Ginger-and-white Whiskey from Rome joins our journey to the UK

Animalcouriers drove from Athens to the port of Igoumenitsa to catch the ferry to the Italian port of Brindisi.

We then headed to Rome to meet Gennaro and his cat Whiskey. Gennaro has lived all his life around Rome and Naples but now, at 90 years young, is off to live with his son and his partner, Irene, in the UK. Whiskey is going on ahead, and will be waiting to greet Gennaro when he arrives.

Whiskey was all ready for the off when we called in to collect him from Gennaro

Whiskey was all ready for the off when we called in to collect him from Gennaro

A closer look at handsome Whiskey

A closer look at handsome Whiskey

Gennaro came out to our van to oversee Whiskey's settling in

Gennaro came out to our van to oversee Whiskey’s settling in

Gennaro told us he was pleased that Whiskey had a 'nice cage' for his journey

Gennaro told us he was pleased that Whiskey had a ‘nice cage’ for his journey

Boxoh having a bit of a bad hair day on a windy walk

Boxoh having a bit of a bad hair day on a windy walk

Zarly completely understands the problem. Very snug in her little jumper, though. And what a smart collar tag!

Zarly completely understands the problem. Very snug in her little jumper, though. And what a smart collar tag!

Hector is so annoyed about being on this journey that he doesn't want to look at us. But he still goes stoically on his walks.

Hector is so annoyed about being on this journey that he doesn’t want to look at us. But he still goes stoically on his walks.

Hector finally deigns to have a chat with courier M about what life in London will be like…

Hector finally deigns to have a chat with courier M about what life in London will be like…

…And even shows us his best side for a photo

…And even shows us his best side for a photo

Bilia spots Jason and would like to play…

Bilia spots Jason and would like to play…

But Jason has other plans. Did I see boats over there?

But Jason has other plans. Did I see boats over there?

Pretty Pouca manages to leap about very gracefully on her three legs. Eugenia tells us that Pouca was found, aged two months, having been hit by a car and left to die. The girl who found her took her to the vet, who did the surgery to amputate her leg and tail, and nursed her back to health, free of charge. When Eugenia took her dog to the vet, she saw Pouca, heard her story, and immediately offered to adopt her.

Pretty Pouca manages to leap about very gracefully on her three legs. Eugenia tells us that Pouca was found, aged two months, having been hit by a car and left to die. The girl who found her took her to the vet, who did the surgery to amputate her leg and tail, and nursed her back to health, free of charge. When Eugenia took her dog to the vet, she saw Pouca, heard her story, and immediately offered to adopt her.

Beautiful flowers spotted on the Greek mainland as we passed the Ionian islands

Beautiful flowers spotted on the Greek mainland as we passed the Ionian islands

A closer look reveals honey bees, hard at work

A closer look reveals honey bees, hard at work

The hives were just across the other side of the road. We're intrigued by these wonderfully colourful hives which are dotted all over Greece. Perhaps if bees are driven by the colours of flowers, this is some kind of clever colour-coding?

The hives were just across the other side of the road. We’re intrigued by these wonderfully colourful hives which are dotted all over Greece. Perhaps if bees are driven by the colours of flowers, this is some kind of clever colour-coding?

Ladybirds were also out, enjoying the spring sunshine

Ladybirds were also out, enjoying the spring sunshine

We passed this perfectly happy dog on the way to Igoumenitsa, but don't think we'll be adopting this style of transport any time soon!

We passed this perfectly happy dog on the way to Igoumenitsa, but don’t think we’ll be adopting this style of transport any time soon!

Must be a nightmare trying to build anything in Greece. You only have to dig your spade in and up pops another ruin!

Must be a nightmare trying to build anything in Greece. You only have to dig your spade in and up pops another ruin!

News of Jim, who travelled from London to France with us. Faith tells us: "The sun shone at lunchtime and we were able to sit on my sheltered terrace and sunbathe while Jim helped with me with some mending. He's slotted back in to French village life effortlessly..."

News of Jim, who travelled from London to France with us. Faith tells us: “The sun shone at lunchtime and we were able to sit on my sheltered terrace and sunbathe while Jim helped with me with some mending. He’s slotted back in to French village life effortlessly…”

From reunions in Stoupa to Athens, to meet Pouca the cat

When Animalcouriers reached Greece by ferry from Italy, our first stop was Stoupa, to reunite cats Mr Pickles and Douglas, and dogs Murphy and Twiglet with Sharon. Overnight accommodation in the area is a bit sparse at this time of year but we were lucky enough to end up in a rather nice little cottage.

