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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Permission to blog accepted !!

Its not very often I am given permission to blog, so I better get on with it, before him indoors changes his mind !
After such a busy and stressful week, I was really looking forward to a couple of days away at Vierzon at the weekend. Marie Geneviève of the Alpaga Développement had invited Mary Jo from Bozedown to give a fleece course at her château. So Friday lunchtime Jacques Olivier picked me up and off we set, stopping off briefly at an appointed rendez-vous point to pick up Orla from Vaux Hardy Alpacas. We arrived about 6 .00 and met up at the Auberge Restaurant, a favourite haunt of Marie-Geneviève's, where the food is wonderful and the price is reasonable.
After a few bevvies and full stomachs, we all retired. Mary Jo and her friend excusing themselves earlier as they had been up since 4 am and had had to cope with a tedious hour and a half route around Paris.
The next morning we awoke to a dry and sunny day and headed off to the Château de Rozay. The château itself dates back in parts to the 15th century and is surrounded by its own moat.
Until M.G. brought it, 10 years ago, the château had never been sold. Passing down through the family for generations, until the last countess and is now badly in need of renovation.Entering into the courtyard is like stepping back in time. The ornamental gardens, around the back of the château were a picture with rambling old roses and honeysuckle. Over the stone wall, which surrounds the large courtyard, you enter into an enchanted wood which then leads to further lawned areas, where M.G. can enjoy her alpacas close up. Never have I seen a marriage so perfect, alpacas with the back drop of a 15th century château - one made for the other.
Mary Jo started the course outlining the importance of good conformation, something she feels represents the building blocks of a good, healthy herd from which to build on. During the course of the day ,we were able to get our hands on some pretty outstanding fleeces, that she calls her elite fleeces. Starting with the basic fleece language, she then proceeded to talk through with us her breeding aims and how she achieved them, bringing out Sire and then progeny fleeces from several generations for us to see the progress. Back in October Jacques was lucky enough to win a free mating with Bozedown Period donated by M.G. in the raffle. At that point he had not yet brought his animals, so the mating is still pending. The look on his face when he saw the progeny fleeces of Pernod was a picture, the smile went from ear to ear - what a prize !!
The day for me, was slightly spoilt by the news that little Hope had taken a step back but having one of the biggest breeders in England sitting across the table with advice helped and I realized
that without Plasma I had to accept whatever fate throw our way, as many have done before.
We arrived back in the early hours of Sunday morning, exhausted (Jacque still smiling).
Many thanks to Mary Jo for such an informative course and for making the journey, and also to Gaby and Michel for their translation, which at some times was challenging - what is the correct translation for 'bum fluff' when talking about cria shearing - anyone know ?!!!!

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