Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Ed and his magnificent wood store

Our dear friend Ed came over in April and stayed for just over a month on a busman’s holiday. He is quite an amazing man! He is on the eve of his 70th birthday and he didn’t stop working from the minute he arrived until the minute he left…

Amongst the many jobs he did for us, whilst he was here, included…

Putting up over 150 metres of Post and Rail fencing, built us the most fantastic wood store (see above), concreted the stable floor, installed our front gate, made us a hitching rail for outside of the stable and a gate out into the lower paddock, built us a stile, repaired various items including our trailer, assisted with the shearing, plus many other smaller jobs too numerous to mention….

Thank you so much buddy! We really do appreciate everything you have done for us over the years and we don’t know what we would have done without you

The ready-mixed concrete arrives

The surplus is used to level the drive...

No more mud in the stable...


Lin with our dear friends...Alan & Lorna..

As you will have seen from our previous post, we had been invited up to Cordoba for the Festival of Patios, by our dear friends and fellow alpaca breeders Alan and Lorna and what a wonderful day we had.

We arrived at Cordoba Railway Station at around midday whereupon we met up with Alan and Lorna and then all travelled in to the town centre together.

As we said previously, the Festival of Patios is the Spanish equivalent to our own traditional village open garden events back in the UK and the atmosphere was also very similar.

Having visited a few of the patios, which (as you can see from the photographs) were absolutely stunning, we stop off in a bar for a drink, followed by a wonderful lunch in the centre of Cordoba.

Sadly, the day raced by and before we knew it we were back on the train returning home, but we were taking with us some great memories and it was worth it just to be able to spend some time with our good buddy’s Alan and Lorna, with whom we always have a wonderful time.

PS: Having returned first class on the Renfe, we now can’t imagine travelling any other way. For an extra 18 euros per head, we were offered an unlimited amount of alcohol, a sandwich, a cake and a cup of coffee, as well as a newspaper and generally being waited on hand and foot…

A few examples of the stunning patios...

The magnificent architecture of Cordoba

Cordoba - Nominated for City of Culture 2016


Platform 3 at Cordoba Railway Station

Hurrah! Hurrah! A day off….

We had been invited up to Cordoba for the Festival of Patios, which is very similar to our Village Open Garden events, by our dear friends Alan and Lorna.

As it is a direct line from Ronda to Cordoba, we decided to take the train, until we discovered the cost was 120 euros return. We had heard of a ‘Tarjeta Dorada’ that offers pensioners 40% discount on train fares, so the day before we are scheduled to go, we head off to the railway station to obtain one.

Unfortunately, the computer was down at the station, so we were unable to get them there and this is where the saga of the tickets begins.

Not to be defeated, Lin had read somewhere that these cards were available at the travel agents, so we charged down to the town centre, where we tried three travel agents. Unfortunately, we were declined at all three as it was too close to their lunchtime, but they would all be happy to help us after 5:30 when they re-open! So back we go at 6 o’clock and choose the agent we liked the most and obtained our tickets. Unbeknown to us we had to pay the agent a commission, so they cost us 15 euros instead of 10. She also offered to organise our rail tickets, which were also subject to commission and would cost us 114 euros as opposed to 95 euros if we purchased them at the station, so upon her suggestion we returned to the railway station to buy our tickets.

You’ve guessed it….the computer was still down, so we were told that we would have to purchase our tickets the next morning on the actual day of travel! Am I boring you yet?

Anticipating chaos, we decided to arrive at the station early and were thrilled to find no queue at the ticket office. However, when we attempted to purchase our tickets, we were told that the returning train was virtually full and that there were only first class tickets available!!

So, after chasing around for the best part of 2 days trying to obtain a cheaper price, we ended up paying over 145 euros, whereas had we just bought 2 regular tickets at the outset, it would have only cost 120 euros! It could only happen to us!

Anyway, so not to detract from our trip to Cordoba, we will publish another post on our wonderful day there......

