May 19th 2019

Posted on 19/05/2019 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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Hummmm……..Hummm………Hummmmmmm…… no, you are not understanding me then? Ok, I will talk in your speak instead……you didn’t know I could do that did you, we are full of surprises me and my friends here. You should recognise me……..I’m Hiccup,the prettiest of all the girls….well I think so and the smartest for sure! Talking of smarts, I must apologise for our two carers, or as we prefer to think of them ‘staff’…….they are obviously not the brightest fireworks in the box but one can only work with what one is given! I understand that the older male one who usually keeps you informed of our life here has been somewhat lax lately and getting worse, I think January was the last time he uttered anything remotely coherent…….. appalling behaviour! Well he is getting old I suppose and forgetful , even older today I hear so don’t talk to me about boys, bloomin’ hopeless the lot of them…….. It is about time you had a younger view on our life here so I’m taking over the chat, the rebellion has started………’paca power is Go!

My friends and I are the new kids on the block from last year so we are all coming up to a year old, I’m the oldest as my birthday is next Saturday the 25th……so I’m the boss of our group. Well as you can imagine so much has happened in our world in the last four months, where does one start……. it’s all exciting though. We got let loose in the back yard a few weeks ago…….or maybe it was a few months ago, time is more important to you humans I think, it concerns us little except if we are shut in somewhere and can’t get out with our friends to graze and explore. This yard is wonderful, lots of smells and different things to examine……ooh and plants to taste- test, wonderful !

……… and boys to meet and greet, very exciting but they are Soo scary,they are all pushy and snorting at us, I think they would chase us if the gate was open, in fact I know they would……..boys are boys,only thinking of food or joining us,typical!

What did I say about being shut in somewhere? it is never good for us, always ends in something unpleasant! And this was no exception, we lost our nice warm coats recently……. and it’s been horrid and chilly since…….Ooh they are nasty to us sometimes!

It’s all very stressy for us,not only do they cut off our lovely warm coats but then they cut our toe nails and trim our teeth with a nasty noisy wizzy thing in my mouth which tastes horrid and makes me wee sometimes, it’s soooo embarrassing for a young lady And infront of all my friends too! Then the ‘staff’ have all their friends here doing things with our coats and we have to stay in our pen whilst they stop for lunch…. I ask you!

What do they all look like! but we had a plan to get our own back, look at this………….

Auntie Dabbs……who hates everyone who wont leave her alone, really, really hates people who touch her….. so the shearer man stood No chance……..ha ha ha!

Katniss,who is one of my half,half sisters I think……err possibly or something like that, anyway it’s not important…….she had a baby just after we lost our coats, which was very interesting, I saw some of my friends born last year (being the first) but it is still fun to watch and we all gather round to help her get up.

I think she will be good fun, she’s very lively, I’m sure we’ll be good friends. It’s time I went out to do a bit more grazing and see what’s going on with the gang so I’ll chat again later……..ta ta. or as we say…….Humm.

Sunday 20 Jan. ’19

Posted on 20/01/2019 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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It’s that time of year again folks, first bunch of youngsters weened off and walking lessons have started…..much to their delight, Not!

Apologies on how this looks published because some nasty little entity in the cyberworld of the interweb thingy has altered ALL the settings on WordPress which operates the blogg of which I try to write…….they didn’t bl+*dy well ask me if it was alright to do that and actually, NO, it’s not ok and I’m not happy about it as I can’t work out how it works now and can’t figure out how to change to the settings that I want…….why can’t people leave things alone……..mutter,mutter,mutter!

I suppose I had also better apologise as I usually do about the length of time since our last catch-up…….nothing new there I hear you say, except it has been even longer than usual this time! As I say I’m only comfortable when lying down so by the time we’ve hobbled about the farm doing the animals or fixing things, chopping wood or the myriad of other jobs that need doing I’m usually fit to drop……so I do, nice big mug o’ tea,lay down and immerse in a good book for a few hours ……..Not sitting in front of a un co-operative computer screen attempting to convince it to do as I ask and not what it feels that I should do!

  Moving on………..

We’ve got a poorly hen at the moment…….well that makes a change from a poorly ‘paca I guess. Thought she was ‘egg-bound’ so popped her in a sink of hot water for a while to give her a bath and loosen things up a bit…….it does work sometimes.

and then a quick blow-dry to get her all fluffy again and we’ll see how she fares.

So back to the weanlings……….

We’ve split off the first 5 from their mums, all 7 months old or thereabouts now, here’s Efra, Hiccup & Weaver with poor old gelding Fergus on the right who every year has to act as ‘uncle’ to look after the newbies.

The five join Clyde, Duck & Willy up in the big barn along with the 3 adults who are there enjoying extra feeding as they are a bit on the thin side and need building up. It’s nice to see that the newbies have taken to eating ‘hard food’ straight away even if it is off the concrete floor edge as they cannot quite reach the trough!

