Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Poorly Miliko

We were only aware that our little Miliko was poorly, when he was very sick one evening. Being as dogs are often sick, then run around like nothing has happened, we did not really worry too much about him, at first. The following morning however he got himself positioned under a chair and just would not come out. He would not eat or drink and was still being sick. A trip to our vet Andres was in order and he immediately blood tested him, the results were ready in 10 minutes and he was given some anti sickness medicine and antibiotics. The worrying thing was he was due to have his hip operation a week later. Within the next week Miliko went to the vet a couple more times and was blood tested each time. The worrying thing was as the poor little pup had literally arrived over, or under our fence one day. He had never had any vacinations. The decision was finally made to be patient, allow him to get completely better, then give him his vaccinations, and then arrange his operation after that. Poor little boy!

A poorly Miliko

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Frankie's 21st Birthday

Obviously I made a trip back to Brighton for a lovely week for Frankie's 21st, what a wonderful time we had. I also saw quite a bit of Mark and Callie too. As the girls are both pregnant, it was all fairly low key, but still had a great time. On the day of Frankie's birthday poor Chris had to work, so we had a great girly day. We started off at the Pier, meeting up with our mad mate Micklos who was dj 'ing in the karaoke bar, then moved back down through the pier, gambling on the 2p machines onto the fish and chip shop. It was a lovely day and not too cold so we enjoyed it outside.

Frankie with our friend Micklos

Mmmmmm chippie time!

Unbeknown to Frankie, Chris had arranged for Frankie to have a 'Dior' make over, which was really done beautifully. Half way through it a lady came up to Frankie and asked her name, and then gave her one the most beautiful bouquets of flowers I have ever seen. Chris certainly was the hero of the day, and all the girls in Boots were clucking around him!

The next stop was a lovely family get together at the Thai Elephant. Poor Mark looked rather exhausted after doing a 36 hour shift!

Mark and Callie

I had arranged on the Sunday, a special girlie afternoon, and a party at the wonderful choccie wokiedoodah's. Callie was great at pretending to look interested in practically every shop in the Lanes, as we were running a little ahead of schedule, and the plan was that Frankie's friends would be in there before us. Frankie was very excited looking in the window of choccie wokie's and I said "Let's go in!" Frankie was adamant there was no point as there were no seats available.  We had however booked the boudoir, so we just needed to get her in there. Just at a great moment, some of Frankie's friends happen to look out and catch her eye! Frankie was just ecstatic at this and could not work out how these different friends from school, and the dance world would know each other and be waiting for someone together having a party. At last the penny clicked, and Frankie actually shed a few tears...... that was it, I was off! What a really lovely time we had, it was so lovely to catch up with friends again! The food was gorgeous, but next time, and yes I would love to do it again, I won't talk so much and eat more chocolate!

Frankie and her friends

Montoro's annual Feria

The second weekend in October is the annual feria, which causes huge excitement in town, with decorations and lights, and many people that have left the town come back to see family and friends and enjoy the festivities. We went along about 10pm at met up with our Spanish friends and ate together, then watched whilst their children enjoyed all the rides. At midnight we saw their great fire work display, we are rather getting into the Spanish way of life, and left about 1.30am, would you believe people were still arriving!

The bull ring 

I love the way the Spanish dads get involved

Play time for David and Jesus
Firework Time

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Two mates for Rafa

Alan dashed out, running towards the paddock, one morning, muttering something ineligible! He had spotted Rafa having a very good attempt at mating with his mum, who two weeks previously had given birth to Galaxy. As Cassandra was at her most fertile, even though Rafa was young we could not risk him making her pregnant, therefore a quick trip to Gaucin was decided on, to see our friends Jane and Juli, and to chose a couple of boys to be mates with Rafa, who sadly could not be with his mum any more for the time being. We had a lovely time down there and chose two lovely boys!

Our two boys we chose are the greys

After visiting Gaucin we called in on our good friends Nigel and Ginny Cobb for a bite of lunch and a good old catch up! After us all having a nightmare time with our alpacas it was lovely to see some of their gorgeous new babies!

Ginny with two of her new babies

Thursday, December 24, 2009

First alpaca baby born here! - SEPTEMBER

There is a birthing photo, just to warn you if you are eating!

Our beautiful Cassandra was a first class mum, normally giving birth without too many problems, and then continues to seem to know exactly what to do. At around eleven months gestation we started setting our alarm and checking on her from early in the morning, every half hour or so.

