astrid had been talking incessantly about the alpacas, but we were yet to see one. i think she has been in love with them ever since we went to an alpaca farm in tasmania, where a rotund man with a grey bushrangers-beard talked breathlessly as he showed us around, emphasising the parental advantages of alpaca cria over human babies in between an information-stream about the minutiae of alpaca farming. a wide-eyed astrid soaked up every last detail and will recall them at any given opportunity. actually, she was sweet on alpacas before that, but the visit to the farm certainly consecrated the affection. read on.