2 blind men, a parrot & an alpaca…

Monday 19 July 2021

East Penyllan to Rorrington

We had an amazing day yesterday. After everyone had left we had a coffee date with Tony and Chris. Tony and Chris are both blind and they have a Labradoodle guide dog each. They live in Montgomery so were able to walk around to our hotel. We sat at one of two tables outside the front of the hotel. Tony and Chris told us how they trained their parrot. The first thing they tried to do was to get the parrot to fly and then fly back to them. They let them loose in a room and the parrot flew from the curtain rail on one side of the room to the bookcase and back. Not being able to reach either both Chris and Tony climbed on a stool at each side of the room at which point the bird flew low! After an hour of this Chris said “Its a bugger”! The bird repeated the word 'bugger' and that was the first word it ever learnt! Now it asks for a bath, asks for food, and a myriad of other things. Tony told us how he has a collection of woodwind instruments and a harp and can play them all and they are both keen gardeners although neither can see anything. Before Covid they went on a cruise in the Caribbean. It was humbling and inspirational all at once to talk to them. As they got up to go the lady from the other table in front of the hotel came up and said “My husband has MS” so I went up and talked to him. Hilary Warburton came and joined us for lunch – she is the committee member who took over in place of Katie. She and Cherry Neil (wife of Graham the bagpiper) have rented a B&B cottage about 5 minutes drive from here.

Elana had an interesting time as all Gary's cows managed to escape so she helped Gary to round them up early this morning. We were worried about driving the boys down the very steep stony drive so we put the carriage in the back of the trailer and Peter and Gary drove it to the bottom by the cattle grid – they then came up and we loaded the boys who were already harnessed down in the back of the trailer and we were soon on our way. We got nearly to the main road into Church Stoke and then waited under a tree as it was already very hot, for Peter tand Hilary and Cherry to escort us. Cherry was driving and was very skillful at waving her hand up and down to slow oncoming traffic – she looked like a ballet dancer. We were soon on our way to Church Stoke. As we entered the town, a couple of donkeys rushed up to a gate nestled in an obscure position. They had seen the boys – Muffin did a huge 'hee haw' welcome and both boys veered off the road to say 'hello'. Suddenly a white Alpaca reared its head beside the donkeys – it was a magic moment. Soon we turned off onto a country road but the hills were very steep so we went slowly. A lady stopped her car and got out to take a photo – she took a leaflet and made a fuss of the boys as well as giving a donation. The next people to pass us were Jim and Mary Goddard with whom we had stayed in the caravan while Wizard was recovering. They had brought a picnic with them so I told them to go ahead and join up with the others who were finding a picnic spot. The road wound around and up and down and the only traffic seemed to be the odd tractor. However, I was wrong we met an enormous lorry who obligingly reversed for us. The place he stopped to let us pass had a big drop at the side of the road, so I went up to him and asked him if he would mind going on the other side of the road as our carriage may tip over trying to go over the drop He was extremely helpful and did just that. Hilary and Cherry had found a wonderful field for us to have a picnic in. They had asked the local farmer and his wife later popped in to see the donkeys and give a donation.

When we arrived at the picnic spot – who should we see but my old friend Lynne Browning! She had been singing in Hereford Cathedral and decided to try and find us. That was so great to see her,, but where were Mary and Jim? We dragged the carriage to the field opening so they would see it if they came by but they had had their picnic in Priest Weston as they thought we would be much longer getting there. They came and sat and chatted while we had a delicious picnic organised by Hilary and Cherry.

All too soon we had to harness up the boys, who had had a wonderful time eating grass. Nelson also ate some of his breakfast and Carolle had the idea to put the rest of it on one of our paper dinner plates and that made him lap it all up!

We had a frantic phone call from Peter – they had gone to Rorrington Hall instead of Rorrington Lodge. At this point we had two tractors bearing down on us so I couldn't talk for long. They finally found the right place and because of the cattle grid the boys had to drive up a very steep hill. They did it with some alacrity and many stops and then Peter and Elana walked them down to the stables below. We did their hoof armor and Sam (our hostess) was very interested in that. We settled the boys and then had a welcome long drink in Sam's lovely kitchen and then a cup of tea in the beautiful garden. Sam and Adrian built the house from scratch 16 years ago and it really is beautiful. We have a lovely bedroom and we are just off to a barbecue in the garden.

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