TEENAGE boys are notoriously difficult to buy for, so when her son Tom turned 19, Elizabeth Grant decided to ditch the aftershave and socks in favour of... a camel.
“He happened to mention in passing that he liked camels and I managed to track one down,” said Elizabeth.
“He definitely wasn’t expecting that.
“It was quite a surprise.”
Now Jeffrey, who was imported from Holland seven years ago, is a much-loved member of the family and its menagerie that includes everything from llamas to geese.
Elizabeth’s husband Simon, a former jockey and racehorse trainer, has schooled the ship of the desert so he lies down and stands up on demand and can be ridden around their 50-acre property in Easingwold.
As a treat, the lolloping, 11ft-tall bactrian is allowed to enjoy a pint or two of beer from the local gastro pub.
“I read that camels like beer so I thought I’d see if Jeffrey did and he loves it. Stuart at the Rose and Crown at Sutton-on-the-Forest cleans the lines out on Saturdays and he brings the beer up here for Jeffrey and we put it in his feed. His other favourite treat is carrots,” said Elizabeth.
Jeffrey, who responds to having his name called, will certainly miss his local when he moves house.
Simon and Elizabeth, who have two grown-up children, Tom and Emily, have put their luxury £2m home on the market.
They bought Hazel Hill Farm eight years ago and gave it a no-expense-spared makeover.
The farmhouse comes with two cottages and all have glamorous interiors with all mod cons.
Outside, there is a hot tub, a gym and a heated African hut.
The couple also created five-star accommodation for their horses and pets, including 12 new stables, field shelters, a horse walker, and an arena.
Estate agents Carter Jonas are wondering whether to inform viewers of the property’s USP or leave him and his pals as a pleasant surprise.
Elizabeth, who runs Longbridge Veterinary Services, admits: “It’s like a zoo here and all the animals we have are pets.”
They have horses, llamas, geese, goats, Murphy the donkey, Bertie the sheep, two pigs named Bangers and Mash, seven dogs, nine cats and three Highland cattle.
A hardy Russian camel, who can survive temperatures as low as -25C, he clearly loves living in Yorkshire and rarely gets “the hump”.
The only time he cries is when he is parted from his friends, Highland cow Princess and her twins Gavin and Stacey.
“We thought he’d like to be with the llamas as they’re from the camelid family but he hates them.
He loves his cows and they love him. He is adorable and just looking at him makes you smile.”
The pets will all move with the family when they downsize, although Tom, 26, who is moving to his own home, has now outgrown his birthday present.
“He jokes that we’d better not leave Jeffery to him in our will,” said Elizabeth.
“If they’re well looked after, camels can live until they’re 60.”
• Hazel Hill Farm, Easingwold, is for sale with Carter Jonas, York. Tel: 01904 558200.