Renfe's AVE high-speed train..

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Just wanted to share our superb rosebush with you...

The view from our paddock across the adjoining fields...

One would imagine that most people’s perception of Southern Spain especially Andalusia would be a semi-arid and parched landscape, which can be the case in the summer months of July and August.

However, during the spring everywhere here is lush and green and awash with wild flowers, as these photographs testify…

Lin has made a magnificent job of our rock garden..

Lin's treasured Iris..

Our lower field covered with Marguerites...

Monday, May 9, 2011


One morning last week all four of our dogs were making a real commotion up by the front gate, so I went to investigate….

When I returned Lin asked me what was all the fuss was about….

‘Nothing extraordinary’ I replied ‘Just one of our neighbour’s pigs standing on the drive’
Yesterday, we saw his female partner and 8 piglets... I'll attempt to get a photograph of them soon!

No surprise to find a pig wandering down your drive!!


Lia - a proud daughter

Lin and I are very excited at the moment with the news that Godswell Monty, owned by Nigel and Ginny Cobb of Europa Alpacas, was awarded Reserve Champion by Judge Matt Lloyd at the French Alpaca Show held in Salbris at the beginning of April.

Monty is a fine light fawn stud male and is the sire to our own Lia, whom is currently his only female offspring…


Lia looks on anxiously, whilst Micah appears to be totally relaxed....

Shearing this year was scheduled for Monday 2nd May and although the weather forecast for that day was horrendous, in reality it went like a dream!

You will remember Kym and James Dixon, the married couple from Wollongong, Australia who have sheared the alpaca herds in Andalusia for the past couple of years. Well they came over again this year, starting at Alan & Lorna’s in Cordoba on the Sunday, travelling down to David and Di’s in Antequera on the morning of Monday the 2nd, before arriving at ours at around lunchtime and if that wasn’t enough, having completed the shearing here followed by a quick lunch, we then all travelled over to Nigel and Ginny’s farm and sheared a further 28 alpacas there before nightfall.

They were then up at the crack of dawn on the Tuesday to shear Jane and Juli’s alpaca herds in Gaucin, before making their way back to the UK on the Wednesday, via Nigel and Ginny’s new farm in Manot, Poitou-Charentes the central western region of France on the way.

They truly are an amazing and hard working couple, so we were devastated when they told us that they were retiring from shearing and moving back to Australia, where James is thinking of taking an electrical apprenticeship and Kim will resume her career in teaching.

Although they are going to attempt to find a replacement shearer on our behalf, they will both be sadly missed, not only as professional and efficient shearers, but as really good friends.

We wish them both every success for the future.

Mothers and babies wait patiently during shearing!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Hi everyone! You really must have a look at the video we posted on YouTube today.

The link is www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVJQ8LFNBfs heading 'Alpacas Pronking'

Since little 'Micah' was born on Sunday we have had continual rain here, so we decided to keep both mothers and babies in their field shelter.

As you can see, after 48 hours of incarceration, Lia was bursting with energy.......

Is was a real thrill to see her running and pronking around the paddock and having so much fun.

You may be wondering why she is wearing a green leotard. In actual fact it is a green Vet-Flex we are using in an attempt to heal her umbilical hernia!

If you look carefully, you will be able to see Martina and Micah in the background, who is experiencing freedom for the first time!

As you can see at the end of the video, Lia has gained confidence in us and was happily coming over to the gate to see us, until she was spooked by the dogs. This is probably as result of us handling her on a daily basis.

It is fantastic that we now have two babies born within a month of each other, so they will be able to play and grow up together!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Where am I?

Our darling Micah is two days old today!!

He chose an awful time to come into the world, cold and rainy, but he is doing really well.

As you know, he was slightly premature, so we’re absolutely delighted that he has put on half a kilo in weight already!

An attentive Mum....

After a tiring day....it's time for bed!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Micah..one hour old!

