Zappa, Ziggy and Nina

I know nothing about donkeys….as it turns out there’s a lot to learn. Click below to read my blog posts as I plan for my trip and try to learn all I can about these amazing animals before I set off.

2016

December 20th – an update at last

Hi folks, sorry for the delay, been hit by a cyclone and had no power, mostly off rather than on, and no water. The days have flown past since my last blog which seems a [...]

2016

16th November – Day 1, the journey to Vijayapati continued: The old men and the sea.

On this first morning I understood that by walking I had left one India and I was visiting another. In comparison to the taunting, bustling towns and cities, the coastal villages are silent places. Standing [...]

16th November – Day 1, the journey to Vijayapati continued: The Mighty Ark builders

The journey was a few hundred steps, certainly less than a kilometre, but I am guessing…. Was it hearing the clamour of symbols from Kanyakumari where many temples had faded? Or having my feet firmly in [...]

16th November – Day 1, the journey to Vijayapati: The very first step

I am walking again! And for the first steps to Calcutta I dipped my feet into the holy waters of the India Ocean to bless my naked feet and wish me well on a journey [...]

15th November – Kanyakumari: Wonderings with a will, a desire and a passion

The pilgrims shouted and whistled as the timeworn boat lurched and shuddered away from the harbour into the open sea. The short hop from Kanyakumari to the two islands is for most of the pilgrims [...]

13th & 14th November – Poover: The mad and the bad!

After the beauty of the Marari Beach I drove an ugly, busy, unattractive road south for two days. The type of road India is notorious for. Clogged with busses covered in passengers like buzzy bees, [...]

12th November – Marari Beach: The strange tale of a boxer

I woke up feeling less like a puffer fish and more like a mammal. Still my eyes were uncomfortable, however my cheeks stung less. At least I could see the Landy from my balcony and [...]

11th November – Cochin: Jesus, me and a glass of the undrinkable

I woke up thinking I was a puffer fish. My eyes inflamed and sticking together, cheeks as red as hot molting lava and my neck an itchy forest. The only sunshine on the horizon a what’s [...]

10th November: Cochin – Gods of all flavours and then hell breaks loose.

I was up early this morning. I had been thinking about the realities of a Graham Green novel and wanted to see the old colonial priest preach to his congregation. I wondered across from my [...]

November 9th, Cochin: A character in my own Graham Green novel

Back in Cochin and the days are getting progressively slower. I am sitting around in this old colonial outpost waiting for my Land Rover to arrive. The shipping agent keeps shifting the arrival date with [...]

8th November – Cochin: What list am I on?

‘Good morning’ I said to the old man of Hemingway. I think he responded. Or was it an obstinate grunt? Periyasamy served tea with a delightful smile and easy chit chat, which made up for [...]

7th November – Cardamom House: A Second Lazy Day, Hemingway and an Apparition.

Today I lay in bed thinking of the marmalade. Cardamom House chefs squeeze succulent locally-grown line-oranges and then toss back the golden peel, creating a lively, bittersweet jewel of a preserve; wonderful and worth jumping out of [...]

6th November – Cardamom House: A Lazy Day

At breakfast a puppy greeted me by biting my toes. ‘Ouch, they are sharp.’ I limped to the table. ‘Two months old today,’ said Periyasamy who remembers me for my orange bike rather than any [...]

5th November – Cardamom House: India’s Garden of Eden

India is a harsh place. As is the intrigue, the pallets of colour, muddle stories of Gods with different names and statutes, and the street theater or circus acts? Or one of Voltaire stories with [...]

4th November – Madurai: Dog man of Madurai. What about the donkey?

I walked the circumference of the Meenakshi temple with many other early morning devotees. I had breakfast; tomato dosa with curry sauce served on a vivid green palm leaf. It satisfied my morning hunger. I [...]

3rd November – Madurai: An offering of flowers, fruit, incenses and light. And what about the donkeys?

The overnight coach arrived as dawn broke. I love to see a city start the day. The early morning light has a low romantic saturated tinge as if I am still dozing and dreaming of [...]

2nd November – Cochin: Dog Women of Cochin – Four Dead

She stopped me in the street and asked if I was English. She was correct and presumed I loved dogs. She was an old woman with a lively spirited tongue. I knew immediately she was [...]

