Sunday, August 23, 2009

Friends pop by

Friends often say they are going to come and visit, but we do understand that you only get a certain amount of time off work, and you have to think seriously about where you want to spend your heard earned cash, on holiday! Chris was a dancer in my school many years ago, and we had chatted occasionally on facebook, and when he said he would like to come for a visit, I thought great! Then he phoned a few weeks later, and said HE REALLY DID WANT TO COME FOR A VISIT, I THOUGHT GREEAATTTT!

Chris and his partner Robert had planned to travel through Portugal and Spain, visiting friends and family, and we happened to be on route. They arranged to come on a particular day, I met them in town and they came back, had a drink, chilled in the pool etc and we all had a lovely barbeque together. They also had with them their huge, beautiful stunning dog, Bambou.

Our two biggies, Arthur and Blue, are great with people, adults and children alike, and they have only really met, for quite obvious reasons dogs a lot smaller than themselves. When Bambou turned up they were not really sure what to do. There was an awful lot of noise and Bambou was not scared in any way shape or form, and immediately went onto their territory. Well the noise got louder and louder and we suddenly realised whet was going on! Arthur and Blue, all 50 plus kilos of them were dead scared of Bambou! Yes a lot of barking was taking place but, as they hid behind us! Geri and Carlos had a great time with her however, probably made even sweeter that Arthur and Blue were scared of her!

Chris and Robert must have spent a fairly comfortable night, as they approached us in the morning, and said they didn't really want to go, and could they stay another night? We had no plans, and thoroughly enjoyed their company, so that was just great. They even set to work raking the last of the shingle around the decking of the pool. Thanks Chris and Robert it was great to have you here!

Chris & Robert in the pool

With their gorgeous Bambou

Bambou & Carlos
Arthur feeling a bit left out!
Bambou, with Geri & Carlos

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shearing Time

Where has the last year gone? It seems no time ago that James and Kim were here from Oz to travel through the South of Spain shearing our alpacas for us all. Last year it was just our dear Black Dancer and Cassandra, and this year we have 3 gorgeous girls, including the gorgeous Cassandra, and our dear little Rafa. Thankfully we have done lots of work here on the house since then. Last year we had no shaded areas to eat and James, Kim and our helpers were sat on a stair each in search for a little shade. We personally feel that our alpacas to do with shearing a month earlier. Here in the hottest part of Spain it already reaches the high 30's and 40's towards the end of May, and the alpacas were struggling slightly.... like the rest of us! Thanks so much to Nigel, Mike and Linda, and their friend Eddie who came and helped, and made the day go as smoothly as possible. Although the photos below may seem a little harsh, not a murmur was heard from any of them. James is very confident in his handling of the animals, and I feel they are comfortable with that!

Bermuda before....
and after!
Lily before....

and during! Lily is a bit of a spitter, so the sock was for our benefit

and after!
Rafa before

and what a difference!

Cassandra before
Rafa looks on, to make sure his mum is ok!

and after

All having a good sniff.... They don't recognise each other!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SEDA Meeting

As alpaca owners we hold our meetings at alpaca owners/ friends houses. This time was our turn. It was quite exciting for us, as most of them had been to our house previously, but many months ago, it was great to see their excitement at the changes we had made. Specifically an outdoor shaded eating area. So we could have our meeting there and Alan tend the bbq without missing out on any important details. It was lovely to welcome Alison from the north of Spain, who had flown down especially for the meeting. Alison is hoping to own alpacas by spring of next year. We also were honoured to have a vet from Cordoba university, and and a Dr from the university also, who have been doing studies of alpacas.

We all spent a little time with the alpacas, and David and Di brought the puppies along too. We had a lovely day! Plus I must admit it was lovely for us not to have to do the usual 3 hour drive home, that we usually have to do. Although it is always worth it, to catch up with our lovely friends!

Our dear alpaca friends
We can see you cooling your feet, Linda!
It's hard to believe Arthur would have been this size,
less than a year ago
Puppy dog eyes, playing in the soil!

What a shock!

Our friend Ken, who we called our good samaritan last year - who helped us when our car was out of action - by taking us shopping each week, was doing a bit of solar connecting up, kinda work for us. Alan and Ken were having a chat, in our huge kitchen, whilst Ken was up a ladder fixing a light to the ceiling about 12 foot high. I was upstairs apartment 'pottering' when I heard an almighty crash and, you know when your heart stands till for a minute because you know something awful has happened? Well it was one of those times! I ran down the stairs and found Alan standing over Ken, whilst Ken swore.... he's alive! Phew! I thought Ken had simply fallen off the ladder but no he had had an electric shock, THEN fell off the ladder, onto the base of his spine!

Ken was rolling around in agony! That's good too! At least he can move! Poor Ken actually moved over here, as he was advised to move to a warm climate after a major motor bike accident, that had him laid up for 2 years! After about 10 minutes he managed to get up and sit on a sofa, whilst Alan made him some hot sweet tea. I phoned our Spanish friend David, to ask his advice, if we needed an ambulance. As Alan turned to give Ken his tea, Ken had passed out, only for a few seconds but it frightened the daylights out of Alan. When Ken came round he didn't know where he was or what had happened to him. What a shock.... oops sorry for the pun!

Well Ken sat and relaxed for an hour or so with us, then Alan made sure he got home ok! Now if he is coming over to our place his kids say 'Not up any ladders today dad!'

