Monday, 28 February 2011

Back to the jobs list.

It was back to it today; catching up on emails and ticking some of the tasks off the list (well, I did make a list but I seem to have mislaid it...things must be getting bad...the need to have a list and then to remember where the list I think that they were tasks off the list). I did remember to post the fleeces for The Futurity any way.

Amanda came this morning and we gave everyone their AD & E paste (the last before going on to injectable). Everyone condition scored well despite the winter that we have had. I can never resist checking out everyone's fleeces, so it does take much longer than necessary. We also took the weanling out on their halters; everyone has it perfected now and they really enjoy getting out and about. We also checked the microchips of Explorer and Roma at the weekend ready for the show (present and correct) and did a little trimming around their eyes.

Explorer seems to have got naughtier since we have been away. This appears to have come about since we seperated Finian, Noah and Kenzie. I think Fin was probably the leader of the weanlings in his own quite self-assured way. His Mum Holly is the same. Always cool and avoids any disputes, but I am sure she is the matriarch of the main herd - she just gets Katkin to do her dirty work! Anyway, now that Explorer thinks that he is the main man within his group (he is actually the only man now) he has taken to standing in the trough to make himself taller and 'pouffing' on his fellow wealings (his future harem...not the best way to make an impression!)

We also moved some of the ponies. I always feel mean but the little Shetlands put on weight at the drop of a hat and are very prone to getting laminitis, so it was back to limited grazing for them. I hadn't realised until after we had got the headcollars on that Amanda had thought that we were going to herd them. She confessed later to having a fear of horses and to never having led one before...another phobia cured!

I am starting to feel like the Queen with her two birthdays; a beautiful hand tied bouquet of orchids and roses arrived today from friends, and Amanda bought me a gorgeous Cross pen. I am liking these big birthdays! It is Craig's birthday tomorrow so someone else's turn.

St. Patrick's show ribbons arrived from Waradene Alpacas whilst we were away (Sharon very kindly offered them to us to keep). I have promised a photo of him in his 'curtains'. We just need a sunny day now and a lot of patience. I imagine that it isn't going to be an easy task!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

A Welcome Home...

It's always nice to get home and back to the old routine. Even after a relatively short break (10 days this time) I always imagine lots will have changed; which usually isn't the case. However, I had a lovely surprise waiting for me on my return this time. Before we left Robyn and Craig had casually mentioned "shall we just give you your birthday present when you get back...something to open after your hols?" Unbeknown to me they had been doing some planning:

I spotted my new sign straight away...I had to do a double take of's even got our own logo on... what a thoughtful pair they are...I love it! 

Explorer was extremely pleased to see me of course...or was it Tyke he was running to greet...didn't manage to get all of him in the photo, but that is quite a display of excitement for Gorgeous!

Definitely looks like Tyke is the object of their interest...missed him eh!

Both Roma and Explorer look even dirtier than I remember. Their fleeces are certainly not looking their best, but as they make up the total sum of our Futurity show team, they will still be going. I am amazed to see that there are 380 entries in the halter classes! Great to see that confidence is generally restored with 54 breeders taking part. The good news is that with that many entries we can hide! I was also surprised that only 120 fleeces had been entered in the fleece show despite this being open to European breeders (not as high as the Scottish National). On Monday's list; post fleeces.

Of course the 2010 British Alpaca Futurity will always bring back good memories for us; as this was the year we successfully bid for EP Cambridge Lady Gaga, at the elite auction. She continues to hold herself in very high regard (photo below) I am interested to see what is going to happen when she is integrated into the main herd...I suspect that Hoity Toity will be having none of it...after all there is only room for one princess...isn't there?

EP Cambridge Lady Gaga.

There will be no auction excitement for us this year, as I have hopefully made our (do you like that: I becomes our!) last purchase for a while. I am just waiting for the vetinary certificate and pregnancy confirmation, so I will not tempt fate by saying anymore just yet.

