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Post-confinement fun with the menagerie

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A while ago, we decided, Laurie and I, that we would end up with two cats and two dogs,once we moved house in France and bought a place with a larger piece of land.

As ever, events overtook us...

In October, Laurie found Zaba online, a Blue Merle Great Dane, with one shorter leg, I need of a loving home. So that was that, we collected Zaba on 4th November and he became part of the family. He was lucky as he didn’t need to stay at the refuge as he was a home-to-home rescue, so we made a donation to the refuge on his behalf.

Then, in January, we were looking at the arrivals for the local refuge. Two ex-hunt dogs had been abandoned and brought in. We went to have a look as I fell in love with the bitch, with her beautiful brown eyes just asking to be taken home. We filled out the form and because we were already known to the refuge, we only had to wait the minimum time to collect her, even before she had been sterilised. We had to leave a cheque for the operation, refundable as soon as we came back with the certificate from the vet, confirming that she would not be adding to the problem of unwanted dogs.... Then we got a surprise as we went to the vet to get her second inoculation, three weeks before her operation. We were told that, not only was Nogi healthy, but that she was pregnant and the op was brought forward to the very next day. That was a new surprise for the refuge; she must have been just pregnant when dumped or impregnated by her sibling at the refuge around the time she was rescued, too early for the vet to notice at the initial visit..... so we now had two dogs.... and still no large plot of land.

Then lockdown happened.

I expect you can see a pattern here....

Well, my daughter had two cats in London, rescue cats, Twiglet and Maury. We had got them for her when we were spending more and more time in France, to help with her anxiety. She had moved home to be closer for study, taking the cats with her. Now she had been having some issues with her housemates and the house where she had been for two years ( she paid bills and they were slow in paying her back, her tv was broken by a housemate’s drunken friend, drugs brought in by others, issues with the gas and electrical supplies). Anyway, she found a new place to live, but couldn’t take the cats. As both countries were on lockdown, we initially paid for a month at a cattery where they were well looked after as they were the only incumbents, but it wasn’t ideal. Then a friend of hers agreed to foster then until they could come here. The original plan had been for my daughter to come over with a friend who would drive them all here, returning after a holiday and leaving the three of them here. Well, that changed too, as there was no going ANYWHERE for ANYONE. Also, my daughter is much happier at the new place and decided to stay for now, to earn some money for a while before continuing with her theatre studies. Lockdown started to ease here and we were able to organise for the cats to be brought over to us by a professional pet relocation company, but not before Maury had cost us a small fortune in vet fees when he dislocated a toe and had to be operated on. Also, pet passports and vet fees are pricier in the UK than France. Anyway, Twiglet and Maury came to live with us again on 22nd of June, so we already have our two cats and two dogs, but at that point no sign of a new home....

Twiglet still looks like a kitten at four and is the family hunter; she doesn’t suffer fools and isn’t sure how she ended up back with us, but with the addition of dogs, whom she hisses at if they get too close. Both dogs still come closer for a look, but Zaba is a little scared of her.

Maury is Twiglet’s big brother, but he is happy to watch while she hunts. He has made friends with Nogi, from a distance, but hisses when either of the dogs get too close...

With lockdown, house viewings were stopped, but we still looked online at details. At the beginning of July, we had the first of our viewing days in the Perpignan area, close to the sea, further south and closer to Spain. On our third visit, having been there once a week, and taking friends with us, we found the ideal house. Not only that, but it had a great garden, close to amenities including an enclosed dog walking park, as well as being 5 minutes from Perpignan in a lovely residential area. We made an offer the same day and two days later we went to sign the contract.

By 18th of September it will be ours, the house that we have chosen as our forever home. It is a great party house with a pool (with hot tub and sauna too), large garden with many fruit trees - cherry, plum, mirabelle, peach, apricot, nectarine, pomegranate, an olive tree that produces about 50kg of olives ( 10-12 litres of oil), redcurrants bush, Mediterranean plants. I will have a dedicated gym room and a sewing/crafts room. There are two garages and a car port and wood store, as well as a shaded abri ( pergola) . We saw several places that really did not quite come up to what we wanted, then we found this, a real home, “ticking all of our boxes”.

Well that’s my confinement update, well the good bits. The rest pales into insignificance - losing Nogi, falling down the stairs, falling after tripping in a pothole as Nogi pulled ( when she then got away).

This weekend, we even had our first visitors of 2020, Laurie’s cousin and his partner, as they drive around France in their new camper van...

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