Willy having a cuddle as they all play around after breakfast. Many people say that you shouldn’t cuddle or play with young ‘pacas as it can make them un-manageable when older, they can loose their respect for you as ‘alpha male’ and then they will class you as another alpaca, fight with or ignore you and generally become un-controllable and dangerous. I have to say that we have never come across this behaviour with ours although we do limit the playing with them and walk away after a few minutes so I feel as with everything else ‘all in moderation’ is no bad thing……and it does make them all easier to handle as they grow.

This is little Clyde, Atlanta’s cria from August, hoping to grow as big as Codama one day…………. he’s our little shetland pony sized pocket’paca, he’s a happy chappy,fit and healthy, got a lovely fleece………but he’s just sooo small !

………..and by comparison, the mighty bottle fed Hiccup, 8 mnths old and is positively humungus and thriving well!

Well, another short chat again I’m afraid, sitting here too long now but I do have plans for a bit of a photographic tour of the ‘funny farm’ soon so I’d better make a start………err, tomorrow then I suppose !

Sun. 25th Nov. ’18

Posted on 25/11/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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  Welcome to autumn…..well ok,that was about three weeks ago, most have fallen off now, such a shame as it looks stunning. We seem to have lost a few windows under there somewhere……thought it was getting a bit dark indoors!

         So how are we keeping then? all good I hope, I’m still hobbling about, back on two crutches mostly as things are not improving…….we’ll get it sorted eventually I expect……patience needed…huh!

          All’s been fairly quiet here at ‘funny farm’, everyone has been moved into different fields as we have a bit of grass again following the little bit of rain we had, mind you there’s no water in the pond at front of house yet and that is usually filling up by now……shows how dry we still are.









                                                      The girls having a chase in their new field.









  Our neighbour Tony lent his digger to other neighbour Michelle who then came along and dug us a nice little trench around the bergerie in Park field that often floods when we have heavy rain, took them all of about an hour and a bit to dig out,put in a pipe and backfill it…….job done!

  Now just need some more rain to see if it works and keeps the water out, it’s gotta help though…..please!

      At same time the memsahib and I are slowly digging out by hand the floor inside as it has raised about 150 mm(6 inches) during the last few years with the compacted deep litter from each winter and even short arse me has to duck to walk about inside some of it now to avoid banging my head!  It’s quite a comical routine for me trying to work this, I started balancing with one crutch and trying to swing a pickaxe with the other arm to dig out bits at a time but kept getting in a muddle co-ordinating the swing,missing hitting the crutch or my foot but usually dug out the bit I was standing on,loose my balance as that crumbled away and drop both crutch and pickaxe whilst flailing around trying not to fall over!  Got it worked out now, ditch the crutches,they just get in the way, stand braced,legs apart and gently (gently?!) nibble back a foot at a time with pickaxe, use pick as crutch to step one pace sideways,repeat procedure until reach wall, shovel up rubbish into wheel barrow to clear for next row ……….err, Question, have you tried wheeling a wheelbarrow when you are on crutches?…..I’ll leave that one with you, all ideas greatfully received ’cause I’ve not worked out that one yet!

      Still in the bergerie area we’ve been making a few more gates to tidy up the back yard…….


                                             ……..well, I think they are quite good, and they do tidy the place up a bit!


     Sorry, that’s it for now, short one this time, will catch up again soon, promise.





Sun. Oct. 7th ’18

Posted on 07/10/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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Greetings folks,the wise old Owl here (ha ha)……. I know, it’s been a while….two moons, one eclipse and an equinox to be precise!…. see I have been paying attention just couldn’t bring myself to chatting to you. No, no, not like that, don’t be offended, it’s nothing personal……welll, now you mention it ,you do have a habit of…..….No, don’t be daft only joking, hee hee!

      It’s me can’t sit comfortably at the dreaded alter to the interweb thingy, what am I trying to say…..the cucumber……err computer, that’s the one! and being a technophobic household we neither possess ‘smart phones’ or ‘i phones’, Sky-phones or watches that act as ECG monitors & calculate calories burned per sneeze or yawn of boredom so I can’t lie on my bed and tap away comfortably on said small hand-held devices. I did try to do this with my laptop……surprisingly heavy laptop after a couple of minutes,…..hand holding it kept slipping across a multitude of keys whilst trying to retain grip resulting in my inventing a new language every paragraph and uploading a photo,requiring two handed co-ordination didn’t end well………suffice it to say I won’t be trying that again and I’m sure the bruising of the nose will go down eventually!

        You may be able to surmise that all is still not well with the hip repair, it’s taking ages and actually at the moment is daily getting more painful…….yeah ok, I’m doing a fair bit of stuff around the farm but not for long, I soon run out of energy & pain level gets too high. Physio twice a week says it’s muscular, you’re no ‘spring chicken’ now and it’s going to take a long time……..cheeky moo!

       Ok, moving swiftly onto safer ground……there’s been lots to catch up with in the passing couple of months. We’ve done a couple of summer fête’s……..

Oradour St.Genest










  Patience my friends, just one day.

