Haven't had the helicoptor by yet ...

We had a pre-Christmas shock a short while ago. A vanload of gendarmes pulled up outside the house and a significant amount of firepower clambered out. It was gone four o’clock, three days before Christmas. Surely they weren’t here to check Chris’s gun licences or my paperwork for the business. Everything’s in order but it’s still hassle having to dig it all out.

But no, fortunately. Apparently some horses had escaped onto the ‘main’ road and they wondered if they were ours. We only have well behaved llamas and alpacas, cats and a dog who never wander far away from the house, slightly naughty sheep and goats but they’ve never made it off our premises, and completely harmless poultry and guinea pigs here. The horses almost certainly belonged to our neighbour Yann. He has a field-full of heavy horses, Percherons and Bretons. They’re beautiful, gentle creatures. When they’re in the field adjacent to our llama field, the opposing sets of animals spend ages simply looking at each other. After a chat the gendarmes set off to see Yann and probably spend an hour or so helping to catch the horses. It was a good job we’d dealt with the turkeys in the morning. I always dread having someone call round, especially armed law enforcement officers, when either I’m busy plucking or Chris is removing various turkey body parts in the slightly gruesome preparation for the eating procedure.

We’re well known to the local police, but for non-criminal reasons. Since Chris has guns we have to get various permits approved by them every year. So we make several calls to the local station in Boussac or the one further away in Chatelus (depending on where the rural Creuse force, which seems to only consist of a couple of cops, is based at the time) to get that sorted out. They’re always very interested in the llamas. We didn’t recognise any of the gendarmes who called today. I guess they must be the holiday-cover crew, shipped in from somewhere out of the area. I hope they’re used to handing several tons of horse at a time.

An unexpected visit from the fuzz is in keeping with this Christmas holiday so far. It isn’t going according to plan. The weather’s rotten and we’re all full of colds so the crafty activities and long, healthy walks I’d mapped out for us to do aren’t happening. I still have to boil the puddings and make crackers, and I’m not entirely sure I’ve got presents for everyone either! And as well as feeling fluey, Benj is moping. He’s turned soft after three months in an overheated flat in the city. He reckons he’s cold and has borrowed clothes off practically everyone to keep warm. He also has sore teeth after the visit to the dentist on Tuesday and he’s missing his woman/women (more than one name has been mentioned!).

Things are very soggy round the farm at the moment. It’s at its most dismal.

We’ve gone from dry, concrete hard ground to waterlogged muddy mess in the space of a week. We’re on heavy clay here so it goes to crazy extremes. But on the bright side, I don’t have to fill any water buckets up for the outdoor animals. They’re collecting more than enough water from the barn roof.

Gigi refused to come out of the barn till the rain stopped

So, not a great run up to the big day. But there are still a couple of days left to get into the spirit of things. We’re not quite at the ‘bah humbug’ stage yet!

Normally this is a white alpaca in a green field! Poor muddy Mellie!