Animalcouriers left the UK with a fine set of passengers on board, all heading to mainland European destinations.
Fiona and Nicholas have moved from Winchester to the Bergerac area of France. They went on ahead and left their glamorous black Pug, Myrtle, in the tender car of Nell Parry at Willowmead Cottage Kennels, which is where we collected her for the journey.
Friendly Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Oscar is travelling with us to Torrox in Spain. This Geordie fellow has set himself up as the one-man welcoming committee for all the other pets joining our trip, greeting everyone with a tail wag.
Much loved cats Smokey and Izzie are journeying with us from Stourport-on-Severn to southern Spain. Smokey is very interested in everything that’s going on, and keeps a bold eye on us from the front of their compartment. Little Izzie is bit less sure and has decided to watch carefully from behind her bed for now.
Family of four Tinks, Aslan, Dexter and JJ are relocating from Welwyn Garden City to sunny Portugal with Tara and family. It was our first-ever visit to Welwyn, which is a fascinating piece of town planning. It will be quite a contrast for them in the rural Portuguese countryside, where people still farm with real horsepower.
You may recognise the Penny and Leonard as the names of two characters from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ on TV. Nicola and Rafael are big fans of the show, so when they adopted two kittens from a rescue organisation, they named them for their favourite characters. However, Leonard has a secret — she turned out to be a girl! The name had stuck, however, so they decided not to change it. Perhaps TV show Leonard will have a sex change at some point in the future to put it all right!
Lovable Lola, a little bundle of fun, is travelling from the historic city of York to live in the south of Spain. Her owner Jo is already in Spain so we collected Lola from Jo’s daughter Emma, just before she set off to join her Mum and sister in the sun.
English Bull Terrier Spike travelled from Spain to Northern Ireland with Animalcouriers a few months ago. Now owner Fernando is returning to Spain, and his beloved Spike is travelling with us once again. He’s a very companionable dog who loves his dinner and going for walks.
Muppet and Boo belong to the O’Neills, who’ve relocated from Northumberland to France, near Poutet. We originally met these two cats when they moved in the opposite direction, from France to Northumberland, a few years ago.
Myrtle in Nell’s arms
Myrtle showing off her very long tongue. Nell says she can drink a bowl of water at immense speed.
Myrtle gets a warm welcome on a hot afternoon from Robin and Lee at Chenil Les Hirondelles. Situated in Lauzun, this lovely kennels gives a very personal service, as Robin and Lee take only a few dogs at a time.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Oscar
Oscar has the most expressive face and eyes. It was proving difficult to photograph him on the walk, we ended up picking him up. Here he’s saying, OK let’s get it over and done with, so I can get back to sniffing around the undergrowth
Tabby cat Izzie, travelling with…
…Smokey — waving them off was difficult for their owners, but they’ll soon be reunited
Tinks has the look of a cat who takes no nonsense. Living with three dogs means she long ago learnt to stick up for herself!
Aslan (back), JJ (left) and Dexter (right) size up the Animalcouriers van
Choccy Lab JJ, good enough to eat
Aslan enjoying the sea air at Ouistreham as we walked in the park
14-year-old Yellow Lab Dexter is the senior passenger on the trip and quite arthritic, so he’s travelling with a special comfy bed
Dexter enjoying his morning walk. Despite his stiff legs, he still enjoys a gentle stroll and a good sniff about.
Penny giving Rafael an adoring look
A winsome look from Leonard
Penny and Leonard ready for the off
Lola with Emma
Lola keeping a watchful eye on things from the sanctuary of her bed
A closer look at Lola’s fab ears
Lola prefers to take her morning walk tucked under an arm, but we made sure she took a few steps as well!
Handsome hunk Spike
Dark grey- and -white Boo
Just in case we weren’t sure — a sign directing us to Muppet and Boo’s new French home
So neatly written, it looks quite official!
A very chilled-out pair, Muppet and Boo headed straight for their supper which was laid out ready and waiting for them
Driving through Gascony, we spotted another sign, this one more discreet, saying ‘Armagnac’. It turned out to be a little cave where Monsieur and Madame make their own Armagnac.
Inside the cave where, once the raisins are soaked, fermented and distilled by the couple, the resulting liquid is left to ferment — it all takes place in this tiny damp little shed.
The various ages of Armagnac
Agen prunes, considered by many to be the tastiest in Europe
Mi-cuit prunes — halfway between a plum and a prune, and utterly delicious!