Llamas, Bikes & Tuna Salad – Week 20 2022

Gosh it’s been awhile and for a retired bloke who mainly paddles about there’s been a lot going on. Here’s the start of a catch up. In looking back through the last few weeks then I think we’ll start with the llamas!

The thought of visiting the Yorkshire Dales to walk with llamas and alpacas wouldn’t have been on my mind until February this year. However on a recce, for a holiday tour I’d be working on later in the year, I had cause to visit Nidderdale Llamas near Patelely Bridge to see their 100 plus llamas and alpacas. 

Me, Dec and the birthday girl

What a delight these strange South American animals are. As part of Anna’s birthday celebrations we trooped up as a family to the farm to spend time being introduced to these quirky quadrupeds. The llamas have to be worked gently and work shifts with the public to minimise their stress. On our shift were a selection that were introduced and their personalities discussed and explained. After this we were paired with a beast that matched our personality and confidence and we went for a walk!

36 legs between us

These gentle companions enthralled everyone; they were easy to lead. (I think they’d done it once or twice before!)

 “¿Habla español?”

Katrina had a very slow animal. Apparently his handlers identified him as the equivalent of a troublesome teenager who had an attitude. Katrina urged him to walk faster and pulling did no good either. In her exasperation she broke into his native language, Spanish, to make him get a move on but to no avail. From here we departed for a lunch to a nearby restaurant to complete the birthday celebrations.

With Sophie and Harry’s wedding in August looming some serious beverage decisions needed to be made and ‘tasters’ gathered in Reddish to partake of the vine. We ‘blind tasted’ the selection. Hilariously the wine I liked least was the one I brought. I can’t repeat what I called it but I may never hear the last about that comment!

As part of her birthday gifts Anna got a new bike: an electric one. Yes, I know: I spoil her. It’s second hand but has been serviced and the wearing components replaced. We’d found it at a bike hire shop on the Monsal Trail near Bakewell in Derbyshire. It flies and when we first went out together I was well ‘off the back’ as Anna ploughed on without a backward glance.

Cycling is still the theme but this time in Mallorca. A long arranged trip for myself, Tim and Martin had been in the diary fro some time. Leaving Leeds Bradford on Jet2 with Tim was difficult, sadly another story of delays and very long queues. Despite being there nearly three hours early we still ended up having to jump up the long line for Security and were one of the last folk to get onto the aircraft.

As we waited and it was only 7.15 am my thoughts turned to lunch and I thought I’d have my tuna salad that Anna had specially prepared. Not the most logical breakfast, I grant you. The upshot was a difficult plastic container lid didn’t come off easily and most of the salad ended up on the floor. At this point I also discovered that we had sat in the wrong seats and leaving one awful mess we hopped across the aisle slightly relieved to be escaping the carnage on the carpet. Much to our surprise those three seats remained unoccupied for the flight and no one had the opportunity to grind it all into the carpet.  However, not being all bad I did alert the cabin crew to the mess and that Tim was responsible.

Delays continued in waiting on a bus at Palma, where we met Martin. By early afternoon we had got to our splendid hotel in Puerto Pollensa and the holiday had started. For the four days we we cycled on the west of the island and up and down some very steep hills. It was terrific as Mallorca is road bike heaven.

Los amigos (breathing in)

We ate out most evenings and in line with our other obsessions we were able to watch English football and Leeds United’s inept performance against Chelsea. Relegation seemed inevitable. The next blog will address the emotions of it all.

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