Of donkeys and the world's most miserable woman - In Céventh Heaven - CycleBlaze

Of donkeys and the world's most miserable woman

SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD there is someone more miserable than everyone else. More miserable than end-of-the-world preachers. More miserable than me on an off-day. And I know who she is because I wrote to her for a while.

She was American. A Californian, from a state which I'd thought full of tanned, smiling people waxing down their surfboards and looking for fun, fun, fun until daddy took the T-bird away.

But not this woman. Nothing was too minor to escape her gloom. The sun was too hot or too cold. People made too much noise or crept up on her silently. Other shoppers got to supermarkets before she did.

One day I told this woman that I planned to ride in the Cévennes. They are a range of wooded

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hills, just about mountains, north of that bit of France that skirts the Mediterranean ("too busy, too expensive, full of fat Germans with no clothes on").

"Don't go," she wrote back.


"Because Stevenson travelled there with a donkey."


"He wrote a book about it."

"Good book?"

"Certainly not. He was just so cruel to that donkey."

She and I no longer write. I did get to ride in the Cévennes, though. In the words that follow, there will be no donkey flagellation.

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