With the weather howling and storming outside, we took advantage of the open fire which had been laid ready for us. Along with the firewood was a plastic bag full of amazingly effective firelighters — pieces of cardboard soaked in olive oil. Sacrilege! we hear you cry, using Kalamata extra virgin oil in this way. But the smell suggested the oil had already been used for cooking. So in fact, an excellent approach to recycling and less grease down the drains.

From Stoupa we drove through the hills towards Athens via Kalamata. We stopped for coffee in a small mountain village between Kalamata and Athens to look around a tiny church that caught our eye. A local lady passed us with her flock of ewes and their lambs, bringing traffic to a halt while she chatted with a number of villagers before guiding her flock off the road.

In Athens we headed to the port to meet up with Eugenia’s cat Pouca. This dear little tortie girl was brought to us by boat by a friend of Eugenia’s. Pouca seemed quite unfazed by her journey and simply ready for cuddles and supper!

Our olive-oil firelighters. Courier M says he uses something similar at home — kitchen roll used to wipe out the frying pan. But Mrs M objects somewhat to the smell of fried bacon and onion!

Our olive-oil firelighters. Courier M says he uses something similar at home — kitchen roll used to wipe out the frying pan. But Mrs M objects somewhat to the smell of fried bacon and onion!

We are very aware of the difficult lives led by stray cats around dustbins. As we left Stoupa we spotted a group of 12 or more round this bin. Even though we approached very slowly, most of them scuttled away over the wall, leaving just a handful on guard. Who were rewarded with some cat treats.

We are very aware of the difficult lives led by stray cats around dustbins. As we left Stoupa we spotted a group of 12 or more round this bin. Even though we approached very slowly, most of them scuttled away over the wall, leaving just a handful on guard. Who were rewarded with some cat treats.

Driving through the hills behind Stoupa en route for Kalamata, we passed many beautiful wild flowers. We think these may be orchids.

Driving through the hills behind Stoupa en route for Kalamata, we passed many beautiful wild flowers. We think these may be orchids.

Wonderfully bright poppies

Wonderfully bright poppies

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Daisies are hard to beat for that spring-time feeling

Wish we knew what these striking flowerheads are. Any ideas?

Wish we knew what these striking flowerheads are. Any ideas?

Mimosa (we think)

Mimosa (we think)

Traffic jam in the mountains

Traffic jam in the mountains

We thought this little church was derelict when we first caught sight of it…

We thought this little church was derelict when we first caught sight of it…

…but on pressing our noses to the glass in the door, we saw its marvellous tiny interior

…but on pressing our noses to the glass in the door, we saw its marvellous tiny interior

Ancient-looking paintings inside

Ancient-looking paintings inside

Some paintings were made directly on the stonework

Some paintings were made directly on the stonework

Graffiti at the church's entranceway

Graffiti at the church’s entranceway

Eugenia's friend arrives with Pouca

Eugenia’s friend arrives with Pouca

Pouca peeping out, keen to know what's going on

Pouca peeping out, keen to know what’s going on

Pouca is such a pretty little girl! We discovered she's missing a leg and part of her tail. She's cuddly, purrs loudly, and loves eating!

Pouca is such a pretty little girl! We discovered she’s missing a leg and part of her tail. She’s cuddly, purrs loudly, and loves eating!

Collecting Blair and Putin in Germany for their trip to the UK

At much the same time as couriers J and M reached Greece, courier S found herself in rather exalted company in Berlin.

Blair and Putin have been living in this fine capital city for a couple of months while their passports and travel arrangements were finalised. With promises of a large garden and fresh west country air to look forward to at their new UK home, these two cats are anticipating good times ahead.

They’re proving the perfect travel companions, sharing a hotel room with courier S last night and everyone enjoying snacks in bed. This morning they’ll cross to the UK by Eurotunnel, and spend the night in Surrey before being reunited with their owners tomorrow.

Handsome black-and-white Blair

Handsome black-and-white Blair

Gorgeous Russian Blue Putin

Gorgeous Russian Blue Putin

Like the Swiss, the Germans are also lucky enough to have Easter egg trees!

