Thursday 31 March 2011

Tumbling down the bank

Wet and windy here today with a mammoth fall for me whilst climbing the bank into second carrying a barrel of water for the sheep.  As usual, I had omitted to put the lid on the full barrel of water so not only was I damaged and bleeding but I was also plastered in mud and wringing wet.  Needless to say I could find no plasters but luckily I was going to the shops anyway - so after a quick change and rub down, plasters were added to the list.

Well, one trip leads to another and at the weekend we are off on a spinning course (Sam is coming as well as he is so keen on carding!).  Hope he is better by then as he has another nasty cold and he seems unable to remember how to use a handkerchief!

Don't think anything is wrong if there is no more blog until into next week - it is only because we are spinning!  -spinning yarn as well as Grasstrac so yes, Rob, more You Tube moments!!

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Should we - or shouldn't we?

We wanted rain, we have had rain - I'm not convinced it was 'warm rain'!

Today did not go as planned.  I was supposed to be going to Irene's to take knitting and see Mrs Humphrey's cria.  As I was about to set off the Grasstrac delivery arrived.  Great, but I then needed to get it down to the barn and under cover so the trip to Ashdale had to be postponed. 

The blog title refers to one of our current big decisions we are trying to make at the moment - Should we, or should we not, offer Emily for sale?  Emily is one of my favourites, daughter of Carolyn one of our foundation alpacas - and one of our 1st place fleece winners at the GWR Fleece Show.  She is not pregnant yet (that is another decision - who to mate her to?).  On the one hand I want to keep her as a) She is a favourite b) She is the easiest alpaca to trim toenails, inject and to do anything else you might want to c) I am sure she will have a fine cria with her background on both sides - but - you can't keep them all!!

This evening the sun came out so it was on to the Westhill version of a fertiliser spinner.  Sadly, when I uploaded the photos of the automated spinner (a garden fertiliser spreader with a bit of wood for the handle and me running with it as fast as possible with Sam shouting at me to go faster in order to reach the required 11mph) I accidentally deleted everything so this is just the basic model - Carl throwing by hand whilst running!

Monday 28 March 2011

A Lame Excuse

Last night ended on a slightly sour note.  Sam had been told to be in by 7pm to get ready for college.  I lay in the bath fuming as 7 turned to half past, then knitted and fumed as 7.30pm turned to 8pm,.  I was just about to storm across the fields in my bed time T shirt and wellingtons when he returned, "Sorry, Mum, Dad locked me in the tractor!"  They had been doing something and Carl shut the tractor door with Sam inside, it locked itself and they couldn't unlock it - this was a daft excuse as he could have climbed out the window quite easily.

Today I had a trip out to take Mum to the dentist and then I had broad beans to plant, given to me by the Keeper of the Graveyard.  Having cleaned the car, in preparation for another little adventure, poo picked a field, ordered some Grasstrac for the fields and had a jolly good feel of the sheep's udders I have reached the stage of blogging.  A bit later than usual due to a good deal of studying of photographs sent by our undercover agents - The Bond Girls!

Sunday 27 March 2011

Sammy and the Same!

Life is getting very exciting at the moment!
With the clocks changing I set the alarm for 6 .30 to check Sam had remembered about time changes for getting to work - he had and was already gone! 
Carl was also up early as he had a new motor bike stand (thank you ALF) which he was very keen to try out.  And I know, Carl's shed is like an Aladdin's Cave!

Then  it was down to Landrover Man's to collect a new tractor!  Sam was almost bursting with excitement and I think The Shepherd was glad to see the back of him - he could not stop talking and beaming - Sam that is, mind you the Shepherd was pretty smiley as well!
Here it is The Same - not much to look at maybe but it has a radio cassette player, proper air conditioning not just a window that sometimes opens and it is BIG - 4WD, 90hp, Quike loader, guide thingies and you can up and down the hydraulics from the cab!  They have already fitted something called a Speed Knob (or something like that - not really sure).

Sam is cleaning it with a small brush!  . . . and it came with a bale trailer (needs a little work).

Sam and Carl are out there now cleaning the windows and preparing to pressure wash it.  They did have a minor fire and a smoke filled cab at one point as some of the oil on the engine ignited but apparently this is no big deal and will soon be sorted.

