Monday, 28 December 2009

A Healthy & Happy New Year

Our Wish For You in 2010

May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts;
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for £50 notes;
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips;
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy;
May the problems you had forget your home address;

In simple words .....................................

May 2010 be the best year of your life !!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 21 December 2009

One Good Thing

It is bitterly cold, extremely icy with a thin layer of snow BUT today is the shortest day so we can at least look forward to a small improvement in daylight hours before too long.

The Alpacas are really tucking into their hay at the moment but they do look content as they sit around together on the chilly ground.

We have been very lucky as regards the snow as we have only had a slight covering but the frosts have been severe so we have had to grit the paths which are like glass.

There only remains one thing left to say: thank you for reading our blog about life at Toad Hall and

May you all have a VERY HAPPY AND PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS AND A TROUBLEFREE 2010. I hope Father Christmas brings you everything you hope for.

With best wishes from Pat and Sid

Friday, 11 December 2009

Pea Soup and Ghostly shapes

It was certainly a pea souper this morning. I leave for work in the dark and this morning with such thick fog as I drove along the local common ghostly shapes appeared out of the mist - it was the cattle crossing the road!!

I don't see much of the Alpacas at the moment as it is dark when I leave and dark when I get home. Sid is in complete charge so he is really busy at the moment. Our two weanlings, Charlie & Chan have been coping well on their own, they are in a paddock next to 'Wellground Scriptwriter' and he seems to enjoy the company. Chan has had a touch of pneumonia so had some Nuflor last weekend but seems to have recovered fully now.

All the Alpacas have big field shelters with gates on. We put in a thick straw bed for them and keep their feeders and hay in there so when the rain comes (which has been most of the time) they are shut in the shelters at night but they all seem really happy.

I don't suppose I shall see too much of the Alpacas this weekend as I had better start Christmas shopping, at least most of the cards have been done.

Thank goodness we live here and Sid does his 'proper job' from here or we would be in a pickle as well as pea soup!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Back to Normal

Well as normal as we are that is! Hopefully the gremlins have now gone for good and we can catch up.

Today was spent putting fresh straw in the field shelters and filling the hay racks, all the alpacas looked very contented as they sat on their fresh bedding looking out at the rain.

We have been very lucky weather wise - there has been lots of wind and rain but we have escaped the worst of it and no damage experienced I am glad to say.

It was a year last weekend since we moved into our home and when we were both ill it really took the pressure off as we could look out of the window and see all the paddocks.

Before we both succumbed to the gremlins we had taken a trip to the Welsh borders to get two new acquisitions - not Alpacas but more chickens. We collected two Blue Cochin to add to the menagerie, this makes the seventh group of chickens to be dealt with daily!!!

Friday, 20 November 2009

The Gremlins got us!!

Unfortunately both Sid and I have been confined inside this week. Sid has had swine flu and I have got bronchitis so we had to call in reinforcements (Antony our son) to do the feeding and stock checking as we locked out the world.

Over the worst now so onward and upward.

Back next week when life has returned to normal (we hope).


Monday, 9 November 2009


We have been busy over the last couple of weeks trying to get the urgent jobs done before the weather turned.

Firstly we un-planted the garden! Different I know but as soon as were able to in the Spring we managed to plant a small area with some summer flowers and our roses which we transplanted from our previous abode. We were lucky enough to have use of 'Ken the Kubota' so just before the rains we managed to remove the plants and get the ground into better shape ready to restock.
We are now prepared for the cold too. I managed to finish installing the wood burner on Saturday. Hopefully this is the last of the major works before we start building the Alpaca barn in the Spring (but perhaps our Alpacas will be like those on Countryfile last night and will decide to give birth in good weather between 8am and 2pm - it hasn't happened yet!!!)

A welcoming site to come home to!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Crafty cria

We have thought for some time that Gem was not feeding Charlie that well as he spent a lot of time with Chan and his mum Hiccup - today our thoughts were confirmed. Hiccup is feeding two cria. Right in front of the window this morning were the two of them feeding together. Chan, Hiccup's own cria stands closer to her with Charlie farther away.

