A Solitary Snowdrop

End of February, less darkness, no snow or rain or wind, little frost, alpaca care is much easier than a month ago. It’s time for the annual photograph of a new born lamb in the daily paper. This year’s lamb was about the same size as the daffodils it had been posed with at a tourist attraction in Devon. Inevitably its name is (or was) Snowdrop. 

That’s not a natural name for an alpaca.  With good management most cria are born quite a while after snowdrops have dropped, planned so that animals and breeders do not struggle in winter weather and short daylight hours.  

No animal in this household has been called Snowdrop. There were, amongst many others, Ha’pworth the poodle, McTavish and Hamish both mice, Rosie the giant schnauzer and Lily the leonberger; all the alpacas have people names. Ha’pworth ate McTavish and Hamish at a campsite next to field of cabbages in Ramsgate.  Rosie tried to smother the (human) baby because she wanted the carrycot to herself. The leonberger, breed to look like a lion, was very plausible in the role and ate anything with protein in it but not the rabbit Bunty which had already been caught by Poppy the retriever. Snowdrop is a name probably best left to lambs.  

The town of our postcode is working on becoming the first ‘snowdrop town’. Over 180,000 snowdrops have been planted since 2012 and events are held throughout February to bring in visitors who will help halt the decline of the rural high street, perhaps.  

Here outside the town, multitudes of snowdrops grow in the lanes and hedgerows, woods and in neighbours’ gardens. We planted some in 2014 and in 2017. One is still alive, the rest we think were breakfast for mice or surrendered to incompetent gardening technique.