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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mayenne weekend

Ahh bliss. Home alone. Wifes away alpaca sitting for a few days at' La grand mere' so the music is up a few volume notches and no dissaproving comments to be heard.
Spring seems to have sprung and we enjoying some great weather at the moment. It's amazing the difference a bit of sunshine does. A tonic for the soul, fueling the incentive to get on with the endless list of jobs 'pending'.which, after seven years hasn't got any shorter!
We did manage our first weekend away for some time though albeit mixing business with pleasure as we delivered a couple of alpacas to Ian and Karen in the Mayenne. Our plan for an early start was scuppered as the electricity supply blew just as we were about to go,and not thinking it very fair to leave Jake in the dark all weekend had to get an electrician sorted before we went.
We arrived at Chailland just in time for lunch. Jake had rang.The electrician had been and gone. I had left a blank cheque fearing the worst. It was the kettle shorting out the circuit. The bill? Five euros! FIVE euros.
I think I'll use him again!
After the alpacas were settled in we were treated to home made elderflower cordial, home made bread,home made moussaka,home made lentil and cheese loaf,home made cherry wine, and home made bakewell tart.
Very scrummy. They had embraced the self sufficiency ideal to an envious degree. How do you find the time?

As we were in the area we paid a visit on Clare at Atlantis Alpacas where we were once again wined and dined.
The food was excellent. She would be the first to admit it wasn't all home made but guess what? The dinner service was! and all emblazened with alpacas.How's that for oneupmanship.(Is that a word?)
We talked alpacas into the small hours and retired to a four poster bed passed down through family generations.

Sunday morning,after breakfast we made our way into Normandy for a surprise visit on Norman and Orla at Vaux Hardys and arrived,you guessed it,just in time for lunch!
Things are back to normal now. Jayne's cooked a big pot of curried stew. She said.
"I've made this so you can warm it up for yourself whilst I'm away at Judi's"
"Great,was is it, beef,?"
"Well sort of, - you know thoose packs you can buy in the supermarket marked  'consommation animal seulement ' "
"Dog food?"
"No it's alright it's just the bits they trim off when making up the joints"
"You won't be having any then ?"
"No, Judi's got me some food in"
"Well, thanks babe. How thoughtful"
Think I'll ring Karen and go back and check on the alpacas .If I play my cards right I can get there about lunchtime.!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pontivy Show Time

Well it wasn't exactly the Alpaca Futurity but another weekend spent spreading the good word at the Pontivy Festival of Animals. A two day event featuring everything from snakes to horses. There was an international Cat show in half of the hall with some very strange felines on display. I'm sorry but I can't get gooey over a cat with no fur! Some very well trained donkeys seemed to be the stars of the show doing almost all the tricks you would expect of a dog including rolling over to have its tummy rubbed.

There was also the usual pony rides and a display by a team of sled pulling Huskies although the skis were replaced with wheels owing to the lack of snow.

The last couple of hours on the Sunday and the alpacas were ready to go home. They let you know by waiting by the entry gate to the pen and humming loudly. Dinnadin was so fed up he slumped his head on Daniels back. The alpaca equivalent of of big sigh.
There's only so many photo shoots one can take!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

A helping hand

Every student of a certain age here in France has to work a "stage" A week off from their usual studies and they go out into the big wide world and find an employer that is willing to take them on for a week and let them discover what goes on in their chosen trade.
Our own N° 2 son did his last year at a boutique in Pontivy. Not being of an extrovert personality we thought that being put in a position where he had to engage with the public would  help develop his people/conversational skills.
I'm sure it did to a degree, although his study of the retail clothing trade seemed to be mainly re-folding jumpers!
No surprise then that a 'stageire' whoose chosen career for a week was Alpaca Farming should discover that the alpaca equivalent of folding jumpers is, i'm afraid -- poo picking!

This is Djill Coutiez. No stranger to Quelvehin as it happens. She was born here!( We bought the property from her parents) and hadn't seen her for some time. So when she asked if she could do her stage here we agreed.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view I spent the week away working on a building project so it was left to Jayne to instruct and educate.
A week is a long time when it's one on one especially in a foreign language, and they managed to cover most things including medication,fleece skirting,halter training etc..;
A good Stage presentation goes a long way to acheiving your BAC apparently and she wants to come back for three weeks in June when most of the cria will be born.

Also, I am reliably informed she is a very efficient poo picker so that's a bonus!