01 February 2012

All good people


The mild winter has lulled us into a false sense of security. It turned cold last Friday, and grew colder over the weekend. The Newbury Parkrun was cold although the puddles were still liquid: and although it did not rain or snow, and there was no wind, it was not good weather for spending extended periods of time in the open looking for an escaped llama.
By yesterday it was bitterly cold, and I worked from home wearing a woolly hat and making use of microwaveable heat pads. It was one of those days – do others have them too, or am I unusual? - when the tasks that need to be carried out hide themselves away, out of my consciousness. I know it is important to work through some of the items on my to do list, but I simply do not have the will. The cold seeps into my body and any mojo that I had seeps out.
Ann appeared in the middle of the morning, when I was contemplating driving the car to the garage in anticipation of its MoT test on Thursday. She had taken a break from the llama hunt to check her emails, for which she needed to borrow a computer which I gladly let her do in return for a lift back from the garage – a three mile run, surrendered with no resistance whatsoever.
On the drive back, she stopped to take a phone call from a BBC journalist who was meeting her at 12 to interview her about the llama hunt. Getting as much publicity as possible seemed the key to finding Yasmin right from the moment she jumped out of our field, so this was a major development.

By 1230 the idea of heating up the home-made carrot soup that was waiting for me in the fridge was compelling – not so much on account of the nourishment but more for the heat. And I had scarcely finished it than my phone rang and an excited Ann told me they had spotted the escapee: could I come to help? Well, no, unfortunately, because we just took the car to the garage (and the two cars outside the house are not legally useable). Then could I email all the people who'd been party to a series of emails the day before? Yes, but I hadn't been a party to that conversation – I had to have Hilary forward the emails to me, then cut and paste addresses and spend 15 minutes weeding misformed addresses out of the resulting list. But I got the request for help out to about 30 people, who are probably now mostly cursing me for cluttering up their inboxes. I also included a request for a lift, because Andrea, the only other llama-hunter I knew in the village, hadn't answered her phone when I called her to ask if she could at least take me to the scene of the action, even if she didn't want to participate herself.
Hilary said she would come home immediately, then Andrea did answer her phone having just returned home from her morning's llama hunt. She wasn't enthusiastic about going straight out again, but was willing to give me a lift. No sooner had we arranged that than one of my unknown email correspondents called me to offer a lift and request directions. And when Andrea pulled up to collect me, so too did Hilary, who needed to change before joining in, so collecting our extra volunteer en route we headed to what seemed like the easiest point at which to join the roundup.

When Hilary caught up with us there she told us that Ann had called her and said that the previous junction was closer, so we headed back up the A34 to Compton, but only a short distance up the road word came from Ann that Yasmin was safely in the trailer, so it only remained for us to get a glimpse of her in captivity before going home.
I didn't expend much physical energy in all this: most of the time I was sitting in one car or another. But when I got home I was exhausted. It has certainly been an interesting and novel experience. It must have been even more so for the BBC crew, one of whom had played an important part in herding Yasmin into the trailer and whose vehicle had also been pressed into service as a barrier to prevent her from avoiding the trailer. But it seems that the two male llamas who'd been walked for miles over the Berkshire Downs were a strong enough attraction, and eventually Yasmin went into the trailer quite willingly. She will be dining out for years on the stories from her four days or so of freedom. And her TV stardom.

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