We’re grandparents again for the second time this year, and it’s only March……

Martina gave birth to baby boy at approximately 11:30 this morning (13th March 2011) slightly premature weighing in at 6.5kgs.

We have called him Micah, which means ‘who is like God’ in the sense that God is unique.

He is a 'cafe con leche' colour, which he has inherited from his father Ross and he has the most beautiful, huge eyes. As you can see from the photographs he is a bonny lad and is going to be extremely handsome!

Lilly says hello...

Mothers and Toddlers Group...

A new friend to play with....

Lia...one month old

Friday, March 4, 2011


Lilly and Lia look fairly relaxed...don't they?

Following the birth of Lia, it was time to cut Lilly’s toenails, which had grown very long and twisted and we were concerned that it might result in lameness. We were reluctant to cut them during the latter part of her pregnancy in fear of causing her any distress.

Alpacas that reside in hard rocky ground in the mountains of Peru will naturally wear their toenails short, whereas ours who live on fairly soft ground need their nails attended to every six months.

Lilly is not the easiest of animals to deal with, in fact she is an absolute nightmare, so whenever we attempt to handle her she will scream, spit and kick and generally make the whole process stressful and traumatic for all of us, her included!!

Having researched dealing with difficult animals we decided that a restraining chute was the answer. So I set about making this implement of torture that you can see in the photographs! (I think I have been watching too many episodes of The Tudors)

Anyway, although it was a bit Heath Robinson, by and large it worked very well and once inside Lilly appeared to be very relaxed, even though her daughter was close by! I was then able to set about cutting her nails with a minimum of fuss!

Some bad news! Little Lia has an umbilical hernia! However, our vet Alonso came over today and is confident that we can deal with it ourselves. An umbilical hernia appears as a soft bulge around the umbilical cord area. There is a defect in the muscles and tissues of the abdominal wall, which feels like a little hole. We have to push back the hernia sac and massage the area 3 times a day for 2 weeks, which will encourage the growth of the muscle, which hopefully will close over the hole.

© Arundahall Restraining Chute
(available in 5 colours)


Drilling starts a week before Christmas....

Due to our location, we live in fear of a housing development appearing in the open fields of the valley below us, which would spoil our fantastic view. So we were delighted to hear from one of our neighbours that the field directly adjoining our land is to be planted with olive trees.

We have noticed that there are large numbers of young olive trees being planted locally, so one can only assume that there is a subsidy available from the town hall.

Here are a couple of photographs of them boring a well in preparation, which was really quite exciting and interesting! It took four days to complete!

A huge generator is required....


Our Special Little Chap...

Unfortunately, due to circumstances outside of our control, we got a little behind with our BLOG during the latter part of last year, but there is one event that we really do have to report on.

I (Mike) received an early and very special Christmas present!

With our ever-growing family, it is becoming very difficult for me to get away, so you can imagine our delight when Guy and Amanda surprised us with the news that they were coming over with Ollie and our new grandson Dexter on the weekend of my birthday.

It gave me the opportunity of meeting Dexter in person and spending some time with him while he is still a baby and what a super little lad he is…. He has a great personality and was so quiet and well behaved that we hardly knew he was here.

It was also great to see Ollie again, who has grown into a charming and very special young man! From the photographs you can see that he had a great time with the animals and our dogs were all very sad when he left.

Sadly, the weekend went so quickly, but we did find time to take tapas in town at one of our favourite bars and pay a visit to the Cueva de Gato, the caves located on the road to Benaojan. The huge entrance of this cave resembles the face of a cat, thus the name ‘The Cave of the Cat’ as it has been known through the centuries. The unpredictable floods of this cave river have claimed many lives over the years and during the torrential rain of last winter, all of the access bridges were washed away.

Needless to it was lovely to see them all and enjoy many hugs and cuddles with Dexter and hopefully we can all get together again later in the year…

A devoted and doting Nanny

Gosh...Where did he get that hat?

Ollie enjoys a ride on Hector!

Shame about the washing line....

That's my boy....