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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 14 December 2013
This is the second book I've read recently about a British couple moving from Britain to rural Spain and not knowing what they are letting themselves in for! 'Chapeau' once again for such a brave decision, and hey, the alpacas, I loved those! Plus the expanding menagerie which includes Mary Belle the huge Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, four sweaty goats, and Miliko, the happiest dog in the world. The writing is both easy and straightforward, and in addition to lots of cuddly alpacas there are some very dramatic events - notably Alan being shot by a "Bermuda Triangle" of not-so-cuddly alpaca spit-balls to the back, chest and face! Though there are some truly tragic bits later on in the book (don't want to give too much away) that had me snuffling into my soup, I'm a real softie when it comes to animals!

I received a copy of this book as a competition prize, and would happily recommend it to anyone.
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on 21 April 2015
This is a really enjoyable reading book. I appreciated all the Spanish things, the Manana effect etc as I live in Spain. I was determined to finish that book before I was going to sleep even though my kindle was dying! I had to shoot downstairs and plug in so I just stood in the kitchen and finished reading it-I was nearly at the end and I really didn't want to put it down! There's some really sad bits and some where you feel really glad for them. A really enjoyable reading book.
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on 30 July 2016
This book is very poorly written ... he is a GREAT fans of the exclamation mark!
However I might have coped better with that if the book itself did not annoy me so much. They seem to have done no basic research whether about alpacas themselves or the weather in Spain. They seemed extremely naive especially when buying their car or paying large sums of money to someone who they don't really know anything about their skills to do the required work when upgrading the house.
They had no idea how to look after the animals; but despite this kept on merrily increasing their menagerie. They obviously did not bother to train their dogs and panicked every time the slightest thing happened to any of the animals.
They are, in my view, lucky that no one was seriously hurt in some of the activities they did ... such as collecting wood in shorts and sandals.
No wonder the local Spanish people thought they were 'loco'.

I read this book to the bitter end because I hate giving up on books but I could have just as easily given up after the chapter 5 as they were making me so cross with their unbelievable stupidity.
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on 3 January 2013
I bought this because it had been recommended to me by Victoria Tweed, and as you can see from my other reviews I am a great fan of hers.
She didn't disappoint.
The only criticism I have is that it could have been longer. I fell in love with all the animals and even thought at one point - before the spitting - that I would like an Alpaca.
Alan, let's have more!
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on 22 January 2016
I picked up this as a Kindle Freebie, what good value!

Alan Parks and his lovely wife Lorna embark on the biggest adventure of their life, packing up the whole kit and caboodle to go to Spain and breed alpacas! Their initial trials and tribulations, including an ever widening menagerie of strays are documented in this, the first of a series.

I love a travel books and this is a really lovely one! The characters the Parks encounter in the remote area of Spain where they finally settle are vivid and amusing. Alan and Lorna themselves are exceptionally likeable folk and I was thoroughly engrossed by chapter three.

I particularly enjoyed the little vignettes from the animals eye view... Amusing and sweet. A novel way to make this book a little bit different.

There is enough local colour and culture to keep the Armchair traveller thoroughly satisfied too. I love to read about the cultural differences in rural Spain. The festivals and celebrations described, made me hungry to visit.

Come Hell or (quite Literally ) High Water this couple battles the elements and language barriers, attending "Feria" until the early hours with Surly Spanish Farming Folk and being ripped off by expats.

If I have any minor grumbles, it is that Alan does tend to repeat his exposition a tiny bit from the end of a chapter into the next, but this might just be because this is being written from diary entry as source material. It is a tiny gripe and if he wants to labour those points, who am I to argue

All in all I would strongly recommend this book and most particularly to fans of Gerald Durrell, whose Greek adventures are very evocative of this book. In fact once I have read the sequel I might just did out "My Family and other Animals" to read again. I can certainly do with the vicarious Sunshine. As I write the sky's are Grey and the air decidedly frigid!