   A different group for Bussiére Poitivine; Liberty, Rohini, Sakura & Mia getting ready.

   and then last week-end we were off to La Grande fête Abbaye de la Réau, impressive pad, owned by the same people who own the Chateau Gédion that has been on TV showing how to renovate using all medieval tools and work practices. 











    It was the first year for this fête and over 15,000 people visited apparently, a cracking effort in advertising etc. We talked our way into silence by the end of the day, lots of interest. As ever the four ‘pacas we took, Tribute, Conn, Romeo & Finnick this time,were pretty fed-up by end of day & all hopped back into van without too much persuasion!










 Being prodded,stroked & patted on the head by hundreds of people all day looses it’s novelty after a while!

We were joined by friends Hilde & Catherine,expert weavers and spinners, armed with medieval wheels of torture to scare the unknowing public with, the ‘black-arts’ of wool transformation and other hidden conjuring spells!









 A worryingly large numbers of folks,(being polite here), were wandering or riding around somewhat overly dressed for the occasion…….there were even a batch of what looked extremely like ‘Orks’ let loose from Middle earth marauding the grounds from time to time……..No, I have no idea what they were here for either and I didn’t get a pic of them……too scared they might spot the camera and rip my head off, so many weirdo’s and deviants about, you gotta be careful you know!

                                             The bridal couple come to show how to get married in style.








…..with a bit of heavy horse dressage thrown in…..brilliant !

              Ok, enough swanning around the country,  moving back home again for the continuing goings-on chez-nous…..

       Barn roof problems! scrabbling around on a barn roof on a pair of crutches can be injurious to the health,allegedly, resulting in the possible slowing down of the current healing process therefore it was decided by the Memsahib that somebody of more competence should be enlisted for the repairs. On this particular roof (trust me this is not the sole roof in need of care but definitely the most urgent) we had 2 large dishes approx. 3 meters diameter each where the beams had bowed and needed taking down and replacing before they give way & it all comes crashing down!








Calling in the builders, hmm,the new beams are a little larger,at least they won’t sag but getting them up there proved to require a little lateral thinking…..and a bit of ‘health & safety’ whats that?

Winched up from the top rung of the ladder, ladder braced by another ladder and blocks & a few strategic ropes tying it all together, well done chaps, a lovely job,all dry for the winter…….now about this other roof…….









Ouch,nasty……. that’s poor old Ivor, along with most of the others he’s been working his way in the hedges for food as there is no grass & got stabbed just by the eye with a blackthorn spike I think. We spotted he had a weepy eye in the morning,caught him at end of day to have a look & wash it & found a hole full of maggots…..pulled out twelve of the little bas#*ds with tweezers. Washed out with insecticide & anti-septic cream and he’s fine now, but so lucky he didn’t loose an eye, bloomin’ flies laying eggs in the cut, got to be so vigilant.

         We have one of the older girls up in the barn near the house which we use as the ‘High Dependancy’ unit, (in medical speak) as she had lost a bit of weight and was a bit ‘off ‘ lately. Anyway,one morning at breakfast feed one of the others knocked into the mobile hay bin which rolled forward making everyone jump and poor old Atlanta collapsed to the ground. It took ten minutes or so for her to get calm again and up on her feet and all was good for rest of day. Next morning she was laying on her side in the barn not moving,just her eyes flickering…….oh bugger. Sat with her for an hour or so and gave her a couple of injections and drinks of different ‘pick-me-ups’ etc and she came back to us. I would guess she had a stroke or something similar. Anyway, get to the point Nigel, well….she couldn’t stand up at all, she had lost the use of all four legs, great. We got her set up in a nice hay-nest in the barn,fed and watered every few hours for next night and day but still we couldn’t get her to stand, no connection from brain to legs etc we suspected, not a good prognosis. Last resort to try was use the alpaca handling crate if we could get her into it !

  Managed to slide her onto a tarpaulin sheet and drag her over to the crate and in,straps under her belly and with one of us lifting & steadying her whilst the other pulled down on the belly straps she arose but her legs were still folded under her in ‘cush’! took a bit of time and massaging to straighten them enough to slide a straw bale under her to rest on. Given time she progressed to standing on her own, if a little wobbly sometimes then all of a sudden she tried to clamber over the bale…..woah there girl, not yet! Ok, there’s definitely a brain connection there then, brilliant.

…..slid bale out the way and out she stepped, unbelievable. She’s not out of the woods yet so to speak, she does still get stuck occasionally when cushed on the ground if it’s on a slope but otherwise a nice surprise from fearing the worst.



We had another very successful visit to the farm organised by the Tourist Office in August with 26 visitors for the afternoon and all the youngsters performed brilliantly, giving their best ‘cutesy, aah factor’ performances, that’s the ‘pacas not the people…… ok, the humans behaved ok as well! Well done teams.

