So, today is my 40th birthday - woo hoo! I'm having a quiet day today but, as regular followers of my blog will know, yesterday I had a fabulous day out in London. If you are not a regular follower of my blog, where have you been, and what makes you think you can waltz in here and just start reading it without checking out any of the previous posts? You need to go back to my first post on 16th March 2011, and then read single post from that one to this. There are no quick fixes in my blog, okay?
Oh, and while you are there - get all your friends to read it too.
I've been very lucky today to have got so many kind birthday messages from my friends and my family. I was especially touched to get a message from a friend of mine who today was remembering her mother, who passed away a few years back. I sent her a text saying thanks, and told her that I hoped she was okay. She replied that she was just off to visit her mum's grave and "have a chat". That comment struck a chord with me, because that is exactly what I do.
My Mum died in 1987, and my dad followed in 1999. And whenever I visit them - which I haven't done in six years, much to my shame - I always talk to them. My brother and sister don't visit them, because they don't believe that is where their rest, it is only where the shells of their bodies lie. Now that is fine, and I don't have a problem with that. I do believe that where my parents are buried is where they are, which is why when I visit, I chat to them about what is going on in my life, about my hopes and my fears, and I always ask them to watch over me and help me make the good decisions, and help me make the best of the bad decisions.
I probably look like a numpty but luckily, cemetery's are quiet places. Although I wouldn't care if people saw me - it is comforting for me to talk to them.
If you want to keep your flock of sheep safe, don't bother getting a dog. The animal of choice for protecting your sheep is the Alpaca. Alpacas are a smaller relative of the Llama, and look like this:
Now, this may look like a cute and cuddly harmless creature that you could keep as a pet, and having it sleeping on your bed every night, but you would be wrong. Very, very wrong.
Alpacas are extremely good at protecting sheep. They can and do outrun and manoeuvre foxes, and will kill them if they can. In the event of a fox getting into a field with a flock of sheep and a couple of Alpaca, one of the Alpacas will herd the sheep to a safe corner of the field while the other deals with the fox. British Farmers have been using Alpacas as protection for their livestock for quite some time now.
Of course, they have to pay the Alpacas protection money (there's a strong link between Llama type animals and the Mafia, apparently), but the benefits are high. There have been recordings of farmers who have refused to pay the protection money and simply feed an The cost of even one lost sheep in terms of it's wool and meat value, far outweighs the price of protection. Even so, there are some Farmers who have refused to pay this protection money and simply feed and house the Alpacas, but in almost all cases these farmers have ended up having "accidents" at work. Even fewer have tried going to the authorities to expose the racket, but with witness reluctant to come forward, prosecutions are rare. At the same time, those brave souls that have, invariably end up going through the FRP (Farmer Relocation Programme), and are given new identities in a new location. Usually these new identities are pirate based or similar - due to the fact that "ooh arr" is very similar to "Yaaar" in terms of sound and tone, which makes integration easier, and helps with the disguise.
Long John Silver lost his leg when the Alpaca Mafia turned up at his door wanting money - and didn't have enough.