Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 21 November 2014

Rock On Pedro!


This is my nephew in 1975, clearly enjoying his ride on Pedro the rocking donkey. He wasn’t the first owner, that was his Mum’s cousin, who received him as a gift for his first birthday in 1966. Researching similar toys led me off in all sorts of directions; I never knew there were so many different types of donkey toy, both rocking and push-along. I’m almost sure that this one was made by Merrythought, a long-established and traditional British toy manufacturer. Their website has an interactive timeline showing the history of the family company from 1907 to the present day. Scroll forward to 1961 and you will spot the push-along version of the "particularly popular Pablo Donkey”. Yes, he was originally called Pablo and I don’t suppose anyone will remember how he came to be called Pedro instead, but Pedro he was and Pedro he is to this day.










By 1978 my nephew had outgrown Pedro and he came to live with us.  Here is my daughter being introduced to him. No, I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes, it really is Pedro, albeit with a new coat.









By the time he joined us he’d been so well loved that he was threadbare in places and his mane was looking a little patchy, so I asked if I might give him a makeover. I had a large quantity of very good quality fur fabric made in in a Lancashire mill, and the colour of Pedro’s coat was dictated by what I had in my fabric cupboard. He was given new reins and jingle bells and more realistic glass toy 'safety eyes’. There was no pattern of course, and from what I remember, I fashioned his coat by cutting appropriate sized pieces of fabric and sewing them to the original coat. I remember the hardest part being the ears.


Here my daughter is joined by the son of a friend, and the fact that Pedro was able to support them both uncomplainingly is testament to his sturdy and steady disposition; just like a real donkey. Who needs reins when you can dig your little fingers deep into that furry mane?





This is the last photo I have of Pedro whilst he was in our care. Shortly after this was taken we were posted to Germany with the RAF and we reluctantly parted company. He went back to his original owner to be stored for a while until his own two children had need of him. When my nephew’s son came along in 2006, Pedro was groomed and brushed ready to meet yet another new young owner, and his sister joined him a couple of years later. During this time I believe he had yet another new coat to keep him going a bit longer. The latest news is that he is about to return yet again to his original owner where he will rest until he is needed by the next generation. I wonder how many more makeovers he will have. How many tiny fingers will curl in that furry mane? We may all be long gone and patient Pedro will still be Rocking on.

This week our Sepia Saturday picture prompt featured three brothers and their dog posing for a famous sihouettist in the 1930s. One of the boys is sitting astride a toy rocking horse.


Why not join us there to see what other contributors have shared from their toybox.

19 comments:

  1. Pedro sure has held up well and made a lot of children happy.

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  2. I really like the story about Pedro. He is a lot of fun for many kids.

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  3. Three cheers for Pedro! Brave soul, stalwart companion! He needs a medal for his many years of service!

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  4. How lovely he has lasted so well to be enjoyed by so many children.

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  5. I had no less than three Merrythought donkeys but not of the rocking kind. I loved them dearly and dragged them around on a piece of string. I think I was only meant to get one with the other two being backups in case it got lost. However I was an inquisitive toddler and found all my christmas presents on board The Oriana before my mother had a chance to wrap them. At least I think that's how the story goes.

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  6. Pedro reminds me of that unique animal, the Horse of a Different Color in the Wizard of Oz. Not many donkeys are fortunate to be reupholstered.

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  7. Like Mike, Pedro reminds me of someone we just called "Donkey" who was a first birthday present to our daughter, them hibernated rather a long time in our loft until he was brought down and furbished with new reins and a new saddle -cloth before continuing to give such pleasure to our granddaughter..

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  8. You wrote about one horse, I write about many, but we had the same general idea this week. None of mine were of the plush variety, but after reading my blog my sister sent me a recent snap of her granddaughter riding a little pink pony who looks rather like Pedro. I hadn't heard of Merrythought toys before, but they do look lovely.

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  9. Pedro deserves a long service medal for all that he has gone through.

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  10. When I saw the first picture of Pedro, I wondered if he were stuffed with excelsior or something softer. I'm glad you are clever with the needle and could preserve this fine toy for so many generations. Lots of kids have a rocking horse, but not many can say they have a rocking donkey.

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  11. Looks like you did a beautiful job reupholstering Pedro, & likely inspired others to follow suit. How wonderful he just keeps going like the Energizer Bunny & winning little hearts all along the way!

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  12. Sweet story! So nice to hear Pedro has made so many children happy for so many years!

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  13. What a great life Pedro has had to date. Long may he continue to delight. Our daughter had a rocking horse on her first birthday. He's currently under the window of my broom cupboard, looking determined to stick around for a bit longer.

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  14. Wonderful. I have fallen in love with Pedro. Let me have the address I can send my donations to for his continued care in retirement.

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  15. Ahh Pedro is such a cutey and so reminds me of my own late son Steve at that age...neat photos

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  16. This reminds me of a wicker rocking chair I had as a child. It had originally belonged to my father, then his younger brother. Eventually it came to me. When my mother found me in this chair in my room she'd get out the thermometer convinced I had to be sick. The chair was eventually given back to my uncle whose three boys USED it to almost complete ruin. Since they have grown it has sat in my aunt and uncle's home until their deaths this year. Now one of my cousins has taken possession of it and has found someone to refurbish it. Hopefully it, like Pedro, will have many years of rocking to come.

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  17. Good old Pedro! Adored by many and still going strong. Lovely story.

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