  Matings have stopped now, actually we did the last ones at beginning of last month,Sept. and have only mated seven of ours and a few for other people. We decided to greatly reduce the cria for next year as we have only sold a few ‘pacas this year and won’t be able to cope with another twenty odd arrivals next year as well if we don’t sell any soon, give the girls a rest! 










Here’s a giggle to finnish with, mum Luna being mated by our Jacques whilst Luna’s boy fancies his chances at having a practice on Jacques! ………wrong position me old son!

That’s more like it, now you’ve got it…….good ol’ Jacques’ too ‘otherwise occupied’ to spit at him, bless!

     Right that’s enough, I’ve been perched on my stool in front of this infernal machine all afternoon, enough already, I’m not going to be able to move now……..Oh,is that the time?  the Bar must be open then,perhaps I could walk just a little bit……… ta ta……












Sat. 4th August

Posted on 04/08/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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                                                           Here we iz…….. a little late, comme d’habitude!

  Finally I’ve made my way back to the interweb thingy to greet you, my adoring public. Well, it’s been a mare of a spring/summer to be honest and it’s not over yet by any means.

       Following on from the last blog and the new hip at three weeks on……well, things started going downhill with pain getting worse not better. Back to hospital at six weeks for routine check and x-ray and low and behold there was the problem…… the cup in the pelvis (le bassin) had turned around 90 deg and was moving every step you take…..that’ll be the sore bit then.







  Oops said the surgeon…….back in to hospital in two days time and see what we can do with it, full of confidence aren’t we?!  That would be July 14th, Bastille day, French revolution, guillotines and off with their heads day ……. nervous English patient?…….possibly!





 There we go, put some more screws in……..move now ya bugger.

 Apparantly it was moving because the pelvis is fractured…….err? you didn’t mention that before, did we miss something? or did I bust it again re-couperating too hard? …….yeah ok, I’ll be blamed whatever it was!


        Moving on then……… whilst I’ve been sort of laid up yet again, well not so much laid up but not working properly (that’s four months so far) poor Memsahib has been rushed off her feet keeping everything animal and farm wise on an even keel with lots of hands on alpaca birth care and help needing to be given.  July was the main birthing month and we have had eleven since last blog but unfortunately not all has gone well this year. We have had four or five mis-presented cria, legs trapped backwards, one completely upside down in the birthcanal and black girl Eponine had a uterine torsion (twisted uterus) which involved emergency veterinary help but unfortunately the cria was ‘still’ born, luckily Eponine recovered ok and is well now. Mocking Jay birthed ten days early to a very weak and weary boy who must have been cramped in the womb as his legs were very wonky,couldn’t stand for 24 hours or more. Managed to milk Jay by hand and give him the much needed colostrum and then bottle feed him powdered milk until he could fend for himself a bit more, Yvonne holding him up under mum so that he could reach her teats……bless!  Twelve days later disaster, Jay collapsed and died, no obvious reason, behaving normal,breakfast as usual, out grazing then gone, died in our arms. Vet analysis……. Barber Pole worm…….nasty little bugger, causes massive anemia very quickly by feeding off the intestines. The weather we have been having, very hot following a mild wet winter are ideal Barber Pole worm conditions, they live about 5cms below the surface and the lavea are eaten by the animals as they are grazing the poor ground much harder than normal due to the lack of grass now.

     Emergency action stations…….. purchase of latest wormer, Zolvix and dose all of Jay’s troop and double the ‘Poo picking’ efforts to clean the fields as the lavea live in the poo before migrating into the ground…….break the cycle.

       Onto happier news……… here’s some of the cria so far (still got another 3 to come in Sept. & Oct)….




 Proud mum ‘Blaze’ with daughter ‘Ember’






                                                                        ‘Curly Sioux’s boy ‘Silk Stream’










  Amelia’s girl ‘Efra’, we’re nearly all fawns and browns this year!

                                                          Mocking Jay’s boy ‘Tweed’ who has joined Hicup as an orphan needing bottle feeding every four hours or so, mind you he is getting quite good at creeping under other mums when they are feeding their cria and stealing a bit without being noticed……good boy!



 ‘Lady Tyburn’ our one and only grey this year, daughter of Cassis, that’s their family picture at top of page, Lady Ty with mum grazing behind and 2016 sister Clove looking at you.





              Celeste’s boy ‘Weaver’, full of attitude just like mum, bold as brass just walks up to anyone to see                                      what you’re up to, he’s just having a confidential whisper in my ear!



   And now’s the time that the boys get to play,  Bonking to order!

    Poor old Issac has been out of action for a few weeks after him and Jacques had a set-to and Issac came off worst, see below………,,,,




                             Jacques did a very good job of trying to castrate Issac whilst fighting, brought tears to my eyes whilst holding him as the vet stapled him back together!  There’s about ten staples in there and no-one got kicked or spat at surprisingly……..he’s a good boy!


             Well that’ll do for now, ‘been perched here too long doing this, time to go for a totter round the farm on me crutches……… I’ll try to catch up again soon………hmmm said that before somewhere!


