Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Poor Lotte the morning after her ordeal!

On the Monday following the Real Feria de Mayo all of the Alpacas were back home and getting back to normality!

As a treat I thought I would let them down into the bottom field, where there was more grass for them to feed on. Because the alpacas had not been down into the bottom field for sometime the grass had grown very high and unbeknown to me, within the grass there was a large area of a weed that I now know to be called the ‘Lions Teeth’

On the Monday evening we had arranged for Nigel & Ginny and Dr Monyka Portocarrero to come round for dinner and for Monyka to look over Lilly and Martina and to give us her views on our new cria ‘Lorca’

We had rounded up all of the alpacas into the paddock, when Ginny suddenly realised that ‘Lotte’ was missing! We knew that eight had come back from the show, so we were really puzzled to know where she could be, as she was nowhere to be seen in the field.

Nigel and I began to search the bottom field to see if she was hidden in the long grass and to our horror we found her lying in a clump of the ‘Lions Teeth’ and she was pinned to the ground by the sticky leaves of this plant and unable to move. The more she struggled the more the leaves tightened their grip on her. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it. We managed to free her from the weed, but she was absolutely exhausted, so Nigel and I had to carry her to the shelter at the top of the field.

Had Nigel, Ginny and Monyka not come round when they did, we probably would not have noticed that one of the alpacas was missing that night and had we not found her when we did she would surely have died!

It was at that moment that we realised the enormous responsibility we have looking after somebody else’s alpacas that are worth a considerable amount of money. As you can imagine I felt absolutely awful, but I had no idea that by letting them graze in the bottom field would turn into a life threatening situation.
God was looking down on us yesterday!


Our beatiful Martin at the Competition.....He came second in his class to Godswell Monty owned by Nigel and Ginny Cobb!

My attempt to bribe the judges failed miserably!!

Martin and Zac relax at the Real Feria de Mayo in Ronda!

What was going to be a really exciting and interesting weekend, turned out to be a very difficult and exhausting one and ended up in a near catastrophe!

For the past few months we had been assisting Nigel & Ginny Cobb in organising the first ever Alpaca show and competition to be held in Spain! We had been given a marquee of our own ‘Pabellon de las Alpacas’ at the Real Feria de Mayo held in Ronda. This event began in 1510 making it the oldest in Andalucia.

Nigel & Ginny had arranged for two internationally known and recognised judges, Tim Hey from England and Dr Monyka Portocarrero from the Peru to judge the competition, so it was to be a very serious occasion.

Earlier this year, Lin and I had met the owners of Concepts of Peru, during their visit to Spain. They specialise in the importation of garments made from the Alpaca fibre in Peru, which they distribute within the United Kingdom. We had asked them if they would like to have a stand at the Real Feria de Mayo, but sadly they had to decline as it clashed with the Bath & West Show in the UK. However, they very kindly allowed us to purchase a number of items on a sale or return basis, which were brought over by one of our new friends here, who commutes to the UK on a regular basis. Over the three days we managed to sell a number of items (mostly socks) totalling €250. Not bad for our first attempt!

We had also organised a raffle to raise funds for a local charity called Asprodisis, who care for people (mostly children) with learning disabilities. Sadly, we didn’t collect as much money as we had hoped, but we did manage to raise €500 for this good cause! Two of the carers and around a dozen of the patients from Asprodisis visited our stand at the end of the show to make the draw. They were all really lovely and so enthusiastic that it made all our efforts worthwhile.

Sadly, Lin had an acute attack of Menière's disease on the first day of the show, so she spent most of the weekend in bed. She did manage to make it to the competition on the Saturday night, but had a relapse on the Sunday. Barrie (Lin’s brother) and his wife Jeanne came up from the coast to look after Lin, which allowed me to attend the show, but it wasn’t much fun for me without her. It was such a shame as we had been so looking forward to this weekend for such a long time.