We then had a visit from The Chippendales who roamed the hills with the dog, collected eggs and brought a very nice cheese and biscuit lunch.

Carl and I finished off the toe nail trimming, gave a few injections and then prepared ourselves for a few more spit offs - no luck for Dude!  Bert spat ferociously which was brilliant, so did Crispie, Flemenco, Belinda, Cassie (and that is the first time I have ever seen Cassie spit), even Islay spat.  Excellent!
The only mini drama was Greeves getting a bit peturbed when we did Islay's feet (his Aunty).  We have to do her feet on the ground as she gets very anxious if we try to touch her legs and Greeves got very anxious when she went away from him!

We then moved on to the boys and did a bit more halter training with Spike, Barry and Barnaby.  Spike is very good now and so is Barry but Barnaby is still a bit scared of the halter so he is still not at the leading stage.  We used Dylan as a companion for him and he was very good, as usual.  It was then time for a quick cuddle with Two Tone whilst Stumpy got jealous

They are very friendly with me but a little more wary of Carl.

Now I have to attack a few Lords and Ladies I found growing along the bank at the side of the sheep field - nasty, poisonous things.

Saturday 26 March 2011

Pretty Busy!

Sorry there has been no blog - no problems, just Carl has been working in Cornwall and I have been chasing my tail trying to keep up with carding, spinning, knitting, sheep and poo!  All going well apart from the spinning but I am hoping to get another spinning lesson soon (quite a long way to go for it but worthwhile!).  The daffodils are out and summer does not seem quite so far away.

Sam has also been busy - gardening first and then rolling for the Shepherd this morning.  Not using the Wellground roller (though that has now been all welded up and is ready to go - see picture below!) but the Shepherd's big roller - once it was located as it had disappeared this morning much to the Shepherd's annoyance.

Carl did a bit of motorbike hauling and garden tractor maintenance first thing (not my garden tractor - that is running smoothly and is my second best thing to drive - after the Mule of course).  We then did a bit of toe nail trimming and body scoring.  I had been talking to Viv at Reddingvale earlier and had said that we were not going to start checking pregnancies yet as we will not be doing any rematings until May but once one group of girls was down I could not resist it.  Some good news as Lina spat like a demon.  I had doubts about her as she still likes me to rub her neck sometimes but it looks good.  Carolyn and Lily also spat with gusto so looking good for them.  The disappointment was Zara who rushed in to Dude and sat straight down!  Poor Dude, we had to haul him away pretty quickly.  Although it was a bit disappointing I have to say it was not really a surprise as she is far too pronky to be pregnant!  Never mind.  We have now decided to spit off with everyone else tomorrow just to see how things are going - no rematings yet though!  Looking forward to Bert's spit off!

The weather has been so nice that all the alpacas have spent a lot of time sunbathing or just lazing around -  mind you, Cassie jumps up every time she sees me in case I have food!

The Shepherd brought Sam back and had a quick look at my three sheep - George is well bagged up so he thinks she will be first, Angelina is starting to bag up but Stumpy is still three weeks away - he also things George has twins!  It will be very exciting seeing if he is right - I think he is!!  We are just going to get Sam's sheep moved now before it gets too dark.

. . . An somehow it looks as if we may have acquired another tractor - maybe more news on that tomorrow.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Fighting and Eating

No blog last night as we were trying to make a decision.  Decision made, it is back to the blog - already not sure we made the right decision!

It has been lovely weather today and part of the time I was down to a t-shirt for the first time this year.  For some reason this, the sun - not my t-shirt, drove Spike and Alf mad and they spent a great deal of the day fighting.
I am surprised they have the energy with the heat and the lack of grass in their paddock!  Everyone else was either eating frantically or sunbathing
Hoping these two, Islay on the left and Flamenco on the right are pregnant!

Monday 21 March 2011

Long necked sheep dogs!