Like the Swiss, the Germans are also lucky enough to have Easter egg trees!

A colourful sight that brightens up a somewhat grey day

A colourful sight that brightens up a somewhat grey day

Bibi and Odin are reunited in Switzerland, and Ruben, Hugo, Red and Jim arrive in France

After reuniting cats Fleur and Mittens with their owners, Mike and Debbie, in Normandy, we drove into Switzerland to deliver Bibi and Odin to Alan and his family. It was hard to say who was more excited at the reunion — humans or dogs!

Then it was back into France to drop handsome trio Ruben, Hugo and Red at Le Jardin des Chats, a super cattery in the Montpellier area, where they’ll have a short stay until their owner Susan catches up with them. And we left Gentleman Jim with mutual friends, for collection by his owner Faith.

The next day, with Mr Pickles, Douglas, Twiglet and Murphy still on board, we motored on to Italy, staying the night in Florence before heading to the port to catch the overnight ferry to Greece.

Bibi and Odin were so excited at being back with Alan and his wife that they quite forgot all their good manners for a few moments!

Bibi and Odin were so excited at being back with Alan and his wife that they quite forgot all their good manners for a few moments!

But it really didn't take long for all that training to kick back in

But it really didn’t take long for all that training to kick back in

Proof that in Switzerland Easter eggs actually grow on trees

Proof that in Switzerland Easter eggs actually grow on trees

Easter bunnies collect the eggs and deliver them to all the boys and girls (and grown-ups!) who've been good so far this year

Easter bunnies collect the eggs and deliver them to all the boys and girls (and grown-ups!) who’ve been good so far this year

Mr Pickles (top) and Douglas are just about the nosiest pair of cats who've ever travelled with us!

Mr Pickles (top) and Douglas are just about the nosiest pair of cats who’ve ever travelled with us!

Rapturous reunions for Aragon, Cigrunet, Bonnie and Charlie; and tasty treats in Spain

It was rather wet and snowy when Animalcouriers met up with Céline in the French town of Pontarlier, near the border with Switzerland, to deliver young Savannah cat Aragon to her. Within about an hour, Céline was in touch to say Aragon was already walking on a lead and had been out and about, exploring his new surroundings!

We then headed on south and spent the night just outside Narbonne. The next day, we continued into Spain, where our first stop was near Tarragona to reunite cute rabbit Cigrunet with Miriam, who was very pleased to see him.

Then it was on to Valencia to reunite beautiful silver tabby Bonnie with Sophie. Sophie has moved from Dorchester, having completed her training to teach English, and is very excited about entering this profession.

Our final delivery in Spain was lively Spaniel Charlie, whose owners have moved to a countryside idyll in Murcia. Charlie had stayed in kennels while Heather and her husband got their new home ready, and everyone was very pleased to be back together. Their new home is sandwiched between a goat farm, a pig farm and a turkey farm. There’s miles of lovely countryside for Charlie to run in — and no-one has far to go for goat’s cheese, milk, pork or a Christmas turkey! Heather wrote to say:

“Thank you for delivering Charlie safely to us, he seems really pleased to see us again, and loves the garden!”

Last night we stayed at the Parador in Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca — a secure hotel with good parking, panoramic views and quiet dog-walking areas, and one that offers good deals at this time of year. Today we’re continuing our journey into Portugal, where Borat, Yuna and Ruas, and Faith, will be reunited with their owners; and new passengers will board the bus.

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Very happy Céline with her handsome Aragon

 

Aragon out exploring his new surroundings

Aragon out exploring his new surroundings

Miriam delighted to have Cigrunet back in her arms

Miriam delighted to have Cigrunet back in her arms

A joyful reunion for Sophie and her cat Bonnie

A joyful reunion for Sophie and her cat Bonnie

A rapturous welcome home for Charlie from his owners

A rapturous welcome home for Charlie from his owners

Cuddles for Charlie from Heather

Cuddles for Charlie from Heather

Charlie all settled in on his favourite rug

Charlie all settled in on his favourite rug

Courier M enjoyed one of his favourite Spanish dishes at dinner last night — morcilla (a kind of black pudding)

Courier M enjoyed one of his favourite Spanish dishes at dinner last night — morcilla (a kind of black pudding)

Courier J preferred a different sort of pudding — 'chocolate in three textures'

Courier J preferred a different sort of pudding — ‘chocolate in three textures’

View over Ciudad Rodrigo from the parador parapet

View over Ciudad Rodrigo from the parador parapet

Borat seemed pretty taken with the outlook, too!

