Edit Blog Post
Published: February 21st 2018
The adventures of Hudson and Hellemans aka Showpony and the Donkey
Showpony and the Donkey have been friends for a long time. They are now in the autumn of their lives, which means that they are very old. They are so old that they have become like children again. One evening they were reminiscing over a beer. The Donkey was berating the fact that he had worked so hard all his life and had nothing much to show for it. While he said this his eyes looked sadder and his ears drooped further than ever. Showpony looked at his mate with pity knowing full well that he had done nothing much at all in his life but by being a mere show pony he had done more than enough. He had lead an exemplary life, hadn’t he…? But while thinking that he felt a pang of regret as if there was something wrong, that there was still something missing in his life. He had never done anything outrageous or spectacular, like the Donkey, who one day had worked so hard that he had to be admitted to hospital with exhaustion and a racing heart, which had made headlines in the
local newspaper. Sure, Showpony had won the show pony of the year award once but he did not have to do much for it as he was just who he was and that was the best and most beautiful of all show ponies at that time. It is true that many other show ponies did not know about the contest which had made it a bit of a hollow victory but he could not help that of course. Showpony and the Donkey drank their beer in silence.
'Let’s do something outrageous' the Donkey suddenly exclaimed.
'Like what' Showpony sighted, looking up at his mate.
“Let’s do the Tour Aotearoa”.
“What the hell is that” Showpony sounded suspicious.
“It's a mountain bike trip the length of New Zealand, from Cape Reinga to Bluff'.
Showpony's eyes lit up, finally he had a chance to do something epic, 'What a bloody good idea, consider me in'. The Donkey had not expected this answer from his mate who all his life had been shy of hard work and he immediately regretted his proposal. What was he thinking, biking the length of New Zealand, it sounded the mother of
all hard work, exactly something he tried to get away from. But he could not go back now and the Donkey decided to go with it for a while, trusting that Showpony would change his mind as soon as he realised what was involved.
And so the deal was done and Showpony and the Donkey started with their preparations. First they needed a bike, of course.Showpony went straight to the bike shop and bought a nice new shiny mountain bike, with the latest colours and as light as a feather. The Donkey had a look inside his shed and dusted one of his old bikes off which needed so many repairs and new parts that by the time it was ready he had spent as much money as Showpony. After all that the Donkey realised that the bike would still not be suitable to be taken into the wilderness and he borrowed a proper mountain bike, from a mate, which needed another lot of repairs and parts replaced. But that is a donkey for you. They tend to have small brains which think slow and not always clear.
Showpony and the Donkey decided to do a test event
and one weekend biked one along the back roads from Christchurch, where they lived, to Akaroa, a distance of 90 km, which does not sound much but it was very hot and there were many hills. Once they took a wrong turn and the hill became so steep that they had to dismount and push the bikes. It was hard work. For the Donkey it was no problem as he was used to hard work, for him it was familiar territory, but for Showpony it was an eye-opener, or rather eye- closer as by the time they arrived in Akaroa he was ready to collapse on a couch, which he did. He had never looked so bedraggled and exhausted in his life and a show pony looking not only bedraggled but also exhausted is not a pretty sight. The Donkey secretly hoped that his friend would give up on the idea to bike the length of New Zealand there and then, so that he could finally retire. But by the next morning, Showpony had tarted himself up to the extent that he looked half decent again and he called out to his friend, “c’mon mate, we need to get going,
what are you waiting for” and off they went, a different route from the previous day but it was still hot and there were again many hills. They had some breaks to eat and drink and have a rest and once the Donkey spotted some of his relatives standing in a field beside the road. Showpony and the Donkey stopped to say hello. The Donkey’s relatives laughed and laughed when they heard what their cousin and his show pony friend were planning to do. They commented that their plan to cycle the length of New Zealand took hard work a bit far, even for a donkey. Showpony whispered to the Donkey “we will show them” and subsequently surprised himself and the Donkey by leading the final stretch into Christchurch, no doubt smelling his stable.
That test passed Showpony and the Donkey had many meetings to plan all the logistics, the route and how and where to spent the nights. It was a frantic time for both but more so for Showpony for who details are most important, as is typical for show ponies. Showpony thought of everything which could happen during their trip including so many disasters that even
the Donkey, who had seen it all, got worried. For example, Showpony insisted they take a tent, for emergencies. The Donkey was not keen as he knew better than anyone what it meant to carry extra loads. The Donkey suggested they repeat the trip to Akaroa and camp overnight before returning, so Showpony could experience what it meant to not only carry a heavy load but also share a very small space, really only meant for one animal, for the night. Once arrived at the Akaroa campground they ate a freeze dried meal from a bag, despite wonderful French restaurants just down the road from the camp ground. The freeze dried meal had also been an idea of Showpony. They swallowed the stew down with the help of some sprite (of which the Donkey needed plenty) while they were surrounded by wine drinking tourists digging into delicious smelling cooked meals. It was all a bit sad. Showpony was so tired from the day’s work that he could have slept anywhere and he was asleep before his head hit the pillow. But the Donkey had a restless night. He had never slept with a show pony before and was kept awake
by so many different noises coming from inside and outside the tent, that even two sleeping pills did not knock him out. Donkeys are notoriously light sleepers.
The next morning they woke up to a drizzly morning resulting in everything getting wet while they packed up. After this debacle the Donkey was sure that Showpony would abandon the idea of taking a tent. But, as the Showpony had slept like a baby, and was still convinced that disasters would be lurching around every corner on the way, he insisted they take not only the tent but also the freeze dried meals. As donkeys are used to obey orders the Donkey agreed reluctantly, knowing full well that he would be the fool carrying the extra load.
After some more frantic planning and fine tuning the two friends were ready to hit the trails. The day of departure, Monday February 26, was coming closer and with that Showpony’s excitement was growing by the day. The Donkey envied his friend's excitement. His mood was more somber as he knew all too well what was awaiting them.
Tot: 0.078s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 6; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0125s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.2mb