We have arrived!
Today our real adventure that we have been making preparations for over the past 3 years or so really began. It has been the day when Mark and I have travelled to Málaga on a one way ticket with our four cats in tow. It has felt a lot more final today. No snatched holidays whilst taking precious annual leave from our jobs. No finite period within which to see to formalities, collect harvests and plan a few walks and meals before getting on the plane back to Merseyside!
The weeks, months and years prior to today are a story in themselves. But I feel this blog should be about now. Because we only have now.
Our day began at 2 am. The cats, Lisa and Towersey (our 15 year-old sisters), Pepper (our 13 year old British Blue princess) and Bobby (our lovely 6 year old tabby boy) had all been locked in from the night before, so they knew something was going to happen. The journey to the vets the afternoon before for their pre-flight checks had already raised suspicions. With thier IATA -approved pet carriers carefully prepared, they were placed into them just before the taxi arrived to take us to Manchester cargo terminal for 4am. Our departure felt rushed in the end and we only hastily said goodbye to our two adult sons who are staying behind in the UK to pursue their careers.
With cats safely delivered and labelled up at the cargo terminal, amidst the singing of feline voices, we checked in and had an uneventful and smooth flight to Málaga, although feeling at the same time anxious and maybe a little guilty that our furry felines would not be appreciative of the bigger picture and the longer term benefits of living in a rural location. We had the cats cleared by a cattery close to the airport as we knew it would be hot and having someone do this work and speeding them through the process with their inside knowledge we felt would help to keep the situation as pleasant as possible. We collected our Spanish car from the airport parking, having left it there when we left spain at the end of May, and after a few phone calls to the clearing agent, we met him and were reunited with the cats in the car park of a DIY store on the outskirts of Málaga Airport. Job done, and feeling tired and ragged, Mark drove us all to the house, where the cats were let out of their carriers to find a corner each of the house to recover from their ordeal.
Of course it is currently very hot, approx 40C, and although Mark and I love the heat and the way of life it brings, the cats have some adjusting to do to the summer months. In addition, after one of them absconded for 3 weeks when we moved 2 1/2 years ago, and returned a poorly waif half the weight she had been 3 weeks previously, we have vowed to be very strict in keeping them in for 4 weeks. The house is cool inside and some of the windows, especially those that we have repainted, have mosquito net on (mosquitero). However, some require repainting and it seems a shame to put up mosquito net without painting, only to have to rip it down shortly when we decorate. So for the time being these windows are shut. This has defined a priority for us and tomorrow I vow to paint the frame of the window in the living room and put up mosquitero as this will bring a lovely through-draft into the house. Mark is going to set about making wooden rectangular frames and stretching mosquitero over them then pinning them to cover the French doors in the bedroom. The mosquitero will hopefully keep the cats in, allow a nice breeze into the house and protect us from mosquito bites in the bedroom on summer nights.