Sunday, 30 December 2018

Nativity Ned

It has been a busy few months since my last post, as unfortunately that always seems to be the way on the run up to Christmas! This year at work I decided to write a localised Nativity for my Drama Club students to perform as part of a festive evening for parents at school. One evening whilst writing the script I had an idea! I though it would be a great shout to have Betty play the role of the donkey! After checking with Helen first to see if she would be able to transport Betty to school I sought permission to have Betty as part of the Nativity. It was a bit of a risk given we would have no time prior to the day of the performance to rehearse with Betty but I just knew she would be great. As predicted Helen rocked up to school with Betty on the afternoon of the performance and true to form she was absolutely no bother during rehearsals. The only initial problem we faced was the flooring at school was too slippy for Betty to walk on. We soon rectified this by making her a pathway of mats for her to walk on. To pass the risk assessment it was agreed I would perform with Betty rather than risk any incidents occurring with the students. I purchased myself a lovely little Shepherds outfit so I could take to the stage with Betty. As you can see from the picture below we really looked the part!!
The students absolutely loved the fact Betty was appearing with them in their performance. In between rehearsals and the actual performance Helen was an absolute legend standing outside in the orchard with Betty so she could get some quiet time to graze and prepare herself for her starring role!! Poor Helen was stood outside in the cold for several hours and both myself and the students were very grateful to her for her help, as without Helen it would not have been possible for Betty to appear in our Nativity. When it came to Betty's big moment she was an absolute superstar as I knew she would be. We had over a hundred people in the audience, stage lights plus all the cast in costume and she did not bat an eyelid! She walked up and down the front of the school hall following 'Mary and Joseph' looking for a place to stay with absolute focus on the carrots I was holding in my hand! I knew she would be brilliant but I was so proud of her!!! At the end of the evening we had a collection for the RSPCA equine shelter-Felledge that we re homed Betty and Barbara from. I had picked some collection tins up from there the day before the performance. Members of the cast stood with the tins whilst the audience left. Everyone was incredibly generous and Felledge were over the moon when I returned the tins feeling rather full of donations.  Once Betty's performance was over Helen and I packed her back onto the trailer and Helen got on her way back to the field. Unfortunately once Helen was back at the field she was unable to get the trailer back in through the usual entrance as it was just too muddy. It took a number of hours for us to get it back in via a different entrance which I felt really bad about as Helen had given up her day off to help us out so it wasn't an ideal end to the day :(
Apart from the trailer drama however the rest of the day had gone to plan. Given how well Betty did I really think she would be great for other things such as 'pets as therapy'. It is definitely something we will look into for the future as she really isn't phased by anything!
After all the excitement of Betty's starring role the festive period has been quite quiet up at the field. The ponies have enjoyed a couple of weeks down in the bottom field. Helen used this as a distraction tactic whilst she was loading Betty for the Nativity that worked incredibly well. It meant the rest of the herd weren't trying to follow her as she exited the trailer out of the field. Their festive feasting however came to an end on Boxing Day when we closed the gate to the bottom field. Star had started to resemble a semi detached house on legs and the miniatures had begun to look like a pair of flats on legs so it was definitely time to limit their grazing again. Plus we want to save whats left for when the harsh winter kicks in, which according to recent weather reports could be fairly soon. Helen and I split the daily duties over Christmas with her mostly doing the mornings as she was coming home from night shift and myself taking the afternoon checks. On Christmas Day the neds each got an equine Christmas pudding and some parsnips. Fella was over the moon with his parsnips as they are his favourite vegetable and I got the impression Star couldn't get enough of her Christmas pudding. Pictured below is the herd wishing everyone a very horsey Happy Christmas!!

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