One Word Sunday: Mobile

Debbie’s One Word Sunday’ is ‘Mobile’. I remember as a child that my dad would often tell us that we’d have to use ‘Shanks’s Pony’ to get from one place to another. This term which meant using one’s own legs, seems to derive from the Scottish ‘Shanks’ Nag’ mentioned in one of Robert Fergusson’s poems written in the late 18th Century.

In the 1950’s, being mobile meant that we walked to school, walked to the shops and walked to church. My mom and dad both walked to work even after dad got his first car, a tiny Austin A30. Since that time as various forms of transport have become commonplace, everyone just rides from place to place and consequently our legs get much less exercise. We are more mobile, but less active.

My photos for Debbie’s theme ‘Mobile’ were taken in Morocco, where donkeys are the most common form of transportation. These animals not only transport people,

but are also often loaded up to their ears with goods destined for the market, where they and their owners navigate the narrow streets of the souks which are often crowded with tourists. These four-legged taxis and haulage animals are born to work and have a really hard life as an integral part of Moroccan daily life.

Wishing you a relaxing Sunday and hoping we can all become more mobile soon as travel restrictions are gradually lifted.

60 comments on “One Word Sunday: Mobile

  1. you are right about how we are more mobile but less active – hmmm
    and we do try to park far in the back of lots and then have other ways of getting some walking in
    and love the story of the ‘Shanks’s Pony’ ‘

  2. Nowadays if you told a child they had to walk somewhere they would have a meltdown. When we were kids we loved walking as far as we could. I remember we used to walk all the way to this tiny store just to buy a pack of gum and we would walk home chomping away! With technology came laziness!

  3. Poor donkeys, they do seem to be asked to do more than their share. Hopefully they are well fed at the end of their day since they contribute so much to the livelihood of their owners.

  4. I remember the expression “Shanks pony” but I haven’t heard it for a long time. Thanks for the reminder, Sylvia. There are still a few places in South Africa who use the donkey and cart for transport.

  5. “More mobile, but less active” certainly hits the target. I always chuckle at people jockeying to get the closest parking space in a parking lot instead of taking the opportunity to walk a few extra steps. They almost cause accidents as they try so hard for the closest ones. 🙂 Happy week!

  6. Oh my! I do feel for those poor donkeys. I’ve often thought we miss so much by going too fast. Case in point – zooming along on the interstate highways can get downright boring. Taking back roads makes the trip more enjoyable with varied scenery and opportunities to slow down.

  7. Great photos Sylvia…I like to walk as much as possible, so I’m fairly mobile….the poor old donkeys ……. they seem to be overworked where ever they are in the world! Have a happy weekend.

  8. When we went into lockdown in March last year I quit my gym membership and started walking around our neighbourhood every morning. I’m still doing that. It’s a great way to start my day. There’s no need to drive 20 minutes each way to exercise when I can just go straight out my back door. 🙂

  9. That is interesting. I can think of a few benefits for using donkeys for ‘mobile’. For one, I think the size is smaller than a horse and perhaps a better temper for such tasks.

  10. I remember that term – Shank’s Pony. You bought back wonderful memories of walking. Even now, I prefer walking to taking a car, feeling the ground beneath my feet – bracing myself against the snow and sleet of winter and experiencing the warmth of an early evening summer walk. I believe that we will see huge transitions in how we travel, whether to the local grocery store or to a city on the other side of the world. Climate change is a reality – now consumers are seeking forms of transportation that align with caring for our environment. I love traveling with you, Sylvia. Always an adventure, laughter and a great conversation. Sending hugs!

    • Thanks so much, Rebecca. I’m like you in that I need my daily walk, whatever the weather, although sometimes this heat and humidity is a bit too much. I can also go to our gym and walk on the treadmill with the hills of Bali on the screen. I never tire of seeing the children waving, the dogs and roosters running across the lane and the locals going about their daily tasks. 🤗

  11. I remember scenes like this from Greece when I was there in the mid-seventies. I’d prefer not to ride sidesaddle or side-saddleless though. I’d never heard of shank’s nag, but it makes sense. To walk we have to get our shanks in motion. Not nearly as much of that these days.


    • I also have donkey memories from Greece. I rode a pony up a steep, cobbled incline on Santorini. When we arrived at the top there was no one to help me get down and I was frightened he might just turn around and start galloping down the hill with me still aboard, so I jumped off too quickly forgetting to let go of the reins and wrenched my shoulder in the process. 😳

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