With overseas holidays being out of the reach of todays redundant call-centre staff, the lure of staycation is difficult to resist. Many, like their Victorian forebears, will be heading for the lights and kiss-me-quick hats of Blackpool to sample the delights of CDs of Reg playing with his mighty Wurlitzer at the Tower Ballroom, or other such simple innuendi relating to a little stick of Blackpool rock, rollercoaster rides and riding a donkey on the beach.
However, due to the local council's risk assessments and animal welfare legislation, donkey riding is now forbidden. Donkeys will still be on the beach, but cannot even be touched by the public due to the risk of e-coli.
Donkey ride owner Eli Ramsbottom has decided to expand his services for 2010 by offering beach pit-barbecued donkey portions "wi' chips, mushy peas and a barmcake, mind, guacamole is an optional extra" at a reasonably priced £2.99.
"we dig a big hooole in t'beach at about half past seven in t'morning when there's only dog walkers around and set up spit. In trials we've found that donkey isn't favourable to spit, and tends to make a bit of noise. We don't want to attract further attention from t'council, hence the early hour. Dog walkers don't seem to mind. and t'seagulls make enough racket t'drown out protests from donkey. Seagull's will 'ave to wait for pickings - they can eat from what the punters leave be'ind later. We've big sticks to fend them off. Aye...both. But there's nowt to compare wi'it."
When questioned about the sustainability of such an enterprise, Eli said he had a tie-in with the local donkey sanctuary, and there were other similar providers only too keen to help. "We all know there's a recession on, so I'm happy to help them. They've only so much capacity and I can shift the surplus. There's no requirement that t'animals have to be good with kids, so it's win-win."
Do the public like the burgers? "It's early days, yet. We're still experimenting to find t'right marinade, but we'll get there, I'm sure. We've already taken the decision to imprint BLACKPOOL on the barmcake rather than the donkeymeat filler and are in negotiations with Morrisons.