Alpaca ‘Godswell Ella’ owned by Nigel and Ginny Cobb was judged to be Supreme Champion, which was only fitting as she was the first alpaca to be born in Andalucia. ‘Godswell Lulu’ owned by Di and David Worthy and the daughter of our Lilly was judged to be Reserve Champion.

Our dear 'Godswell Martin' came second in his class to 'Godswell Monty' owned by Nigel & Ginny, but he behaved beautifully throughout the show and competition. We were so proud of him!

All the rosettes and sashes were presented by Don Juan Luis Munoz Roldan (Director of OCA) who has been so supportive towards us and is keen to promote the Alpaca industry within Andalucia
Prior to the show we formed the Spanish Alpaca Society (Sociedad Espanola de Alpacas) which we thought would be important for the growth of the Alpaca industry in Spain. Its prime aim is to help new and established Alpaca owners here in Spain and to act as a conduit for discussions with Spanish authorities. If you would like to see all of the results of the show, please visit our website at www.seda.org.es

Monday, May 12, 2008


Not happy about going home........

In touch with nature.........

We have just had a lovely couple of weeks. Our daughter Lisa and Grandson Alexander, who live in Cyprus, came over for a 10 day visit and our other daughter Becky, came over from the UK for a long weekend.

Both Lisa (14th) and Becky (3rd) had birthdays in April, so we all went for a celebratory lunch at the Al Lago Restaurante in Zahara and had an excellent meal.

It was great that Lisa and Alex were here when ‘Lorca’ was born, but sadly Becky went back on the Friday night before, so missed it by a matter of hours!

Lisa and Alex went home last Friday (8th May) so peace and quiet has returned to the house, although we really miss them. Alex, who will be three years old later in the month, is turning into such a lovely boy. He has a great personality, devilishly handsome, full of mischief, but adorable! He is certainly going to break a few hearts when he gets older!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Class Mates! Caroline, Jules and Sharon with Lin

We were invited to a day out at Cordoba by the ‘Centro de Educacion Permanente ‘Constitution Espanola’s. The college we attend for our Spanish lessons.

The excursion included the return coach trip from the Estacion de Autobuses in Ronda to Cordoba, visiting the Barrio Judio y Sinagoga, the Mezquita-Cathedral and the Medina Azahara (archaeological complex) It also included a 3 course lunch, coffee and wine at the El Mirador Restaurante, in the heart of Cordoba.

The cost of the trip was only €15 per person, which represented excellent value and was obviously subsidized by the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) de Ronda, for which we were all very grateful.

We had a really enjoyable, interesting and informative day, which is reflected in the photographs.

The day was marred however, as a day or two previously we had been stopped in the Land Rover Discovery by the Guardia Civil and informed that the German plates on the car were illegal. We were told in no uncertain terms that we were forbidden to drive the car again until such time as we had obtained Spanish plates and were fined €450.00. Ouch!

We have now started the long process to accomplish this and so far it has cost us €110.00 for the engineer’s report and €115.00 for the ITV (MOT) We now anxiously await the total cost of the import tax!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


His first (unsuccessful) attempt at having a poo!!

A kiss from a relieved mum!

We are pleased to announce the birth of our first Alpaca cria. He was born at around 11.30am on Saturday 3rd May (Guy's 40th Birthday) and we have named him ‘Lorca’ after the Spanish poet and dramatist ‘Federico Garcia Lorca’ Weight: 7.4 kgs

It would appear that Lilly had a difficult time at the birthing and we had an anxious few hours following the birth, as she was unable to spontaneously expel the placenta. Ginny and Nigel Cobb were in attendance and at 6pm we decided to call in the vet.

Alonso arrived at around 7pm with his assistant Yolanda and they removed the placenta by hand and administered an assortment of drugs. He told us afterwards that had the problem not been addressed when it was, it could have easily turned into a life threatening situation. Not the best experience for our first Alpaca birthing!

However, as you can see from the photographs, one day on and both mother and cria appear to have fully recovered from their ordeal.