Top 5 Activities in Sarthe, France ~ Located in the Loire Valley and known for its rolling hills, forests, and rivers, Sarthe, France offers visitors many activities and attractions to explore. Loire Valley Llama Farm Stay is a unique destination in Sarthe that provides guests …
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From Ireland across the Irish Sea to Wales, then onto England – October 2012
Then the man that worn the blue overalls noticed that my ears and my nose weren’t very collie like, I felt panic, my tummy started to bubble again, I’d been found out, I wasn’t a proper collie and wasn’t worthy of a name, I squeezed my eyes shut again.
“What, in the name of dog, do we have here? Will you look at those ears! She has the look of a Saluki with her pointy nose and silky ears, we’ll call her Suki”
My eyes sprung open, I had a name!
The lady that had carried me in off the doorstep was talking in her beautiful singsong voice, I had no idea just how beautiful her words were and how they would change my life forever.
“Jada’s been on the phone, she’s chosen the dogs for this months transport, and you Suki, are going to England!”
They’d made it sound exciting, like it was a good thing, but once again I found myself in a crate, in the back of a dark scary van. Why had they tricked me? what did I do wrong, I’d tried my very best to be a good girl.
Although, I couldn’t keep my eyes shut for long. With me were 9 other dogs, most of them looked like the farm collies that roamed around, a couple were wide eyed and shaky like me, some were whispering about the place called England and the woman called Jada. In the crate next to me there was a collie that looked a bit like a labrador. On his name tag was written ~ Marley, I thank goodness for Marley.
Marley was soooo excited, he had heard a rumour that England was full of tennis balls and snacks, he pulled really funny faces, dribbled a lot and gave the best full face licky kisses. Even when he was asleep he snored like a drain, made yippy noises and peddled his legs chasing balls in his dreams. With Marley there was always noise, with Marley next to me, the van didn’t seem so scary, the journey seemed shorter and I felt just a little bit braver.
The van stopped, the doors opened, the sun was so bright, I thought I saw an angel.
Lessons Learnt from Marley
The next few days were the best yet. We had food, cuddles, big soft beds and toys! Marley found a new mum and dad straight away, I knew he would, who wouldn’t want a dog like Marley in their life. I was sad that Marley was leaving, but he had taught me to be braver and told me the secret of craziness, that humans can’t resist a dog with a little bit of crazy in them.
I very nearly found a home too: a couple were coming to pick me up a in few days, when they phoned Jada to check how I was in a car. Jada had the phone on speaker whilst she was dishing up our dinner, so we all heard! OH MY DOG! none of us had ever seem Jada angry, it was pretty scary and I’m glad she’s on my side!
The lady asked whether I was car sick, Jada said she wasn’t sure, it wasn’t something she had checked for when we arrived, I could have told her that I wasn’t, my bubbly tummy was another matter but nope, I loved being in cars. The lady said “Oh well, we’ll soon find out, but if she is, we’ll be bringing her back” Cue 10 dogs, paws over ears whilst the air turned blue.
“You will NOT!”
“You will NOT!, as you will NOT be taking her in the first place!” phone slammed down, sounded like she broke it, and a lucky escape for me!
The next weekend, Jada fitted me out with a smart harness and told me that the dog walker was taking me, me! for the special walk, that I needed some TLC after being let down… I had no idea what that meant, maybe it’s when a human defends and protects you?
Who is Sarah?
I’d heard the other dogs talking about Sarah. Whenever she could, she’d turn up and just one lucky pup would get to have her all to themselves, we all loved our group walks with Jada but seriously, those leads get tangled when one human is trying to walk 5 or 6 dogs!
At first sight, I didn’t need to remember Marley’s advice, it started at the very tip of my tail, I could feel a tingling and had to wag it out, it crept up my legs and through my body and along my neck, my whole body was wagging like a crazy labrador, I couldn’t stand, I rolled onto my back, I was squealing tickle me, tickle me please!
But, I didn’t go for a walk that day, that’s what acting like a crazy labrador got me. It got me a forever home.
Sarah changed Suki’s name to Missy who is now nearly 10 years old. She lives in France with her mum and dad and her very own labrador Crumble. They also have llamas, goats, donkeys, chickens and 2 rescue cats Lola and Sammie. Crumble the lab gives all the animals the very best full face licky kisses!
In our quest to be a bit different, the idea of the Llama Lodge was born.
Originally the ancient wine press, the brick and wood building is reminiscent of an alpine chalet. The Llama Lodge fits in perfectly with our offering of unusual and quirky places to stay at Loire Valley Llama Farm Stay. It has a stylish kitchenette / living room downstairs, then up the handmade staircase and through the hatch you enter the cosy and romantic bedroom with views across the valley to the front and of the llamas grazing at the rear.
At the front of the llama lodge is it’s own garden with table, chairs and a barbecue. The lodge has its own private shower room with shower cabin and separate sink.
Work is still underway, but will be finished in the next few weeks, a long time ahead of our re-opening in April for Summer Holiday Season 2020!
Have a look at all our unusual accommodations here
Today was a great day that found the treasure I have been patiently waiting for.
Today we went to a riverside brocante in Montsoreau, a beautiful French town that sits next to the Loire. Our favourite days out are finding Brocantes and searching for treasure.
The drive from the llama farm to this particular town is just under an hour, it is a wonderful journey, the views start with the Apple farms of our area in Sarthe. We always take the country roads as they take us through many pretty villages. We drove through pine forests and the fields changed to different crops including a poppy field that was spotted with red as the poppies are not yet in full bloom, but will soon be blood red. As the Loire became closer, every field was filled with grape vines, growing to become the wine that the area is famous for. We took the latticed iron bridge which brings us out opposite the Mushroom caves. We didn’t go there today, but they have a museum to learn about the many mushrooms grown there and a cave dwelling restaurant.
Parking is tight on Brocante day, so we parked at the champignon cav, and walked the short distance to the centre ville.
The brocante stalls here rival the best we have seen but the setting is by far the most beautiful. Hundreds of stalls selling real antiques; mirrors, frames, tables, chairs, carts, chests, and much more…..and jewellery.
Some of you may remember that back in February, Nigel asked me to marry him, of course I said yes but we didn’t have a ring, I was set on the idea of a preloved ring from a Brocante, but hadn’t found one I liked. Today in one of the most beautiful places I have been, set beside the river Loire, a cheeky little pink sapphire and diamond ring sparkled at me. Needless to say, Nigel bought it for me and placed it on my grubby farmer finger!
After a quick celebration drink, we returned home to all our beloved animals and another glass of wine… it will be a perfect end to a perfect day ???? ????