Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Dutch Connection

My emotions have been all over the place this week. I have just about covered the whole range from ecstatically happy to down in the dumps miserable as sin.

We have made some decisions this week that could have serious ramifications for the Mighty Patou herd in the next couple of weeks. I don't like to tease but I am holding off for the moment on what those decisions are, suffice it to say that when  I can I will publicise the results of those decisions. It may just be a short sentence or it may be reams of idiotic drivel depending on the result but you will be the first to know. I promise.

The past few days have also been quite exciting tinged with sadness. On Sunday I received an e-mail from an alpaca breeder in Holland. We have been exchanging e-mails and information since then, despite the language barrier (how accurate is Google translator?) and yesterday a deal was finally done.

Patou Sultan (affectionately known as Sultana here) who we put up for sale a couple of weeks ago as a young potential herdsire is going to go and live with some lovely females in Holland. Hopefully next year, when he hits 2 years old he will be 'entertaining' some of them!

Now this is a big moment for us, Sultan is the product of several years of coloured breeding here in Patouland and has a great coloured pedigree. His mother, Patou Penny, is one of our very best brown females and his sire, Lillyfield Jack of Spades needs no introduction anywhere in Europe.

He will be the first future herdsire that we have sold and although we are excited that he will be going abroad to make his mark we are a little bit sad to see him go, he is a lovely boy.

Patou Sultan in March 2012

Now, having never exported an alpaca abroad I was in a little bit of a flap. How would I get one alpaca across the sea to Holland? As with any alpaca query that I have I contacted His Royal Highness The King of Darkness the Honorable Timothy of Inca. As luck would have it, a group, with space for one more, is leaving the UK, bound for Holland on the 6th of December. Sultan was whipped down to Incaland quick smart and is now under the command of the Inca Empire. Once again old twinkletoes has come to our assistance.

Patou Sultan(a), November 2012, aged 16 months. Right must go I am getting a bit unnecessary.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Futures decided

One of the bonuses of having so many male cria last summer was that people fall in love with the boys and we very rarely have to advertise to find our boys new homes. People who want alpacas and don't want to start a breeding herd obviously go for the boys and they do make great outdoor pets, or indoor, it's your choice!

We have never had a problem finding good homes for the boys who don't quite make the grade as herdsire potential and this year seems to be no different. Four boys now have new homes to look forward to and excited prospective new alpaca owners are counting down the days.

Three boys will be going to live in Odstock, just outside Salisbury. Mrs S passes the field that they will be in on her way to work so she will get a nice view of them regularly and will be able to pop in if any problems arise. That's always nice, we do like to keep in touch with members of the mighty herd. The boys are all Qjori boys who for whatever reason haven't quite made it and once weaned and halter trained will be heading off to give years of pleasure to their new owners.

Here is Travis, not a very good photo I'm afraid but the weather is very dreary today so it's the best that I could find.

Travis will be moving with Taz, who did decide to pose nicely a couple of weeks ago. 

Taz and Travis will be accompanied by Talisker, who is a very handsome boy and a real poser, all of the time.

The other boy who will be heading to pastures new is The Mighty Quin. Quin was 'reserved' at a very early age and will be joining previous members of the herd in Hanging Langford where I know he will be spoilt rotten. In fact I may be so bold as to say that he has 'Mummy's boy' written all over him!

All four boys are doing very well and although we will be sad to see them go we know they will be looked after very well.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

U to me are everything, the sweetest.........

I have been thinking again. I know, I know, me, thinking, again. These days I don't think I am meant to do much thinking, I mean maybe I wasn't ever meant to do much thinking. I was created for the following things surely: to push in the scrum, continually and mostly unsuccessfully attempt to sidestep, overpower naughty people, eat too much, drink beer and generally lark about whenever possible? What a wonderfully simple life that would have been.

Maybe things are on the change though, maybe now as the muscles wane and my speed off the mark has reduced to something akin to an ancient steam train setting off from Paddington station on greasy rails it is time to modify, time to diversify if you like, time to start thinking a bit more. Not too much you understand I don't want or need to overdo it, I don't want to burn myself out or anything silly like that. No just some gentle not too taxing thinking, perhaps not even proper thinking, maybe just some harmless musing? Yes that sounds more like it, I shall carry out some low key harmless musing. Right that's settled.

I have been thinking or rather musing rather too much about the letter U. For two reasons really. Firstly Angus has been using my computer a lot to play his computer games, although he is rationed by time on the computer, all our household computers are now password protected to stop any unauthorised access to 'game time'. However, we are not the Gestapo and sometimes the clock runs over and the small boy in the house taps away at the keyboard on my laptop, building fantastical dens and fighting off mutant tree creepers or something similar. Well how does this relate to the letter U? Well the letter U on my laptop is now no longer like the other keys. The letter U is now depressed a little further than the other keys. In other words the little sod has broken my letter U! So if there are words in this blog posting missing a letter U it is because I now have to stab the key with my finger to get it to register! We have had a father to son chat where the words 'treat' and 'property' and 'respect' were used rather a lot so I am hoping the letter U isn't joined any time soon by the letter A or W. He has asked for a laptop for Christmas. Mmmm, we'll see.

Anyway the second reason that the letter U has been the subject of some gentle musings is that next year is our U year. Or is it? Trying to be different we decided to start naming newcomers to the herd with the same letter each year. Doesn't sound too different, lots of people do that. Well for some reason we decided to start, having used no naming methodology for the first three years, with the letter R. I think it was because we decided to start when Qjori arrived and, well R follows Q. However as last year was T, it follows that next year is to be U. Maybe it will be U and V. Or maybe we'll just skip to W? But then we'll be onto X the following year! I must discuss this with Mrs S. This needs thinking about!

So, yesterday I wandered about a bit musing on things and taking a few photographs. Pictured below is Patou Sahara. You may remember that Sahara developed a breathing problem when she was about 6 weeks old. We never fully got to the bottom of it, following tests, x-rays and endless examinations and theories it was eventually decided that she had damaged her phrenic nerve which stopped her diaphragm from working properly. It gradually improved and she is now completely normal. She is also a very pretty girl and with her father being our Cambridge Columbus we are keen to see what she produces next year having been covered by Qjori this year.

I was primarily out to take some photographs of Patou Sultan one of the stars from our show team last year. We have decided to offer him up for sale as a potential herdsire. He does stand out in the paddock and has a terrific coloured pedigree. So photographs snapped, he has now been advertised.

Actually trying to take photographs of Sultan on his own wasn't easy. He has recently struck up a close friendship with Rafiki who insisted in getting into almost every shot. In fact he was not only getting in the way he was posing for the camera the whole time. It has also been decided that Rafiki is staying put here. He will be Qjori's companion or blood donor for plasma or whatever you like to call him. He is just too much of a character to sell. He is a complete muppet.