I hate big hotels, absolutely detest them. Stuffy, hot, claustrophobic, impersonal things full of far too many people. The bounciest beds in the world, the tiniest bins, old televisions, deafening kettles and little packets of everything, everywhere. Thousands of uniformed members of staff robotically doing their best to make our stay 'pleasant' and 'stress free'. Oh, and no stairs, just lifts with mirrored walls. When did all the staircases disappear?
We got a letter in our room from the manager telling us that he had good news for us. The good news was that the bedroom televisions were being upgraded and replaced. Good news? No, not really, because ours hadn't been upgraded. Everybody inside our ancient television was only an inch and a half wide but nine feet tall, everybody. Why tell us that effectively we had been forgotten and missed out on the 'upgrade'. It was a blatant and annoying way of rubbing our noses in some bad news. And another thing, breakfast time. Why, for instance, would you have to queue up so that you could be asked by a woman what room we you in so that she would then know who we were. She then asks another lady to walk us five paces to a table and offer us some orange juice before she tells us where the buffet is and points to table with more orange juice on it. It annoyed me. I don't know why but it did.
Anyhow, we were in a hotel (it was a Hilton if you're interested) because we were attending The British Alpaca Futurity at something called the NEC.
So to the show, how did it go? Well it was the biggest and best Futurity so far with nearly 450 alpacas entered and the quality of those alpacas was right up there with any in the world. Winning rosettes was tough but with a show team of five we were delighted to come away with four rosettes.
We took a fifth place rosette in the junior black female class with Sabrina which was a great surprise considering she was a late substitution for Reeya.
We took a sixth place rosette in the junior brown male class with lovely little Woody, a Columbus boy. The judge commented on the lack of fleece that he had (he was cria shorn) so I am predicting that he will do better in later shows.
In the intermediate brown male class we had Roger Resilient who took the fourth place rosette and Rafiki who took third place. Not only that but Rafiki took the unofficial title of the tallest alpaca in the show.
Even Val Fullerlove commented that she could look him straight in the eye. He was a bit mischievous too and Sue had a bit of a job keeping him under control, much to the amusement of a group of northern folk!
We are very happy with the results we got and enjoyed the show immensely. However, it may have appeared to some that at the time I wasn't as happy with our results as I am now declaring.
Allow me to explain.
As soon as the show team was selected I have been fighting with myself.
I have been attempting to keep my feet on the ground and not get carried away with my imaginings. Sadly I have once again failed miserably, its the same every year. At night I find myself dreaming about the team
When I am awake I am constantly day dreaming about the team winning everything despite trying to stop myself. No matter how hard I try I just can't see anything other than a clean sweep of first places. It is really, really irritating. I even tell people that we won't do well but secretly inside I am picturing myself surrounded by ribbons and rosettes. Seriously, second place never even enters my head!
As a result I am always disappointed if we don't get awarded first place (and I'm sure that I'm not alone).
It is only when I sit back and think about what we have done, after I have gone round and looked at the
alpacas that have beaten us that I can say be satisfied with our results. And let's not forget there were several show teams at the futurity that were almost double the size of the entire Patou herd!
So we return to fight another day, very proud of our little team, our Mighty little Patou Show team!
Now to the next show, Alpaca 2012 in a few weeks at The Hand Equestrian Centre. I am already planning complete domination!
Oh yeah, and we're not moving to France anymore....................apparently we're moving to Northumberland!