Plans / The blog

The donkey COULD DIE, week three: killer tulips

It’s a mere three days before departure, and if it wasn’t for thirty years of socialisation I would probably also poo copiously on the ground like Chico does every time I frighten him (which is daily at the moment, and today was quite green, and inside kind field-lender Hazel’s garage, which wasn’t ideal). Today I have been emailing donkey godmother Carol about plants, and a little question about cut grass (NO!) has set forth a whole new list of possible ways that Chico, if I take my eyes off him for a moment, COULD DIE.

Snoozing or dying? Snoozing, this time, thankfully

Cut grass

So, cut grass for starters. Something we are bound to encounter in the majority of gardens, verges, village greens and beer gardens we encounter along the way. Apparently the moment the grass is cut it begins to ferment, and continues that fermenting inside a donkey, if given the chance. Voila: colic, misery, possible DEATH.

Uncut grass

Uncut grass, of course, can dispatch him too, as worried about elsewhere. Too much sugar in new spring grass: laminitis, hoof misery, colic, possible DEATH. At least once he’s walking every day he’ll be burning off the sugar, so I can stop worrying about that. Maybe. And start worrying about hoof-wear, tiny stones, cars, middle-sized stones, water, dogs, cows, sheep, horses, rain and all the rest.


Too starchy






Daffodils, bluebells, tulips, crocuses, the lot of them. Steer clear of the whole plant, pretty little death traps

Pretty May bluebell woods of Aberystwyth, or donkey killing fields?

Pretty May bluebell woods of Aberystwyth, or donkey killing fields?

All evergreens

Best avoided (pop go the thoughts of escaping to the end of a forestry trail if in urgent need of a quiet overnight stop)


Nope. Which somehow strikes me as funny, since stick insects (one of a very small collection – three – of species I have previously owned, along with a goldfish and, much later, a rabbit) eat only privet. Yes, I noticed that they don’t share many physical characteristics with donkeys, although they do stand very still a lot of the time, like donkeys.


Evil killer. This one has its eye on me too, as well as the donkey. It’s got yellow flowers that are pretty and kind of raggy, and grows all over the bloody place. Luckily when it’s alive it tastes bitter, so there’s a fighting chance that Chico will avoid it (although not a dead cert – he might perversely develop a taste for it), but once it’s dead it loses the taste but keeps the KILLING POWER. I think I can spot it in flower, but pre and post flowering it looks like everything else in the hedge. And it causes terrible and swift liver shutdown, sensitivity to light, skin pain and DEATH, DEATH, DEATH. And for me too. I must pull it up from the roots and burn it, whilst wearing gloves. I don’t even have gloves on the packing shortlist. Plastic bags could do the trick, but they cost 5p each in Wales these days.


These aren’t going to fall for a while. That’s as much of a deadline as I’m going to set us – get round this lethal country and sell the damn fragile beast before the acorns fall. Then on someone else’s head be it when they fall, the little oaky grenades of DEATH.


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  1. Surely that donkey-brain has some kind of inkling of things it shouldn’t eat?? Otherwise they would have become extinct thousands of years ago? I think the list above goes for pretty much any herbivore… (guinea pigs included). I can always send an emergency post-restante parcel of carrier bags up from London if things get too ragworty.

  2. I’ve just discovered this journey having gone round Wales myself with a cross carrying evangelist friend (2nd-28th Sept). This is awesome! Brilliantly written, very funny. I love the donkey already ..haven’t even read much about you guys yet! I definitely will now. Well done both. When’s the book out?

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