This weekend The Mighty Patou have done something that we have never done before. No, no, we haven't been racing camels around Regents Park or doing dolphin impressions in the local fish and chip shop, neither have we been running naked through the streets of Nairobi nor attending a Royal wedding. No, it was something to do with alpacas ....... and it wasn't rude.
We have been to an alpaca auction. Not only that but we went with a very small budget, and when I say small I mean small. Actually we weren't expecting to bring any alpacas home, we had gone to experience an alpaca auction, nothing more. But the story doesn't end there people, as it would be a very dull story. No, although we had very little money and no expectations of buying we did end up with two female alpacas. How did that happen?
Firstly, it would be impolite not to mention that the Alpaca auction was the dispersal of the Collabear herd. Now I dont know David and Elaine very well, we have spoken briefly at various alpaca shows over the years, nothing more than that, but I think I know good people when I see them and I know that they are good people who have taken extremely good care of their alpacas over the years. You see people handling their alpacas and you just know. I also know that they are the very proud owners of Collabear Albert, who has one of the best coloured fleeces I have ever seen. I know that because a few years ago after he had won somewhere (I can't remember where) I went over and had a look at his fleece. So I knew that they were keen coloured alpaca breeders. I also knew that we would not be buying Albert for two reasons, firstly we had no hardly any money and secondly we have our own brown boy, who we happen to think is rather special.
So why did we go? Well we were invited to go by friends Ivan and Gill from Old Stour Alpacas. In fact we all went up the day before and stayed in a rather decent pub nearby. Good nosh and wine was consumed. We all scrutinised the auction catalogue and marked the alpacas we would love to have, the ones we would like to have and the ones that we would be happy to take home at the right price. The tension mounted. The following day over 50 alpaca breeders turned up. There would be competition. Bugger.
To cut a log story short we came away with ten alpacas between us. I have to say that Ivan was a joy to watch as he bid for and won several nice alpacas. I did bid, successfully, through Ivan, for a brown female and a brown female with a nice fawn cria at foot (we get the mum, Ivan and Gill get the cria, it was spur of the moment deal type thing). You really have to think and make decisions quickly at an auction I can tell you!
Here is a picture of the collection of alpacas in quarantine back at Old Stour Alpacas. A nice looking bunch I think you will agree.
Now, to the two brown females that will be joining the Mighty Patou. Firstly there is Collabear Victoria. She is on the right in the below picture. As you can see she is medium brown but with a white 'scarf' and a white leg. 'Are the Mighty Patou (you know it's great writing your own blog because you can write words like Mighty as many times as you like!) going in for multi-coloured alpacas?'. Well, no, we are not, for Victoria is quite an interesting female in that she is the mother of Collabear Albert. She has always thrown solid coloured cria and at the price we got her for I thought she was an absolute bargain. In fact I thought that it was a pretty shrewd move. Doesn't happen often, me making shrewd moves, you need to be quick to see them. We will have to wait and see what she can produce for us next year. She was mated just prior to the auction so we will have to see if she has held that. Otherwise we have just the male for her.
The other brown girl is called Joy and has a lovely little Albert cria at foot with a very dense crimpy fleece. Joy, weirdly, also has a white leg (no, I stress again that we are not trying to breed multi's!). Joy also produces solid coloured cria. I saw these two in the ring and saw the price they were going for and just felt a strong urge to bid for them, a nudge to Ivan and he was off, his arm up and down like a piston, a short time later they were ours, job done. Joy is empty which suits us perfectly.
When Ivan had finished and the number of bought alpacas had grown to ten he was literally forced to leave the hall by Gill. Then we had the problem of how to get them home. Ten alpacas in the trailer was a bit of a squeeze especially with a cria, there was a real danger that she would get squashed. However, with a bit of quick thinking and some improvisation they were all skipping around on some wonderfully lush pasture at Old Stour Alpacas just over an hour later.
David and Elaine, if you read this drivel, please be assured that these girls will have a lovely life and will be very well cared for. It must have been a very difficult day for you both. You have our admiration for the way you handled your selves.