A really quite remarkable evening yesterday.  Dobby and Caedmon went off on their sheep guarding duties last night, as the Shepherd's lambs are almost due.  Dobby and Caedmon don't live with the other alpacas in first field - they live with the sheep up in second.  They were our first two alpacas, they are the ones on the banner at the top of the page.  They like sheep and will put up with anything from their little flock, including Two Tone jumping up against them and Stumpy having a rub on their backs.  In fact I have only ever seen Caedmon spit at the sheep once and that was when he thought it was Dobby pushing against him and not Pugsly!  We took the two of them up to the sheep last night and I wish I had taken the camera.  Sam had his phone so these pictures are not that good.  They got straight in the stock trailer and lay down before we had even shut the tail gate.  As soon as we let them out they ran around and got the sheep in a big group - like sheep dogs, I'm not kidding!  Then the two of them stood facing this big flock of sheep and all the sheep looked at them, silently, it was as if Cadders was saying, "Now, listen up, you girls - stick with us and you'll be okay!"  Then Cadders turned round and walked away with Dobby following - - - and all the sheep followed in a long line!  I have loaded up the photos from Sam's phone, they don't really do the moment justice - it was hysterically funny and worthy of You Tube!
Rounding up sheep!

Follow on now!

This morning Caedmon looked shattered, I think he is already worrying about his sheep!  Dobby was watching one way and Caedmon the other - hope they do a good job!!

Sunday 20 March 2011

Rummaging and fabricating at Wellground!

A very busy day today as we had a date with a Kubota!  Sam rushed back from work and we dashed to Bratton - a little late due to Sam taking his time over his breakfast at the Shepherd's.

It was just the excuse we needed to take a look at the new Wellground addition.  Carl did a bit of wiring work and we got a lovely new roller donated to us by Rob and Les!  Excellent!  Getting it into the stock trailer was a challenge but with the aid of the forklift, a  few stretchy straps and encouraging words from Les and I - in it went.  Rob showed his talents by fashioning a rather lovely knob for his new lever which operates his spinner - all very technical!

Anyway, enough of that, I had been really wanting to look at the new Wellground cria and he is a very special little lad - very lively and looking like he owns the world.  He took exception to every little bird who landed in his paddock and raced around seeing them off.  I edged closer and closer and eventually Les relented, she had no choice really, "Would you like a look at him?"  Didn't take a second asking, I was away down the run  with Les trotting along behind!  Gorgeous fleece, I am not good at describing it but I know it was good!

Then I had to take a look at High Commissioner who is another of my Wellground favourites - lovely fleece, lovely look and such a cute little thing - it really is not professional but I had to kiss him three times!  You just can't help it!

We could have stayed all day, actually we almost did as it was gone three by the time we went.  Then a rush back to feed, check waters and hay . . . .

Now it is back to spinning - which I will get the hang of, Jayne.  I have to as there are batts everywhere from Sam's batt production!

Great day, great company!

Saturday 19 March 2011

A Day Well Spent

Craft night went well on the carding front - and on the knitting front - but not so good on the spinning!  Thanks to Jayne we now know which hand is supposed to move and that may help!  The carrier wool kept shooting back through the hole last night - minus any alpaca fleece!  Tonight, after a takeaway, we shall be trying again.

Today the weather has been lovely so we have got quite a bit done.  We had to go over to Mole Valley this morning to get a few things for lambing and Sam was desperate to spend a voucher he had on a shepherds' crook (if he attempts to capture me by the leg one more time it will go flyling down the hill!).  Then Carl and Sam did a bit of track maintenance, attempting to get rid of the ruts, followed by chain harrowing up in third.
Meanwhile, I was on the John Deere cutting nettles in Dude's stud paddock - it feels like summer is on the way when you start having to cut things!

It wasn't until quite late in the afternoon that I had to take my sunglasses off - first time of wearing this year - only to find I had lost my ordinary glasses.  Some time later I discovered them in the sheep paddock with Stumpy keeping guard - they were in their case.  I must have dropped then out of my pocket while I was cuddling Two Tone earlier (Two Tone likes to sit on your knee and have her chin rubbed which she is beginning to get far too big for!).  Feed time was the normal rowdy affair in top paddock with Cassie sounding like she was being killed.  She has to have an entire trough to herself (she has decided that the bowl is not big enough) so I spread it very thinly so it takes longer)
Everyone else squashes up together!

Greeves in a pen with Islay did not work and he still shows no interest in any sort of food but, he continues to gain weight!

I don't think he can see out much anymore!  Here he is with Belinda in the background.

Friday 18 March 2011

A little bit of carding!

It's arrived!  Our new Drum Carder!  Hand made by Paul Brittain of Classic Carder and a lovely piece of work it is (www.classic

. . . and here is our first Batt (think that is what it is called!). 

