Rips travels from Norway to Scotland; and Ben is on his way to the UK

Rips, a very glamorous black-and-white puss, became a transport veteran in a single 24-hour period, travelling by car, plane, bus, van and train.

Her journey started in Bergen in Norway; from there she flew to Amsterdam with her owner. Animalcouriers drove to Amsterdam to meet Rips from the plane, while her owner flew on to Aberdeen.

By 9am yesterday Rips and courier S were on their way to Calais to catch the Eurotunnel but, about 25 miles from the terminal, the motorway traffic ground to a halt. Eurotunnel was closed, owing to trespassers setting fire to tyres on the track. Not only that, the ferries were also on strike. It was a jolly hot day to be stranded, but many of the lorry drivers who were also stuck on the motorway kindly shared their cold water and soft drinks with the rest of us.

When the French police allowed cars and vans to move off the motorway, we headed off and found a hotel for the night, close to the tunnel. We also detoured to the Landrons kennels and cattery to collect slinky black cat Ben, saving courier J a separate trip. Ben travelled with Animalcouriers from Spain a couple of weeks ago, but his passport has only just become valid for entry into the UK.

We managed to book on a 7.00am train this morning which left on time. So by 7.30am we were in the UK and heading to the Animalcouriers base in Surrey.

Lorries and cars stopped on the motorway to Calais

Lorries and cars stopped on the motorway to Calais

Lorry drivers sharing their cold drinks with everyone

Lorry drivers sharing their cold drinks with everyone

Aircon on and the windscreen shaded by a towel — kept our van lovely and cool!

Aircon on and the windscreen shaded by a towel — kept our van lovely and cool!

Rips (named for a Norwegian berry) is one cool character, taking everything in her stride, giving just the occasional dark brown stare that cats have perfected over the generations

Rips (named for a Norwegian berry) is one cool character, taking everything in her stride, giving just the occasional dark brown stare that cats have perfected over the generations

Handsome, golden-eyed Ben, who'll soon be reunited with Margaret in Burnley

Handsome, golden-eyed Ben, who’ll soon be reunited with Margaret in Burnley

En route for the Nordics with Pumba aboard

Animalcouriers have set off on their latest road trip, that takes them through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and on to Sweden.

On board is little Chihuahua Pumba. His owner Tina brought Pumba to us from Bristol, and he is now travelling with us to Gothenburg in Sweden, to live with Tina’s sister Madalaine.

On the ferry from Puttgarden in Germany to the Danish port of Rodby we watched a crew filming a chap smoking and looking at the sunset. Wonder if it’s a follow-up to ‘The Bridge’? We’ll be crossing that one, the Øresund Bridge, from Denmark to Sweden today.

Tiny Pumba shows us his big character…

Tiny Pumba shows us his big character…

…and his rather snazzy harness!

…and his rather snazzy harness!

Three feline families join our trip

We collected Antonia’s three cats Tiger, Gracie and Mouser in the Italian city of Naples. They’re travelling with us to Bolton in England.

We crossed the border from Italy to France and picked up Mrs Cogley’s cats for their trip to the UK. Animalcouriers were delayed earlier in the journey, and were very glad that Mrs Cogley could leave Lizzy and Susy in the good hands of her vet’s kennels and cattery.

Then it was on to Le Jardin des Chats near Montpeller, where Hugo, Ruben and Red got on board. This cattery blends calming music and a gentle aroma of homeopathic essences with high-tech webcams, that let owners watch their cats, eating, sleeping, enjoying the sunshine and climbing trees.

