I have had a very hectic week and am now way behind with my Newsletters.
This is because I have been focussing hard on my training for the 2016 Olympic Games. I reckon four years should be enough for me to qualify for Team GB although we first need to get my sport recognised by the IOC.
As a sport, donkey dressage, donkey cross-country and donkey show jumping is not as rare as you might imagine and so I will be speaking to Lord Coe shortly as he seems to know a few people.
Getting donkey sports accepted by the IOC shouldn't be a problem as they already award medals for sitting on dancing horses. If you've ever tried to get a donkey to dance then you'll know how much more skill that needs. But for those of us who already participate in it, donkey sport is a sport of the people - although this in itself might cause a problem with the IOC as there may not be enough sponsorship attached to it.
And donkey riders wear old shirts and trousers whereas horse riders win gold medals just for wearing top hats, having hyphenated surnames and dressing up as if on a New Year's Day fox hunting session . But donkey sports enthusiasts have a solution that will be hard to argue against. In the case of donkey Olympics, the medals will be awarded to the donkey and not to his passenger.
Until now, we have kept the rules of donkey sports strictly under wraps and this is not just to deter animal rights activists and EU legislation. American donkey basketball experts are quick to point out that basketball donkeys appear very content, never gallop off in fear of their lives and always appear to be smiling. It's far better than pulling carts.
Despite their independent spirit and occasional reluctance to be pushed around, the contribution of donkeys to the economy should also be properly recognised.
We need to accept that donkeys are a law unto themselves but that is all part of the challenge. If you've ever tried, as I have, to get unelected European bureaucrats to go faster and in the direction you want then donkeys are a doddle.
So, this Newsletter is to announce this new sport to the world and to raise the profile of donkeys as some of our most patient and long suffering friends who have had a pretty poor deal for far too long.
In developing the sport I am grateful to my constituent and well-known local businessman Arthur Godley who keeps a few fields and four donkeys. "Godley's Donkey Paddock and Olympic Training Arena" is where we have been practicing. I also come here whenever I need to keep a low profile for a day or so. Arthur keeps a fridge in the stable.
One of our donkeys, "Pretty", is used for the dressage. "Leggy" is used for the cross country and the tallest one, "Lanky", for our show jumping. The fourth one, "Sleepy" sits and watches from the fence alongside my son, Hector, who mostly plays around with his smart phone.
Lanky is proving very adept at jumping although we have, so far, only got him to get over a bean stick laid across a row of empty beer bottles.
I should point out that Lanky was once called Lengthy. This was because he gets very excited at times and is "very well hung" as Arthur describes it. He is so well hung that his apparatus sometimes gets caught on the stick, but it's the one sure way of ensuring Lanky clears the jumps with space to spare.
Pretty is also a stallion although we weren't sure to start with. But we can now see he gets visibly excited if Lanky catches his apparatus on the bean stick. As a result we have concerns about his sexuality or, as Arthur says, which side of the fence he sits. Pretty is useless on high-performance events but looks lovely in a pink bonnet and sunglasses, hence he's our choice for dressage. We tried fitting him in a pink polka dot dress as well but Lanky got so excited at the sight that we thought his apparatus might snap.
As for Leggy, well, once he starts running there's no stopping him. Arthur got him to run all the way from Krupton to Swindon the other afternoon and only managed to pull him up on the slip road to the M4. Leggy is an absolute certainty for a cross-country gold medal. He circles gates and fences but his speed across open fields and along dual carriageways is impressive. However, we probably need a new rider who can manage without a drink for more than twenty minutes. Alternatively, we'll need to adapt the saddle to hold a few beers for Arthur.
Any bottles will need to be stored on the right side of Leggy's saddle as Arthur only mounts Leggy on the left side. Arthur claims the right side is higher but it looks the same to me. Meanwhile Lanky has also been known to try to mount Arthur. Arthur's eyes went wider than Lanky's.
But why do donkeys interest me? Well, I am not a lover of dogs as you know - unless they work for a living. I am even less enthusiastic about cats. Cats treat those that feed them like a young cuckoo treats a sparrow. Donkeys, on the other hand, always come off second best. Donkeys deserve a break. One of my new slogans will be "Quentin supports the underdog", although, in this case, it will refer to donkeys.
Let me give you some reasons why I sympathise with donkeys.
I was five when I rode one on a day trip to Weston- Super-Mare. I saw the owner pocket three quid and the donkey get a carrot.
Then at Christmas we also played at sticking a cardboard tail on a picture of a donkey whilst blindfolded. Looking at what sports the IOC approves and those that they don't, I suppose there might be an opportunity for this festive game in the Paralympics. But it doesn't have the hallmarks of a sport requiring physical prowess. What's more, pinning the tail on a donkey when blindfolded is likely to be attacked by both human rights activists and animal rights activists. There's no hope for that sport.
Let us now turn to another overlooked problem - the political and social needs of donkeys.
Throughout history donkeys have been used for carrying piles of wood or sacks of potatoes or their owners. These owners are often peasants, who look as if a good wash might contribute to a healthier working environment for the donkey and encourage him to respond favourably to a kick in the ribs.
The Quentin Kelp message is: Treat your animal well and he might stick around a bit longer.
Donkeys are not stupid asses. They know that it is not they who give free rides but that they, themselves, are being taken for a ride. Not content with just one person riding on their backs, whole families have been pictured sitting astride while the poor animal stumbles on through rocks and desert, thrashed occasionally by a sharp stick or kept going by a stick with a carrot dangling on a string. And look at that story in the Bible. It cannot be fair to be ridden by two adults with one of them nine months pregnant. Donkeys need a trade union.
The Quentin Kelp message is: Be considerate to your donkey or his back might break and then where will you be.
The Greeks, Spanish and other Southern Europeans are known for being particularly rough on their donkeys in the past. Now look at them. I hear donkeys might be coming back as the preferred mode of travel as the BMWs and Porsches are garaged. Donkeys need the same status as taxi drivers and regular check-ups at the vets to make sure they are still fit for work.
The Quentin Kelp message is: A donkey is always there and grass is cheaper than diesel.
And that's why I am about to lobby not only for recognition of donkey sports but for proper recognition of the social needs of donkeys. To do this we probably need to compare donkeys to the electorate - downtrodden, burdened, kicked in the ribs at every opportunity and basically treated like shit. Donkeys need to fight back.
The stupid asses in the EU need to realise that we donkeys are no longer willing to be pushed around by giving them free rides. They need to urgently get their act together. No longer will we accept rich horses living in big, expensive stables ignoring us and looking down their long noses as if we are small and inferior. Donkeys now want to be in the saddle.
I think that'll do for today. I'm now going to put on my special Olympic flat cap and go up to the "Donkey Paddock and Olympic Training Arena" where Arthur is going to try to get Pretty into the pink polka-dot frock. It's Pretty's chance to show she (he) can dance and look far nicer than that horse and rider we showed her (him) on TV. What's more Pretty performs just for the reward of a nice, fresh lettuce.