Sunday 22 March 2009

Slap and tickle

On friday I had some training in the basics of Camelidynamics, a method of managing alpacas whereby they do not feel threatened, and they allow you to handle them to carry out husbandry necessaties. Jay Holland came and taught me, the key message being that it was me being trained, and not the alpacas. It was a very productive day as he is a good tutor. So today I spent some time with a certain three ladies in the alpaca pen getting familiar with them, and with the methods I had learnt. Unlike when I was being taught, they seemed to have collectively decided to make it difficult for me, and all huddled together, blocking me out as much as they could - but it was practice and practice makes perfect, though it was frustrating.

Earlier, I continued limewashing the gable wall - one of the fascinating aspects of traditional skills, is the particular tools and methods that get passed on -lime wash is applied using a particular brush with very long bristles - it immediately looks as if it is going to be awkward and messy, and it is. I suppose that as the liquid carries lime particles, its purpose is to carry a good dollop of the mix - and since it is being applied to a wall, you have to slap it on, then tickle it into the uneven stones and joints - at least, that's my method and description.

I was amused to discover that Mole Valley Farmers, our agricultural merchants, sell 'gripples' - what a lovely word - apparently, gripples are used for joining fence wire. That reminds me of a great book, The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams, where unusual place names are given meanings for 'things' that don't have words - for example: Nempnett Thrubwell (in Somerset) was given the meaning as, the feeling you get when you ride off on a brand new motorbike!

I woke up this morning with a song in my head - one of the new songs by U2 - I haven't listened to the album for several days, so it's fascinating where that comes from when you are not conciously thinking about it first thing, and haven't even got familiar with it in the same way as hearing hit songs over several years. It's great when a melody or chord sequence from a new song is so likeable that it has soaked into your being so that you recall it without trying.

One of the benefits of the changing length of sunlight as the seasons change, is that everybody gets a chance to see the sun rise - in the summer, it's only when you have to get to the airport at 'silly o'clock' to go on holiday, that you get a chance to see the sunrise, but during the winter, sunrise is helpfully arranged to allow people to see the sunrise on their way, or getting ready to go to work.

There are some men of who it is often said, "oh he loves the sound of his own voice" - men who talk loudly regardless of whether anyone is interested or listening - writing a blog is a way that naturally quiet people can 'speak' out and perhaps be heard, without having to be un-naturally loud...

1 comment:

  1. Bet everything worked a treat when Jay was there!!