How Rebecca, Meri, Tilli, Marthie and Barnie came to our rescue.
If you read our latest post, you’ll know Linen Press has been facing some challenges lately. With Brexit bruising our beautiful books, and Lynn still in France, we were on the hunt for a viable solution that would keep our deliveries safe and our authors doing what they do best.
Little did we know, help was on the way. Introducing Rebecca Pitt, our new Postmistress – who brings with her four adorable donkeys!
A loyal Linen Press reader, Rebecca has volunteered her time and energy to take our orders and queue at her local post office to ensure our readers receive their books in pristine condition. We are now a team of six women, powered by passion, raising the visibility of the female voice.
Our intern, Hollie, caught up with Rebecca to celebrate her timely arrival, and to chat about all things books and donkeys.
HG: Firstly, thank you for stepping up, Rebecca, and welcome to the team. What drove you to help us?
RP: Thank you, it’s my pleasure. Well, I read Lynn’s blog about the Brexit difficulties. I found it very frustrating and didn’t want to see Linen Press become another victim of Brexit. I saw a solution as someone in England lending a hand and I enjoyed so many of your books, I wanted to help.
HG: We are so grateful to you for that. When did you first hear about Linen Press?
RP: It was in 2010. I was travelling for work and attended the Edinburgh Book Festival. I purchased The Missing by Juliet Bates and loved it. That’s where it all started.
HG: I hear you’re one of our most loyal readers and have bought a copy of almost every book we’ve published. Do you have any favourites?
RP: I haven’t bought every book but I have bought several copies of some of them. I’m one of those people who likes to share a good book and give them as gifts at Christmas. I really enjoyed In the Blink of an Eye by Ali Bacon and Sometimes a River Song by Avril Joy. And of course, The Missing.
HG: Ah, so you’re an avid reader. Do you have a favourite genre? What are you currently reading?
RP: Yes, I’m reading almost all the time. When I wake up, on trains, before bed. I was brought up to read and always had books and bookcases in the house.
I read a lot of different authors but tend to read mostly literary fiction, travel books, some memoirs and biographies. An occasional crime novel and some poetry. I don’t get on well with science fiction, horror or fantasy. I love Here is Where we Meet by John Berger and re-read it quite regularly. And The English Patient by Michael Ondaajte, I love everything of his. I recently discovered Emily St John Mandel and enjoyed all of her books. The Glass Hotel was my favourite read of 2020. I finished it but didn’t feel ready to part company with it, so went back to the beginning and re-read it.
At the moment, I’m reading Without a Country by Ayse Kulin. I’m enjoying the setting in Istanbul. It’s one of my favourite places.
HG: Now Rebecca, you’re not alone in joining our team. You’re bringing with you your beautiful donkeys! Can you tell us more about them and how you came to looking after them?
RP: Yes, I have four donkeys. I always wanted to ride when I was younger but my parents told me it wasn’t ladylike and I should play the piano. But I wanted to ride! Unfortunately, I never did, it’s likely we were unable to afford it. I always loved equine animals and later when we bought the cottage I have now, we had a paddock, so I decided to get donkeys.
Originally, I bought two, Meri and Tilli who are mother and daughter. Within a few months I realised that Meri was pregnant! Donkeys form very strong bonds and have to have a best friend so, realising that Tilli would be isolated when the foal arrived, I looked for a friend for her and found Marthie. The foal is Barnie. Donkey gestation is 365 days; Barnie arrived 363 days after I bought Meri and Tilli, and I was there for his 3:15am arrival!
HG: How amazing but a very unexpected surprise! Do they all have different personalities?
RP: Absolutely, they all have their own individual characters and habits. Meri is lovely, very sweet natured, gentle and affectionate. She likes to have her own space and some quiet time. I can empathise with that!
Tilli can be a bit grumpy but when she’s in affectionate mode she follows me around holding on to the back of my clothing.
Marthie loves a cuddle. When I try to groom her, she puts her head on my shoulder and wraps one of her front legs around one of my legs. It’s very sweet but not the easiest position in which to groom a donkey.
Barnie has a favourite trick, knocking over my mucking out wheelbarrow. He waits until it’s full and I have turned my back then takes a handle in his mouth and flicks it over. So naughty!
HG: They sound like wonderful company. Have you ever read any donkey books? Any recommendations?
RP: Yes! Caroline by Cornelius Medvei is a wonderful eccentric short novel about a man and his donkey, Caroline. It requires a certain suspension of disbelief! Also, Juan Ramon Jimenez’s Platero and I details beautiful lyrical tales of a writer and his donkey, wandering around Andalucía.
HG: Finally, can you tell me about the carrot count?
RP: Of course. I worked out that, assuming an average sized supermarket carrot, the donkeys eat 30,000 carrots a year! The post office is on the way to the animal feed mill where I buy the carrots so donkey care and Linen Press posting duties combine well.
• We are excited to welcome Rebecca and her team, and are eternally grateful for her help ensuring that our books are safely delivered to our readers. Stay tuned for more Donkey tales on our social media, @LinenPressBooks.