One morning, about three days before her eleven and a half months were up, I happened to be chatting to Frankie online when Alan checked on Cassandra. He said he was going to have a closer look at her, as she was visiting the poo pile, but nothing was happening, which is a sign of labour. When Alan had a good look at her he noticed a definite swelling around her vaginal area. Oh my God today's the day! We were so very nervous as our vet is half an hour drive away but hoped if everything went 'text book' that we would not need him. As he does not drive it would have meant one of us shooting off to get him.

Our main concern was that the baby would not be the correct way round, two front feet and a head first.... please! YES YES YES, we are half way there, head and feet, a little cough from the baby as the head way hanging out, to help clear the airways! About ten minutes later during which Cassandra had a little trot around, I think mainly to try and find a peaceful area to give birth in, and a sit down, stand up or two, and then out he came! Our first beautiful, stunning baby born here at our farm! A day we will never forget! All the trials and tribulations of being an alpaca owner here in Spain, completely shoved to the back of our minds. We had watched a miracle, the miracle of birth. The little boy was chocolate brown, with a teddy bear face, I so wanted to cuddle. Within about half an hour he was up on his feet and feeding successfully from his very proud mum!
Wow what a day!

Great excitement in the paddock

The "family" gather round to see

Cassandra with the baby and his brother Rafa

Very proud mum and baby

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our new little friend

One morning in September, Alan and I were sitting having breakfast when we heard an unusual noise! Alan went out to investigate, he came back with a look on his face............ IT'S A PUPPY! A TINY PUPPY! I did not want to see him, we could not have anymore dogs, we have four, it is enough. I told Alan to try and put him outside, which he did, well he tried and tried, however he was very tiny and fitted through the tiniest gaps in our fences and gates. After about half an hour, I decided to give him some food and water, knowing full well there would be heart ache at the end of it! We enjoyed sitting watching this dear little puppy running around, and although he was nervous of us he was very inquistive also. It did not take long for us to be able to stroke him and pick him up!

Whilst he was running around like a little mad thing, I noticed something strange about his movements. It looked to us like he had a dislocated hip! We needed to seriously consider his future. A cute little puppy could be rehomed here in Spain, however a puppy needing surgery, therefore money spent on him, may not be quite so easy to rehome! We decided to take him to our vet and consider things from there. It was confirmed his hip was dislocated and that we should, if we were going to keep him, take him to the orthopaedic surgeon in Cordoba, that operated on Geri's knee a few months ago.

We decide pretty quickly that if he was to have a future he had to stay with us! We called him Miliko, after a Spanish clown. With his cute little face, huge ears and little limp it suits him just great. For the first couple of weeks he was with us, Miliko's best friends were the cats. We gradually integrated him with the dogs although he does like to have a little play with the cats when he can.

Our little Miliko
Miliko meets Barb

Arthurs joins me for a chill!

One beautiful sunny day, when the temperature had dropped sufficiently to enjoy it, I thought I would have relaxing read outside. I was promptly joined by the 'big boy' and I thought I would share some photos with you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Geri gets discharged - AUGUST

Our poor Geri had her cruciate ligament operation, around three months ago. I'm sure you have all heard me rattle on about the fantastic vetinary care here in Cordoba city. It is of course just our comparisons to living in the Brighton area. Don't get me wrong I cannot fault our vetinary care in Brighton, however it is completely different here. Our own town vet Andres is a truly lovely man, who explains everything so carefully to us. I guess as we do injections, take temperatures etc he feels maybe we know more than we do. He is extremely caring. When you attend his surgery, the first thing he does is bend down and make a fuss of the animal, he then talks to us, and continues to be as caring whilst dealing we the animal, talking to them etc. When the treatment is finished he again turns his attention to the animal. His face lights up when he asks about the alpacas, or Galaxy the baby alpaca. We feel so lucky to have him as our local vet.

We had to take Geri to Xavier, the orthopaedic vetinary surgeon in Cordoba for her operation. Prior to the operation we saw him weekly, then after the operation too. This gradually reduced to every two weeks, and finally once a month. At the end of August Xavier was happy to discharge Geri. At the end of her appointments Geri would go to the cupboard when she knew he kept the doggy treats!

Geri with Xavier, getting her treat!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The pleasures of summer, and poor Carlos!

By the time August arrived, we were exhausted with all the work we had done, and we took great advantage of resting. We were lucky enough to have lovely guests at times throughout the month, and when we do, we like to give them as much privacy as possible. During the times we had no guests we chilled a lot, even watching daytime TV, oooooh it was lovely! We spent time by the pool, reading and relaxing, although to be perfectly honest it is too hot to be outside very much.

