Ringsbury's Diary - 15-01-08
We do like having our pictures taken, and on our Christmas walk we were delighted to be able to pose for our neighbour Carol who took some splendid pictures of us all.
Four legs and Two legs went out for a lovely stroll around Ewyas Harold in order to 'blow the cobwebs away' - eh???
As you can see, Avebury loves posing and he's standing with his friend John just as they are ready to set off. As Silbury pointed out - quite a sparkle in his eye. And Avebury too.
The ten of us haven't been out as a group before and this was superb entertainment. More than twenty people came along to Old King Street Farm and we set off in a long line to the village. Our first call was at our friend Maggie's house. I say she's our friend because on
Christmas Day, Silbury and I were allowed the very special treat of eating her lawn ('just because it's Christmas'). This was after we'd been to our friends Sue and Mike's house and what had we found outside the front door? - Rudolph's carrot peeled and topped and tailed and sitting in a bowl of water for the deliverer of festive good cheer. Well Silbury and I made short work of THAT, and we were off with a loud Ho Ho Ho to all.
But back to THIS walk. Long Meg and Tenbury Wells had never been for a walk off the farm before, and it was a little difficult for them as we left the farm. They are good girls, in fact they are sometimes my girlfriends, but they haven't quite the hang of this taking a strange two leg for a walk thing yet. There was a vague plan to have the boys at the front and the girls at he back, but by the first bend Tenbury Wells was accelerating nicely up into third place dragging Chloe with her, and with a sideways walking Long Meg and Hilary hot on her heels.
We made our way past the cottages and crossed the road by the pub. Our target was the village playing field and you can see Long Meg standing with Hilary and our own female two leg (that's her in the poncho and Silbury who has a superb sense of fashion said 'spot the Chrissie
The football pitch had the biggest mole hills on it, so we trampled those down so the players wouldn't trip over them. I find this particularly easy with my generous feet, but Silbury has such delicate bones and doesn't like getting muddy, so he left it to me.
Meanwhile, Maes Howe was off, dragging Ann the whole length of the pitch as she saw some particularly interesting sheep in the next field. They also had a look at the children's playground. Naturally, we are herd
animals, and we like to stick together, particularly in times of stress, like if a stray dog has entered our field. But seeing as all ten of us were constantly in sight, Maes Howe felt confident enough with her gentle person to walk off a little way. They looked at the swings and
the slide, stood in the goalkeeper's position on the pitch, strolled up the other end to check the stream, and then passed by the cricket pavilion. Then Callanish with Liz, Doll Tor with Margaret, Stenness with Rob, Avebury with John and all the llamas and people followed.
Brodgar performed his usual party trick of having a wobbly five minutes so he had to be moved from a gentle two leg to our own bossy bloke, but that seemed to calm him down, and pretty soon they were standing very happily watching proceedings. I'm with the two-leg on this one - Brodgar does sometimes need to need to be shown who is in charge - like ME in our own field where he sometimes forgets who's boss.
When we were all mooching about on the green, some of us having the
occasional nibble - mown grass is tastier than rank, long stuff - quite
a few people from the village came up to talk to us. There were lots of
children about. A couple of tourists who were staying in a bed and breakfast in the village joined in with the group and we all happily
walked off the playing field and waited for a group photo outside the
churchyard. By this time Maes Howe and Ann were so far away on the far
side of the pitch, that they straggled in a bit late for their picture.
We walked in line through the churchyard which is really lovely - I've not been there before - and passed the shop, both pubs and fish and chip shop. Villagers were particularly pleased to see us and Silbury trotted along on his pins.
A bit further up the road, he decided he'd like to pop in and see one of our near-neighbours. Here he is introducing himself. I think he's eyeing up the sprigs of holly around the door, but Silbury knows this isn't the best food for a llama.
We congregated outside Prill Farm, and then strolled back up the hill to Old King Street Farm. We had a bit of rosemary from a bush in the garden (good for a llama's guts, you know), and were then led into the yard where all ten of us were un-haltered in the pen. Feeding mix to
ten hungry llamas must be difficult for the two-legs I know, but they do make a bit of a meal of it and when they insist on holding the full dipper high above our heads there is bound to be a little playful jostling for food. But we all got some and thought the two-legs were going to stand around and admire us like they always do, but this time they bolted for the house, where rumour had it, the stove had mulled cider on it and there were little nibbles to eat.
A lovely llama trek for ten llamas and twenty people.
But that wasn't all we did over the holiday period.
The very nice Richards family were staying in one of our peoples' holiday cottages, and we took them out for a walk a couple of days later.
No one likes walking through mud and we're no exception to this. At the moment we tend to have a routine of coming up to the barn and yard late in the evening, sleeping on the mats in the barn, and after breakfast
the next day, strolling down the run to our field. Once there, we stay for several hours. Now, our people know this, and don't want to splash across the fields to fetch us, so bribe us with some hay in the morning, and when our backs are turned shut us in the yard. This morning was like this, and we didn't have to play the game of coming when called.
It hadn't rained overnight and as our fur was dry, the family was able to groom us. This is useful because we get to meet them properly before we start llama trekking, and people have a chance to understand us and we get to know a bit more about them. We boys do most of the trekking, and we take most of the grooming. We have the full five minutes, whereas the girls are only given a quick once-over to keep them used to being handled. There was a demonstration of a llama 'giving' his foot
on command, which is a bit of a cheek, but I suppose it has a point. Then we were off!
On a dry Winter's Day Ewyas Harold Common is a wonderful place to be. There are a few trees at this time of year that are absolutely covered in mistletoe which the two legs seem to like for some reason. I can't understand it myself. Mistletoe isn't something we can eat, so where's the interest in that?
The two legs say we are particularly good when we've been out a few times in quick succession, and this was my third walk of the week. I loved it. The Richards' girls walked with Stenness and Avebury who are
gentle souls (when they're away from food), and the parents walked with Silbury and me. Special training was reserved for Brodgar who had his usual five minutes of making a fuss before settling down, being the best of llamas and walking happily at the front with our own people. The family were entertained by the humming some of us make.
We took a lovely walk around the Common, and then made our way down the slope. The first of winter snowdrops were already out as we passed garden, and I expect they will carpet the banks again this winter.
On arriving home there was still a bit to show our new friends. We need to have our halters and ropes removed and this was done by gently easing the halter off our delicate noses, holding us for a little while and then releasing us. We know what comes next - Food, Food, Food, and the two legs held our dippers for us as we ate the cereal mix.
This time we all stood around in the yard for a little bit, and then we five llamas decided to go and join the female llamas in our field, so we ambled down the slope and greeted the rest of my herd.
It was a wonderful few days and we look forward to going out for more llama treks soon.