On Tuesday night Animalcouriers stayed at the Hotel Almazara in Loja, not far from Malaga. We enjoyed a fine view of olive trees and vineyards as we walked dogs and cleaned our van the next morning.

Then it was off to Onil to collect Christine’s cats Cookie, Molli and Whisky. Christine splits her time between Javea and the UK. While her cats were boarding in Javea recently Christine received a call to say that unfortunately the cattery owner had died. A neighbour offered to take care of them for a few days, but Christine had to make alternative arrangements quickly, and decided to move them to the UK. Lesley from Kittycare Cattery in Onil quickly stepped in and collected them. She had no trouble rounding up the two girls, but Whisky proved more challenging. Finally, however, all three cats were on board and Lesley was on her way.

The next morning Lesley took the three cats to the vet for the microchipping and rabies vaccinations that would enable them to get pet passports and travel to the UK. Later that day, however, Lesley received a call to say she’d left Whisky behind in Javea. Puzzled, she checked the cats in her cattery. The black-and-white cat who’d been microchipped and given a passport in the name of Whisky closely resembled Whisky, but turned out to be a lookalike who’d been abandoned in Javeaa.

While Lesley made a dash to Javea to retrieve the real Whisky, soft-hearted Christine decided to adopt the interloper. Feeling that he’d executed a very cunning plan, she named him Bandit. Once we heard the story, we offered to transport him for free. There wasn’t room for him on this trip, so he’s staying with Lesley until next month.

Last night we’d reached one of our favourite stopovers — the Hotel Picque in Gandesa, a lovely, very Spanish, and inexpensive place to stay. This morning we’re continuing north through Spain and will cross into France.

Cookie, Molli and Whisky — a fine trio, soon to be a quartet

Cookie, Molli and Whisky — a fine trio, soon to be a quartet

Lucie is so chatty and friendly, we can see why Jayne is missing her. Lucie would like nothing more than to be let out of her compartment to play!

Lucie is so chatty and friendly, we can see why Jayne is missing her. Lucie would like nothing more than to be let out of her compartment to play!

What do you think Lucie is saying here?

What do you think Lucie is saying here?

Stunning British Shorthair kitten Aphrodite

Stunning British Shorthair kitten Aphrodite

She has winking down to a fine art!

She has winking down to a fine art!

Sushi is taking travelling in her stride

Sushi is taking travelling in her stride

Ninja gives us a winsome look

Ninja gives us a winsome look

The view in Loja as we walked the dogs

The view in Loja as we walked the dogs

Handsome, well behaved Clay on his morning walk

Handsome, well behaved Clay on his morning walk

LIllian — a little dog in a big landscape

LIllian — a little dog in a big landscape

We knew Jake had a reputation for chewing leads, but this time he's had a go at the mat in his compartment!

We knew Jake had a reputation for chewing leads, but this time he’s had a go at the mat in his compartment!

This old grape press at the edge of the Hotel Picque's car park reminds us that Gandesa has a thriving wine industry

This old grape press at the edge of the Hotel Picque’s car park reminds us that Gandesa has a thriving wine industry

Here's another reminder! The harvest can't be far off.

Here’s another reminder! The harvest can’t be far off.

Rudi assessing the ripeness of the grapes

Rudi assessing the ripeness of the grapes

Cisco wondering about scrumping some grapes

Cisco wondering about scrumping some grapes