I love these guys..

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Alpacas at the North Devon Show


Yesterday we had an early start. Very early.

Mike wanted to be there first thing. I was shaken awake with threats of the duvet being ripped away. Again. And that despite my protestations that the 8.00 a.m. doors opening was meant for the animals, not for us.

In the end we left home about three quarters of an hour late. We pulled into the showground car park to be directed across a very large field. In the dim distance I could see about one row of cars. We were among the very first to arrive.


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Alpacas seem such gentle animals, even if they can kick. And spit.

They tend to be nervous and need the company of others, these two particularly so. In the presence of any ‘threat’, a screaming kid or even Mike’s camera, they would retreat to the back of their pen and twine their necks in the most endearing way.


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A gorgeous Jersey calf, difficult to photograph with a very protective Mum


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Fluffy faced sheep


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Couldn’t miss these guys. Indian Runner ducks


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Peafowl, doing their best to hide in the decorative backdrop to their pen.

The leaves were also providing some shade. It turned out to be quite a hot day.


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Plenty to watch in the arenas… tractor pull


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Show jumping


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Duck herding


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Food halls groaning with produce and other locally produced fare.


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Mike made a beeline for these..


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It took a while..


I retreated back to the alpaca tent.


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I found a local supplier of alpaca yarn. It is so unbelievably soft. If that doesn’t get me back to knitting I don’t know what will.


By the time we left, that very large car park was filled to the back.

95% of the visitors had arrived later than us and yet more were still coming through the gate. UK Prime Minister David Cameron was among the early spectators too. I’d have looked out for him if I’d known. But I didn’t. And anyway, by then I’d already found the flower tent.


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2017-12-01T17:34:00+00:00August 8th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Pauline August 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Fantastic, they are so cute! I’ve never been to the North Devon Show, only Devon County Show in May, which is not far down the road! So glad to see that you were tempted with some lovely flowers, we never come home without a few tucked away somewhere.

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      For some reason we missed the Devon show, not sure why. Next year for sure. Especially if it too has a flower tent!

  2. Wendy August 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    The Alpacas are cute, but I love those Indian Runner Ducks. They always make me smile. You came home with a lovely selection of plants – flower tents are always hard to resist, aren’t they?

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      They are. But then, the plants are usually cheaper than a garden centre so I’m saving money???! Runner ducks are such characters. If I get brave enough to have animals again it will be some of those. Along with the geese..

  3. Laura August 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    What do you mean, “oops” at the flower tent? Those are clearly in shades of blue!

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      I was worried I may have overdone the blue now. So, as you see, I’ve upped the ante on the white and pink as well..

  4. Sue August 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    I like the carrots best! But yes, the alpacas are adorable.

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Better than any carrots I’ve ever grown..

  5. jabblog August 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Lovely weather for a lovely day. The alpacas look so huggable – but looks can deceive, I know:-)

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      If I had some Janice, hugging them would be difficult to resist. The little wining sounds they make pull you in as effectively as the purring of a cat. But I’ve also seen one kick.. ouch.

  6. justjilluk August 8, 2013 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    What a lovely day for you both-and the garden!

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      It was! A lot of planting to do now though..

  7. Justine August 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Must put that show on the calendar for next year. Looks like it’s well worth a visit; and probably worth getting up early for?!

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      That or the Devon Show, which I suspect is bigger. It is worth the visit, but don’t be fooled into thinking you have to be there when the doors open… take the extra hour in bed. This will be note to self for next year..

  8. Simone August 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    I’d have given the tractors a miss and would have been in the alpaca and flower tent with you!!!

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      Quite right. Cars and tractors are highly overrated.

  9. frayed at the edge August 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    I love the alpacas – I always take lots of photos of them at Woolfest (I wonder if they are the same ones?).

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      I couldn’t believe how soft their wool (?) is. And great for people who can’t wear sheeps’ wool apparently because it’s hypoallergenic.

  10. BadPenny August 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    aww they are lovely but it’s the Jersey calf I love and the Indian Runner ducks – gorgeous

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      There’s something about Jersey cows isn’t there? They looked especially refined next to the huge breeding bulls of the heavier breeds.

  11. Denise August 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    My MIL likes the county shows and we often “do” them – last year we did 4 I think. Loved the alpacas – often think about keeping some on the paddock but think better of it…….hmmmmm but they are lovely!

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      They are. I’d be sorely tempted if I had the space. Perhaps it’s just as well that I don’t.

  12. Em August 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    I have a friend who keeps a small herd and they are gorgeous. Hers aren’t very friendly though. Know what you mean about the motor section…..interminable. Nice plants!

