Thursday, 24 February 2011
Sue was working so after walking the dogs and checking the alpacas Angus and I were back into the Airfix workshop. A Supermarine Spitfire Mk IV and a Messerschmidt 110 were in need of finishing off. A bit of a paint 'touch up' followed by strange stickers that had to be soaked and floated off their backing prior to mounting on the aircraft, brought back memories of my childhood I can tell you!
After this the Airfix workshop table was cleared to reveal the table tennis table that it is (Sue maintains that it is a kitchen/dining room table, but me and the boy know differently, it does have a net afterall!). We then played table tennis with much of the usual hilarity for 30 minutes or so, or until it all got a bit silly if you like. There is a time and a place for a full blown smash I told Angus and it does have to be sort of aimed at the table.
Angus and I then travelled down to a hospital far, far, away to visit an Old Rooster (no need for any further description), we went with gifts of nuts and chocolate and it was nice to cheer someone up. He's out tomorrow so we had to be quick.
Upon our return, via somewhere that sold rather nice bratwursts in rolls, we joined up with Sue who had just returned from work. No resting though as we were out with the alpacas to round them up for a photographic project. Our photographers arrived and I posed with the beautiful Millie who behaved impeccably.
Next we went into 'microchipping mode' which went extremely smoothly. We have changed tactics on chipping this year after Sue heard about a good chip site at the base of the ear in a nice little flap of skin. All chips successfully inserted and checked with the scanner. Nice job, if I don't say so myself.
After chipping we were off halter training which sort of went well. There was quite a lot of running around afterwards, chasing alpacas who were still wearing halters which I have promised not to talk to Angus about anymore, if you get my drift.
It has been a spiffingly bright and sunny day with a high of 14C. The grass is growing and spring is just around the corner, no doubt about it.
Right enough of this drivel, it would appear to be beer o'clock.
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Monday, 14 February 2011
We have been out again today as the sun came out and the show team are really getting the hang of it quite quickly. We have taken a different approach this year. Usually we drag, I mean lead them around the main alpaca field but this year we decided to take them out into new unchartered territory. Right behind our house is a ten acre field which usually has either sheep or turnips in it (we have lots of winter type stews when it's full of turnips). At the moment the field is empty, the gate was open, an obvious invitation.
So we rounded up and separated the show team. We then haltered and began. Initially there was the usual rearing up and general flouncing around on the end of the halter but then they settled down. After a few minutes to get used to the halter situation we were off.
I took the three girls, Runa, Reeya and Ruby May and Sue took the two little boys, Roger and Rico. The dragging began. However, after the initial twenty yards to the gateway they all became quite interested in what was for them a bit of an adventure.
I led the way with the girls and Sue followed with the boys. After a gentle stroll around the field Saturday's stint was over and all seemed happy. The only one who seemed to be still resisting was the carthorse that is Ruby May. I wasn't exactly dragging her but she wasn't exactly making it easy for either of us.
Today, however, they all seemed to get the hang of it and we did two very pleasant circuits of the field. Happy days!
On top of the hill we stopped for the obligatory blog photograph.
From left to right: Ruby May, Reeya, Rico, Runa, Sue and Roger.
I had taken the little Canon with us but the batteries went flat as soon as I switched it on, marvellous, for a moment I thought it was going to be one of 'those' days where the world was against me. I'm sure you know the sort. The sort of day when just about everything gets on your wick and you feel the only remedy is to punch 'the world' right in the face accompanied by some choice expletives. Are you with me? No? Just me then.
Anyway out came the Blackberry as back-up and the snaps were taken.
At this juncture I must point out that Sue is not a Wookie. It was a very windy morning and her hair went a little bit out of control. With my sleek streamlined look I had no such problems, obviously.
After that we nipped out for a very pleasant pub lunch to celebrate Valentines day together. What a splendid day.
Tomorrow the day job beckons so the damp all encompassing blanket of misery that envelopes me will return. One day. One day.
Thursday, 10 February 2011
You may have wondered who this Lampwick Sidley is. It is an odd name, indeed you might think that it is a made up name. Well I can reveal that it is. His real name is Graham. No really it is.
He is a good friend of mine and he obviously has a little too much free time on his hands. He certainly rivals if not exceeds my levels of childishness. We have been mistaken for each other by some of our less observant colleagues. He is taller and slimmer than me. We are both largely bald and sport dodgy goatee beards I suppose but really? Our 'look' will undoubtedly come back into fashion one day.