Borat seemed pretty taken with the outlook, too!

Faith too busy trying out for 'longest tongue' to admire the scenery

Faith too busy trying out for ‘longest tongue’ to admire the scenery

Lookout tower on the city wall — somewhere for a watchman to shelter. Little windows, so he could keep an eye out without losing one to an enemy arrow. And a hole in the floor — some kind of ancient sanitary fitting perhaps?

Lookout tower on the city wall — somewhere for a watchman to shelter. Little windows, so he could keep an eye out without losing one to an enemy arrow. And a hole in the floor — some kind of ancient sanitary fitting perhaps?

Courier M in a former life, perhaps?

Courier M in a former life, perhaps?

Orchids spotted on our morning walk

Orchids spotted on our morning walk

In for a closer look

In for a closer look

Fabulously bright spring colours

Fabulously bright spring colours

Charming daisy types

Charming daisy types

Almond trees in full blossom, despite the biting cold winds…

Almond trees in full blossom, despite the biting cold winds…

…and angry black-and-blue skies

…and angry black-and-blue skies

Vladi travels from London to Paris, and we reach Malta via France, Switzerland and Italy

Animalcouriers left the UK a few days ago, having collected Camille’s handsome Persian cat Vladi from his mum Sylvie. Vladi travelled with us to Paris, as Camille has returned there after working in London.

We then headed through France and Switzerland to Italy, and took a ferry from the toe of Italy to the Sicilian port of Messina. We were going to take the catamaran from Sicily to Malta, but it wasn’t available, so we made alternative plans to use the EuroMed Freight route. We were told that our van could go but only one passenger, so courier J volunteered to fly to Malta instead.

At check-in it transpired that the ferry sailing was delayed. So we left the van to make the ferry crossing by itself (as there are no pets on board), and courier M took the same flight as courier J.

On Malta we booked in to the lovely Corinthia Palace Hotel where we’ve enjoyed staying before. The staff were eager to tell us about their new policy of welcoming dogs to the hotel with their owners. They’ve created a thoughtful programme of dog-related services and even built a swimming pool for dogs!

Camille all smiles at being reunited with Vladi

Camille all smiles at being reunited with Vladi

And who can blame him? Vladi is a very handsome ball of fluff!

And who can blame him? Vladi is a very handsome ball of fluff!

Our van squeezed in alongside the trucks and lorries on the ferry for the crossing to Sicily

Our van squeezed in alongside the trucks and lorries on the ferry for the crossing to Sicily

Getting close to the Sicilian coast

Getting close to the Sicilian coast

Doggy swimming pool at the Corinthia Palace Hotel on Malta

Doggy swimming pool at the Corinthia Palace Hotel on Malta

'Palace Pups' — the hotel's leaflet about its dog-friendly policy, which includes doggy room service; in-room bowls, beds, treats and toys; and walking, grooming and massage services!

‘Palace Pups’ — the hotel’s leaflet about its dog-friendly policy, which includes doggy room service; in-room bowls, beds, treats and toys; and walking, grooming and massage services!

You can't miss this postbox!

You can’t miss this postbox!

If you ever wondered what happened to Tin Tin’s mate Captain Haddock — he retired to Malta! (And perhaps that's Tin Tin himself, all grown up, on the left?)

If you ever wondered what happened to Tin Tin’s mate Captain Haddock — he retired to Malta! (And perhaps that’s Tin Tin himself, all grown up, on the left?)

Walking around Malta one becomes aware of a huge stray cat population, many of whom have to forage for food. But not this one-eared, grubby-faced chap — someone cares about him enough to have made him a neat little house and to have fed him quite recently.

Walking around Malta one becomes aware of a huge stray cat population, many of whom have to forage for food. But not this one-eared, grubby-faced chap — someone cares about him enough to have made him a neat little house and to have fed him quite recently.

He's quite a magnificent fellow, despite his battle scars

He’s quite a magnificent fellow, despite his battle scars

This good-looking feline is lucky enough to be looked after by one of the groups of volunteers who watch out for street cats.

This good-looking feline is lucky enough to be looked after by one of the groups of volunteers who watch out for street cats.