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:40 pm - Reply

      I spent a while (whilst escaping from the motor section) talking to one of the alpaca owners. Apparently what you watch for is their cheeks filling up. If they really have something against you their spit is regurgitated..

  13. snowbird August 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Awww….those alpacas look gorgeous. I love the calf and the runner ducks too but I loathe an early start to anything.

    Lol….do I see a splash of pink in your purchases???? xxxx

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      Yes, pink is there. It’s tall too.. 90 cms. I’ve no idea where it’s going.

  14. rabbitquilter August 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    You are a big disappointment!! I thought you were going to bring home a couple of Alpaca’s!!!!

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:47 pm - Reply

      Oh I wish! They might be a bit sniffy about living in the garage though.

  15. CHERYL August 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Thank you for taking us to the show with you. I love the jersey cow and her calf. Such beautiful faces. Is the blue blossom a salvia? It is one of the favorites in our garden.

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm - Reply

      It is a salvia. I was a bit unsure about it, because it is tender in our climate. Best thing is to dig it up and overwinter under cover. I’ll probably risk it and pile a layer of mulch on top. Maybe you can take cuttings as insurance?

  16. CJ August 8, 2013 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    Lovely pictures. Those alpacas are absolutely wonderful. I’m wondering if I could fit a couple into my back garden. Probably could.

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 10:59 pm - Reply

      Save mowing. But they might nibble more than the grass…

  17. Orchardier August 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Looks like you had a super day out, it’s hard to resist an alpaca especially when they are beautifully clipped like those little guys. Great pics.

    • Jessica August 8, 2013 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      I love the way they leave the bouffant bit on top of the head..

  18. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA August 8, 2013 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    It looks like a balanced purchase to me.
    Yes, you can take cuttings on the salvia. Is that taller blue, agastache or a lavender?
    Looks like a nice day out for sure.

    • Jessica August 9, 2013 at 12:28 am - Reply

      It is Nepeta nervosa. The butterflies and bees are loving it.
      Luckily we have no cats.

    • Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA August 9, 2013 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      I will have to look for that variety here. It’s nice and upright. I wasn’t sure from the photo if it could be a type of lavandula stoechas, with the funny little “bee” like blossoms. Then I figured out how to enlarge the photo.

      • Jessica August 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm - Reply

        I couldn’t remember the species name, so last night I went out with a torch. It was after midnight and hurling it with rain… you’d have laughed!!

  19. Marian August 8, 2013 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    I also love Alpaca’s. They always look so very friendly but I must admit, since we’ve been to Wales, sheep are high on my list of lovable animals now as well. They were everywhere every day and so friendly.

    • Jessica August 9, 2013 at 12:34 am - Reply

      Last year, apparently, there were 8.62 million sheep in Wales.
      We lived for a while on a sheep farm and I got to love them too.

  20. countrysidetales August 9, 2013 at 8:37 am - Reply

    Love the blue plant on the far left, and the Runners, and the Sheep.

    • Jessica August 9, 2013 at 10:30 am - Reply

      It’s a real electric blue that salvia. It will be worth all the overwintering trouble it will cause. I hope.

  21. colleen August 9, 2013 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Wish I could fit an alpaca into the garden,,,

    • Jessica August 9, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Two… one would be lonely!

  22. knitsofacto August 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Whenever I look at an alpaca I see a cute face, and yarn, lots and lots of yarn. I knit with the stuff all the time, you’ll love it Jessica … can I ask who you bought from?

    • Jessica August 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      So far I’ve just got a business card. It will be a winter project and I need to find a pattern first. http://www.dartmooralpacas.co.uk. I have no idea how it rates in terms of quality, but when I picked up a ball it felt like heaven! I can’t imagine anything cosier than knitting with that when the snow is coming down outside!

  23. wherefivevalleysmeet August 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    It would be so tempting to have a couple of alpacas like the dark brown one and the cream one, they look so adorable.
    I heard that they spit only if you get too close to them, invade their space, which we don’t like either. A bit of spit and a kick is all they have the defend themselves.
    It is definitely worth digging up or protecting the beautiful salvia, but what a glorious shade of blue.

    • Jessica August 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      Spitting is also a way of maintaining rank within the herd, apparently.
      I had a very similar salvia called ‘Cambridge Blue’. Needless to say I lost it, I should try harder with this one!

  24. Denise August 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    I wish I had a fluffy top knot like alpacas! And those eyelashes, too! Looks a lovely county show. Our one in Kent is okay but has, in recent years, been overtaken by loads of stalls containing what can only be described as as ‘tat’ plus a very loud, unnecessary and expensive fairground doo dah.

    Wish it would return to yesteryear when it concentrated on animals and crafts and local food. Sigh…

    • Jessica August 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      There was a bit of that, but not too much. It should have had goats though. And I realise my other omission was a failure to photograph any chickens. Of which there were plenty!

