I couldn’t believe how cold it was down at Chateau Pompadour near Bergerac for the French Show. I was brewing a cold and by the end of Saturday, having stood around for hours in an icy wind, my voice had gone completely. Some of the assembled Brits thought this might be a good thing – wrong! The show was held at the National Stud and very pretty it was too with the alpacas and llamas penned in big horse stables. Val Fullerlove was the alpaca judge who came in for a bit of stick from the French president of the association. I think she sorted him out. It reminded me of the early days of alpacas over here when the llama people of British Camelids were not best pleased by the upstart alpaca breeders who eventually departed to form the British Alpaca Society, by far the most powerful force in the industry nowadays.

Day two saw me wearing five layers including an alpaca coat and two pairs of socks – I was almost warm. This is Limousin country and one evening four of us ate the best part of one when we had Cote de Boeuf – it was huge and marvellous and accompanied by a bottle of Saint Estephe – very cheering.

I still bear the scars from the celebration dinner on the Saturday when the most truly awful Peruvian band played, all dressed in hideous matching ponchos. As we came through the doorway into the hall we almost turned tail and fled but Chas told us all sternly that it would have been rude. Trying to whisper loudly enough, as I had no voice, over this musical nightmare was not easy.

As we drove nearer to the coast of Brittany the weather got warmer and warmer and it was positively balmy at home which is a bit of a turn up.