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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.

Leaving the UK
06 July 2018 @ 08:02

I packed-up our holiday home whilst Rob packed the car.  He seemed to make no headway into the pile of belongings in the lounge & I still had some bags in the kitchen.

It was time to ditch some non-essentials. I firtled in a large holdall & discarded my deflated yoga ball & pump, hand-held blender with liquidising attachments, vegetable spiraliser, set of really good solid bottom saucepans, frying pan & large, but effective cork-screw. Some food supplies went next, given to the neighbour who was out on the street in curiosity.

Rob took a look at the meagre excess & found space for the cork-screw, hand-blender & attachments loose in the roof box, but then it wouldn't shut...

The dogs were confused & were escaping the front yard & jumping in the car not wanting to be left-behind.  The parrot was locked in her small travel cage twanging the bars in frustration.  Rob was shuffling items around in the roof box & swearing.  I was looking to see what else could be discarded.

It was a lovely sunny day though with some of England's best Autumn weather - too good a day to be leaving...?

Eventually packed (just minus the yoga ball, saucepans & frying pan) & without much in the way of provisions, even for the journey, & we were off.

The first leg of the journey to North Devon would take at least 4-5 hours.  We had two nights in an Air B&B house, with just a short drive to the Plymouth ferry port on the day of departure.  The parrot was on the back seat between the two dogs in their harnesses strapped to the seat belts.  Everyone was cramped & I there was so much in the footwell, I had no room to move my feet, whist Rob's driver's seat was much further forward than he likes for his long legs.

Tom Tom was programmed & Woody copied the first few bing-bongs of our dash-cam speed warnings with curious whistles.  It looked to be an etertaining drive, but due to heavy Friday traffic then rain, we were much later arriving at our accomodation than planned.

I'd kept the Air B&B host up-to-date, but when we arrived in the small Devon village, it was clear that there would be no-where to pop out & buy food. We hadn't the energy to go out & certainly didn't want to leave the dogs in a strange house.  We discussed what provisions we had & whether I could use the carton of soup over pasta found in the cupboards.  The host (who lived opposite) hearing this, popped back home, defrosted some home-made sauce, cooked pasta, tossed a salad & brought a piping-hot dinner over in a matter of minutes.

She was briliant & had as much character as our thatched cottage holiday home.

We awoke to a brilliant sunny day & after a little essential VA work, I walked the dogs, then we washed the dogs (it was muddy), before heading out to the local pub for lunch.  At 2.30pm, they'd just stopped serving until the evening!  This wasn't an area of all-day opening that we were used-to.

We brought bread, local butter, cheese & wine from the village shop & I had a glass in the bath!  A piping hot bath with alcohol in the middle of the afternoon!  This was when I felt relaxed & on holiday for the very first time.

After a lovely relaxing day, I woke feeling pressured on a dull wet sailing day.  I checked the paperwork, tickets, passports etc, but couldn't settle.  I tried to be excited, but my heart was in my mouth.  We needed to get on the ferry as tickets & 12 nights accommodation in Spain was all bought & paid-for, whist we had nothing now in the UK.  It had been such a hassle to obtain the parrot export certificate etc for Woody & this was only valid for a few days.

At check-in with Brittany Ferries, I hopped out of the car clutching my file of paperwork.  Dog passports first & I confirmed we had muzzles for both.  "Who is the owner of this dog?" the official asked pointing at the Rumanian address on Roxy's passport.  I began to explain that she was rescued from Rumania, but was curtly informed that me & my address should be on her passport as official owner.

For a second I froze, unable to think straight.  Why hadn't our vet advised this?

The official could confirm my identity from my photo & signature on the other passports, but I couldn't actually prove I was the owner of Roxy...  with a very shakey hand (which shows in my writing), he let me complete & sign Roxy's passport.  After-all, we were leaving the UK, not arriving.

I was handed a micro-chip reader & headed for Max in the back of the car, but couldn't find his chip.  He was wearing a travel harness & even when I let him out of the car, it seemed to take forever to get a reading.  Once accepted, I took the reader to Rob's side of the car to release Roxy who's chip was just as elusive, but eventually found.

Back to the officer's cubicle, trying not to catch the eye of the people in the car behind in case they were getting impatient waiting.  I watched very nervously whilst he examined Woody's certificates, reading them in great detail.

These were all in order no problem & we were through the barrier to sit in a queue of vehicles waiting to board the ferry.

Like 2


Lizy said:
07 July 2018 @ 07:52

A great read, keep going.

susan pearce said:
07 July 2018 @ 10:30

More please

Bob said:
07 July 2018 @ 11:41

Leaving the UK from... WHERE? You didn't even mention your starting point, just the "first leg of the journey would take 4-5 hours to North Devon". We have to guess anywhere from a (roughly) 250-300 mile distance and radius from North Devon... so, who knows? Your profile doesn't even give us any clues! Details like this are important, it gives the reader a logisitcal sense of how far you really had to travel. And that's important for a blog like this. I guess there will be a part 2 - but I hope you'll bear my points in mind. It's still a good read.

David H said:
07 July 2018 @ 13:28

Goodness, you must have been air-conditioned and totally fearless to attempt a long ferry crossing and a journey through Spain - with pets. Hope you managed to pack bags of luck!

Mar Elison said:
07 July 2018 @ 14:42

If we have read this really fine blog from beginning, says in the first line : ...."As I've only just begun this blog, this is a flashback to the notes I made when we first decided to packup our home on the North Notts/North East Derbys border & travel!..."Then we know where from she is / they are. - Thank for this blog. Really interesting !!

Stinkey said:
07 July 2018 @ 19:40

Well Bob.your comments came across rather rude I'm afraid..but at least you got your answer..and Nancy..I think you guys are crazy..he,he..but crack on wishes Steve x

nancybenn said:
08 July 2018 @ 14:10

@Bob - from the North Notts/NE Derbys border! This is actually mentioned in my first post so I didn't do-so again, but your points have been noted so I've updated my blog profile to state this too.

@ David H - we'd always plan to travel in stages & set-off in Autumn so we could gradually acclimatise through Spring to be able to cope with the summer heat!

@Mar Elison & @ Stinkey (Steve) - thanks both for reading back through my earlier posts - very much appreciated

pommers said:
21 July 2018 @ 13:28

@Bob - how nasty of you to make those comments. If, like me, you'd realised that the post you obviously not the first (I came in at part 8) and had bothered to look at Nancy's blog history you'd see that this was part 5 of her travels.
Shame of you.
@Nancy - keep up the story - I'm enjoying it, and almost 12 months on you must now be settled into the travelling.

nancybenn said:
21 July 2018 @ 19:02

@pommers - it's our first Spanish summer! I've been posting retrospectively so there's a few more stories to bring us up-to-date. Loving every minute, hiccoughs too!

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