Tue.19/ Weds.20th June

Posted on 20/06/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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 19th June huh?…….that would be quite a long time since I was here last then,  hmm, I guess I’ve got loads of excuses why that should be……not been well,too sore to sit at the computer tapping away, broke the laptop, yeah that’s a good one, it sort of worked very slowly but both USB ports broke at the same time and the touch pad only half worked so I couldn’t upload/download/sideload any pictures and also 4 of the keypads kept falling off if you tapped them too hard!…… bloomin’ thing is only 5 years old and falling to bits, they’re not built to last are they?……. mind you throwing it on the floor once or twice probably hasn’t helped it’s longevity either but then the manufacturers should know that they are likely to suffer the occasional mishap with us Neanderthals at the controls and should build then encased in space shuttle grade crash resistant rubber certified to NASA earth re-entry specification standard…….. just a thought Mr.Toshiba, Acer, HP et all.


            So, the messed up hip was replaced the 25th May, done on the Friday afternoon, walking round the hospital on Saturday (with crutches, even I’m not that good yet!) and home on Monday morning, brilliant. Some more new metal work added to the thighbone to hold it together (looks like jubilee clips to me!) and away we go. The worst bit now is the daily injections with an anti-coagulant for thrombosis, for 5 weeks………5 bloomin’ weeks, is that really necessary? It’s 3 weeks on and I’m not exactly bed-bound, getting plenty of exercise you know……..helping with the animals, started driving this week and a bit of mowing and strimming now…….just to keep my hand in of course, all done nice and gently’ish. Ok…..wimge over for now.

      Alpaca wise the birthing and mating season is upon us, unfortunately not off to a good start this year. First up was Fraggle who birthed nearly two weeks late and following a fine birth to female cria Hiccup went and prolapsed (pushed her insides out) necessitating an emergency call to the vets who bless him tried his best but couldn’t fix her and was forced to euthanase her to stop her suffering.

                                                                           Bonheur Fille de l’air (Fraggle),

                                                                                       bye bye Fraggs.

   The good news is that her cria Hiccup managed to get enough of mothers milk before she died containing the necessary Colostrom to boost her immune system as we would now be bottle feeding her for the next four months or more…….oh joy.



Young Hicup, named because she was born hiccupping and it stuck!





She is a lovely looking girl and has taken to us feeding her no probs. she gets fed every 3 hours approx. from 6.00am through until midnight, a bit of a tie but hay ho this is what looking after animals is all about. One of our teenage girls who is not pregnant, Clove has buddied up with her and looks out for her which is nice.


Now I have found a major problem with this new Laptop whilst trying to do this now…… I can’t alter the pictures, it won’t let me move them or expand the size…..well it did once just now with that first one of Hiccup but now it won’t! Every time I click on the picture it deletes it……bugger, you’ll just have to put up with them like this for now. When I’ve exhausted all ways I can think of to make it do what I want perhaps I should just throw it on the floor in a tantrum like with the old one! Anyone who uses WordPress and can tell me why it’s doing this……please give me a shout!


      Right, next up to birth was first timer Jorja who also ran late, calving on the 12th June, a little over two weeks late……could this be a trend this year?




 Jorja was definitely not fully interested in the whole process. After a few pushes she gave up, sat down & carried on chewing the cud, taking no notice of baby trying to come out behind her! Needless to say, after a while Eve had to step in and pull young ‘Fleet’ out and present him to her…….’.Yes, pay attention please, this is yours to look after’ .

                           It took a good few hours of Jorja walking off every time he tried to get near to feed from

              her before she finally relented and accepted her role as mum……now they are  inseperable.

   That seemed to be the cue for Celeste to join in because next afternoon she started giving birth…… but Oh, surprise, surprise…… ‘Huston we have a problem’.  We had the top of a head showing out of the back but no nose or legs…… bugger. A delve around inside accompanied by a lot of coughing and spitting from Celeste (normal behaviour for her!) finally revealed a pair of long legs folded back to one side which took a bit of extracting but finally out he popped.

 Somewhat worse for wear, knackered and a bit twisted and bent up, I guess he had been laying inside in the wrong position for a while. He couldn’t hold his neck up for more than a few seconds at a time before flopping down onto the ground again and couldn’t ‘cush’ properly without falling over after a minute or so.

                                    Look…..the infernal machine has let me change this picture…..No, don’t ask me how, I was just beating ten bales out of the keypad trying to make it Do something and it did!… I can’t do it again.

            So anyway, after a few hours of sitting with them trying to get him on his feet we opted to get some milk and the magic colostrum into him ……easier said than done, have you ever tried milking a truculent, unhappy alpaca like Celeste with teats the size of a slightly inflated grain of rice? …… no, probably not, well, to put it simply…….it ain’t easy!  If you thought she could spit before, you ain’t seen nothing yet, but after  ten minutes we had a couple of egg cups full……. that’ll have to do, into a syringe and squirt into the boys mouth along with some powdered lambs milk replacer……. sit back and keep rubbing & massaging him ………….



