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Published: March 5th 2018
Day 6: Matamata to Mangakino, 90 km, Tailwind comes to the rescue
The Donkey had learned through experience that feeling sorry for one self is unhelpful. It does not assist in solving any problems and it certainly does not make you feel better. When the Donkey woke up the next morning he shook his manes, stretched his body and moved his legs ever so gingerly. They were working better than the previous evening so that was a good start
For the first part of the day’s journey towards the Waikato river trail the Donkey was joined by Showpony. The Donkey was very happy about this and everything felt as it should have been. Showpony lead the way. Obviously the pills Showpony was taking were working as the Donkey had trouble keeping pace with his friend. At the start of the Waikato river trail they were joined by their wives. It was a happy time. But the Donkey still did not feel right and on top of that was stung by a bee on the back of his head, or at least that is what he thought.
They all had lunch at the Rhubarb café in Arapuni. The Donkey was a bit embarrassed to ask his friend Showpony to have a look at the bee sting on the back of his head, before they parted ways. Showpony happens to have a medical degree. He had one look at the Donkeys scalp and said, mate that looks like shingles. Shingles was a word the Donkey did not know so his friend explained that it was a virus which had crept in a nerve and caused pain and a skin rash. It could happen to any part of the body but in the Donkeys case it was at the back of his head. The Donkey protested and asked his friend if that was not an affliction more common in older donkeys. Exactly, said Showpony with a smile.
The Donkey was lucky that Showpony was there. Showpony had already given the Donkey all the medication he carried for potential disasters. When Showpony went back to Matamata he got some more pills from the pharmacy and gave them to Butterfly who brought them to Mangakino, the Donkey’s destination for the day.
In the meantime the Donkey slowly worked his way South, through the farmlands of the Waikato, over country roads and tracks. There were cows everywhere and they looked in disdain at the Donkey on his bike. Donkeys and cows don’t get on that well. Cows think that they are better animals than donkeys because they are worth more. It is true that on the market a cow fetches more than a donkey but that does not make them better animals. Even if you think that you are a better animal (which is an untrue thought as no animal is better than another), it is best not to show it. The Donkey for example felt that he was a better animal than a mosquito but he was sure to whack the mosquito on the head before they would enter in any discussions as the Donkey had found through experience that mosquitoes always won the discussion and afterwards the Donkey would end up with itchy bites. He did not feel good about it but thought mosquitoes lead a very short life anyway so a few hours more or less would not make a difference to them.
While the Donkey was mulling all this over the cows mooed at the Donkey while he biked past. The donkey could not help himself and stuck his tongue out to the cows every now and then. It was a safe thing to do as they were behind barbed wire.
The Donkeys lame leg was still not working 100% and with a bruised bum from sitting on the bicycle seat for hours on end and on top of that the shingles at times it all got a bit much for the Donkey but what kept him going was Tailwind who was by his side for most of the day. Every now and then Headwind tried to push in but Tailwind made clear to Headwind that this was not the right time. Headwind got inpatient and towards the end of the day made an appearance. But the Donkey was saved by Downhill. Downhill always wins from headwind and that is how the Donkey finally got to Mangakino towards the end of the day. On arrival he took a handful of the pills Showpony had given him and another lot a while later for good measure. He hoped that there were sleeping pills among them. He needed a good night sleep.
The Donkey was grateful to Tailwind and to his friend Showpony for the pills and had to admit that a sore butt, a lame leg and a bit of shingles was nothing compared to what had forced his friend out of the tour, so quitting was not an option, not yet.
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