It is light and airy, as the instructions say it should be, but as it consists of the old leg and neck hair which was all I could find it is not prime quality! Sam is very into it and keeps telling me to move out of the way as he is, "Lining up the Batties!"

Now if we could only crack spinning we would be away.  In fact we have to as we have already posted an entry off for the Great Western Region Fleece and Fibre Show in the new yarn section - a bit premature I know but I thought with that looming it might concentrate the mind a bit.  Progress will be recorded on the blog - the first stage is to retrieve the spinning wheel from the top of the stairs where it has languished with Dad's easel for the past year!

As  I type there is a lot of banging as the spinning wheel is lifted down - looks like a knitting and spinning evening ahead of us!!!

Thursday 17 March 2011

Roller Heaven!

Firstly, the Mule is now mended, again!  It took Carl until gone 10 last night to discover the problem.  He had the wheel off and on more times than I have changed my clothes this week.  After dunking it in the horse trough by the grreenhouse several times and finding no leaks whatsoever, and having had it explode on him as he was giving it a test drive, he discovered the problem - a hole in the rim!  Never had that before.  Anyway he has fixed it and I roared around today.  He is fencing at the moment - always fencing!  Sam, despite a bad back, is very excitable as he has a bit of rolling planned.  We had a kind offer of a roller and he has been getting his tractor all prepared - then, at lunchtime, Valtra Man popped his head round the corner and said he had dropped off half a roller for us to borrow - TWO ROLLERS - we are going to have rolling matches next week!  Mind you, Valtra Man's is very big so we might struggle on the uphill bits, of which there are many!  Wonderful!  The big roller is only for second and third fields as a) we would never manouvere it through the runs and b) have you ever tried to FEM a massive roller - once is enough!  Plus you have to do it by hand as it would destroy the vehicle mats!  I must be excited as well as there are a lot of exclamation marks in this!  Part of my excitement is getting the covers off the John Deere (garden tractor not super tractor) must mean warmer weather is on the way if my thoughts are turning to trimming nettles in the paddocks  - the little beauty started first time, then stopped as Sam had syphoned the petrol out for his quad!

Wednesday 16 March 2011


Bother was not the first word that sprang to mind when I saw the Mule this morning!
A flat,brand new, tyre - still with the bobbly, sticky out rubber bits on it!
A grey day on the hill but not too cold.  I tried to capture the line of tractors on the top of the Ridge but they were too far away.

I did manage to photograph some more knitting but not put it on the shop yet as I need to consult with the Pricing director now!  Here is the jumper - beautiful pattern and very soft.

Monday 14 March 2011

Action Shots are difficult!

Another sunny but cold day.  In the village, when I popped down this morning, it was warm - I think the Shepherd has got his onion sets in now so things must be warming up, just hope the warmth reaches the top of the hill soon!

More halter training this evening and the star is Spike - the one we were not even planning on halter training!

I have had a bit of a photographic failure day today.  This shot is supposed to be Lily running down the hill with her fleece rippling - it does, and looks brilliant, but by the time I had got the lens cap off I had missed it
Instead of walking regally past, she scratched her bottom -

and then refused to face the camera!

Not much luck with Greeves either.  Today he was actually doing some running - not something we have seen a lot of, but as soon as the camera came out - he just stood still and did his standing still pose.  He has got a nice little 'beard' materialising though!

Sunday 13 March 2011

The sun has got his hat on - sadly, so have I!

Excellent news last night from Irene at Ashdale.  I will let her tell you more but just to say she took our knitting to a show and has sold a phenomenal amount.  After my saying things had gone flat after Christmas - well, they have picked up now!!

It has been a busy day today - and lovely weather.  Carl and a friend have been fencing.
Spring has definitely been in the air - buds are bursting!

After lots of poo collecting for me and lots of moaning about his bad back from Sam, we did a bit of halter training.  My poo collecting was quick due to the Mule and his new tyres - not once did I get stuck or slide!