So back to Lampwick Sidley who, in his comments, professes to know very little about alpacas. Well you may be surprised to know that he knows a little bit more than he lets on.
Lampwick, I mean Graham, has actually been in the show ring with two of the Mighty Patou's females. Not only that but with his assistance, or despite his incompetence more like, one of them picked up a reserve colour championship.
Above, Lampwick can be seen with Patou Amelie prior to entering the ring at last years BAS Spring Show in the intermediate brown female class.
Now that Amelie has taken the reserve champion ribbon, he loses the shades and starts to take a bit more notice.
Thanks Lampwick, good work, now don't stop being silly there's a good boy.
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
This year we will have our biggest show team ever, only five alpacas, small to some but big to us. This will be our fifth year in the show ring and our biggest show team to date has been three. We are in unchartered territory here. We will have to be right on top of our organisational skills. We will have to be calm, collected, dare I even say it, professional in our approach. I will have to lower my excitement levels considerably.
For I am excited. It is only just over four weeks until The Futurity. How will the team do? I have no idea. Actually, I have some idea. An idea that is based on the facts in front of me.
I have looked at the show team in great depth over the past few months. Their fleeces have all changed, some for the better, some for the worse. They may change again.
What I can say with some certainty is that this is the best show team we have ever had. We have stepped up a gear. I know, or at least I presume that everyone else, the opposition, will have improved on what they had last year. If not people, watch out, you are in for a kicking. That's how good we are!
Alright enough of the breast beating, they'll be plenty of time for that when we get underway.
So this morning I have been out with the camera with varying degrees of success. It is a dingy morning with a touch of drizzle in the air.
The first picture is of Patou Runa, daughter of Patou Lily, my favourite alpaca in the whole wide world. She will be in the junior black female class and I know for sure that she will not win. We shouldn't be taking her really but I entered the team early. She will not win because she will be beaten by another member of our team, more on that further down the page. Runa doesn't like to pose for the camera, but she is lovely.
Next up is Patou Roger Resilient, our entry in the junior brown male class. I suspect this may be a tough class for little Roger, he will have his work cut out. He is pictured with Patou Rico.
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Anyway, no pictures unless you want to see more of Qjori? I have loads? Yes? No? Maybe? Why not? Are you saying he's not the most handsome alpaca in the world? Not the right colour? How dare you? What's up with you?
How about a head shot? Ok one head shot and no more. He's mine and he needs rationing to you lot.
I think I may have had one too many cups of coffee today.
So, what news here in Patouland. Well, we have been busy. Things have been occurring here. Weaning to begin with. All ten mothers have now left the main field for a top secret location where they can graze peacefully without a large fluffy bonce hitting them in their underneath dangly bits every couple of hours. The babies are left with all the pregnant maidens and the boys and they don't seem to be missing their mothers at all. In fact it seems to have given Roger Resilient and Rafiki more time for 'stud muffin' action.
They are both practising their orgling big time. It is like being at some sort of weird rodeo as Roger and Rafiki ride various other cria around the field. Male or female it doesn't seem to matter. Backwards and forwards they trot with various weaners acting like wheel barrows. I love it because it produces my favourite noise in the whole wide world. The weanling orgle. Like a very large bumble bee buzzing angrily in a jam jar. I just love it! When they are both at it, which is quite frequent, the noise is fantastic. I will capture it and it will become my ring tone, which is currently Columbus at full throttle!
Actually this week the mighty Patou has increased in numbers. A very kind offer which we simply couldn't refuse came our way and a small herd has amalgamated with the mighty Patou. When I have time I will post pictures of the new arrivals. It includes two Columbus cria who look fantastic, which is very exciting for us. We still can't quite believe the kindness and trust involved in the offer. We are humbled and very proud to have been chosen. I'm not going to mention names, I just don't think it is appropriate at the moment. Suffice it to say that we have plans for the newcomers, some will stay, some will go but all will be loved. It also means that we now have twelve cria due this summer which in turn means that we are going to be growing pretty quickly over the next few years.
We will have to change our herd motto from 'You don't have to be big to be mighty' to 'We're big and mighty, so watch out!' or maybe 'Come on then it's go time punk!' Mmm........perhaps not.
Right, there's a chicken in the oven that smells rather good, Sue and Angus are due home soon so I must clear up a mess somewhere that I will have undoubtedly left and not noticed. Ooh and I sense a glass of wine coming on.