On our return visit nearly a quarter of a century later I was still wearing the shorts, but this time I was holding my daughter's hand, until she rather predictably got bored of walking and raised her arms up towards me.
The Donkey Sanctuary is on the main route from Newport to Ventnor (PO38 3AA) and it is certainly worth a stop en route.
For those that aren't donkey experts, you can expect to meet: big ones, small ones, young ones and old ones (I didn't note down the exact breeds...), most of whom have cutesy names to encourage you to take up adoption - Chip and Pin were my favourites.
There were no hard selling charity muggers though, just a sign up advertising the option of adoption. There also wasn't the usual trick of selling you animal food that they would have bought anyway, so it felt more like a working Sanctuary that just happened to welcome onlookers.
Round the back we found a couple of horses and sheep, who were presumably meant to be part of the Sanctuary rather than just random animals in an adjoining field.
For those wanting to extend their visit and support the little plodders there is a decent looking cafe selling donkey related stuff and a little charity shop selling the usual selection of ten year old celebrity biographies and - bizarrely - a Queen jigsaw puzzle with two pieces missing.
As a free attraction you wouldn't really expect a full day's entertainment but we spent a happy hour plodding around looking at grey animals on a grey day.