Woolly thinking

When we move to France, in 2020, one of the issues to consider is “How on earth shall we fill our time?”

Of course, there will be renovations to complete (now made much simpler due to my advanced woodworking skills – we’ll be overrun with trivets), up to five chambres d’hôte to service, gites to maintain, but apart from that, what shall we do with the hours of leisure that will stretch before us.

Whilst Le Roi and I muddle along quite well together, mainly due to separate, but complementary passions- I like to cook, he likes to eat – we both know that this is a great opportunity to have a go at new things.

Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind in this situation is Alpacas. We live near Saltaire where there are two statues of Alpacas in the local park. These have always, if not fascinated at least piqued an interest. When I mentioned this to Le Roi, he did not hesitate to book me a day’s taster session in basic Alpaca maintenance as an early birthday present at a farm in North Yorkshire.img_6025.jpg


Do not underestimate the attraction of the Alpaca! The course was over subscribed and the eight delegates ranged from the absolute beginner – me – to someone who already has four and was keen to start breeding, Alpacas I hoped.

Over the day, we learned how to harness an entire boy, who seemed rather unimpressed but tolerant of our fumblings, how to trim nails, spot a fine beast, and quite a lot about the fleece. You need to look at the crimp, density and lustre. Oh, and male Alpacas have shark like fighting teeth that have to be trimmed regularly. We also looked at the commerciality of the wool from hand knitted scarves and alpaca nipple tassels- the later come with several stickers in case the adhesive wears off.

At the end, I came away with a desire for at least a gang of four, if not a herd. Ideally, two gelded boys and two non-breeding ‘aunties’. And as Alpacas are apparently quite good at keeping the foxes away, we’ll probably need a few chickens, a duck or two and maybe a goat? I’m channeling Marie- Antoinette….that should keep me busy.

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