  Ha, I said it wouldn’t let me change the photo again!

  Anyhow, hour by hour young ‘Weaver’ improved and day on day he is straightening out, so hopefully he should grow up ok and he’s got a marvellous looking fleece.



  So next up we have 3 due on 26/27th of this month, Blaze, Amelia and the first of the Suri girls, Lacota, lets see if they  are on time or running late. We are also getting more afternoon births now, alpacas always used to birth in the mornings, almost guaranteed but things are a changing, so far 3 births, 1 morning, 1 mid afternoon & 1 early evening.


     Well, that’ll do for now, it is after all another day (see dates at top of page!)  I can’t get the hang of this teknology stuff and a new laptop that does it’s own thing when it wants is beyond my ken, so I’ll try again……..well, soon……..’ish.


Saturday 28th April ’18

Posted on 28/04/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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Hello, hello, I’ve heard vicious rumours lately from certain quarters that as I’m still shirking off my work duties then I should be using my spare time more constructively and updating the website and the blog here a bit more often…….hmmm, you know by now my love of teknology and computery things, I’d sooner “go lick barn floor clean whit’ tongue me lad”  than sit longer than necessary at this infernal spawn of the devil…….. but for you I will see what I can do for you.

Of course there is another reason I’m not too keen at sitting typing away here and that is following on from my last post concerning the ‘cunning plan’ of self harming to get out of work……well, there has been an insy- winsy slight flaw in the plan insofar as I did actually fracture my femur just below the hipjoint when I threw myself to the ground four weeks ago, so sitting down is not the most comfortable activity at the moment…… hey ho, life’s never simple is it?!

Anyway, since the last time we spoke Spring has arrived, everything is bursting into life, garden work is full tilt, we’ve organised an alpaca show and sheared all our ‘pacas and helped a few others be sheared and poor Eve has had to do all the work …….sorry hun.

I managed to drive the old van down to the showground on the Thursday before the show for setting-up day loaded up with all the paraphanalia needed, large tent,gazebo,, etc whilst Evey followed in the 4×4 to bring us home in the evening as we were leaving the van there for us to sleep in from Friday night onwards and we needed the bigger van to bring the eight alpacas down in for the show.Unfortunately working on the Thursday realy buggered me up and Friday morning I could hardly move, never mind load up eight alpacas and drive a van!  I surrender, white flag raised, not playing anymore…….. so over to plan B, forget showing the alpacas but we still had the fleece show to run today so Evey went back down in the 4×4 to get on with organising that but with a Plan C in mind which went something along the lines of: depending on how the fleece show progressed time wise she would come back home with a helper late afternoon, load up our show team and return in time to get registered and vet checked for Saturdays show…… with me so far?  good. Well, shock, horror Plan C worked and she drove the big van down with 7 of the 8 show team onboard, young Haymitch let the side down by loosing the plot in the van as soon as he was loaded and as we didn’t have time to mess about he was taken back out for his own safety and everyone elses sanity!


                                                       Young Clove in the ring for her first time.


                                                    Judge Nick having a rummage in Coineach’s fleece.











All the fleeces after judging on display along with their rosettes, well done all, very impressive.


                                                    And surprise surprise, Sherlock’s champion black fleece.

I shouldn’t say that should I, surprised? of course not, we new he was good, just not That good!










And ‘blowing our own trumpet’ as they say, here’s our medal haul:

2 x Thirds, 2 x Seconds, 5 x Firsts, 1 x Champ. fleece,  1 x Champion Suri,

1 x Reserve Champion Judges choice…….. not half bad if I say so meself, well done guys!



And two weeks later (last weekend)…….Shearing time……….

Looking a bit quiet, just the lul before the storm, we had a good crew of helpers and new shearers this year to try out, Ian aided by Tom who came over from uk and did a cracking job, cheers lads.











Stretch’em out on the rack……all very medeival.


…..and then over to Catherine,Hilde & Arild’s on Monday to shear their group…….how does the song go?….”Oh it all makes work for the working man to do”, but we had a lovely meal with them before we started, you do know how to keep your workers happy!











Skinny ‘pacas, at least the weather was nice to us and the sun shone, although it’s raining now as I tap this out, poor, chilly ‘pacas! ……sorry boys and girls, it does this every year, always gets colder the week after shearing.


Ok, so who’s who?, all of a sudden you look the same without your distinctive fluffy coats on!











Oh yes, I nearly forgot…….between show and shearing we had a visit of 2o people organised by the local tourist office to come and see the ‘pacas, so we had to do a very quick ‘set-up’ in the not yet ready boutique!


It still needs more coats of lime wash on the walls and the floor needs painting and some more shelving and, and……and…..we’ll get there won’t we Tony?……….when you coming over again?











And to finish off tonight, how about a drop of appropriate wine?……… a garden client bought these from Holland for us, you do know how to keep your workers happy sir, many thanks Tim.