This brings me on to another subject especially relevant to this time of year - feeding. We feed Camelibra and hay ad lib during the summer, also we feed speedi beet to nursing mothers and we have also fed bruised oats. We feed lucerne when we don't have good quality hay. The grass has been good this year, with plenty of it but as it deteriorates we need to think of winter feeding.

At the Royal Show we purchased a bucket mineral lick but none of them seem to have used it, we also bought a vitamin drench which we have not used as yet. All our animals look well so we want to keep them that way without overfeeding (or spending unnecessarily). After reading recent blogs associated with vitamin problems we do not want to overdo unnecessary additives but also want to make sure our animals don't miss out. The cria will have their monthly vitamin injection during the winter
We would love your comments/suggestions on feeding.

Making the most of a fine day was grand daughter Holly - enjoying her swing in the oak tree.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Pain then Reward

Pain for 'Wellground Scriptwriter' that is but good news for us. Princess rejected his advances so hopefully next September we will have a young Scripwriter running around. To console him he was introduced to Atlantic Hope who certainly didn't reject his advances. Princess is a solid white and Hope is a dark fawn so we may have a variety next year. Hope's last cria was by the wonderful 'Samson' and is a solid white with a wonderful fleece - hopefully a herd sire of the future.

The other ladies and young males had a routine maintenance session of toe nail clipping and health checks.

We had rain today which has freshened things up. Although we needed the rain it has been wonderful to be able to get on with a variety of jobs and not make a mess, but autumn has well and truly arrived with the onset of the early nights but it has meant some wonderful sunsets.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


The weather has certainly been a boost for us. Earlier in the year we had plans of what we hoped to achieve this year and that seemed out of reach as the poor 'summer' came. Thanks to a wonderful September we have managed to catch up and do a great deal.

Last weekend I managed to get the soil in place ready to be levelled.
A busy week on the 'proper job' of working on lorries and feed barriers and I thought our luck would run out but thankfully this weekend I manged to level it out with the aid of 'Donald the digger'.We had to put our home well off the ground in accordance with our planning requirements but now with the area around gradually returning to normal it is beginning to look like a proper 'plot'. Pat had a day out at David Austin roses for her birthday and has come back with a big wish list and ideas.
The work continues...........

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Wellground Scriptwriter goes on his Honeymoon

Yes, today Wellground Scriptwriter (Vernon) had his first introduction at Toad Hall. He had a liason with ARU Cambridge Princess who was very receptive to his advances.

It is a major step forward in our breeding programme - he has wonderful blood lines. He was sired by EP Cambridge Commish Lad ( a son of Jolimont Commisario). His dam was sired by the famous NWA Ltd Ruffo. We will just have to wait and see if the union is successful.

Otherwise, another lovely day. More groundworks done - hopefully all the major work will be done before the weather breaks and we won't have to put up with another winter of mud, mud, mud. (But we wouldn't change our minds and leave here!!!)

Friday, 11 September 2009

More contentment

Vernon seems to have settled in very easily. He really is a gem. Thank you Rob & Les.
He had a good look round every nook and cranny of his shelter and paddock and then gazed across at the girls but he will have to wait a day or two for an introduction.

Tonight we took him for a walk up and down the race to get him more used to the halter, not too sure at first but Pat soon told him that he didn't have to be too much of a gentleman and let her go first so he thought he would give it a go.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

An addition to the family

We had a lovely day out today. Excellent company and lovely weather. Where did we go? Where else but the wilds of Wiltshire - Wellground Alpaca Stud.
It was lovely to meet up with Rob & Les again, also Leanne and her mum. A really friendly and social chat. I knew we would come away with positive vibes.

They all manage to keep so cheerful and positive even though they have had such a rotten time lately. Thank you all for a lovely day.