Sunday, August 16, 2009

MAY- Camelidynamics Course, in beautiful Gaucin

Towards the end of May our alpaca friends were all meeting up in the beautiful whitewashed village of Gaucin, in the mountains behind Marbella. Our friends Juli and Simon kindly hosted a camelidynamics course as they have excellent facilites as they own many horses and alpacas too. Our friends Jane and John kindly put us up in their 'to die for' house.

Alan with one of Juli's horses
Julie Taylor-Browne gave a fabulous two day course on the handling of alpacas. Our gorgeous animals are by nature extremely nervous, and anything to enable them to be lessed stressed in our care is great for us. I seemed to pair up with the notorious Mr. Nigel Cobb who was on top form, but was rather naughty, and did get us told off on occasions.... sorry Julie! However even with Nigels misbehaving, we all learnt so much, and have a fabulous couple of days with our great alpaca friends too.

Alan gets hands on!
Our good friend Di
Mr. Cobb!
Alan gets rather embarassed as he is a rather fussy eater, and on the second day Jane told him to go into the kitchen and cook his own dinner! It was the biggest steak I had ever seen. He was of course extremely grateful, but rather embarassed too. I'm sure our friend Mike who decided to sit beside Alan, hoped he would not finish it all. Of course he did! It would have been rude not too!

After the course each day we all rushed up to Jane and Johns to enjoy the fabulous pool.

The evening meal was made all the better but our New Zealand friends joing us too.
David and Di had puppies of about 4 weeks old that they had 'adopted' from their vet. Being so tiny they had to come along...... ooooooh we were so pleased they did. They were adorable!
This is Alf, one of Janes gorgeous dogs

Our new Kiwi Friends

Two couples from New Zealand were travelling around Europe, visiting various alpaca shows along the way! We had an email from them and they were hoping to stay with us, but unfortunately we just were not quite ready, another week or so we could have done it.

Robyn, Phil, Kit and Sheryl did however come and visit us and we had a lovely afternoon and evening together, and Alan did us proud on the barby!

We have only 4 alpacas; where as between them they have well over 1000, how mental is that! It is great to know we have an invitation to New Zealand if we would like to go anytime. It was lovely to meet them, and hope to meet again sometime!

Robyn, Sheryl, Kit and Phil


Nigel, the builder is a proper ole softy when it comes to stray dogs, and when the scruffiest little dog was roaming around our house Nigel could not wait to give him his lunch every day! Having enticed her in with chicken and ham etc this scruffy little cute thing thought she was here for good. I'm afraid with 4 dogs already, 4 alpacas 3 wild cats and a pig, we rather feel we have enough animals for the moment.... thank you very much! So sadly Nigel had to take scruffy little cute dog down to the coast to be re homed. We hope she found a lovely home she was a real cutie.


 After a little trim

Scruffy with Alan and Nigel


Poor Lily the alpaca has had a mite problem for a while now. We started treating it with Ginny's magic cream, then went onto 'Stop it all. A product which had good reviews over the internet. It was a 7 day program, then watch and wait. Lily is a funny little thing, rather nice looking, with a good 'bonnet'. She makes the weirdest noises when you take hold of her, rather like a very old lady being strangled.... Not that I have heard a very old lady being strangled, I hasten to add, but I could imagine it sounds something like that! Although once you have hold of her she is a good as gold. Maybe the odd air spit now and then, but I think she does this so the other alpacas will not think she is enjoying a cuddle!

Well we were about half way through the week, the alpacas were in the pen and we were rubber gloved and ready for action. Alan was holding Lily, and I was applying the cream, to her legs, around her 'booby doos' her eyebrows, ears and lips!

All was under complete control, so I thought. Alan was manoevering himself to enable me to reach the inside of her front legs. He suddenly said 'Are you sure you are putting that on Lily, only my inner thigh is feeling rather wet?' He did continue to say it wasn't a bad feeling, when chaos struck from nowhere! Lily decided she had had enough of this and sat down. Rafa the little boy's hormones are kicking in rapidly, and he thought this was a great opportunity for him. As he leapt on top of her, Lily did a huge spit, sadly Alan was in the way! Green spit from the depths of her tummy, rather vile and awful smelling, was almost dripping off of Alan. He headed rather swiftly for a shower! Poor Alan!

Lily, on a better day!

What a coincidence

The beginning of May I had a strange but lovely experience. We had been emailing a gentleman called Alan regarding some alpaca conference affairs. He lives in Madrid and wanted to come to visit the alpaca owners in Andalucia, with regard to organising a conference next year. Well Alan and his partner came along, and within a couple of minutes he said to me 'Where did you live in England Lorna? 
'Near Brighton', I replied. The converstaion then went, 
"I used to live in Brighton!"
'What did you do there?'
'I was a dance teacher!'
'Noooooo, so was I!'
'Nooooooooo, where did you teach?'

At that point I thought maybe Alan remembered my name as a teacher in Brighton, there were around three main schools.

He said 'Lorna.......... er Lorna ......................'
Excitedly I said 'Lorna Roff?'
'Yes that's it, I TAUGHT for Lorna Roff!'
'I AM LORNA ROFF!!!!!!!!!!'

Alan Stables had taught dancing in my dance school around 25 years ago. What an amazing coincidence! I remembered him well, and the great times we had, teaching Ballroom and Latin together on Saturday morning! Alan said if someone had told us in 25 years time, we would both be living in Spain, working with Alpacas, we would never have believed them in a million years. It was so lovely to see him again. Obviously the main conversation was about dancing, with a little alpaca chat for good measure!

Alan and I