I have to say I did get a sweet welcome from Caramella (one of Amanda's girls!) As she is coming towards me you can see Lady G heading off nose in the air!

Cambridge Caramella

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A blog from India...



Staying in 'The Club' at The Leela, Kovalam, Kerala. Sheer luxury!

We had been greeted by our Butler; "our wish is his command". Day 2 and I begin to feel the pressure...I get up a little earlier every morning to ensure that the room is up to his standards...toiletries lined up in descending order of height just as he likes them...but he always finds something to add...I worry about the Butler...any request at home is met with: "And what did your last one die of"...I don't want to cause him an early death!

Fantastic Birthday!


More sheer luxury and incredible service.

Caught cough and cold on plane but nothing problematic.


Enjoyed a meal of  "freshly caught King prawns" pan-fried to perfection. Paul had King Fish.


12.30 am. I am not well...started counting the marble tiles in the bathroom to pass the time.

Bad cough when combined with Delhi belly... very very problematic!

I stay in room...Paul stays by my side...I try to persuade him to go to the pool but no...during periods of lucidity I catch the cricket score on TV...not quite so aultruistic then!


9 am...54 tiles in total...have counted them 54 times!

2 pm. I decide to venture out.

Paul is concerned. "Should you..." What is it? Should I be going out when I feel so weak?...No..."Should I be wearing white trousers under the circumstances?"...forever the romantic is Paul!


Another message from home:

Alpacas all fine. Dogs happy.Everyone enjoying their hols. Wish you were here!



Feeling I must try to get a tan before it's time to go home.

Always a glass half full; I look on the bright side. With the cheapest non-local wine at 100 pounds per bottle I have saved some money and maybe lost a few pounds in weight as well. Nothing is all bad!

See ya later xx

Monday, 14 February 2011

Romance is in the air...

Happy Valentine's Day!

It will come as no surprise to any one…I know that I wear my heart on my sleeve ....but I love my man: Beck Brow Explorer that is!

There are number of reasons for this;

• He so easily could have died. Things were a bit and touch and go when he was born.

• He is the only male cria that we are keeping this year so I have diverted more of my affections his way.

• He is hilarious…he is grumpy…he is full of pouffe…he pulls faces…and he took a while to grow into his looks (some might think that he still hasn’t ...but they would be wrong!) For all of these reasons I have always called him Gorgeous (meant to be ironic).

Well, I spotted the perfect Valentine’s card for him. Especially for Gorgeous:

I found it in the Tesco store whilst looking for a ‘darling husband’ card…one that wasn’t too nice (he wouldn’t have believed it!)…and for some reason at the checkout I felt compelled to explain…two Valentine cards! not two men, one is for my alpaca…that will be okay then!!...probably thought that I had been up the sherry aisle.

Look I'm in a holiday can think me mad if you want to...I don't care...the cases are packed. I'll miss him boy!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Paul spots some dark fibres!

Yipee...bring on the has been one long week. Paul has been away since Tuesday morning so I have had nobody around to help with the heavy tasks (well actually that is not absolutely true...I recruited an old wheelchair...very useful for getting the feed bags from the feed shed to the barn!) so it was good to see him home.

I am not sure if the feeling remained mutual, I have to say. Unfortunately Paul pulled back the bedcovers with the light on last night. I do have to admit there did seem to be some dark looking fibres in there...along with a bit of grit and a soft toy. Now I know that Paul does not read this blog. I know this because he was asking questions on his return that he would have known the answers to if he did so...therefore I can share...this was how I found Velvet when I woke yesterday morning...yes she is upside down...yes the sheets are now in the wash!

Velvet taking up Paul's side of the bed!

We are just waiting for Robyn and Craig to arrive to go through a few alpaca updates, before we head off to India (later next week). We are very fortunate that they take their annual leave in order to look after the farm for us. Mum, Dad and Amanda also kindly help out. There will be no changes to the routines, so private diners will still be catered for. Spoilt alpacas?...No.... just individualised holistic care!

