Sadly, our oldest alpaca Jules has died. He was 21 and a great character, loved by all who met him. Jules was a huge favourite for all the young partygoers who came to our legendary Barn Parties and a trip to give him a stroke or a hug was a necessary pilgrimage every year.

Strange really, as an alpaca Jules was nothing to write home about, indifferent fleece, slightly wry face, a sly kick when you weren’t paying attention, but he stood out. His role in life was to look after each year’s group of weanling males and keep them firmly in their place like a slightly irritable uncle. We shall miss him.

I am just recovering from a Bank Holiday weekend  of looking after two grandsons while their parents took off to a festival. They made me feel very ancient as I collapsed on the sofa after they were tucked up in bed by seven o’clock. Their sleep training was first class.

The youngest might well have turned into a blackberry by the number he picked and ate whilst the oldest, engine mad, rode in every vehicle on the farm. His standout cry was ‘Where Chas goes, I go’, happily sitting in the stationary digger, the green machine, the mule (all keys removed) whilst farm work went on around him.

September is the start of the autumn show season for us with the Southern Wool Show in Newbury this weekend, Unravel in Farnham next weekend, an alpaca halter show in Taunton next and then Yarndale in Skipton. Phew!