LETTERS : Motherhood or donkey-work?

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LIVING on a Greek island where no wheeled transport is allowed, I share in the exhaustion and back pain experienced by the "oldster" parents in your article "The hangovers are the worst" (1 January).

At 41 I gave birth. I also acquired a donkey to carry my four- year-old to her school in the next village. The locals approved - the next village is a 30-minute uphill walk and my daughter is much loved and cossetted.

A year of nappy-changing and muck-raking later, I find myself barely able to lift the baby on to the saddle, let alone her sister. It is now I who slouch, zombie-like, on the saddle, in full view of the village, while my loudly complaining, but perfectlyfit, five-year-old leads the donkey to school.

In London I could doubtless find a "Mothers Against Walking" group to sympathise; here I'm thinking of crinkling up my face and dying my hair white to quell local disapproval by portraying a semblance of the age I currently feel.

I know there are tremendous compensations. In five years time, when this fog lifts, I'll remember what they are.

Corinna Seeds-Ross Hydra, Greece