March 29 2018

Posted on 29/03/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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Ta daa………… the wanderer returns, or should that be turns up like a bad penny? Do you remember me? if not no worries, this will all be new to you then…..good luck if you stick with it!  I hadn’t actually ‘wandered’ anywhere, well only offline I suppose but three months of ignoring your goodselves is not playing the game really is it?……my appologies. Explanation as to why……..err, no, sorry I have no idea just seem to have been tied up with doing too much other stuff that involved the computer (my pet hate, spawn of the devil etc  etc) that everyday by the time we’d finished the daily tasks I couldn’t raise the motivation to do the blog……gotta get outside and do manual things, even in the cold and rain it beats sitting at a computer!

           I’ve managed to create some extra ‘free time’ to whitter on now by the simple expedient of ‘self harming’ and invaliding myself out of the day to day running of life around the farm by using the easy ploy of tripping over and throwing oneself to the ground…….don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier, so easy to do but a tad risky if not done correctly.

 Firstly one must find a suitable spot for a likely ‘trip hazard’, I chose inside our sheep barn which has a good hard floor interspersed with random bits of stone embedded in it just high enough to catch out the unwary…. next one must have an audience to witness said accidental trip, I nearly failed on this aspect due to Eve just leaving the barn to feed the chickens as I launched myself, but luckily the alpacas are all extremely well trained in observation of strange human antics and all stood humming and staring fixedly down as I flapped around on the ground like a stunned possom. Their obvious concern bought Eve back to help drag me to my feet, not that she wasn’t sniggering , I saw you!

 Secondly one must instantly brush oneself down whilst looking for a suitable scapegoat to blame for said tumble, any alpaca from the group in the barn would be ideal for this as one cannot be seen to have tripped for no other reason than clumsiness or old age incompetance! Now that the groundwork has been laid (pun intended) for the ‘accident’ it is neccessary to milk any injury for all it is worth to ensure one be signed off work duties for the forseeable future, see step three.

 Step three is to be unable to walk properly when attempted, clinging onto fence posts,railings etc and expelling loud “Oww’s and Aaars” and sharp intakes of pained breath at each step should enforce the need for possible medical attention, but do not under any circumstances suggest this course of action yet and point blankly refuse any medical help if it is offered, a stiff upper lip is the english way and must be stuck to at all costs, “I’m fine, just a minor bump, nothing to see here,move along please”, a good ploy now is to acquiesce albeit reluctantly that maybe a lie down for a while might be in order and of course a good old mug of tea would make all things right again and I’ll be back to my jobs in a short while.

   Step four follows a couple of hours later when trying to get up from ones curative rest only to discover a worsening of the situation and a raised pain level, at this point it will now be acceptable to agree to a doctor being summon’d to make an examination of possible injury but be aware that one must not over play the situation, one is not looking for hospitalisation, just a professional confirmation of an injury requiring a certain ammount of bedrest and regular cups of tea when required. Depending on ones doctor and his available time one may just be awarded some pain killers and advised to rest, which is ok but only likely to bring a very short work respite, not ideal!  If on the other hand ones doctor is a trifle more amenable he may well demand an x-ray of the offending joint which can then involve the need for an ambulance, lots of bustiling around  by people in hi-vis jackets and general consternation from ones neighbours, especially if there are flashing lights as well.


   Step five is the only slight downside of the plan as it does involve an awful lot of hanging around in odd hospital rooms, never ending questions and form filling and the very undignified hospital gown that leaves very little to the imagination……and probably scares the b-jesus out of anyone who unsuspectedly sees you!  Just rest confident that all this will help your case for time off work and there should be no danger of anything untoward being discovered on the x-rays anyway so there will be no danger of a long internment in the hospital and the need to suffer the torture of ‘hospital food’ as this would be a real ‘backfire’ of the plan. It should only be a few hours before one can be sent back home along with a nice pair of crutches to aid pedatation, safe in the knowledge that one now has a valid reason for rest and recuperation.

      A truly cunning plan Baldrick, if I say so myself, of course you can still send gifts of wine and chocolates to aid the patients recovery, all will be greatly received I am sure!

Mon. 1st Jan. 2018

Posted on 01/01/2018 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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   And a Happy New Year to you all, here starts another 365 days of possible chaos and mayham…… well it should be if we’ve got anything to do with it!

All in all I shan’t be sad to say goodbye to 2017, it’s been a funny ol’ year as they say…..I don’t know who the ‘they’ is but ‘they’re’ right, we sold a few of our lovely alpacas at the start of the year and then nothing…..very quiet, no enquiries for the rest of the year, sold some wool and products at fairs and fêtes throughout the year which was good and talked to lots of peeps which is what we’re all about and then we had a bit of a blow in October when we lost one of our founders, old Easter who succumed to a massive worm burden that we were unable to treat in time. Unfortunately in December we had another bit of a kicking when we discovered one of last years boys dead in the field one morning following what appeared to be a dog attack during the night,a heart rending time it is…….enquiries are ongoing!

As said before,” where you have livestock,you also have deadstock” ……there’s the rub.