1st November – Cochin: A Donkey Man at the end of a telephone

‘Dr Jay?’ The phone crackled twice and became clear. ‘Yes. Who this be please?’ After all the e-mails I was finally speaking with Dr Jay of Madurai donkey sanitary. ‘Conrad.’ – ‘Sorry sir’ he asked [...]

2016

31st October – Cochin: The anger of the Gods and the Jews.

I woke to the sound of pitter patter. Softly at first, but continuous. The clouds had rolled in yesterday afternoon threatening stormy weather. Thunder finally arrived as I returned to my home stay and having [...]

30st October – Cochin: The colours of Cochin football, Cat Stephens Winter Wonderland and a sitar player.

Forty goal posts of all types, short bamboo posts one side, red folded up tunics or plastic shoes the other, created boundaries stretching from one end of the beach to eternity. Within the twenty-odd match, [...]

29th October – Cochin: Goodbye Agnes and pig nose

After the disappointment of the dhow, I immediately booked a flight for Cochin and packed my bags. First, I enjoyed sweet Agnes’s last cooked breakfast, said my fell wells to both her and the waiter [...]

28th October – Dubai: The adventures of Jack Sparrow and the Swiss pie baker

The dhows are beautiful. They sit row upon row up against the creek wall, dirty blue, worn gracefully like old men telling tales and agreeing together life was once slower and the young respectful. I [...]

27th October – Dubai: The Kardashians and Agnes

The gold souk has all the bling every Kardashian needs. The women stare at shops like high alters and the watchman wears all of Geneva's timepieces. It's fun, it's Dubai; the lure of a fool’s [...]

26th October – Dubai: Modigliani and the Sun God

I brought a painting today. Tucked in an old shop in the remaining old streets close to my riad, an outgoing short dumpy Mumbai women with short graying hair, the making of everyone’s lovable grandma, [...]

25th October – Dubai: The Hell of a Port!

Agnes calmed me with tea and her happy gracious smile. She is a dear. The Dubai port put me through hell and as I sat and drank Agnes’s tea I fought the Devil's emotion not [...]

24th October – Dubai: Visa’s and old riads and a sensible illicit beer

Happy Birthday Mum. Hope the card, flowers, and the Rolls Royce arrived.   This morning Agnus, the round cuddly women with black curly hair serves me breakfast and keeps fussing about the riad, I like [...]

23rd October – Dubai

Happy Birthday Mum. Hope the card, flowers and the Rolls Royce arrived. This morning Agnes, the round cuddle women with black curly hair, serves me breakfast and keep fussing about the riad, I like her [...]

22nd October – Dubai: By the 7000 kilometre route. What a journey

Practice trips over and car rally completely after 7000 miles riding in the back of a beast of a Land Rover across the lands of conformity and prayer, I have arrived into the desert of [...]

2016

Chapter 3 – Almaden to Monesterio

It was a busy Saturday night in Almaden and I don’t think the town slept a wink. They were having fun, and a Saturday night of festivity is good for the health of the mind [...]

2016

The Roman Road. Chapter 2 – The walk from Saville to Castilblanco

My small guidebook let me know the next town on the Roman Road was Castilblanco de los Arroyos, a stretch of some 18 kilometres north. The sun was rising fast in the late morning. The [...]

The Roman Road. Chapter 1 – A cup of tea abroad

A Roman Road, the perfect test for shoes, backpack and the spirit of a simple man. With this in mind, and before I start the 2,500 kilometre walk with Indian donkeys in November, it seemed [...]

2016

An Introduction to Donkey Care

An introduction to Donkey Care, probably the most important course I'll go on ahead of my trek. Arguably, I'll need more than an introduction ahead of the three months I plan to spend walking across [...]

2016

Meet Oscar!

We have adopted a donkey! Oscar, our first tentative step into donkey ‘ownership’ before acquiring Nina, Ziggy and Zappa for the big Indian Donkey Walk. After being in touch on Twitter a few weeks ago [...]

A few facts I bet you didn’t know about Donkeys

I've made no secret of the fact I know nothing about Donkeys. I may be able to fix a broken down 1970 MGB in the Australian outback, wrangle my way out of gun hold up in India [...]