Carlos likes to do a little bit of wasp catching, especially when they are buzzing around the water bowls. We took a look at him one day and he had been stung quite badly on his mouth. This has actually happened a couple of times since and we now have an injection just in case his tongue or throat swelled.  Poor little guy!

Carlos with his poor swollen face!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Frankie comes for a holiday! JULY

How amazing for me to have my little girl here for two whole weeks, and without her man..... thanks Chris! I miss both Mark and Frankie like I have two big holes in my heart, but they have their lives, and thanks to cheap flights we get together as much as we possibly can, then it is pure quality time. Frankie was six months pregnant when she was here, and had not been feeling great, so we did an awful lot of chilling, reading and relaxing by the pool, with a little bit of shopping thrown in for good measure. To be honest it was too stonkingly hot to do anything else. The car thermometer registered 46 degrees one evening! Alan took advantage of the fact the Frankie was here with me, so I would not be alone and he flew back to England for a few days to catch up with family and friends.

Below are some of my favourite photos of Frankies stay!

Is she or isn't she?

Little bump, lucky girl!

This is the life!

Frankie with Carlos about 11pm, one evening

In the pool with our friend's son, Jesus
Play time with Arthur and Blue

My trip back to Brighton

Towards the end of July I had planned a flying visit as Frankie was due to be dancing with the teachers in the JP's 'Streetfunk' show called Straight Up 09. Sadly as Frankie had had a few few health problems at the beginning of her pregnancy, she was unable to take part, but she still went along to help backstage. It was a great show, with Stacey, who JP partnered JP in Strictly Dance fever's, school taking part, with many others fabulous acts also. I really took me back seeing the groups of dancers that JP and his great team had been teaching, to my early days of teaching. Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoyed my career as a dance teacher. However for me when the competitiveness takes over, it becomes a whole new ball game. It is fantastic, it gives you the most fantastic adrenalin rush, it can also be heart breaking. Children who have grown up with you, and parents that you have become good friends with, occasionally leave and go to another dance school.  Of course it's the parents money they can go wherever they wish. If I am honest, as a dance teacher, unless you are really tough, it breaks your heart.  Every one that leaves takes a little piece with them. You can feel a failure and it eats away at your confidence. People also know that I am not happy with the pressure put on these children's bodies. I am sorry but physically pushing them until they cry.............. that is not acceptable for me. When I became ill, it had to stop. Physically and emotionally I was no longer able to do it.

Sorry I digress, Jp's fab show took me back to my early days! I was a dance teacher because I loved to teach people to dance. These children were there, at the beginning, dancing on stage, and having the most amazing time. That is what being a dance teacher is all about.

Poor Frankie was not feeling very well whilst I was in Brighton, and we even did a trip to hospital. Thank God all was fine, and I was even able to bring my little girl back with me for a holiday!

View from Frankie and Chris's little flat

Frankie on stage with the Sreetfunk team

Monday, October 26, 2009

An extremely condensed JULY

Time has gone on and I remember the month of July with swelteringly hot weather averaging at 40 degrees, and as I said in the last blog, finalising the work here. We had a lovely visit from Alan's mum and other half Bryan, at the same time as our first paying guests. We have had some wonderful guests during our first year of holiday lets, and surprisly enough quite a few children too. We never really thought we had the facilities for children, however we have always said, not everyone wants to be on the coast. I guess having the alpacas, and the pool, gives us that little something extra!

I remember one particular day Alan came rushing in saying he thought one of the feral cats had caught a small rat!!! He then realised it was not a rat she was carrying about, but a tiny kitten, followed by another two. For a while we had six cats. We named the mum and dad Jim and Barb, there was a brother, from last years litter, Antony, and the three kittens, Baby David, R Denise and Twiggy! Twiggy was obviously the runt of the litter, the weaniest strangest looking kitten.

The first site of the kittens, the mum carried them to a barn

Mum, Barb with her kittens, whilst dad Jim sits on the wall

From L-R Baby David, Twiggy and R Denise

Little Twiggy!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The work is finished!

With the help of Nigel our builder, and our poor old hands blistered from painting and more painting, we have more or less finished the renovation. It is a bit like the Severn bridge as in we could always being doing some work, or renovating another area, but for now we are done. Take a look at the Casita. I am sorry if I have published these photos before!


The Apartment

Outside Areas