Very alert Mouser (L) and Gracie (R) are keen to have a look around

Very alert Mouser (L) and Gracie (R) are keen to have a look around

Fluffy Tiger takes it easy

Fluffy Tiger takes it easy

Lovely Lizzy settles in

Lovely Lizzy settles in

Sweet Susy relaxes, ready for a nap

Sweet Susy relaxes, ready for a nap

Le Jardin des Chats cattery

Le Jardin des Chats cattery

The wonderful indoor/outdoor space that Hugo, Ruben and Red have been enjoying

The wonderful indoor/outdoor space that Hugo, Ruben and Red have been enjoying

Another family in residence at Le Jardin — one up a tree, one using a tunnel as a rocking horse, and the third one keeping a beady eye on it all

Another family in residence at Le Jardin — one up a tree, one using a tunnel as a rocking horse, and the third one keeping a beady eye on it all

Handsome Hugo and Red, with Ruben hiding behind/beneath them!

Handsome Hugo and Red, with Ruben hiding behind/beneath them!

One of our other kitty passengers has been found wearing his litter tray on his head each morning, with litter all over him, his bedroom and half the van! We've now taken desperate measures to anchor the tray, and hope he finds having his very own Zen garden suitably soothing!

One of our other kitty passengers has been found wearing his litter tray on his head each morning, with litter all over him, his bedroom and half the van! We’ve now taken desperate measures to anchor the tray, and hope he finds having his very own Zen garden suitably soothing!

Cali, Scali and Miski are back home in Crete; and Matilda has joined our trip

Yesterday was Clean Monday — the first day of Lent — and a holiday in Greece. Traditionally people fly kites and eat simple food on the beach. Unfortunately, it was absolutely pouring with rain, so there wasn’t much of either activity going on.

Animalcouriers arrived early at the Greek port of Igoumenitsa following our crossing from Italy. We drove off towards Piraeus port, calling in at Lefkas en route to collect Jennifer’s cat Matilda. Then we had an overnight crossing to Crete, where we reunited Cali, Scali and Miski with Sheila.

Courier M carried Miski and Scali into the house in baskets. After a quick sniff around, they followed Sheila and courier M back to the van to fetch Cali.

Because of the rain, this poor kite seller packed up early and went home

Because of the rain, this poor kite seller packed up early and went home

Paximavid bread — a Cretan speciality that's so hard you need very strong gnashers to deal with it. Better still, you dunk it first in wet cheese or oil.

Paximavid bread — a Cretan speciality that’s so hard you need very strong gnashers to deal with it. Better still, you dunk it first in wet cheese or oil.

Sheila and Miski walking down to the Animacouriers van to collect Cali

Sheila and Miski walking down to the Animacouriers van to collect Cali

Miski stopping off for some sniffing opportunities on the way

Miski stopping off for some sniffing opportunities on the way

Here comes Cali, safe in Sheila's arms

Here comes Cali, safe in Sheila’s arms

Cali reacquainting herself with familiar sights and smells

Cali reacquainting herself with familiar sights and smells

Mmm, something very interesting here!

Mmm, something very interesting here!

Look at our fantastic view, courier J! says Miski

Look at our fantastic view, courier J! says Miski

Scali is quite nervous of people as she had been badly treated, so we were lucky to catch this glimpse of her as she rediscovered her Cretan home. She and Miski were dumped a kilometre apart at five weeks old. Lucky girls to have been adopted by Jill and Sheila!

Scali is quite nervous of people as she had been badly treated, so we were lucky to catch this glimpse of her as she rediscovered her Cretan home. She and Miski were dumped a kilometre apart at five weeks old. Lucky girls to have been adopted by Jill and Sheila!

Miski was so excited to be home she shot up to the rafters…

Miski was so excited to be home she shot up to the rafters…

…and had to be rescued by Sheila

…and had to be rescued by Sheila

And here is lovely Matilda, who is travelling with us to the UK. Very cute and friendly.

And here is lovely Matilda, who is travelling with us to the UK. Very cute and friendly.

She will also accept a neck scratch and head tickle!

She will also accept a neck scratch and head tickle!

