Thursday, 19 February 2015

From their back to mine – Les Lamas du Tilloux

I'm just back from a few days in France, visiting my parents. It was a 'Xmas catch up' since I wasn’t allowed to travel in December.
There was something nice about travelling on my own and being alone with my parents. Actually, I don't know why I didn't think of doing this earlier, I always tried to spend some time alone with each of my kids. It only makes sense to give my parents the same attention.

As usual when I travel, I made a list of things I want to do. It's a habit we started some years ago with the kids. Our lists are super simple and might include things like 'a walk to see the horses', 'a lunch at the Red Lion' (our local pub in England), ‘an afternoon at school’... So on my list for this week was visiting to a local lamas farm.

Les Lamas du Tilloux1
On a freezing morning, my mum and I drove to the farm called Les lamas du Tilloux. There are some lamas at the Tilloux, but mainly (I think) alpacas, a bit more than 60 of them: a few grown up babies, a few males and an herd of mothers and their youngsters.

Do I need to say how cute those animals are? Smaller than lamas, very curious. Their top lip is split so they don’t get hurt when eating the spiky grass from region of origin. They only have teeth on their bottom jaw. They've got a funky hair do - the wool from their head is not cut as it helps to keep the flies away fro. The pupil of their eyes is horizontal. Some of them have very light blue eye which make them more sensitive to eyes' infection.
Les Lamas du Tilloux
They are in their winter coat at the moment. Did you know that the colder the weather, the finer the fleece on their back is? Also. The appellation 'baby alpaca' in yarn means that the wool come from the first ever cut on the alpaca. If you consider that a baby alpaca first coat weights less than 2 pounds, no wonder that the yarn gets quite expensive. And to add to the price, the female alpaca gives birth to one kid only, after 340 days of gestation.
Diagonal scarf
Of course, at the end of the visit I had to buy some yarn (oops I did it again!). My mother had offered some white yarn last year (it is actually more off white/cream) which I used in my 'diagonal scarf' (the pattern is free and comes from Purl Soho: follow this diagonal pinstripe scarf) . So I took some black yarn this time. Another interesting thing is that the colour of the white yarn is the same from one batch to the next. The reason being that the coats of the white alpacas are isolated. If a white alpaca has a coloured spot, it is not considered as white. Well, interesting visit, lovely country side and very welcoming hostess. So, if you are in the neighbourhood, make a detour for a visit, enjoy the landscape, and if I'm home give me a call and come for a coffee...

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