Friday, 23 September 2011

Tired, happy, but now a bit fuming!

Ok so here I am again with what has become a weekly blog posting.
Actually I am in a bit of a mood as I write, in fact I have tried to shake off my ire but it is nestling within me like a bad prawn jalfrezi. I am hoping that writing this blog will be therapeutic and the act of committing some alpacaness to screen will calm me down. If not Sue will badger me into a good mood, she does that you know. It's like being attacked with a large tickle stick, only not with Ken Dodd on the other end of it.

Anyway the title of this particular posting starts with the word 'tired'. I am tired (maybe that's why I am in a strop?) because I was up at 4am to turn in at the day job. This morning at 6.47am precisely the sun rose in the east and caused something special to happen at Stonehenge. I don't know what, I don't much care. Suffice it to say that because of this 'event', known as the Autumn Equinox, several hundred people feel the need to go to Stonehenge and experience the sun coming up over the Heel stone or something and therefore someone like me has to be there in case someone does something silly. No-one did which was splendid, the sun rose, everyone went aah, or started chanting, job done. It was a beautiful morning so there was the screeching of tyres as I set off in search of a nice bacon butty. Marvellous. That's why I am tired.

Anyway the rest of the day flew past (pretty darn busy once the bacon had settled) and because of an early start I was blessed with an early finish. A dash home, a quick cuppa with Mrs S and then it was out into the field to bag a few photographs of the cria in their new paddock.

Here is a picture of some mighty alpaca cria. Aah. Now I almost feel like chanting.

A happy time spent lolloping around amongst the alpacas with the camera, snapping at will.
Now you may have noticed a cria in the above photograph wearing a coat. The reason for that is that the Mighty Patou Show Team has been selected. Yes, selected. Not just, 'Right everyone in who's eligible', no an actual real selection process has taken place here. There has obviously been some big disappointments and some jubilation along the way but all have now resigned themselves to their fate. I did make it clear that just because you haven't been shorn doesn't necessarily mean that you don't go to a show. It sort of gives them all a bit of hope, they bucked up a bit after that.

So, introductions. First up is Patou Sabrina. A full sister to Patou Ruby-May who did so well for us last year, mother Bobby (a Mateus girl) and father, Lillyfield Jack of Spades. Next to her on the right is little Sandstorm, he was a bit miffed to miss out on selection and was less than happy with the 'We don't do fawns' line.

Next is Patou Spirit, Sue's little favourite, mother Patou Fifi (a Wiracocha's Dream girl), father our boy Columbus, Herr Clumpmeister. Spirit is absolutely lovely.

So we've had the two girls, now to the two boys. Some of you may remember Sherwood, aka Woody, from an earlier posting when we almost lost him to a bad chest infection when he was about a week old. Well good old Woody is thriving (despite having  unresolved 'issues' with his mother) and is a very handsome chap with a cracking fleece. His mother is Patou Minstrel, a Jack of Spades girl and his father is Mr Clumpington (Columbus). Woody belongs to Angus, who is going to halter train him and lead him into the ring as a junior handler next year.

Lastly, but by no means least is Patou Sultan, not Sultana, Sultan. He is another Jack of Spades boy and his mother is Patou Penny, a Witness girl. He is the business (please ignore the badly hanging coat), I would actually say that he is the best that we have ever produced. He is a cracker. Watch out people, he's coming to a show ring near you next year. Be afraid, be very afraid, The Sultan, NOT Sultana, is going to cause a scene. Oh crikey now I've done it. Sultana, I mean Sultan also belongs to junior Patouman and will also be halter trained by him.

So there we have the happy but of the title.
Sadly the 'fuming' bit of the title will not be explained, Sue won't let me tell you. She's probably right.
Now where's that tickle stick?

Friday, 16 September 2011

Here we are.........back again!

So I am back with another of my incredibly regular blogs. I appreciate that some of you may have thought that I had fallen off my perch, been carted away by the nice men in white coats or just simply done a runner, well, I haven't. I'm still here and the Mighty Patou herd has settled very well into it's new surroundings thank you very much.
So what have we been up to? Well, plenty really but first a quick report on the Romsey Show.

