlooking Jacques' barn, a horse box rolled slowly by.  It parked between the barn (where earlier there had been a scurry of activity) and the field where Derek was.  Derek was soon in view, chasing wildly up and down his fence, hee-hawing for all he was worth, and clearly very excited! (I'll say no more about that...but use your imagination.  I think there may have been a strong whiff of pheromones about the place that morning.) Clearly he knew something was afoot.

Soon a more-than-somewhat-reluctant donkey was brought out of the horsebox and escorted into the barn, where she (for indeed it was a 'she') resided for a couple of days before being placed in a sectioned off bit of Derek's field. Cue more excitement for Derek
 (and a bit of an education for Miss U-t-B).

 'Doris', who has a proper French name which we didn't take in, is six years old, turning Derek swiftly into a toy-boy. (He's only three.)  Doris has really pretty markings - I think there's a bit of zebra in her.

When we left, Derek and Doris were still residing in separate parts of the field.  But given the fact that a donkey pregnancy lasts roughly twelve months, maybe next year there will be the patter of tiny hooves?

Eh, Derek?


  1. Aw, what a lovely story.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  2. HA A lovely story that brought a smile to my face on this rainy (what else) Monday morning. I do hope that you keep in touch and find out if Derek and Doris do have a little one. It would give you a very good excuse to go back to take family photos. Doris is a bit of a looker isn't she, no wonder Derek was lovestruck.

    1. We will definitely find out - my fingers are crossed for them! I think Derek is a very handsome boy too, so hopefully they are well matched and will have the sweetest little foals...

  3. Aw, glad Derek's got a friend ... xxx

  4. Love your Derek and Doris story, hope you find some of the dinkiest little donkeys next year from their get-together.

  5. Doris is such a lovely donkey. I've never seen one with such distinctive markings. Derek is a handsome lad his furry ears:)

  6. I am grinning stupidly... I ADORE Donkeys. Let's hope for a happy ending and the clip clip of little hooves.....

  7. That made me chuckle, really love the tale of Derek and Doris.
    Hope they have many happy years together. Yes, there might be some little hooves around when you next visit.
    Carol xx

  8. I too love donkeys, and would LOVE to have one, but I have known for ages that they need company - not necessarily another donkey though. So I plan to have one dankey and two pygmy goats. They just wouldn't all fit in our tiny courtyard!!!

    Derek looks very love lorn in that final photo. Let's hope it all ends happily with the clickety clack of tiny donklet hooves!