Scottish reunions for Poppy, Vegas, Alfie, Fat Cat and Doofus

Yesterday Animalcouriers delivered dogs Poppy and Vegas, and cats Afie and Fat Cat, to Danny and Sally in Inverness. Despite the humans being somewhat jet-lagged after the long trip from Dubai, it was a very happy reunion.

And Doofus reached his new home in Clynder, which will be quite a change from his old Surrey home, as it’s open countryside with plenty of opportunities for exploring and hunting. His owner Chris is very excited for him, saying, he won’t know himself with all this space!

Alfie with Sally — Fat Cat wasn't in the mood for a photo op

Alfie with Sally — Fat Cat wasn’t in the mood for a photo op

Vegas and Poppy with Sally and Danny

Vegas and Poppy with Sally and Danny

Poppy seems especially delighted to be back with her owners

Poppy seems especially delighted to be back with her owners

Doofus about to set paw in his new Scottish home

Doofus about to set paw in his new Scottish home

The mystical and unspoiled Glencoe

The mystical and unspoiled Glencoe

This rather wonderful horse sculpture is nicely set off by Glencoe in the background

This rather wonderful horse sculpture is nicely set off by Glencoe in the background

Ardnamachan Point — if you're a fan of the shipping forecast, now's the time to hum 'Sailing By'

Ardnamachan Point — if you’re a fan of the shipping forecast, now’s the time to hum ‘Sailing By’

The ruins of Urquhart Castle by Loch Ness

The ruins of Urquhart Castle by Loch Ness

And here's Nessie herself, who travelled with Animalcouriers all the way from her winter holidays on Italy's Lake Como, where she was visiting relatives. Nessie tells us it was a much needed break as she's not getting any younger, and she finds all that ducking and diving during the tourist season pretty tiring these days!

And here’s Nessie herself, who travelled with Animalcouriers all the way from her winter holidays on Italy’s Lake Como, where she was visiting relatives. Nessie tells us it was a much needed break as she’s not getting any younger, and she finds all that ducking and diving during the tourist season pretty tiring these days!

Updates on former passengers now settled in Australia and France

Bella and her feline companions Beau and Tinkerbelle flew from the UK to Australia and were reunited with Alex and Tom earlier this month. Alex tells Animalcouriers that all three pets are settling in really well to their new home.

We also heard from Anne and Brian whose family of 12 Ragdoll cats travelled with Animalcouriers from the UK to Perpignan in France last year. It sounds like they haven’t had a dull moment since their arrival!

Belle had to have an operation on her ear and had to wear a cone of shame for two weeks. Then senior member Gus started wobbling on his back legs, but it turned out to be arthritis rather than a dreaded stroke, and anti-inflammatories are doing the trick. Four weeks of the ‘builders from hell’ meant the cats were confined to upstairs. Sensitive Harry was so upset he had to be treated for stress-related vomiting, but fortunately is back to normal now. Meanwhile Anne was dismayed to discover that French vets can’t prescribe chemo drugs, so she had to fly back to the UK and get the tablets from their old vet for Ambrose.

Despite all the excitement, the cats are happy in their new home, and Anne and Brian are confident that moving to France was the right decision. The cats received a wonderful new cat tree from Santa to keep them amused until an outdoor run can be constructed for them in the spring.

Anne says:

“Thank you so very much for delivering our precious babies to us safely and for going that ‘extra mile’ — we would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending you to future prospective clients.”

Bella loves visiting Tom at work

Bella loves visiting Tom at work

Ambrose on new cushion

Ambrose on new cushion

Boots in Boots the Chemist box!

Boots in Boots the Chemist box!

Finlay enjoying a cuddle

Finlay enjoying a cuddle

Gus in comfy bed

Gus in comfy bed

Belle wearing 'designer collar'!

Belle wearing ‘designer collar’!

Kora washing boyfriend Finlay

Kora washing boyfriend Finlay

Ambrose relaxing

Ambrose relaxing

Boots in kitchen sink!

Boots in kitchen sink!