But thats not all we came away with - we also brought 'Vernon' home (we decided his name on the way home. He was known as Mr Scripps at Wellground, we linked that to Heartbeat and 'Vernon Scripps' and it seemed right.
He has travelled well and is now exploring his paddock. The girls have all been over to say hello. We will leave him to settle in for a day or two before taking him for a walk down the race to explore Toad Hall.
I will keep you posted!!!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A Lovely Day

The weather today has been wonderful - the only problem was we both had our 'day' jobs to do but this evening we sat outside watching the Alpacas and enjoying the lovely sunset. The youngsters starting prancing round the field so out came the camera - but - this resulted in an instant end to the prancing and a stand off as I watched them through the camera, watching me to see who would give in first! I did! so then off they went again!!!!!

We have an outing tomorrow which I just know will be a super day - full of promise and positive thoughts for the future of Alpaca farming - more on that soon.

Lets enjoy this glorious few days of our 'Inidan Summer'

Sunday, 6 September 2009


A day of unwinding. We have had a very busy time lately as we hosted an 85th birthday party last weekend for Pat's mother. There were about 30 of us so the race was on to make Toad Hall fit for a family do. As the wind was too strong during the week we could not put up the marquees until the Saturday morning so the day was rather hectic but all turned out well and a good time had by all - lots of Alpaca talk to people who had never seen them before.
All week we have been putting things back as we had 'moved out' so that relatives could sleep in our house.

Today was a sunny day, much less wind, all seemed well with world and a day for catching up with chores.

Busy working on the paddocks

Charlie (Toad Hall Storm) investigating

Grand daughter Holly enjoying a ride on Jumbo

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Better Technology?????

It was supposed to be faster and easier on 'proper' broadband but things never go the way they are supposed to. Since moving here our internet connection has been via a 'dongle'. Basically like a mobile phone connection which is frustratingly slow and often disconnects so when we decided to cancel that contract early and go for the 'proper' thing it was going to be so easy, wasn't it? Well, we are getting there and at times everything is super duper but never mind we'll get it sorted.
One thing that is sorted is my new purchase
- I have got a Gator which is easier than my quad bike and trailer to load and manouvere.

We have been very busy trying to get the improvements to the house finished and the access completed while the weather is dry - we haven't had much good weather but it has been mainly dry enabling much needed work to be done. It all seems never ending, we are probably trying to do too much too soon and cannot fit it all in.

Charlie & Chan enjoying the sunshine today

Anyway, the Alpacas look fit and well. Toad Hall Storm (Charlie) had to go on the bottle for a couple of days as Gem had a touch of mastitis but all seems well now and Toad Hall Sunsrise (Chan) is growing incredibly fast.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Better Technology coming soon!!!

For the past year we have been on 'mobile internet'. Supposed to be good - lets say it has been better than no internet. The problem has been that the signal keeps going, so doing anything at length can take even longer than you think as you need to keep re connecting. However, all is about to change - hopefully at the end of this week we will be on 'proper' broadband. Pat has to sort all that - me and technology don't go together. Give me a spanner and screwdriver any day.

Our 2 cria are growing nicely, the first born 'Toad Hall Storm' has settled nicely. Gem wasn't sure what to do at first but when Hiccup gave birth to 'Toad Hall Sunrise' she seemed to learn from her - very apt really as Hiccup is Gem's mother. Pat was also here in the day to push Storm in the direction of his mother for food so we were able to stop the bottle feeding. We are very pleased with both of them. Let's hope the next two girls give birth uneventfully and all goes well. Shouldn't be too long to wait.

Monday, 20 July 2009

A new day - A new Cria

Pat had left for work at 7.30am telling me to keep an eye on Hiccup. Off I went on my rounds and Hiccup seemed a little unsettled so I thought that we may have a new arrival later in the day. However, I didn't have to wait too long. After an hour a head appeared and no legs so I knew I had better assist. It was quite easy to correct the legs and fairly soon a healthy male cria arrived.

He is a lovely solid white by Cambridge Ice Cool Lad. Here is on the right of the picture with 'Toad Hall Storm' introducing himself.
50% of our cria have now arrived, let's hope the others arrive safely.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

The Changing Face of Toad Hall

We have had a very busy year. This time last year we had just got planning permission to live here so we quite literally moved our house. Well one year on we have established our home area away from the workshop and have been busy putting up more field shelters and creating more paddocks for our expanding herd.