What a splendid show it was! Expertly organised by Karen Oglesby and Nicki Hayton and very smoothly judged by Tim Hey. Even the rain held off and only chucked it down in the lunch break. It was the first ever alpaca show at Romsey and Karen promises me it will be bigger and better next year! I urge you all, if within striking range, to attend next year. It is a super one day agricultural show in splendid surroundings and a great day out. Suffice it to say that the Steele Family sampled many rather marvellous sausages on the day and came away loaded with bags of goodies, the 'Food Zone' was a very comfortable place to spend time!

We took three boys, the Roger Resilient, Rico and for his first ever outing Rafiki. Actually we completely forgot about halter training him and so we turned up on the day with Rafiki having spent the grand total of about two minutes on the halter! Should be interesting I thought.

Angus and I set off in the dark with the boys whilst Sue remained at home to sort out the dogs, chickens and the remaining members of the Patou herd, more on the 'problems' there in another posting. It was always going to be touch and go whether Sue would make it for the intermediate brown male class, with Roger and Rafiki in the same class I was going to need help. Help arrived, or so I thought in Trevor, father-in-law to the judge. Little did we know that he couldn't show as he was related to the judge, so he was refused entry to the ring. I was already in there with Roger so could do nothing. Rafiki was then passed to Jay Holland who in turn declared himself 'out' on the grounds that he was a judge and therefore unable to show animals, so it was left to Karen Oglesby to very kindly lead Rafiki in. Of course I was just waiting with relish for him to kick off but even with so little training he was perfect on the halter and looked fantastic!

Rico picked up a 2nd place in the intermediate black male class and then Reserve Champion black male. Roger was awarded 2nd place and Rafiki third in the intermediate brown male class, with Roger securing Reserve Champion brown male. A tidy little quota of rosettes and ribbons from our three boys, we were delighted.

Rafiki is becoming more and more of a character and I fear will be going nowhere, ever. He is destined to stay and keep Qjori company with Roger. We need to keep Roger too because when Qjori is away doing that thing that he does Rafiki will need company. We still have hopes for Roger anyway, he will be in next years show team.
Rafiki, as the below picture shows loves me dearly, especially my head. When you have very little hair, like what I do, you don't need an alpaca removing what is already there!

So to today which is one of those sad ones for us. This morning Sue and I will be delivering three young boys to their new home. They aren't going far, less than ten miles in fact, but they are still going and although we know they will be looked after very well by their new owners, it's always sad to see them go. They haven't been before you understand, it's not a regular thing for these boys to go, I mean it's sad to see any of them go. The departing three are the newly crowned Romsey Show Reserve Champion Black Male, Rico and his chums Rory and Fernando.

Patou Rico

Patou Rory

Tisbury Fernando

And so there we have a quick update. Tomorrow will be another sad one for us as four females depart Patouland headed for their new lives with their new owners. Again not too far away, 20 miles or so.
Sad though it may be, that's what it's all about I suppose.

Right must crack on, much to do!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

I know

Look, I know. I know it has been 9 days since my last posting and I should have put something on here by now but, by crikey, we've been flat out busy dawn till dusk every day.

Not only have we been moving house, full time employment has been ongoing also. A ten hour shift means a minimum of 11 hours away from home (did I mention the fact that my route to work is along the A303 which at the moment is full of sweaty city dwellers heading to or from their second homes in Devon or Cornwall?).
Well I'll be glad when they are all back ensconced in Notting Hill or Chelsea or Kensington or wherever else they have come from and we country folk (Oooh aaargh) can have our roads back!

Once I am home from work its back to the old house, we are still bringing stuff over, the house is now empty and the garden will be by the end of tomorrow but I haven't even touched the field. Sure the alpacas are here, the hay feeders are here, the troughs, water buckets and feed buckets are here but I have two field shelters still to dismantle, transport (somehow) and rebuild, plus I have a shed load of fencing and Wiltshire gates to dismantle. Not to mention tidying up the garden and clearing away general garden crap. It is absolutely amazing how much 'crap' one family can accumulate in 6 years!

As well as all that stuff we are in the middle of the busiest alpaca time I think we have ever had. Now don't get me wrong I am not complaining it just all takes time! Qjori has been doing his thing all over the place as the number of 'booked' outside matings reaches twenty. We have people wanting to buy alpacas, in fact we have just about sold all that were available for sale (that all takes time) and we have the Romsey Show next weekend.

Not only all that but Me, Sue and Angus have just been out in torrential rain giving injections to a poorly alpaca, and there's a chicken roasting in the oven!

So, I apologise, I have been slacking, I promise to return soon with pictures and everything, there is so much to tell!