Tim was moving the entire 130 alpacas in one go and had booked an enormous truck to do the job. When I say 'to do the job' I mean to transport them to the new Inca HQ. That was the easy part. The main part of the job was loading the little darlings onto the truck in the first place.
I had a vision of them happily trotting up the ramp when given a little 'wayup' from behind. I'm sure Tim with his naturally optimistic view on life shared my vision.
In reality it was a very long way from that. The alpacas were sorted out into groups, stud males, mothers and babies, lardy girls (heavily pregnant), and the rest. The first group of 30 animals was mustered behind the truck and the ramp was lowered.
Guess what, not one of them wanted to get on, not one of them even wanted to get near, several wanted to spit, sit, run, jump, fly, climb a tree, anything but walk up a ramp into a cavernous big truck. We pushed, when I say we I refer to Timbo, myself, Trevor (Tracey's Dad) and a very bemused lorry driver, we pushed, shouted, whistled and cajoled to no effect. I'm sure at one point a death threat was issued. We regrouped and somehow the collective team that we had become formed a plan of attack. No-one seemed to say much but we attacked it once again slightly differently. I don't know how it was different, I don't really know what we did that we hadn't already tried but one by one those fluffy bottoms disappeared up the ramp into the void. Spirits were raised, smiles were seen, even jokes were cracked as we realised that this could be done, we would succeed.
The next group were easier, a few were slightly reluctant but slowly and surely the truck filled.
The clever bit that once the truck was fill it was time to raise the whole lot upstairs so that the rest of the herd could be loaded on the ground floor.
I walked to the front of the truck and manfully took the handle of the winching mechanism. Pretty soon my hands were working in a blur, the wheel whirred as I stuck to the task like a man possessed. Beads of sweat formed on my forehead as I worked that winch like a highly skilled winchman on a big racing yacht.
There was the smell of burning oil as the mechanism heated up. The entire floor started to rise, slowly at first but as I settled into a steady rythmn the speed increased and the floor with 70 alpacas on it hit its mark halfway up the wall of the truck. The floor rested back onto its mounts and I fell back off the handle totally spent, I could give no more, the job had been done. A cheer rose from the gathered crowd as..........................sorry couldn't help it, it was Trevors fault.
What actually happened is that the truck driver pressed a button and the floor went up. Not very exciting.
The second floor of alpacas was a doddle, they went in practically jumping over each other to get to the ramp, well not quite but it was much better. Soon the truck was full and we were heading our separate ways. The Inca tribe heading west with the truck, Angus and I returning to the mighty Patou herd.
The truck was awesome. Sadly I didn't have my camera with me so when me and the wee fellow returned home he drew a picture for the blog. He's a dab hand with a pen that boy.
As you can see it was a large red truck, a double decker of course with a large ramp at the back. As you can also see there are some very happy alpacas gaily trotting up the ramp.
Somehow I don't think Angus was paying attention. Or maybe he just sees things differently to the rest of us?