Monday, 13 May 2013

Diary of a would be alpaca judge

So much has happened since I last blogged, that I am sure to have forgotten lots of it, but here goes...


Forever grateful to the inventor of the satnav; I had a good trip down to Ardingly, ready for the South of England Alpaca Show on Sunday. Rob (Bettinson) had agreed to have me as his apprentice judge for the show, and he and Shirley kindly invited me to join them, and their friends from Lightfoot Alpacas, for dinner. Lots of alpaca chatter of course, however, it was a reasonably early night ready for a busy day ahead.

Sunday and Monday

The sun was shining, the crowds were out, and what a fantastic show. Shirley stepped in as commentator and kept the spectators informed and entertained during the judging, and of course Rob is a master at drawing in the crowds and keeping the public amused. I had such a good time and learnt so much as apprentice judge. Thank you to the organisers and exhibitors for allowing me the time to be taught. Congratulations to Houghton Perry who took Supreme Huacaya (it has been a long week and I haven't wrote down the Suri Champion...sorry).

It was a fantastic weekend all round when Paul emailed a photograph of  Lady Gaga's newly arrived daughter, sunbathing in the Cumbrian sun. Introducing Beck Brow Cats Pyjamas...


I checked out of one hotel and drove to Leighton Buzzard to check into another. The afternoon was spent reading the fleece judging rules and checking out fleece samples for micron recognition... and feeling very jealous of the fact Paul was home with my first cria of the year...thus he was instructed to send more photos...


It was off to C-S Alpacas for the National Fleece Show where I was again apprentice judge. Although it had been planned to be a two day show; Julia was so well organised that Nick (Harrington-Smith) managed to get all the entries judged by that evening. Again I learned loads, including the fact if I am going to be judging fleeces then I need to take anti histamines...I wasn't feeling at my best by the end of the day!


An unexpected free day...but what do you do in Leighton Buzzard...not a I get my nails done whilst Paul helps Galaxy deliver a fabulous Fawn boy...I am getting home sick now


I get a photo of my two new babes...I want to go home...but instead I travel to Bury Equestrian Centre where they are busy setting up for the National Halter Show. After helping setting up some pens, I pop back to the hotel to change, ready for alpaca inspections starting at 3 pm. Michael (Henderson) and I are now getting pretty slick at inspections, having done so many at the NWAG show.

Friday evening saw a good turn out for the BAS AGM.  It was good to see that the majority of those voting were behind our present Chairman and thus we will have some continuity. I was appointed and look forward to joining the team. Thank you for your support if you voted for me. Sorry if you didn't!


Its the first day of the BAS National Halter Show and I am ring steward for Judge Liz Barlow. We are in the female ring so plenty of hormones but no testicular assessment! As always Liz is a pleasure to be with and I managed to absorb plenty whilst getting the odd kick and bruise. There was lots going on, with alpaca agility and numerous fleece and fibre demonstrations and competitions, as well as the halter classes. Unfortunately the dusty floor had set off my coughing and wheezing again, so I managed to find a replacement ring steward for the Sunday whilst I recovered.

This meant that poor Amanda, who had travelled down by train, was greeted by me not at my best. However, plenty of medication, a bath and two cups of tea and we went out again to see the evening activities (if a little late). It was a spectacular event (the pony scurry racing was amazing) and seemed to be enjoyed by all.


Having handed over ring stewarding duties to Gary, Amanda and I had a somewhat leisurely start, arriving at the show around 10am. It was good to get to talk to friends and fellow breeders and get a look at some fleeces that I hadn't seen in the ring. I have been so busy at all the shows this year that I have missed out on this aspect of the shows (i.e my favourite bit...talking and fleece rummaging!)

Paul arrived at the show just as it he hadn't mistimed things...he had our new female Aria in the van, and she was to be joined by Garland and Butterscotch (Butterscotch is not mine but will be on livery... I will tell more another day). Poor Paul he had left home at 6am and we arrived back at Beck Brow at 9.15pm (yes amazingly together despite travelling in separate vehicles). I have never been so tired, so glad to be home, or so full of my life!


I am slowly recovering. I have enjoyed seeing all my alpacas again, and our two new cria especially (who must be amongst the best cria we have had born here at Beck Brow...well done Waradene St Patrick!!!!). Cat's Pyjamas is so full of herself it is hilarious...she has the whole herd running about looking out for her. Galaxy's wee boy (I need a name) was a little constipated so had a soapy enema which did the trick nicely. He is also very friendly and confident. Love 'em!

Today we moved the three weanling females in with the large female group and I so enjoyed watching all the interactions. The three newly arrived girls are in a quarantine group on the other side of the farm...despite being out of sight for St Patrick he knows that empty girls have arrived...and is pacing about and taking his frustration out on poor Snowstorm (his wether friend)

In amongst all my goings on in the UK, we have alpaca news from both New Zealand and Australia; our new fawn male is to be screened next Saturday, then all being well we can start the plans to have him transported over here (to arrive early September). In Australia our fabulous Cambridge Stargazer has just had a date with the awesome EP Cambridge Peruvian Spartacus (sire of Cambridge Navigator amongst many others). The aim is to have her here for Spring 2014...keeping the excitement going....

I will try for some up to date cria photos tomorrow...sunshine is forecast!


  1. Sounds like you've had a great time. Typical the girls wait till you've gone and produce for Paul!

  2. Busy old week eh?! Love the photos of Beck Brow 'Pussy's Jim-Jams' - what a beaut. Congrats on being on board by the way! Name for Galaxy's wee boy - Andromeda or Darth (!)or Luke! Shirley & Robbie

  3. Whirlwind comes to mind! You, that is, not the new cria! congratulations on several success's. How about Mars for a name?

  4. What a week !! Its been epic...Congratulations on your lovely new arrivals ....what a wonderful surprise to come home to ....excellent choice on the new name ...hope its a good one for the little fella !! ... Jayne

  5. Great round up, great week, you must have learnt so much in a short time. Pity about the hay fever, as one of the afflicted I feel for you. Gorgeous cria, following on Shirley's theme how about Empire, or Emporer?

  6. I think I meant Emperor !!

  7. Those cria are so cute! I love Cats Pyjamas as a name!

    Cria look gorgeous - hope the weather is better for them up there than it is down here.

  9. Congratulations on being appointed to the board! What a fabulous week, but how lovely to go home to those gorgeous cria - they both look stunning! :) Lisa

  10. A gruelling schedule, but I know that you would have loved every minute - even with the coughing and sneezing! Lovely crias!