I’ve reluctantly decided not to go to my first alpaca show. I entered a couple of months ago, planning to take Plunkett to enter the class for Suri alpacas and also the fancy dress class. Brendan was coming along to keep him company in the fancy dress, and also to take part in the obstacle course, led round by Caitlin. I was excited about it and we started to train the boys up.  However, it was obviously an omen when, on one of our practice walks, Brendan sniffed Plunkett’s backside one too many times and got a kick in the face as a result. His two central bottom teeth haven’t been seen since.

Anyway, last weekend I got a call from one of the organisers, checking a few details. I discovered that I couldn’t use the suffix ‘of Les Fragnes’ for my two boys since neither of them were actually born at Les Fragnes, even though they’ve both arrived here young and have lived here longer than they haven’t. OK, lesson learned. Then I found out I couldn’t change their names. Plunkett was born under another name, which was nice enough, but we have a theme of Irish names, reflecting our Irish heritage, so we called him Plunkett after our solicitor! Nope, he has to keep his original name so that people know where he was bred. This has made something clear to me. There is quite a trade in pregnant females. I’ve bought two – one llama, and one alpaca – and neither purchase was successful in that the llama wasn’t actually pregnant, and the alpaca lost her baby the next day due to the stress of the journey to her new home. The vendor generously let me take her back to be remated, and this time it worked. But the market in ‘in cria’ females is a risky business, however, judged worthwhile I assume so that the purchaser can lay full claim to the cria when it is born at their ‘stud’. So I can call our little alpaca born in July Elrond of Les Fragnes, even though his mother is a from one herd and his father from another. He wasn’t ‘manufactured’ at Les Fragnes, so to speak, but that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that he was born here. And if we should sell him, not that Caiti would let me, he will trail that name around with him for ever.

Now, Brendan was nameless when I bought him. What should you do in that situation officially, I wonder?

This is a whole new world to me. I used to show rabbits and cavies with my dad when I was young. If you owned the animal, whether you’d bred it yourself or bought it, it was your critter and you got the glory. And you called itwhat you wanted!

So, suitably chastened, I’ve decided I can’t quite face spending two and a half days in an environment where I am evidently a crass ignoramus and will inevitably do everything wrong. I’ll cut my losses for now, and have another go next year and try it get it right then. Shame, as I was looking forward to creating fancy dress for the boys. Brendan was going to be a vampire, and Plunkett, probably a packet of biscuits! Maybe I’ll make them anyway for Hallowe’en.  Watch this space for photos!