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Alpacas and our very first guests!

One of our reasons for moving to the countryside was to have space for a few animals and alpacas were top of the list ever since we spotted some on one of our regular walks back in Sussex.

So, once we’d settled in we took the first step and booked ourselves onto an alpaca handling course in Ilfracombe. It was really informative and so helpful to get some expert tuition, and primed with the knowledge and having cuddled someone else’s alpacas, we were now really itching to get our hands on our own.

We were given details a wonderful breeder who had alpacas available and she sent us some photos, (as due to Covid we couldn’t go and visit). Even from the pictures it was love at first sight and so exciting to think that we were finally going to have some alpacas of our very own. We settled on three gorgeous boys. One white with stunning blue eyes, one cream with the biggest beautiful, brown eyes and the baby of the bunch a cute brown one. Then we set about making everything ready for them, which meant putting in a lot of new fence posts around very stony fields. We do like to make work for ourselves don’t we?!

Finally, after weeks of waiting and wistfully looking at the photos of our new boys, the day of their arrival was here. As the van pulled up on our driveway and the door opened, we could see our fluffy new charges all happily sitting down in the back. Actually, they weren’t that fluffy as they’d just been sheared but that just made them even cuter.

We had already decided on names and with the help of the breeder we led Ziggy, Freddie and Prince into the field as calmly as possible, (not easy when you’re so excited and you just want to give them a big cuddle). Then it was time to take off their head collars and let them explore their new home.

At first they were a bit apprehensive but the new grass soon lured them in and then they were off. Seeing them roaming free was wonderful, they brought life to the fields and we could have happily watched them all day, but the main thing was they were ours!..We have alpacas!

Typically, it all happens at once here and although we now just wanted to spend time with the alpacas, it was only four days later that we were expecting our first guests and we still had jobs to do.

To say that we were nervous was an understatement. This was what we had been working towards for so long and everything rested on the success of our new business.

As we scurried around with our snagging lists, making sure that everything was perfect, there were so many thoughts running through our minds…

Will our guests be happy with their accommodation?

Will they love their surroundings?

Will everything live up to their expectations?

What will it be like having strangers staying here?

Did I remember to put potato peelers in the kitchens?

Honestly, you would not believe the amount of items you need to buy to furnish a holiday let!

I have to admit I did have a bit of a, (massive), wobble, (breakdown), in the last few hours before their arrival but I needn’t have worried. Our first guests were absolutely lovely and they were really happy with everything…Thank goodness!

As we welcomed more guests week after week, we started to realise that we really enjoyed sharing Mill Farm. Chatting with them as they met the alpacas, getting positive feedback and seeing everything again through someone else’s eyes, just made us appreciate what we had even more.

Gradually, we relaxed into our new way of life and we could now see friends and family and go out and explore the amazing coast and countryside on our doorstep. We also wanted to be able to recommend places to eat out to our guests, which was a great excuse to try new pubs and restaurants, and although the threat of Covid was very much on our minds, thankfully we managed to have a really busy first Season and also time to enjoy our beautiful surroundings.

Next time…We’re convinced by friends to try cold water swimming in October and we head to the see pool in Bude…Brrr!

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