Here are a few more of the gang, basking in the winter sunshine in Independence Gardens

Here are a few more of the gang, basking in the winter sunshine in Independence Gardens

There are various home comforts all around —cat boxes, tents and plenty of bedding to keep them warm in the sometimes biting wind

There are various home comforts all around —cat boxes, tents and plenty of bedding to keep them warm in the sometimes biting wind

Someone obviously takes a lot of care of these cats — the bedding all looks clean and fresh

Someone obviously takes a lot of care of these cats — the bedding all looks clean and fresh

A wonderful origami boat we spotted on the Valetta waterfront

A wonderful origami boat we spotted on the Valetta waterfront

Looking down on the crusader castle from Valetta

Looking down on the crusader castle from Valetta

A view across Valetta

A view across Valetta

The clock tower of the Grandmaster Palace in Valetta

The clock tower of the Grandmaster Palace in Valetta

Fortifications built by the Knights Templar

Fortifications built by the Knights Templar

A typical brightly coloured Maltese fishing boat in St Julien's Bay

A typical brightly coloured Maltese fishing boat in St Julien’s Bay

This boat has eyes!

This boat has eyes!

Stale bread doesn't get wasted — it goes into the lobster and crab pots

Stale bread doesn’t get wasted — it goes into the lobster and crab pots

A lost cat gets back to his family; and three animal charities get a windfall

When Elaine Fairfax was on holiday recently in the south of France, she was adopted by a stray tabby-and-white cat who walked in her back door looking a bit thin and bedraggled. Concerned that he didn’t have a home of his own, Elaine fed him and shared her home with him.

As the end of her holiday approached, Elaine decided she wanted to adopt the cat, now called Pepe, and take him back to the UK with her. Being the founder and MD of Animal Friends Pet Insurance in the UK, Elaine knew that without a pet passport, Pepe would have to spend a few weeks in quarantine. So she contacted Animalcouriers to find out about arranging for him to travel to quarantine in the UK.

In conversations with Elaine we discussed various transport options and alternatives to quarantine. Getting Pepe a pet passport was the first step; but when Pepe was taken to the vet to get the ball rolling, it was discovered that he already had a microchip. So things took a different direction. The new mission was to find out who Pepe’s owners were, with Elaine prepared to cover the costs of Pepe’s journey to be reunited with them.

Finding Pepe’s family

Leaving her friends and family on the beach, Elaine took an entire morning out of her holiday to start looking for Pepe’s family. Animalcouriers also asked Dr Diana James, a British vet living in France and an old friend of ours, to help. Pepe’s microchip records revealed he had a family in the Dijon area of France. As soon as they heard he had been found, the family jumped in their car and set off to collect him!

Very pleased to have been able to do the right thing by Pepe and his owners, Elaine told us: “It’s the best outcome, Pepe is such a character cat and obviously loved by his family.”

What happened next

But the story didn’t end there. Elaine has always been a great supporter of animal welfare charities, both in a personal capacity and through her business. She offered a £3,000 donation to be shared between three charities of Animalcouriers’ choice. We nominated Nine Lives Greece, the Filozoikos Shelter, and Chats du Quercy. The fantastic work of both Greek charities, based in Athens, is well known to us; and Diana James is the nominated vet for Chats du Quercy, a well known cat charity in the Cahors region of France. Here’s how the three charities plan to use their donations.

Nine Lives Greece

Cordelia from Nine Lives Greece tells us:

“We will be spending this extremely generous donation on neutering, vaccinating and providing other necessary veterinary care for illness or injury to a colony of stray cats in central Athens. This colony will be selected judging by how risky their situation is, how many individuals there are, and whether there is a local feeder who is open to the concept and benefits of neutering.

Since we founded Nine Lives Greece in 2006, we have trapped and taken for neutering/spaying more than 5,000 cats in Athens, returning the cats back to their location after sterilisation. We try to work colony by colony, in order to get as many individuals neutered as possible in each place. We make sure to keep visiting each large colony to make sure that all the cats are well, that no-one needs veterinary attention, and to make sure any newcomers are taken to the vet to be neutered too. This way, instead of an ever-increasing group of sickly cats and kittens, with tomcats spraying and caterwauling, and females constantly pregnant or feeding kittens, the neighbourhood gets a healthy colony of cats whose numbers stabilise and gradually decrease.”

