Portugal

We got a great winter deal at the Pousada de Estremoz, where we spent a quiet and peaceful night.

The pousada offers a super dog-walking environment

The pousada offers a super dog-walking environment

Out on our morning walks, we were joined by a friendly local hound, who split his time between couriers J and M, keeping a sharp eye out for treats all the while. Here's Laura with our anonymous canine chum behind.

Out on our morning walks, we were joined by a friendly local hound, who split his time between couriers J and M, keeping a sharp eye out for treats all the while. Here’s Laura with our anonymous canine chum behind.

We decided to walk the puppies, Baco and Shuba, separately, to help them focus on the job in hand. The idea was busted by Shuba who just wanted to hang out!

We decided to walk the puppies, Baco and Shuba, separately, to help them focus on the job in hand. The idea was busted by Shuba who just wanted to hang out!

Cute and curious Jecca was reluctant to walk on a lead at first, but quickly got used to it and even started loving it

Cute and curious Jecca was reluctant to walk on a lead at first, but quickly got used to it and even started loving it

Pluto was quite nervous at first but soon got into the swing of the trip and loves his walks

Pluto was quite nervous at first but soon got into the swing of the trip and loves his walks

Pluto also loves his loves with courier M

Pluto also loves his loves with courier M

Time to say goodbye to our new friend

Time to say goodbye to our new friend

Buttresses holding up the pousada's old walls

Buttresses holding up the pousada’s old walls

Spain

We collected cool cat Mickey in Torremolinos. His owners had to return to Cork at short notice but Mickey couldn’t travel straight away. Fortunately Claudia stepped in to take care of him until it was time for us to collect him. He’ll travel with us as far as Dublin, where his owners will meet us.

Nothing seems to faze Mickey

Nothing seems to faze Mickey

In Madrid we called in atΒ AAH VetsΒ for the dogs to have their worming treatment, which is a pet passport requirement.

Baco with vet Liz (L) and Suzanne

Baco with vet Liz (L) and Suzanne

Laura was a very brave girl about taking her tablet

Laura was a very brave girl about taking her tablet

While in Madrid, we also collected Sara and Miriam’s three handsome tuxedo cats, Ivan, Patrick and Snowy Owl. The cats travelled to Madrid with us a couple of years ago, and now it’s time for the whole family to return to the UK.

Piratical Ivan

Piratical Ivan

Snowy Owl (L) and Patric (R)

Snowy Owl (L) and Patric (R)

Another great winter deal on an overnight stay awaited us at this 14th century castle in Madrid

Another great winter deal on an overnight stay awaited us at this 14th century castle in Madrid

Laura, queen of all she surveys

Laura, queen of all she surveys

View from the office window as we headed north towards France β€” freezing cold temperatures but stunning to look at nonetheless

View from the office window as we headed north towards France β€” freezing cold temperatures but stunning to look at nonetheless

France

We collected Spaniel Pepper from owners Amy and Chris. Both doctors, they’ve been living in France for a while, where they had hoped to practise. But the language is proving a barrier, so now they’re off to New Zealand where they’ll continue to work hard on their French, so that they can come back. So for the time being, their dog Pepper is off to stay with family in Newcastle.

Amy and Chris with their baby, saying au revoir to Pepper

Amy and Chris with their baby, saying au revoir to Pepper

A closer look at gorgeous Pepper

A closer look at gorgeous Pepper

There's been a lot of rain in south west France β€” here's Laura watching the water gushing over the weir on a swollen river

There’s been a lot of rain in south west France β€” here’s Laura watching the water gushing over the weir on a swollen river

Next stop was to meet another handsome black-and-white puss, Frankie. He belongs to Dorothy, who’s been planning her move to the UK for a while. Her biggest worry was how to move Frankie with the least disruption at a reasonable cost.

We picked Frankie up atΒ Minou catteryΒ in the Dordogne, which looks like a lovely place to stay. Nicky, a huge cat fan, keeps everything spick and span, and there’s not a dog in sight!

A very relaxed Frankie

A very relaxed Frankie

Today's view from the office window β€” a huge maize drier!

Today’s view from the office window β€” a huge maize drier!

It went on and on…

It went on and on…

We stopped off to give the dogs a leg stretch near a winery, where we came across this very practical aerator. An all-in-one solution to the challenge of holding the bottle, the glass and the aerator!

We stopped off to give the dogs a leg stretch near a winery, where we came across this very practical aerator. An all-in-one solution to the challenge of holding the bottle, the glass and the aerator!