Thank goodness for friends near and far. My bitter disappointment at being excluded from last weekend's visit to Willy Donkey's place has been tempered by the generosity and thoughtfulness of Dougie Donk in Scotland. He sent me a large, mysterious box all way across the Atlantic Ocean. And what a gift there was inside!
We received a notice in our mailbox that a parcel had arrived at the local post office and the woman duly set off at her snail's pace to retrieve it. I watched her embarking in her vehicle and she said casually over her shoulder "Sheaffer, the notice has your name on it." My name on it? I felt that in that case her pace could have been a tad brisker. I waited by the fence with bated breath. Ages later she came trundling back and showed me a large box wrapped in brown paper. The excitement was almost unbearable.
After fumbling first with a kitchen knife and then a pair of ancient scissors, she prised the thing open and there in protective wrapping was the most magnificent hat I have ever beheld. A Fire Fighter's hat to be precise. It is made of the finest dark blue wool, with a peak and a band of black patent leather on the front. And...I could hardly contain my excitement...an official badge that says "Strathclyde Fire Brigade". I felt quite weak in the knees. Then the woman showed me the inside and it says "Bates Hatter, 21 Jermyn St., St. James S., London". I had to lean on the fence to recover my sense of equilibrium. I have long dreamt of having an offcial hat but to have one made by the finest hatters in London - well - words fail me.
Thank you Dougie. You understood my unease with year after year having plastic nonsense foisted on me as novelty headgear. My problem is solved. From now on I will have a most official and dignified presence at all public affairs. I understand you made a pact with the resident fire fighter at your place to not drag him about the paddock for at least a week in exchange for his hat. Please thank that kind soul as well. I hope he isn't put in a dungeon or sent to the Orkneys on a training course as punishment for donating his hat to me so selflessly. You are a good donkey and he is a gallant human.