|Left to right: Taliesin, Diamond, Rhodri, Emry's bum, Olive, and Rhiannon.|
We arrived just in time for feeding: micronised peas, yum! and then just sort of stood in the field surrounded by this glorious, curious, fluffy, chilled out animals and chatted for hours.
Unlike sheep, alpacas don't scatter it out into the field at the slightest human movement. In fact, they are quite tame and inquisitive and like to just huddle around and hang out close to you, although they don't really like to be petted as such. Caerthan did hold on to young Rhodri for us (he didn't struggle or anything, just sort of gave us the impression that he had other things to do) so we could get a little bit of a feel and admire the beautiful crimped white fleece hidden underneath the frankly quite grubby outer layer - alpacas being as fluffy as they are, everything just sticks to them: moss, sticks, earth, you name it. He was wonderfully soft though, especially on the top of his head.
We learnt lots of things about alpacas - that they are a great guard animal, for example, and that as such, they will guard anything (and everything) so that the bunnies in the field will move around with a detail of alpaca bodyguards around them to keep the foxes away. And also that the gentle, placid alpacas can kill a fox as soon as look at it - eek! I would have thought their defence would mainly have been the element of surprise - not sure how many alpacas the foxes of Carmarthenshire come across on their ramblings!
But by far my favourite thing about alpacas is that they hum. They just sort of stand in the field and let out the occasional, contemplative, world-weary "hummmmm", a bit like a sigh, but with more thought behind it. It's a soothing sound, and one that is so apt for use in everyday life. I intend to hum a lot more at work from now on.
We had a little snoop around Caerthans lovely little farm house - I particularily loved his "yarn room", a sun room at the side of the house where he skeins yarn and cards his fibre with views up to his alpaca boys and down over lush valleys....and his gorgeous vintage kitchen cabinet!
Mark made a friend out in the front yard: Herbert the cat, who delayed our departure by another hour as neither of them wanted to be parted, and I got a sneak peak at some potential new yarn colours - please put "Radioactive Pond Algae" into production soon!
Mark may have spent a good chunk of the journey home pondering how and how soon we could set up our own alpaca farm - they are really addictive animals to be around and we miss them already!