Halter training also went remarkably smoothly.  Barnaby Rudge is still a little nervous of his halter but Barry Norton had got to the stage where a little walk was called for - but who to take with us?  Harry and Dylan are already well halter trained so it should have been one of them but Spike, the blood giving wether, was desperate to come out.  We have never halter trained him but Sam was keen!  So Sam put his halter on - no fussing - and he was ready to be off!  I can't say he walked perfectly but he was not bad.  Little Barry was not that keen on going out but walked well coming back!  We have had a long debate over whether to show the next photo due to the state of my trousers, the fact that Barry's lead rein is a bit of old rope, and me looking enormous (I was wearing 4 jumpers as, despite the sun, it was cold).  In the end the photo stays in but the hat is to be replaced and the trousers are supposed to be in the bin tonight!

Saturday 12 March 2011


Bert is not a donkey!

I have gone a bit picture mad tonight with my new storage!  Cruella has been annoying the alpacas today by staring at them through the fence and then turning her back on them when they come near.  She is very wary of the electric fence at the moment!

Next my favourite photo of Greeves with his Aunty Islay who he sticks very close to.  In fact, tonight he almost ate a little food and he is looking far better than he has done for months.  Dude is in the background.
I think he is saying, "I love you, Aunty Izzle!"
Not sure what he is saying in this next one!
My Mule has had new tyres all round today.  It has also had a new CV joint so it is now all singing and all dancing - and I am very pleased!  But I did forget to take a picture of it!  I did take one of George though - I like to think she is looking ready to lamb!

Friday 11 March 2011

No donkeys here!

Thank you for all the advise on photos - it's all my fault I know.  I had been told to reduce the size of my photos, and I did, but obviously not enough.  Anyway, I have just had to buy more storage in the end - you are right, Judi, it will not break the bank!  It takes 24 hours for the storage to updgrade so I have photos ready for tomorrow.

All day I have been alternating poo collecting with tidying the house and knitting.  I am trying a drop stitch scarf which sounds my sort of thing but I have loops where I am not supposed to have loops - the needles haven't fallen apart though which is good.

Greeves is not only putting on weight he also looks taller - photo ready for tomorrow!

The sheep are lying down a lot which I think is an indication that the lambs are on the way but the Keeper of the Graveyard tells me that The Organist says it's only to keep their patch dry!  We gave Rammy a pedicure tonight - which he desperately needed.  Easy to do once they are rolled but rolling monster Rammy was no mean feat!  When we finished there was a dreadful commotion from top paddock - screeching and spitting.  I rushed over to see Dude rearing up on one side of the fence an Flemenco rearing on the other - she was really screaming at him and doing some serious spitting - guess she is pregnant!  Dude is getting rather frisky at the moment!

I had a very weird dream last night.  I dreamt I had taken Bert to the Futurity (it has been on my mind today - wonder how everyone is getting on?) and when we walked in the ring the judge kept shouting, "Get that donkey out of here!"  I kept telling him she was not a donkey but when I looked round she was!  When I tried to get her out of the ring she lay down and started knitting!  I woke up in a cold sweat!  Photo tomorrow to prove she is not a donkey!!

Thursday 10 March 2011

Only words

Another photo free blog I am afraid as I still have the uploading problem.  Has anyone else had this problem with running out of storage space to upload onto Blogger?  Maybe I blog too much!

This afternoon I collected some lovely knitting from The Flower Lady - lots of hats in various colours, a scarf with a stripe and a very wonderful jumper.  As we were talking, Big Baby (the cat who left home to live in a barn in the village) stalked past the window looking sleek and huge.  The Keeper of the Graveyard was in fine form - his 6 lamb sheep is looking big.  How many will it produce this year I wonder?!

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Best wishes to all

I have been jealously reading other people's blogs on the Futurity.  Unfortunately, we cannot go - we did mean to this year.  Every best wish to all who are going and we will be looking forward to hearing all about it on the blogs!

This is just a short blog as I have a date with a bag of fleece in a minute and I have to deal with that whilst trying to motivate Sam to do more English homework (poetry and he would far rather be removing link pins on his tractor).

So just a few photos!  No, sorry, no photos!  Blogger tells me I have run out of storage and I have to buy more!  I didn't know it was storing them and it seems impossible to delete what is on there!  This will need investigation.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Irene and her Little Ones

Weather has been quite glorious today and I was getting very overheated in my two jumpers on the way to Devon - I only realised at Bridport that I had the heater on full!  Devon today as I was visiting Irene and Si at Ashdale Alpacas - taking with me lots of knitting and a tensioner thingy we had borrowed from Si.