Light, well paced and thoroughly readable, I was only to pleased to realise there are two more books to devour as this one ended too soon!
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on 11 May 2014
Alan tells his story and I think many brits who have moved to Spain will empathise with it, especially having the English doing work for you. We live in a very Spanish area and Alan has made me feel lots better because we are not fluent in Spanish. As the life story is told it sounds like they are unlucky but life in Spain is hard but they have Spanish friends and neighbours who will help and are friendly. When my husband went into hospital it took ages to get down the track as I had to keep stopping to give updates on how he was doing. This book is a must if you are thinking of moving to Spain, although it is their story it will give you an insite into the real Spain bad and some very good. I started to read and didnt put it down until it was finished, even though my darling Rafa Nadal was playing in the final.
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on 30 November 2016
This is an interesting story of a family moving to the rural life and how hard it was to get used to another country life style. I liked the book and it is unusual which mames a change. Only gave it 4 stars because I found I could only read a few chapters at a time. However, I am pleased I have read it.
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on 27 January 2017
This is such a sweet, funny and warm story of a family following a dream, at the time I imagine it wasn't quite as amusing but as a reader it had me giggling and made me want to pack up and follow them over there and experience it all for myself and got a raised eyebrow from my kids when I took to calling them "loco pollo"
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on 7 January 2014
I really enjoyed reading Alan's account of his brave and adventurous move to Spain. Despite the many challenges - both emotional and physical - that Alan and his wife Lorna face, there is still a genuine feeling of happiness and almost childlike excitement about the whole experience, which shines through in the narrative. I'm almost tempted to pack up, move abroad, and try something similar myself. Nah, I'll just read Alan's sequel instead.
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on 10 February 2014
I was reading another book when I came across this and bought it. Had a quick glance and intended to read it after my current book. I couldn't! It engaged me right from the outset so I just had to keep on going. The book is about Alan and Lorna who live in Brighton. Lorna is a dance teacher but she has been suffering with ill-health and finding it hard to continue with her tuition. They decide to totally change their life and move to Spain and breed Alpacas. They are relatively young to do this sort of thing-I think Alan was about thirty-five/thirty-six?-so it's not the normal expat story where people sell up to retire, hence the idea for a business breeding Alpacas. Not a common choice of animal either so this book is really different, a breath of fresh air. Very well-told it is too. Alan and Lorna come across as really likeable people. Alan has the patience of a saint! There are many tender moments in the book, unexpected happenings, heart-breaking moments, light humour, really makes you smile but doesn't try too hard to be funny, the humour isn't forced at all, just natural comedy flow. Contrast this with learning about the different ways of life with the locals and their customs and quirks and then some really 'tug-at your-heartstrings' moments with the animal episodes and you have a fantastic reading experience. I needed the tissues sometimes, it really got to my emotions, the sad bits about the animals, I could hardly bear to turn the pages near the end in case something had gone wrong again..... It is easy reading; nice short chapters. I like the chapter titles that give you an idea of the happenings to come, a very organised result, never rambling. Good descriptive detail, yet not longwinded . The descriptions of the landscape are beautiful. Throughout the book, Alan uses some good adjectives, different choice of words from the norm. The book strikes a chord with me because one of my mum's ex-neighbours' daughter keeps Alpacas in Wales. I'd never heard of anyone having them before that and certainly not in the UK anyway. Not in every chapter, but, there is an 'animal count' where he keeps track of how many bought and acquired animals so far and their names-THEIR NAMES!! What a gift this man has for naming his pets and livestock! Beyoncé and J-lo (for chickens), and the Royle family for cats- Jim, Barb, Dave, Baby David, Twiggy, R Denise-Hilarious! What is really sad and surprising to me is that when the couple are ripped off, it is by English people, not Spaniards. Disgusting. You would expect English in Spain to stick together. Alan seems so nice and so trusting. There are some really kind people in the book who bend over backwards to help as well as the 'rip-off merchants'. Lorna's daughter says in the book: 'Bloody Hell-what's an Alpaca?' on hearing news of their plans to move abroad etc. I had thought that would be the perfect title for this book. 'Seriously' I wasn't as sure about because that's not what Frankie said. I found out later, after browsing on the internet, that the book WAS originally called 'Bloody Hell What's an Alpaca?' but Alan either had to change the title or felt he had to because there were difficulties with some websites accepting it with this title. A shame really because this IS the perfect title. I really enjoyed this, it was a wonderful book. I wish Alan and Lorna all the luck in the world, they've certainly had their fair share of bad luck along the way, they deserve to be happy. You can check out pictures on Alan and Lorna's website and now he has brought out accompanying photo books to go with all his books-these are all free. With the writing, Alan's done such a great job, I could get an excellent picture in my mind of everything going on in the book. I never expected it to be SO GOOD.....and now I've bought his second book 'Seriously Mum-Where's That Donkey'.
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