We are going to give most of the herd their routine Cydectin injections today (to cover for worms and mites). The weanlings will be left until we get back as Explorer and Roma need to have theirs within 14 days of going to the Futurity. Lady Gaga and friends will also be left until they come out of quarantine and before they join the main herd (probably next month).

I see that the Futurity stud services auction is back up and running after the hacking incidence. What is going on...who would target alpaca services!?? The select auction appears still to be unavailable, although I see that EP Cambridge have their auction female on their website...a Navigator daughter no less!

The trek to the post box is getting more interesting. As I am actually on holiday for my Fiftiest birthday (I've stopped saying 'big birthday'...just in case people think that it is an even bigger one) cards have been trickling in all week. Yesterday I received a surprise greeting from Australia...after a bad experience earlier in the is great to know how nice the majority of people really are.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Decisions...and indecision.

It was an early start yesterday. Everyone was fed; shelters were cleaned; dogs were walked; in record time, as I was off to see some potential additions to the Beck Brow herd. The brief that I had given to the breeder was that I was interested in one, or possibly two, young females, preferably black but I would consider dark brown. The intention was to find a wife or two for our black male (Viracocha Black Sabbath). Now my preference is for fawn (despite breeding white this year!) but I felt injecting a little deeper tones would be rather nice. However, unfortunately nobody fit the bill. Now, maybe this is because my heart really lies with the fawns...or maybe I just haven't found the right girl yet...we will see!

So after a day of trying to make decisions. I arrive home to a message from Paul at the Halifax Spinning Company requiring more decisions. Fleece all much do I require in each ply and in each colour? Do I want some balled or all on cone? Washed/ unwashed? How many throws do I think I will sell? How much yarn does our designer need? After about four phone calls during which I kept changing my mind...I think it was Paul who actually made the final decision...some of the yarn will be left as one ply and then further plied when I see what I need!

Our entries for the Futurity photo competition are in the post. I realised when I was filling in the form and came across the space for the name of the photographer, that Paul had in fact selected four photos all taken by him! Well he is taking the credit...I can't actually remember who took which photo...however as I am in one of the photos he might be right! My favourite entry: Beck Brow Jenson at just a few hours old...yes black...and sold!

Beck Brow Jenson...named after the man himself...speeding at just a few hours old!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Rain scuppers purchase plans.

It has rained here relentlessly; four days and four nights. Not just drizzle...I am not one for it has been non-stop cats and dogs. There is a wet patch on Ben's bedroom ceiling...wet patches on floors we do get...but this can not be blamed on the dog. The ladders have been out. Nothing to see. No slates off. Obviously it has just been so wet, combined with severe wind, that water has managed to sneak in. More jobs on the list...ceiling paint required.

This however is not the real reason for the 'grumpy old woman' attitude. see rain has stopped play...or stopped the shopping to be precise. I was going to view a couple of females today...but they are having a bad hair day...caught without an umbrella I believe! Maybe I need to keep my pennies for roof repairs any way!

Stuck inside for most of the weekend (Paul kindly did the point in us both getting wet!) I decided to look through all our alpaca see if I could find some to enter in The Futurity photo competition. I have chosen four that have now been sent off to Photobox (well I did choose six but Paul vetoed two of them). One of the ones to pass the Paul test is the photo of Robyn and Minnie (below), Although, it is not the most flattering shot of Robyn (should have brushed her hair) I do think that Minnie looks rather sweet. However, now that I have had a better look, it does rather appear as if  Minnie is checking out Robyn for nasal hair! Still nice and summery when it's raining outside...did I say that it was raining!

Robyn and Minnie.

We did do a little moving around at the the rain...Finian, Noah (yes we interrupted his ark building) and Kenzie have been separated into their own little group. This is in preparation for their delivery to their new home next month...there is an added bonus to this decision I have to more chewing of Explorer's fleece by Finian...although I do think that it is a case of stable doors and bolting horses!