Filozoikos Shelter

Kiki from the Filozoikos Shelter says:

“This wonderful gift is very much appreciated as we are in the middle of the summer, and the number of dogs and consequently our needs are at their highest. We are in the middle of treating June, a young female dog who we found suffering from leishmaniasis, mange and ‘aphrodisio’ — a sexually transmitted disease. The treatment plus her neutering is going to cost €500. Elpida, Marina, Haris, Earth and Velvet will be neutered with the rest of the money — neutering costs €100 per dog. They were all found abandoned and all of them except Marina have already found homes.”

Chats du Quercy

Lynn and Ron from Chats du Quercy tell us:

“We would like the £1000 to be the first donation for the start of our new Rescue Facility funding, so it will help immensely, hopefully encouraging others too! Our objective is simple: to help cats in needEach cat receives the best possible care and attention from the first day. Every cat is assessed by a veterinary surgeon before receiving the medical, surgical and emotional treatment and care that they need. We also have a qualified cat behaviourist on hand. All our cats are checked and treated on a daily basis until they are fit to be found good homes.”

Pepe, who started the whole story off

Pepe, who started the whole story off

Nine Lives Greece: kitten saved after a dog attack

Nine Lives Greece: kitten saved after a dog attack

Nine Lives Greece: kittens who needed fostering before being ready for adoption

Nine Lives Greece: kittens who needed fostering before being ready for adoption

June at the Filozoikos Shelter

Filozoikos Shelter: June

Marina — this one-year-old sweetheart is still looking for a new home

Filozoikos Shelter: Marina — this one-year-old sweetheart is still looking for a new home

Filozoikos Shelter: Elpida

Elpida

Harris

Filozoikos Shelter: Harris

Filozoikos Shelter: Earth

Earth

Filozoikos Shelter: Velvet

Velvet

Dr Diana James (L) and Lynn with two kittens recently helped by Chats du Quercy

Chats du Quercy: Dr Diana James (L) and Lynn with two kittens recently helped by Chats du Quercy

Frankie, one of the Chats du Quercy kittens, looking for a home

Chats du Quercy: Frankie, — one of the many kittens looking for a home

Cheese-tasting in the Dijon area as we follow the Tour de France route

Couriers J and M set off from the UK, heading towards Spain, and spent last night in the Dijon area of France. On board so far are Bonnie, Nellie, Lola and India.

Tabby-and-white cats Bonnie and Nellie are quite hard to tell apart. These two lovelies have been homeboarding with Animalcouriers for a week since arriving from Wales. They’re now en route to their new home in Moraira in Spain, where their owners Val and David are eagerly awaiting their arrival — Val says once the cats are there it will really feel like home.

At just 8 inches tall, miniature Yorkie Lola must have felt like she was stalking through the jungle on her morning walk. This plucky little girl loved it all — leaping about, walking on her hind legs, and playing with her new chum India.

India is travelling with us from London to the wonderful Spanish city of Seville. She homeboarded with Animalcouriers for a couple of nights before we set off. This was perfect because she’s quite a shy dog, and it gave us a chance to get to know each other.

Bonnie is very relaxed…

Bonnie is very relaxed…

…as is her sister Nellie

…as is her sister Nellie

Little Lola steps out for her morning walk…

Little Lola steps out for her morning walk…

…and comes back a little damp from all the dew

…and comes back a little damp from all the dew

India loved all the sights and smells on her walk. She could sense there were plenty of small mammals around — moles, voles, rabbits and mice — but they didn't care to show themselves

India loved all the sights and smells on her walk. She could sense there were plenty of small mammals around — moles, voles, rabbits and mice — but they didn’t care to show themselves

Our overnight stay in Dijon was in the heart of comté country, with a cave opposite our hotel. We had the unexpected pleasure of sampling some of this delicious French cheese for breakfast.

Our overnight stay in Dijon was in the heart of comté country, with a cave opposite our hotel. We had the unexpected pleasure of sampling some of this delicious French cheese for breakfast.

Even the wrappers for the cheese are appetising!

Even the wrappers for the cheese are appetising!

India was keen to give us her views on the cheese tasting. She hails from the western side of Spain and reckons that the cheese from her homeland is possibly even more delicious than comté.

India was keen to give us her views on the cheese tasting. She hails from the western side of Spain and reckons that the cheese from her homeland is possibly even more delicious than comté.