Good to see the great progress at Ashdale and to talk knitting with Irene.  She quickly solved my problem of the unscrewing needle and produced 3 scarves and a hat whilst we had coffee (or that is what it seemed like).  I also learnt how to cable so look out for a lot of cabling appearing!  Si disappeared at this point as, I believe, he is already a cabling demon.

We had a lot of alpaca chatter whilst watching a heavily pregnant Mrs Humphries from the window and then it was time to meet a few of the alpacas (p.s. Mrs Humphries is a suri alpaca, not the cleaning lady).  I was very struck with Exhibition - lovely looking animal with a great fleece.  Mind you that whole group of youngsters were gorgeous!

Sunday 6 March 2011

GWR show meeting and a surprise visit

Nice sunny weather today which the alpacas have all appreciated.  But, according to the Shepherd, we now need warm rain for the grass to grow.  And, as you can see from the background to this picture of Barnaby Rudge cuddling up to Alf, we need grass growth!

We had a meeting of the GWR show committee this afternoon and that went very smoothly.  There is an addition to the show this year which I think is very exciting - when it is revealed I hope others do as well.  In addition to this development, the Champions are all getting sashes as well as the Supreme Champions so I need to make a phone call to the Rosette Company next week to sort that out.  It was good to meet up with everyone again and it feels good to be part of such a friendly and hard working team.  Before we left we had to have a little guided tour of the Wellground herd  - particularly as our eyes were drawn to the Gorgeous Geff and his posings!  A little rummage in a very lovely brown fleece and then  we had to go.

Back home to feeding and a surprise visit from The Vampire Vet and his colleague who was visiting from far flung lands - they had a tour of the alpacas and sheep and we had an interesting conversation on plasma.  Luckily they were not a little earlier or they would have caught me in the middle of my halter training - we are going to have to get out of the pen soon as it is all getting a bit of a crush!

Now I am afraid the rest of the evening is going to be a battle as Sam has English Homework and I have already made him redo it twice!

Saturday 5 March 2011

Yesterday there was no blog as it was The Aunt's funeral.  A sunny but bitterly cold day and lots of friends there.  The Keeper of the Graveyard was in fine form as was The Flower Lady who has, incredibly, knitted a jumper in the time it has taken me to knit one sock and a pair of gloves.  There was an extremely glamorous lady in a black hat and another in a most magnificent alpaca fur hat.  Land rover Man was looking exceedingly dapper and the Cat Lady looked younger than ever.  Good to see everyone but a shame it was on such a sad occasion - made doubly poignant by it being the same funeral directors who did Dad's funeral - I did nearly lose the plot when the coffin went  out but managed to get a grip.

Today has been husbandry day although very little toe nail trimming happened due to the mud.  Cassie, however, was the star!  What a gorgeous animal!  You barely hold her and she lifts her feet beautifully.  She was closely followed by little Barry Norton who is so good - and he is now very comfortable with his halter.  We haven't got to the leading around stage yet as I have only doing one at a time.  However, I think that, as he and Barnaby are being so good about it all, we might proceed to two at a time next week.  First of all, though, he will have to have his fringe trimmed or he will not be able to see where he is going!

Greeves has gained weight again - but still not eating the hard feed!

Thursday 3 March 2011

Soggy Cat and A Little Plump (ish) Alpaca

Yesterday's little project went exceedingly well but is not quite at the stage to show the world - I will just say that it involves the new embroidery sewing machine which is nothing short of miraculous.  Once you have set it all up you just press start, sit there and it beavers away all on it's own - producing embroidery!  Sam seems to have some sort of psychic link with the thing as where I was slowly reading through the instruction book, he came in, whipped a few dials round, changed the foot,  muttered about the "feed dog" and away it went!  More work on that project later.

Poor Cruella, the cat, fell in the bath last night.  It had to happen some time as she does like to sit on the side and catch bubbles with her paw.  It has put her  off the bathroom a bit and she has spent most of the day trying to drive the Mule (which has a broken CV joint - which I am quite pleased about as we have to get another and the place that sells them also sells tyres so I should be getting new tyres soon!)
The day has been cold and it started a bit frosty.

But by the afternoon the sun had come out, though the cold remained.
The best news today though is that Greeves is going up again.  He has gained 800g in two days - maybe he just missed me!!  Here he is with his Aunty Islay.