    On a brighter note, young Lacey, Lotti’s daughter born in September,a month after all the others is doing well…….












And so to the Christmas markets, I had hoped to grab a photie of the ‘pacas here with the concrete sheep of Meziérè but with one thing and another……I forgot until it was too dark!





The three lads, Tribute, Cori and Coinneach did very well with the bright lights,noise and people, bless ’em.





………… that was the Saturday night and then on the Sunday morning they had to do it all again…… all day at the Blond village fête……

            …….cracking spot Grommit, handy if it snows…..or more likely rains!


T’was a trifle worrying with the witches cauldron in the square and the straw sheep being dressed in the background…….it was all a bit ‘The Wicker Man’ film like, somewhat unsettling in a ‘Hammer House of Horror’ sort of way!

We’ve all heard the stories of life in days gone by in these little rural villages……. maybe not so far gone by eh!


…….some weirdo in a red suit was eyeing the lads up, something about putting some bells around their neck and pulling a sleigh but we told him that they haven’t got union cards for that, so sling yer hook!


Well, there we go, 2018 started…….could be a cracker, you never know!!










Fri. 1st Dec. ’17

Posted on 01/12/2017 by Nigel under Bonheur Banter
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Welcome again mes amies,……. eventually, I know it’s been a while again but I guess you’re probably used to that with me these days! ……….Wwooosh, there goes another day,week,month and now it’s  nearly the end of the year! I did keep remembering that I should be putting finger to keyboard and take up my usual fight with the demons of ciberspace that occupy my computer……but then miraculously I always seem to find something far less annoying and stressless to do…… go up on the roof and re-shuffle a few tiles around or maybe even go out poo-picking in the cold and rain!  I love t’internet realy…….huh!

So wot’s occuring then? ……..a small fish (a curring) according to my old mate Rab C Cutler one drunken night at a racemeeting we were at many moons ago,therein lies a different story! See it is always an education wading your way through this drivel!


Bella and Bandit are still ruling the roost up around the barn, taking over the hay feeder as if their’s by right, anyone, alpaca or human who says otherwise gets a horned nudge in the back of the knees…….or higher if you’re not careful!






      Two new inmates have joined our growing troup of late……….

Not the best shot in the world but this is Anik and behind him is Deeks, two six month old Suri boys we aquired from another breeder, who needed weening off  and will join our growing Suri team, welcome boys and hope you enjoy life here.

I don’t know if you remember back in the summer when I was up in Paris at a meeting and Evey had two births at the same time……during a summer storm and one was born jammed under the combine harvester……..yeah? ……..well, look at him now……




one to keep an eye on as he grows.





    The mums and babes have had another change of field last week as we weened off the first seven cria and brought them up to the barn to join Loti and her young girl Lacey,

Poor old Loti has now got a bunch of unhappy youngsters following her around everywhere she goes, sorry girl but someones gotta do it, it’ll only be for a week or two as they find their independence!




All the girls are now together in one large group down in ‘Drop off’ field, 26 of them with babies, but the second batch of cria will be weened off in a month or so and come up to join their mates in the orchard.





The boys new that something was going on…….and ‘Girls’ were probably involved, better line the fence lads just in case, don’t miss a trick this lot!


After this little change round and as the weather seemed set fair for a while I mistakenly thought ” I know, as I’ve got a bit of spare time…..( ? spare time??…who are you kidding pal??!!)  I’ll make a start on underfelting the roof of the old washhouse that is going to become the ‘Boutique’ to display all our alpaca wares”……well………         


It’s a bit of a mess under there by the looks of things! I’ve taken the chimney down……cause we ain’t gonna use it and it’s been leaking like a seive for years by the looks of the rotting timbers…….oh well, it’s only ‘work for the working man to do’ as the song goes! 

What else was I gonna be doing?…….oh yes……..This blog!


See, I said I could always find an excuse not to sit at the dreaded computer!


We attended a ‘Marché de Noël’ (Christmas market) last Friday night which surprisingly was very well attended by both exibitors and punters. I say surprisingly because it was an outdoor market in the towns streets but it turned out to be an appaling day weather wise, rained all day and evening and the organisers had to cancel ‘outside’ and move it to the village hall at the last moment so we didn’t expect many to turn out on a night like that but it was great…….

       Setting out our wares before the unexpected rush! Unfortunately we couldn’t bring the alpacas as we usualy do…….some  nonsense about them being a ‘trip hazard’…….never mind the possible staining of the nice wooden floor with ‘undesirable fluids’ shall we say!

    We have another couple of fairs to do on the run-up to christmas so hopefully the weather will be better to us and allow an outing for the ‘pacas to show themselves off.


Mind you, we have our first dusting of snow this morning………

  The ‘weenlings’ first encounter with ‘the white stuff’……..err where’s me grass gone?   Hope this isn’t the prelude to a long cold winter……it is only just the start of December….still autumn officialy, not winter until the solstice on 21st………..hhmmmm.