Au revoir France, as we head towards Calais and the Channel crossing

We spent last night in Chartres, with a view of its magnificent cathedral. It was a chilly, dark start to the day when we got up to walk the dogs and feed all our passengers.

Pickles has been leading the cat cacophany chorus on this trip, with solos by Anastacia. They started rehearsing ‘Jerusalem’ as we left Alicante and by Narbonne it was sounding promising. We think the real performance is due to start this afternoon when we hit Calais for our crossing to the UK.

'Bossy' Boots loves a walk — just the thought of one has him turning in circles and practising snuffling

‘Bossy’ Boots loves a walk — just the thought of one has him turning in circles and practising snuffling

Luna says she'll be pleased to be home again with Kathy, but this trip has been a good experience for her as she has grown more confident every day about stepping out in unfamiliar places

Luna says she’ll be pleased to be home again with Kathy, but this trip has been a good experience for her as she has grown more confident every day about stepping out in unfamiliar places

Goofy is a very affectionate fellow

Goofy is a very affectionate fellow

Buddy and his chum Goofy (above) hadn't shown much of an appetite on the trip. So we tried them on tinned tuna in water, and both of them scoffed it!

Buddy and his chum Goofy (above) hadn’t shown much of an appetite on the trip. So we tried them on tinned tuna in water, and both of them scoffed it!

Little Linda has been staying on the top floor so has had a splendid view and the chance for plenty of chats with courier J

Little Linda has been staying on the top floor so has had a splendid view and the chance for plenty of chats with courier J

Linda and courier J agree the cathedral is stunning

Linda and courier J agree the cathedral is stunning

Pickles wondering if she can reach the dog biscuits

Pickles wondering if she can reach the dog biscuits

Successful biscuit box raid by Pickles!

Successful biscuit box raid by Pickles!

Gorgeous Tilly got together with the Corgis to put in an official complaint about the cat chorus

Gorgeous Tilly got together with the Corgis to put in an official complaint about the cat chorus

Willie practising for the 'longest tongue' competition

Willie practising for the ‘longest tongue’ competition

Rudi marvelling at Willie's bravery as his eye drops are put in

Rudi marvelling at Willie’s bravery as his eye drops are put in

Mia asks if we'll all soon be home

Mia asks if we’ll all soon be home

Cool Cocas reassures Mia that yes, it won't be long now

Cool Cocas reassures Mia that yes, it won’t be long now

Smokey enjoying a chin rub

Smokey enjoying a chin rub

Anastacia liking an ear tickle

Anastacia liking an ear tickle

Asia looking very glamorous

Asia looking very glamorous

Tatti likes to know what's going on around and about

Tatti likes to know what’s going on around and about

Tippi is also very alert, taking everything in

Tippi is also very alert, taking everything in

Ewa is a shy girl but has been with us the longest on this journey, which has given us a chance to get to know her and experience her affectionate side

Ewa is a shy girl but has been with us the longest on this journey, which has given us a chance to get to know her and experience her affectionate side

Our journey north yesterday took us over the magnificent Millau Bridge. We first drove over it the week it was open — it impressed us then and still does, creating a flutter of excitement when we spot the red lights on top as we approach it.

Our journey north yesterday took us over the magnificent Millau Bridge. We first drove over it the week it was open — it impressed us then and still does, creating a flutter of excitement when we spot the red lights on top as we approach it.

Last night in the Limousin, on track for the UK tomorrow

Last night we stayed at Domaine de Vareilles in France’s Limousin region. The charming hotel and restaurant offers very good dog walking and excellent wine and food, without being too expensive.

We’re now at Calais ready for our crossing to the UK.

Scooby in the morning sunshine…

Scooby in the morning sunshine…

…and demanding a tummy rub!

…and demanding a tummy rub!

