Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Ed demonstrates the workings of his chicken coop design

It was great to have our dear friend Ed staying with us for the month; it was like having our own personal, resident handyman in the cupboard.

Although the month went very quickly, he achieved so much in the four weeks he was here, considering that one of the weeks we were shearing the alpacas, here, there and everywhere!

He fenced of the new alpaca paddock, using post and rail, he built us the most original ‘chicken coop’ in Andalucia, he replaced the door in our shower room, match boarded the communal dogs kennel, fitted electrical points in our new porch, mended a whole variety of broken items, plus much, much more…...................
Thanks for everything old mate.. to the man that can; from the man that can't!!

'Hobbits House' designed by Edwin Bunn

The alpacas check out Ed's work...

Ed completes the new alpaca paddock!

Monday, June 29, 2009


Estación de Ronda

We had heard that one of the best train journeys in Andalucia is the line from Ronda to Algerciras, which takes you via Gaucin and past some of the most beautiful white villages in the whole of Andalucia.

Ed, who is a railway enthusiast, wanted to make the trip, so last Wednesday we bought some tickets and we were on our way!

Ed seems to be enjoying himself

The line was originally built between 1890-92 by the Algerciras (Gibraltar) Railway Company Ltd to enable British garrison officers and their families to escape from Gibraltar and enjoy the surrounding countryside. Nowadays, the Spanish railway network is run by the state owned company RENFE.

One of many storks nest on top of the pylons at La Linea de la Concepcion

Well I have to say that it was the most fantastic day trip, through mostly stunning scenery, picture postcard bridges and brilliant views of the dry river bed of the Rio Guadiaro, which has now been reduced to piles of boulders and a mere trickle of water after many years of drought. The train passes through 14 tunnels and beneath a viaduct several kilometres long - an incredible feat of engineering. It continues past Cortes de la Frontera with its huge sweeping mountain ranges and sheer ravines! Quite scary in places!

Restaurant/Bar at Gaucin Estación

All of the stations are beautifully looked after and well maintained and most have a bar and restaurant close by!

Spanish ladies wearing traditional dresses in Algerciras!

It took about 2 hours to reach Algerciras and whilst it is not the most beautiful city, it was unlike all the other Costa resorts we know and has a real port atmosphere! However, the old town around the Plaza Alta is very attractive and we found a very nice fish restaurant nearby, where we had lunch before returning.

Having now experienced this train journey first hand we can fully understand why it is so highly recommended!

Plaza Alta

Algerciras Port

Sunday, June 28, 2009


From left to right: Nuri, Sally and Luna

When we first had our dogs, you probably remember us saying that they were not going to be allowed to live in the house, but outside in their kennels.

Not only do they now live permanently in the kitchen and have the freedom of the open plan lounge, but (as you can see) they now tomar el sol (sunbathe) on the best wooden sun beds!

Was there really any doubt that within a year they would rule the roost!

Friday, June 12, 2009


The fledglings in our roof tiles are preparing to take their first flight…..

The snake that lives in the rocks below our house makes an appearance on our terrace, much to Lin’s horror! It might be a viper!!

And early morning balloonists pays us a visit……

They quite often land in the valley just below us!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Our celebratory lunch with our close friends Ian and Kathy....

Following our morning at the ‘Romeria’ the five of us went to lunch at the Hotel la fuente de la Higuera, which is located on the opposite side of the valley to us!
It really is a lovely hotel with picturesque views; it’s where David Cameron and his family spent their holiday last year.

We had a splendid lunch and then returned to Ian and Kathy’s house to watch the final of The Apprentice!

A Wedding Anniversary to remember!

and with our old buddie Ed......

A photograph of our house taken from the Hotel Restaurant

My Beautiful Wife....

Ian and Kathy at the 'Romeria'

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


A typical caravan of the 'Romeria'

Last Saturday 6th June was our 11th Wedding Anniversary. As we were busy with business matters concerning Finca La Cabra on the Saturday, we decided to celebrate on the Sunday.

We had heard that the ‘Romeria’ festival was being held on the Sunday, so we met up with our friends Ian and Kathy at the Barrio of San Francisco in the old town of Ronda to participate in this local tradition. We were joined by our dearest friend Ed, who is staying with us at the moment.

Ronda holds the “Romería” pilgrimage each year, which is in honour of the ‘Virgen de la Cabeza’ and is organised by the local Catholic brotherhood of the same name.

Caballeros of the 'Romeria'

The youngest of the Cabelleros

A young foal that never left his mother's side

The Virgen de la Cabeza at the City Gates

It dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and is a festival of folk music and bright colours and a procession that brings the “Virgin of the Head” statue from the la Merced Church, across the famous “Puente Nuevo” and out of town to the hermitage, where the celebrations go on throughout the day and into the night.

The Town of Ronda

Saturday, June 6, 2009


From left to right: Zac, Martin, Mateo, Lilly, Lorca & Martina

As a little treat for our alpacas, we have created a new temporary paddock above the house, which gives them a different outlook and a bit of variety from the lower fields. They absolutely love it when we take them up there and for the first ten minutes they race around like mad things!

As we can get the hosepipe up to this new paddock it gives us the opportunity of spraying them with water, which they really adore especially during the summer months when the temperature can reach 40 degrees plus.

However, they obviously feel more comfortable and safe in their normal paddock as evening approaches, because (as you can see in the photograph) from around 7pm they all congregate at the gate asking to go home for the night!!

Shearing starts this Monday the 8th June, so we should have some interesting photographs to publish soon; so watch this space!!


Julie Taylor-Browne in action!

Last week we attended a 2-day Alpaca Camelidynamics course run by Julie Taylor-Browne of Cartvean Alpacas based in Cornwall, who is a qualified Camelidynamics Practioner and gives courses and advice to owners and breeders throughout the UK, Europe and Scandinavia

Alan and Lorna master the art of halter training

Lin assists in the leading process

Lin practicing her Tellington Touch technique

The purpose of the course was to learn how to handle alpacas in a relaxed, controlled, stress free fashion, with no more grabbing, wrestling, chasing, cushing or spitting.

We learnt how to perform the Tellington Touch (a form of massage) on our alpacas which helps relax them and in time gain confidence and trust in their handlers!

Lunch on the second day of the course at John and Jane's beautiful house in Gaucin
The course was held in Gaucin at the houses of our friends Juli Stevens and John and Jane Powell and was attended by Nigel and Ginny (Alpacas de Andalucia) Alan and Lorna (Alpacas de Sol) David & Di (Torcal Alpacas) and two potential alpaca owners from Galicia, Alison Boydon and her husband Ciano.

In addition to the above, we learnt about catch pens, raising babies, medical management, halter training plus much more. The course was invaluable to all that attended and it renewed our enthusiasm in the caring and breeding of our alpacas!