Clara Boulton – 8 March 2021

08 March 2021     British Alpaca Society     BAS Board

Since joining the board, it has somehow seemed extremely busy ‘at home’ despite the lockdown. From being elected, I really enjoyed the first meeting, which was on my 25th birthday. It was so exciting to have an excuse to properly have to think and brainstorm for a good while.

Over the various lockdowns from March 2020 onwards, I took to hand spinning and processing my own alpaca’s fleeces. I started off with a cheap spindle and some spare dog slicker brushes to card it (I have learnt NOT to invest in relatively sporadic hobbies the hard way!). After getting hooked I quickly convinced myself it’s worth splashing out on a few bits and bobs. I will tell you that is took me about 5 hours to ‘splash out’, but at least I attempted to practice self restraint. My main purchase was a lovely pair of hand carders which made my spinning adventures all the more pleasant. It is so incredibly rewarding and relaxing.

I had never been more grateful for my exploration into the world of spinning as when myself and Shaun tested positive for coronavirus just days after my birthday (a birthday with no celebrations I hastened to add). Unfortunately I became very unwell, and it was several weeks before I could do much more than drive down to the field gates to try and catch a glimpse of the alpacas. My poor partner Shaun had to battle the horrible West Lancashire weather on his own. His sympathy for me moaning about ‘being stuck in the house’ (with my camomile tea, blankets, and chocolate I might add. But it was torture really, as I couldn’t taste anything!) quickly diminished as he returned shivering and soaking one time too many.

By the New Year, I was able to just about able to go off to milk the cows in the afternoon, and maybe do a few of the alpaca jobs on top. I have pretty much plateaued and I am still suffering from long-Covid. However, on a slightly comedic note, my hair started falling out last week (not the funny bit, although not uncommon 2-3 months after being poorly with coronavirus). So I reached out to the GP who said the best thing I can do is “keep calm, as that could make it a lot worse, and try not to look at the hairbrush/comb”. Have you ever tried telling someone who’s hair is falling out to keep calm, otherwise more will fall out? Funnily enough- it doesn’t work, but it did still tickle me at least.

I think I speak for most of us, when I say how relieved I am to see a light at the end of the tunnel. We have slowly started tidying things up ready to reopen in April; there are rumblings of shows; and I think we can all safely be optimistic about the National Alpaca Farm Day going ahead the first weekend of September. I have been filling my calendar with all the alpaca related things I can.  Now let’s hope for some lovely weather to get that grass growing!”