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Travelling Spain with Two Dogs & a Parrot

With a good internet connection, I can work remotely from anywhere, so my husband Rob & I took advantage of this & are travelling Spain with our pets & everything we own packed into an estate car with roof-box.

The Black Kitten
25 January 2019

We've acquired a kitten!

We don't want a kitten & cannot have a kitten because of the parrot, but the kitten doesn't care.  It came running down the drive towards us when we returned home one evening & stayed, crying outiside.  We didn't feed it for two days thinking it would realise that there was no food here & that the dogs would chase it away, but kitten's not afraid of the dogs.

It was insistent & persistent, mewling pitifully & obviously starving.  It wasn't a typical stray, scavenging & hunting, happy to walk alone, it craved love & attention. 

We're in a single story house & it sits crying on the window sill of whichever room that we're in, including the bedroom - all night.  So we relented & gave it dog food, being fully aware it wouldn't then leave.

It's a cute little thing, jet black with bright green eyes & not very old.  It's also lightening fast, shooting in the crack of any open door & obviously doesn't have whiskers to indicate the gap is too small.  When taking it some food out, kitty squeezed past me & dove between Max's legs to tuck into his food.  Max wouldn't give up his dinner & snarled nastily, but did I mention that kitten's not frightened of dogs?

Roxy's intrigued by the constant feline presence & has now befriended it so they follow each other around.  I can imagine them eventually snuggling-up together, but we cannot keep a cat with a parrot as the smallest scratch can be leathal.  I took the dogs a good half-hour walk & kitty followed us all the way down the lane & around the fields & back.  It wants to play, but we can't form a bond or become attatched because what will happen to it then, when we leave the house & the Algarve?

I found an animal rescue centre in nearby Loule (Canil de São Francisco de Assis - AAAA Associação dos Amigos dos Animais Abandonados) so we set-off with the cat in the only box we had - a Sagres beer box.  Or tried to set-off, but the car battery was flat.  Due to this happening in Galicia, we'd bought a battery charger, but couldn't charge-up in time before the centre closed.

So, when they're back open in the morning, we'll try to take kitty there again...

But the car battery was flat again!  It didn't fully charge the previous day & we only went a short drive into Loulé so not far enough to really put the charge back in.  The engine was attempting to turn-over, so we left the charger plugged in whilst we turned the ignition...

& blew the charger fuse!

So we had a flat battery, a car too heavy to push, a charger that wasn't working & no transport to go anywhere!  I was about to call on our Air B&B host (once again), then thought to look in the box & found a spare fuse :-)

We'll now need another fuse for a spare, but then again, we'll not attempt to start the car whilst the charger is attached...

Is something in the universe informing us that it's not our place to take the cat to the rescue centre?

It's Friday now & they're not open again until Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, after a weekend of throwing the kitten out of the house time & time again, we determined, once more to take it to the rescue centre.  However, although the car started, the kitten was absent!  This creature which had permanently been under our feet for a few weeks!  Although we were tempted to call "Puss, puss", we didn't as we'd deliberately tried to avoid any affection.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), kitty soon appeared & was settled into his box.  Arriving at the St Francis of Assis animal rescue centre, we were informed that the decision makers were in a meeting & asked to wait, or take the cat to the municipal pound.

We waited.

It was sheltered in the yard & hot & the dogs barked, especially loud when workers walked through the pound.  The kitten was very wary for a while, then as he was being fussed, settled down to enjoy the warmth & attention.  An hour passed & once again, we were beginning to think kitty was destined to stay with us, so we waited.  The centre closed to the public for the day, but we were inside, so we stayed put.  Eventually a be-suited man, accompanied by a couple of women, exited the building & into the pound.  We'd arrived during opening hours, but apparently in the middle of an impromptu local authority inspection so had to wait a little longer whilst the official made his checks.

Finally, a friendly worker came over & fussed the kitten, exclaiming that he was so cute & friendly, then she took him out of the box & wandered off.  Although the centre was apparently full, they kindly accepted black kitty & we made a donation in thanks.

The rest of the week, I still thought I heard cries & expected a furry black shape to come shooting indoors.  I hope little kitty finds a good home as he'll be an affectionate pet for someone.

Like 2        Published at 09:03   Comments (4)

First Christmas & New Year Abroad
11 January 2019

I was determined to walk the beach on Christmas Day.  At the beginning of the year, we'd holidayed in Gran Canaria so for the very first time, I'd enjoyed my Winter birthday in the sun & a Christmas beach walk would just top-off the year nicely.

Although Christmas Day was cloudy it was also warm & we headed to Faro beach.  It was so great to wander across the sand with the dogs, before enjoying a beer & 'Pastel de Nata' Portuguese custard tart.  I was very content & we returned home for our quiet Christmas dinner.

Our Portuguese friends drove down from Setubal on 30th December so we had good company for New Year.

On New Year's Eve, the moon was just one day from being full & had a dramatic ring around it. The night was cool, so we built a fire-pit in the back garden & sat round the warmth with drinks & the two drums (djembe & cahonita) that Rob had brought. At midnight, we stood on the roof terrace to watch (& listen to) the fireworks in the local towns in the distance all around us.

The stray black kitten which had arrived a few days earlier (& which we'd tried not to encourage), loved having some knees to sit on. We hoped that our friends would take it back with them (I know they were tempted), but in the end, having a number of dogs & cats already, they didn't & it stayed to beg & constantly cry outside.

New Year's Day was bright & sunny so we walked on Faro beach & it was obviously warm enough for sunbathing for some. One man in shorts only, was sat meditating on the sand. It was a lovely way to greet a new year which we hoped would be packed with adventure & new expeiences.

As mentioned, my birthday is at the beginning of January & we don't have space to acommodate physical gifts so I was keen to find something memorable to do. A Google search revealed Rooster Quad Tours just down the road.


We'd never tried quad biking so had the beginners tour with a German couple on a wet morning & loved it!  The sun came out & we got muddy from the puddles left by the recent rain. Mark & Claire looked after us & a week later, keen to replicate the experience, we had another longer & faster ride with an English duo. The Algarve has a surprising amount of undeveloped green space with many off-road tracks through the hills so we saw beautiful views that wouldn't otherwise be visible from a car.

We explored the Algarve, re-visiting favourite haunts & finding new ones.  We loved the beaches far East of Faro & even popped over to Western Spain on a couple of occasions, spending time in Huelva & Isla Cristina.  I loved the expansive beaches, especially as dogs were allowed on those out of town during Winter.  January's weather was generally dry & sunny so we walked the dogs up & down the coast most afternoons, finding beach bars to enjoy a beer or coffee.

We went further afield at the weekends, to the Monchique hills & the less developed West coast.  This was actually the second time we'd driven up-to Aljeur & Odexeixe & the second time the weather was dull & cool.  I liked the wildness, in particular the Ribeira de Seixe estury beach & Praia da Amoreira, but Rob wasn't too keen on the area the first time & the second visit still didn't impress.  We've done it twice now, so no need to go back - plenty of other places to see..

Loule annual carnival was in February & was an enjoyable afternoon out.  With a Brazilian feel, the music was lively & loud, the floats creative & bright, the dancers energetic & enthusiastic, the costumes colourful & exotic with little fabric & lots of flesh for some participants!  The main street was cordoned-off with just a €2.50 cost to enter the party atmosphere.  The bars & food stalls were doing a roaring trade & the procession went round & round the circular route with streamers & confetti soon filling the road.  We thought it great that no barriers kept people back so everyone mingled together, the dancers posing for photo after photo, especially the scantilly clad girls.












































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