Toby on the move — hence the slightly blurry shot

Toby on the move — hence the slightly blurry shot

Hester and Dillon deciding which way to go

Hester and Dillon deciding which way to go

Is someone over there having biscuits? wonder Nelson and Hardy

Is someone over there having biscuits? wonder Nelson and Hardy

Is Benny sizing up courier M's leg for a wee?!

Is Benny sizing up courier M’s leg for a wee?!

Chums Angus and Oscar enjoy being out together

Chums Angus and Oscar enjoy being out together

Hinata who joined us in Paris.  Anna is off to join the Foreign office and, of course, Hinata goes too

Hinata who joined us in Paris. Anna is off to join the Foreign office and, of course, Hinata goes too

Dilly gets some fuss

Dilly gets some fuss

Florentine

Florentine chose the litter tray…

Benedict in the comfy seat

… and Benedict the comfy spot

Checking in at Calais. Sorry, we're closed! said Giles as we walked into the port office. Fortunately we know Giles well enough to know he was only joking!

Checking in at Calais. Sorry, we’re closed! said Giles as we walked into the port office. Fortunately we know Giles well enough to know he was only joking!

Dilly, Benedict and Florentine join our trip as we head north

Animalcouriers collected lovely cat Dilly from Covihla in Portugal. As we drove through the old town the roads became steeper and narrower until we had to send out for help. Luckily Ines could pop Dilly into her travel box and bring her to us! Dilly is on her way to Scotland. We suspect she’s used to chilly winters, however, given the snow depth marking posts we encountered along the way.

We stayed last night at Mont de Marsan in France’s Aquitaine region and today were pleased to call on our favourite vet, Dr Diana James, who gave some of our doggy passengers their parasite treatment and clarified an entry in Scooby’s passport.

Sweet and friendly Dilly

Sweet and friendly Dilly

Benny is all ready for his walk

Benny is all ready for his walk

Oscar was so busy snuffling, we had to pick him up for his photo!

Oscar was so busy snuffling, we had to pick him up for his photo!

Hester (L) and Dillon (R) — such a gorgeous pair!

Hester (L) and Dillon (R) — such a gorgeous pair!

Scooby enjoys the sunshine

Scooby enjoys the sunshine

Biscuits? Did someone say biscuits? Nelson and Hardy sit to attention.

Biscuits? Did someone say biscuits? Nelson and Hardy sit to attention.

Fluffy Angus, full of beans out on his walk. This is a rare moment of stillness.

Fluffy Angus, full of beans out on his walk. This is a rare moment of stillness.

Benny, see here with Diana, takes his tablet like a man

Benny, see here with Diana, takes his tablet like a man

As does Scooby — straight down!

As does Scooby — straight down!

At Dompiere les Eglises we met up with Kim and her cats Benedict and Florentine. Kim admitted her heart was pounding and she had butterflies in her tummy at the prospect!

At Dompiere les Eglises we met up with Kim and her cats Benedict and Florentine. Kim admitted her heart was pounding and she had butterflies in her tummy at the prospect!

When it was time to say goodbye, Kim said she was feeling much more relaxed, having had a chat with us and met some of our other passengers.

When it was time to say goodbye, Kim said she was feeling much more relaxed, having had a chat with us and met some of our other passengers.

Dilly shows the newcomers just how to relax!

Dilly shows the newcomers just how to relax!

Dylan, Hester and Scooby are now on board

Dylan and Hester, a cheeky pair of Cairn terriers, joined our trip in a sleepy Portuguese village. They’re off to live in the UK.

Another recent joiner from Portugal is Scooby, collected from Figueira da Foz. He’s off to join his family who are moving to Devon. More of the family’s pets will follow on a later trip.

Dylan and Hester are great mates

Dylan and Hester are great mates

Scooby is a big, bouncy fellow who thinks courier M is just the best, and shows it with lots of licks and cuddles.

Scooby is a big, bouncy fellow who thinks courier M is just the best, and shows it with lots of licks and cuddles.