Denis Lehane: Bloodstock in the garden

Two night-time visitors might be the making of me, Farming columnist Denis Lehane writes.
Denis Lehane: Bloodstock in the garden

Family of donkeys outdoors in spring. Couple of donkeys on the meadow

I woke up this morning to find two donkeys outside my window. 

At least, I believe they were donkeys. I'm no expert on bloodstock; I'm no Sheikh Mohammed.

Anyhow, they looked like donkeys, they smelt like donkeys, so I'll put it to you that donkeys is what they were.

It was the sound of hooves that startled me from my sleep.

Initially, I thought it was the bailiff or the Sherriff coming to collect what was owed.

But to my relief, when I peered out through the curtains, I realised it was only a pair of donkeys.

And their presence in the garden didn't surprise me in the slightest.

We live in a remote part of the country and receive a lot of visits from strays of every description.

I tried to ascertain where they had come from and where they were going, but alas, no concrete information could I garner from the two stubborn mules. They remained tight-lipped on the subject.

Although, one did, by way of gesturing with his hoof, indicate that they had come from the west, possibly Dunmanway, and that they had been travelling for some time, and that if I didn't mind, they might rest for a spell in the garden because I had a nice assortment of vegetation to chew on.

I told them they were most welcome to sample any delights they chose to nibble on for 'twould be all the less for the lawnmower to mulch through at a later date.

In fairness to the pair of donkeys, they had the manners of first-rate politicians.

One, by way of twitching an ear and waging his tail, apologised unreservedly for the inconvenience caused and for waking me at such an ungodly hour.

I told them to think nothing of it, for the sun was up, and a busy farmer like me should be up with it.

And with that, I went inside for my own breakfast, the call had come out that my egg was on the table.

I left my two thoroughbreds in the garden, to impress the neighbours and sample the delights on offer.

Anyhow, it was while delving into my egg at the breakfast table that the old Lehane mind really took over, and it began to dawn on me that my two compadres outside might be the makings of me.

You'd often hear tell of good fortune landing on the misfortunes of society, only for them not to recognise what luck had landed in their lap.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm no Fergie Sutherland when it comes to recognising a thoroughbred champion.

But perhaps my two guests dining in the garden were more than simple donkeys. Could they be mules or jennets? Could they be potential champions in some regard?

The more I mulled over the idea, while horsing down my egg, the more convinced I became that my new arrivals had the breeding and the stamina to win something equivalent to the Kentucky Derby.

"By golly," says I to the cat, "Stranger things have happened."

So, with that, I polished off my egg, gulped down my coffee, shoved on my boots and was outside quicker than you could say Imperial Call.

But alas, all I found now was an empty garden. It was a place now devoid of champion bloodstock.

My two visitors had vanished, back onto the long acre, and on, I suspect, to further adventures on the long and windy road that stretches between here and Dunmanway.

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