Gem's cria is doing well, she has accepted him well but only seems to feed him when reminded so we are still giving him a bottle as well. We think we will call him 'Toad Hall Storm' as he was born during a week of storms.

We have a further three cria due, all by Cambridge Ice Cool Lad. Hopefully they will arrive over the next couple of weeks

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

More pictures

Our new addition is handsome chap, weighing in at 7.5 kg. Poor Gem is not sure about being a mum but will stand still for him to feed - the problem is getting her to stand!!! She is now in a small paddock with Bluebell in the hope it will calm her down. Fingers crossed. No name yet so he is referred to as 'Charlie' at the moment.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Gem's Surprise

We have 4 cria due over the next few weeks and have been keeping a close eye on the girls. I checked them early afternoon and all was well - when I came back at 5pm and went over to check them again I was greeted by a solid white very healthy looking male cria. One problem, it wasn't immediately obvious who was Mum. He was going from one to another but mostly to Gem. Gem was our first born here and this has been her first pregnancy, she was mated to 'EP Cambridge Samson' , a stunning male at Wellground Alpaca Stud. There were little signs of birthing but we decided to put Gem and baby together and they seemed content. Poor Gem was confused, we gave 100ml of Colostrum to the cria to play safe but we have just managed to get him sucking off Gem and hopefully they will settle together over the next 24 hours.

What a good job we live here - we can check and feed overnight if we need to.
This morning we welcomed Les Rawlins from Wellground Alpaca Stud. What a pity our new arrival didn't come yesterday. Les brought 'Cambridge Buckingham' to do a spit off with Blue Ember which was negative so Cambridge Buckingham set to work.. Rob wasn't feeling too well - hope you feel better now Rob.
Off to put on the thinking cap for a name for our new arrival.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Back at last

Due to a few gremlins in the system I have been without the computer for a while - doesn't take much to put me off technology. However I'm glad to say all seems well now.
I am so glad the Alpacas were shorn at the beginning of May, it was a shame we missed the Three Counties Show but as we have had extremes of temperatures it has worked for the best. It was nice to go to the Three Counties Show as a social, it was a shame that the Alpaca ring was behind the Young Farmers Arena which is always very noisy but the alpacas seemed to ignore it mainly and it was better from the public point of view as they were more high profile. It was wonderful to see so many entries. Let's hope the last Royal Show goes well.
Our four adult females are due to give birth within the next month but from talking to other people it seems that a lot of cria are overdue this year - even longer watching and wondering.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Will it last?

The warm weather has returned so as they say 'let's make hay while the sun shines'
Well, l'm not actually making hay but as we have so much grass at the moment I am mowing the paddocks for silage as we are in danger of losing sight of the Alpacas.
They are all looking well, it wasn't such a shock this year when they were shorn and as it is now 3 weeks since they were done they look quite good. I am sure the lucerne we have been feeding has helped their condition.
Work around the house continues - we only moved here last year and were surrounded by mud for months but I am pleased to say that we now have some grass and a path and hopefully a few flowers on the way. However, nothing could spoil the view - not even the worst weather over the winter. It is wonderful to look out on the Alpacas, especially in the evenings.
Pat (also called Toadette by some!!) is on the mend following an operation on her right hand - you could say I'm her right hand man!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Where is Summer gone?

I should have known really - all the alpacas have been shorn and what has the weather been like since? At least they all have a shelter in their paddocks to escape from the worst of the wind and rain. Hopefully things will improve soon. We do need the rain, it is just a shame that it all comes at once.
The alpacas have had their annual Lambivac injection, Dectomax injection and this year we have given them a drench against coccidiosis.
They have also been shorn and we are hopefully going to show the fleeces from Toad Hall King of Diamonds (Barnaby) and Toad Hall Cool Troy (Troy). I say hopefully because it is all a learning curve for us and we have yet to find out how we prepare the fleece for showing.