  25. threadspider August 9, 2013 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Must have driven past you as we headed home from N Devon back to Herefordshire! Love the alpacas too. I read somewhere they are great for guarding tiny lambs from foxes. Apparently they stamp their feet and frighten the foxes away.

    • Jessica August 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      I’ve read that too.. they look very gentle but their feet can pack a punch. Hope you had a good time down here.

  26. CherryPie August 10, 2013 at 12:22 am - Reply

    That looks like such a fun show to visit although I am not at all sure about the early morning…

    Alpacas are really cute and I love your pics of them 🙂

    • Jessica August 10, 2013 at 9:46 am - Reply

      No, I don’t find early mornings very easy!

  27. Jo August 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Aren’t they beautiful. I’ve never knit with alpaca but it’s wonderfully soft so I can see how it would tempt you back to knitting. It looks like a great show with something to interest everyone.

    • Jessica August 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      Last year it was cancelled because of the weather, so it was nice to go this year.

  28. Mise August 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Top marks to the flower haul, and I have never in my life seen such artisan animals. Can ‘artisan’ be applied to animals?

    • Jessica August 10, 2013 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      They are pretty animals aren’t they. Certainly the products made from the fleece could be termed artisan.

  29. starproms August 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    What a lovely day out with lots to see and those Alpacas are just sooooooooo sweet looking. Do try knitting with it. I’ve used it and love it for its softness. Thank you for the pictures, which are of a very high standard.

    • Jessica August 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks Oma. Some of the pictures were taken inside tents where the light was not good. But on the whole, we were pleased with how they came out.

  30. elaine August 11, 2013 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    I tried to comment on this post a couple of days ago but WordPress just wasn’t having it – it shows what a loyal follower I am that i have come back to try again, haha! Your photos of the alpacas are just lovely, it looks like the weather was kind to you and you had a good day – I love these shows with lots of lovely things to see (and buy).

    • Jessica August 11, 2013 at 10:47 pm - Reply

      I’m so sorry Elaine. If it’s any consolation WP is now starting to drive me mad too. From what I read Blogger is as bad, otherwise I’d switch.
      The trade stands are so tempting aren’t they. I was looking for some wellies to replace my leaky ones, didn’t find those so had to make do with plants 🙂

  31. Josephine August 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Aww, thank you for the virtual day out. Love those Alpacas, such sweet faces and huge innocent brown eyes.
    I was a show-jumper in my early years, so shows like this, was something I spent many an hour engrossed in.
    Is there anything more entertaining than a county fair, filled with all those sweet animals, beautiful flowers and produce, and side-splitting silly games to make you feel like a kid again.
    Awesome pictures !

    • Jessica August 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jo. Do you have anything similar in the States?

  32. Helene August 11, 2013 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    Going shopping for wellies and coming home with plants – sounds like something I could do! Great choice of plants, and only 5 pots as far as I can see, no too bad for a whole day out 🙂
    I love alpacas and I have seen them and petted them up-close once (didn’t get spat at!), if life was rather different I would have loved to live on a farm and have alpacas!

    • Jessica August 12, 2013 at 9:41 am - Reply

      The trouble was, that was the second outing in a week that resulted in the purchase of plants.. But I’m doing a major sort out of part of the garden at the moment, so I do need some to fill in the gaps.
      I love the little humming noise that alpacas make, combined with their cute looks they are just gorgeous.

  33. woolythymes August 12, 2013 at 11:36 am - Reply

    glad to hear that your needles might come out of hibernation!!!! I love knitting with alpaca….soooooooo soft, but also so incredibly warm! and what a nice memory when done; I have some alpaca I got at a farm…..and it’s named from the animal who contributed! I think I only have some of Ben left…..hmmmmmm. Need to get him out…..

    • Jessica August 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm - Reply

      Lovely story Steph! That’s one of the great things about buying from a small local supplier.

  34. Natalie August 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Splendid photos! 🙂 I adore old tractors. And I have a friend who calls alpacas “mutant llamas”, but I think they’re so cute.

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 2:16 pm - Reply

      They do have many characteristics in common with llamas. Including the spitting, unfortunately.

  35. Janet/Plantaliscious August 17, 2013 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    Duck herding?! And of course you do realise that next year, when you are trying to get a later start, it will be pointed out how good it was to get in ahead of the herd… Looked like fun though – and love those Indian wotsit ducks. And the “oops” plants…

    • Jessica August 17, 2013 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      There are maybe too many ‘oops’ plants. But there are so few opportunities down here, I get them in when I can! I always intended to visit Crug Farm plants in my travelling days, sadly haven’t got there yet.

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