Donkey work

Every time I run/walk I wonder whether to bother to write this blog anymore.
I go through a whole paranoid journey of not being wanted, being boring, being too old for this malarky. I run through why I should or shouldn’t blog, and everything that goes with blogging. Like wearing mini skirts when you 80.
And then I get an idea and I think
‘Oh! I’ll write that…’ because my lovely bloggers will be interested, and then I think
‘My lovely bloggers don’t exist anymore, because I have been so lax in writing regularly.’
And then I excuse myself because there are things I can’t write about, don’t know how to write about – and then I think if I write about my absent, commenting bloggers all my lovely bloggers will think I’m fishing for a reaction. Dying for comments. which in a way I am.
So, whether you are there or not, whether you care or not, whether I’m being read or not, whether I should just shut up, I’m writing this in the hope that just one little person will enjoy it.

A lot of it has to do with living back in East sussex. The stimulus is different. There are no boats, planes, cars, motorbikes or human traffic going past my window.
There’s the distant rumble of the A26, and the occasional tractor trundling down the hill.
Theres always birdsong and the mumbling of Radio 4 coming from one room or another.
My days have a different shape.
A combination of thinking, writing, eating, sleeping (well not sleeping actually) walking, watching telly, the activities of the ancient crone, which I can’t think is of any interest to anybody.
All of this was going through my brain when I set off this morning. The hot sun on my peeling shoulders. One day of working in the garden and I got burnt. I’ve never used sun cream but the ozone has thinned like my sensibilities.
I miss London and I don’t miss London. I miss my flat and I don’t miss my flat. I miss five days a week on the radio and telly and I don’t. What I do miss is the peace of youth, none of which I felt when I was young. The peace of knowing that if you don’t do it now you’ll have another forty years to put it right.
Now I’m getting the peace of age, which is much more introspective.
Anyway I posted two letters, put on my headphones and started running.
I have been working on a speech for a new project. A dear man has decided it would be a good idea if I were to stand on stage and talk to people about survival. Not like Ray Mears eating grubs and whittling, but how I’ve managed to still be here.
One of the stories I use is of the donkey down the well. It’s a lovely urban myth. The farmer decides to cover the donkey with earth as the well is too deep and the donkey too old to save..
As he shovels the earth the donkey starts to squeal, then the squealing stops. The farmer finally has the courage to look down the well. The donkey has been shaking off the earth, tamping it down and taking a step up. Finally the donkey gets to the top of the well, shakes off the final grains of earth and trots off merrily. The moral being – well you know – life throws dirt at you and blah blah blah…..
So here I am in my shorts and vest, ‘Snarky Puppy’ pounding in my ears and just when I get to the bend, behind the gate, standing all alone, looking at me is a scruffy little donkey.
I turned the music off and tentatively held out my hand. Two flies were buzzing round it’s doleful eyes. He didn’t move. so I tickled his head. Then stroked his nose. He just stood there in all his dusty glory.
I stood for ages, just cooing at him, and he let me play with his mangled mane.
When I walked away so did he, gently turning back into the field.
Now that is something you wouldn’t get in Battersea

10 thoughts on “Donkey work”

  1. Please don’t stop blogging Jenni. I look frequently to see what you have written and am disappointed to see that you no longer blog so often. I want to know what happens to you, what work you are doing, if we are able to see you on stage, what Radio London has in store for you, when you will get a new dog etc. Yes us readers are indeed out here.
    Pat xx

  2. No, don’t stop blogging. It’s the first thing I turn to every time I turn on the internet. I love reading about your walks, mainly because I don’t have the lovely countryside to walk in that you do. I miss you on the TV, I can only listen to you on Sundays through the internet. Having turned 60 myself this year I’m trying to rethink my life, it’s difficult, an elderly mother and also a mother-in-law to keep an eye on, children that have left home but still need me and I want time to myself, how do I fit it all in, but I read your blog and it inspires me so please, please carry on.

  3. Dear Jeni
    Well, this little person enjoys it, I click every day to see if you’ve blogged. I used to listen to you on LBC and feel as if I know you personally. I have to make do with just Sundays now but it’s not enough ! Stil, I can always go to YouTube for a Jenifix.
    Regards Penny.

  4. Jeni,
    Pat, angib, Penny and Jackie have said it all for me. I try to make sure I can listen to you on Sundays through the chores but it’s not enough. And, yes, I want to know what’s happening with you and check every day to see if you’ve blogged. So please don’t stop and do keep telling us what’s happening to you. I’d feel as though I’d lost a personal friend if you were to vanish from my life. Love Angela

  5. I endorse all other- please don’t stop . You give hope to those of us struggling with finding a new meaningful path ( sorry — what a new age burp)
    “”A dear man has decided it would be a good idea if I were to stand on stage and talk to people about survival””
    These words filled me with anticipation. Please Please let it happen and bring it out to all your fans in the nethers of the country!

  6. AUNTY Jeni – am i picking up on a little bank holiday self pity or was it just you cooing over that cutzie donkey?
    First off, that farmer. EEyore eor ought to know better than trying to bury a beautiful donkey. Too old to save my Ass! They are the cutest sweetest creatures, aren’t they.
    I just got deja vu. Did i write that once before….. Another glitch in the matrix maybe.. I’ve been getting a lot of those lately.
    So what’s on your mind.
    What things can’t you write about?
    Don’t know how to write about?
    You can’t dangle a carrot like that, and just throw a few scaps at this little donkey.
    Tell Tell tell it like it is.
    Your not on a gagging order with the bbc, are you. I’m all out of love for the bbc.
    Rolling around on a bed of never ending incoming cash. Go to jail card if you don’t pay up. With more layers of non-managing management than the nhs. Institutional sham shafting. Telling it like it is…
    You will already know the lovely Mr James Whale was the last to get the Graham Norton hot seat at Lbc. Here one minute – gone the next. Radio is such a brutal business. I think i understand why it is done that way, but it is still too harsh. I do wonder if there is a better way of doing things.
    Love light LV

  7. Jeni
    Darling girl, after writing the last blog you must carry on! It was such a honest piece of writing and there is so little of that around now.
    I too feel exactly as you do, is it our age, our generation, our compassion, our take on life?
    You would be so missed darling girl. You cheer me, make me laugh, make me think, bring me to tears, and I’m not alone, others feel the same.
    So Jeni do keep carrying on, for my sanity, your sanity, and all your other lovely bloggers, [who I think are a grand bunch of like minded] people].
    Please, please, please!!!!!!!!
    Best love

  8. Dear Jeni,
    I love the way you write. Your perspective makes me think. It is a gift to be able to see and then recount so vividly an ordinary day but tell of all the tiny things that make that day, our lives so amazing; you can do that. When you don’t write I feel like I have lost touch with a friend. Do what you do for yourself; but know there are many of us who appreciate and enjoy, even take comfort in your words. Self doubt is not a bad thing at times; we can take stock, evaluate and consider our paths. Throw off that dirt Jeni and get writing… x

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