Friday, 4 February 2011

More acquisitions...

Since the arrival of luscious lips, I seem to be a roll of acquiring things that I didn't know that I needed. Not from EBay this time and no hints of tangerine:

My Father is busy cleaning out his for most people this would mean the disposal of the odd plant pot or two...but not my father. In addition to becoming very well acquainted with the man at the scrap metal merchants...he has also found something that he thinks "might be of some use to me"...what is it that you might find in a shed?...a portacabin no less!...well half a one to be precise (still 20 feet long and a long story) It has been suggested that Paul will need to get his tools out to finish the job (I will inform him at some point) but a very handy new feed store I can never have too many sheds!

Next problem is going to be getting it down our narrow lane...nothing that the removal of a bit of fencing and the chopping down of a tree or two won't solve. The tape measure will be out later today.

On the subject of building; Finian, Kenzie and Noah are going to be living in luxury at their new home in Yorkshire. I have just seen the architectural's a bungalow not a shelter...lucky boys. I'm going to have to train one of them to put a log on the burner...and as for putting the toilet seat down! It is lovely to know that they are going somewhere so nice.

It was more alpaca chatter yesterday with a visit to Northumberland to see friends Kathryn and Paul at Nero Black Alpacas. I nearly booked myself in for Bed and Breakfast we had so much to chat about, but did get back in time for the evening feeds. Another fantastic show team. I got to see my favourite girl; Nero Black Galaxy, their lovely brown female who is looking as good as ever. A little hay decoration in the junior team...not quite in Roma's league... but at least I won't be alone!!

No photos as it raining yet again. The alpacas are back using the shelters all night so the morning round does take twice as long with all the mucking out...I guess poovering should be has to be cleaned up somewhere along the line at the end of the day!

I had to do some adjudicating yesterday morning whilst cleaning out the weanling barn. Explorer has perfected his 'pouffe' with follow through. Poor Lucie seems to be on the receiving end far too often. I have had words. We want him to be macho but he must share his 'pouffes' fairly and not pick on individuals. I will monitor this morning...gosh it is looking grim out there...must get going.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Luscious lips has arrived!

Our mail delivery isn't quite as efficient as it used to be...I do however have a dog with four I am not complaining. However, this morning after the trek to the lane end, I find a note to say that three parcels (that were too big to fit in the box!!) could be collected from the post office in the village. So back down the lane and into the car!!

Now these parcels could have been a number of things. Yes, I made the mistake of looking on Ebay for a wool winder...cost £ cost? Still unsure; lots of bids still active! Amongst the things 'won' (strange that you still pay even though you have won them) was a head...a display head...a head for displaying hats not yet made...a head that as I pressed the 'buy now' button I notice was described as having " luscious tangerine coloured lips"...oops. So, I was a little concerned that she might resemble something from an 'adult only' kind of shop...and was hoping that the packaging was not going to get me talked about in the village.

Well here she is...rather too much make up for the farm but not too bad...probably would look quite fetching in the right hat! She is displaying a rather nice scarf designed and knit by my mother...Amanda and I have put our orders in! ...The wool winder also arrived and a tailors dummy...what will tomorrow bring I wonder!

Luscious lips!

As I am typing, I have noticed a slight aroma around is not Velvet (who does eat too quickly) and it is not floral. The explanation;  Explorer has taken to amusing himself by is more of a 'pouffe' than a proper spit...but he has been practising...usually it is aimed at his 'friends' but this morning he looked at me straight in the eye and gave me a little 'pouffe'...obviously practise makes perfect as I smell like the biz...I swear that the corner of his mouth curled up into a little smile straight afterwards. I call him gorgeous...Robyn calls him that little b****r!!

Oh...forgot...also ordered a couple of sheep attire for the junior show team...a tip given by someone from down under who knows about these things...more wasted money?..we will see!