We told Bonnie (here) and Nellie all about the cheese cave and took them a small piece of cheese to taste. Nom nom, said Bonnie.

We told Bonnie (here) and Nellie all about the cheese cave and took them a small piece of cheese to taste. Nom nom, said Bonnie.

Nellie was so comfy she just opened an eye as if to say, leave it and I will eat it later

Nellie was so comfy she just opened an eye as if to say, leave it and I will eat it later

The grass is always greener… some of the beautiful (and clever) cows whose milk goes into comté cheese

The grass is always greener… some of the beautiful (and clever) cows whose milk goes into comté cheese

A novel method of cow transport — an oversized skateboard!

A novel method of cow transport — an oversized skateboard!

The Tour de France is due past tomorrow

The Tour de France is due past tomorrow

A classy effort by this village to welcome the tour, but not quite up to Yorkshire standards, in our humble opinion!

A classy effort by this village to welcome the tour, but not quite up to Yorkshire standards, in our humble opinion!

Sunflowers on a sunny day — we never tire of this sight however many times we travel through mainland Europe

Sunflowers on a sunny day — we never tire of this sight however many times we travel through mainland Europe

Enjoying the natural and architectural splendours of Greece

On the way to Athens, Animalcouriers has the chance to admire some fascinating sights in Greece.

This view of Igoumenitsa is breathtaking — it's easy to see why people fall in love with Greece and the Greek islands

This view of Igoumenitsa is breathtaking — it’s easy to see why people fall in love with Greece and the Greek islands.

The Rio-Antirrio bridge crosses the Gulf of Corinth and links the town of Rio on the Peloponnese to Antirrio on mainland Greece. The world's longest multi-span cable-stayed bridge, it looks impressive against a bright blue Greek sky.

The Rio-Antirrio bridge crosses the Gulf of Corinth and links the town of Rio on the Peloponnese to Antirrio on mainland Greece. The world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridge, it looks impressive against a bright blue Greek sky.

Old and new together — in the shadow of one of the bridge's huge concrete supports lies a fort; and opposite one end of the bridge you'll find the fort's big sister. Both forts date from the days when stretches of water like these needed defending from invaders

Old and new together — in the shadow of one of the bridge’s huge concrete supports lies a fort; and opposite one end of the bridge you’ll find the fort’s big sister. Both forts date from the days when stretches of water like these needed defending from invaders.

Beware arachnophobes! Overlooking a delta just south of Igoumenitsa are miles and miles of webs, dotted with colonies of very large spiders… that's not black blobs on the photo, that's spiders!

Beware arachnophobes! Overlooking a delta just south of Igoumenitsa are miles and miles of webs, dotted with colonies of very large spiders… that’s not black blobs on the photo, that’s spiders!

One of the huge spiders in glorious close-up

One of the huge spiders in glorious close-up

The view across the delta that the spiders are 'protecting'

The view across the delta that the spiders are ‘protecting’

Lucky from Athens has a new home in Cornwall

Animalcouriers is pleased to be heading off to Greece again this month. Among the passengers waiting to travel back to the UK with us is a little cat called Lucky. Rescued from a life on the streets by Nine Lives Greece, she has a lovely new home awaiting her in Cornwall.

You may find the ‘before’ photo of Lucky hard to look at, but it only makes her subsequent transformation all the more remarkable.

Cordelia from Nine Lives tells us:

“Lucky was found hiding in a crevice under the pavement on a busy Athens thoroughfare. One of her eyes was popped out painfully from untreated infection, she was just skin and bones, and terrified. It took a Nine Lives volunteer some time to manage to grab the poor soul who was darting — spitting and whacking out in self-defence —between her ‘safe’ hole and dangerously into the road. The vet operated to remove the eye as it was past repair, and during her stay at the clinic she transformed into a plump, healthy, and extremely affectionate kitty. She then moved into foster care, where she flourished — initially under the name Cornelius as she was mistaken for a little boy, then with her new name and identity, Lucky, the name chosen by her adopters Gemma and Paul in Cornwall who are excitedly awaiting her arrival!”

Lucky on being rescued, before any treatment on her poor eye

Lucky on being rescued, before any treatment on her poor eye

What a difference treatment, food, love and care make

What a difference treatment, food, love and care make

Like any other cat, Lucky loves a cardboard box to sit in!

Like any other cat, Lucky loves a cardboard box to sit in!