We’re in today’s La Montagne newspaper (Creuse edition)! There’s a nice little article about our llamas. We’re building up quite a collection of cuttings now. We’ve been in four different papers (and fairly regularly in one of those, L’Echo du Berry), on the radio and on two different TV channels.
It’s fun, but it’s a mixed blessing publicity-wise. Up to now we certainly haven’t made our fortune from people rushing to see us as a result of finding out about us via the mass media. All that tends to happen is that carloads of elderly people turn up on at Sunday teatime wanting to see the llamas for free. In the early days, we obliged but no longer. I mean, I don’t think people turn up at the wolf park in Gueret or at the bison farm in Bourganeuf asking if they can have a quick look for free! It simply doesn’t seem to occur to them that we have to buy our animals, and look after them, and feed them, and insure them, and vaccinate them, and put fencing around them, and so on. Or feed our children. So we’ve hardened our hearts and turn the freeloaders away these days!
We do free guided visits on a Tuesday morning, but people are happy to buy a few souvenirs from our stall, and some have made bookings for a trek as a result of coming, so that’s proving worthwhile. However, we’re never likely to make a living out of our little woolly troupeau. They’re an interesting and lovable sideline to the gite business.
Elrond, the baby alpaca, is now a full-time member of the herd. For the first ten days, he and mum stayed in the stable most of the time, but they now live out full time, apart from when it turns wet and cold. It’s a bit scary to see him running around with Georgie, Vicky and Lulin – they are enormous compared to him and look sure to squash him. He’s learning to be quite nippy. We’re embarking on a field-construction programme, so we’ll factor in a separate field as an alpaca nursery, to be on the safe side!