The Cat and the Bear

The Cat and the Bear
Charlie and his bear pal!

Ex-Pat to Re-Pat

Welcome to my countdown to repatriation!

After living in Athens, Greece for the lion's share of two decades I am on my way back to settle again in the land of my birth, Wales. I have a cat so that makes things a bit more complicated. Those of you in the same boat will know that you need a pet passport to take a pet into the UK, and that procedure takes at least 7 months. So, I decided to get the major removal upheaval over with and left Athens in January to winter on the island of Corfu. This is where my Greek odyssey began so I am very happy to have this chance to 'close the circle'.

So far I have focused on enjoying Corfu but the days are flying by and my mind is turning more and more towards Wales. This is starting to bring up issues and concerns about living in a new country. Yes, despite the fact that I was born in Wales and have visited regularly, after all this time of living away, it will be rather 'foreign' to me. I suppose that fellow ex-pats will appreciate more than anyone else what I am talking about. I would be very happy to hear from you!!

Thanks everyone for your encouragement so far in this adventure!
Love and light!

Monday, 5 December 2011

From Corfu to Wales! Quarantine Done!

It has been some time since I last posted. And in many ways the repatriation of my cat Charlie and myself from Corfu to Wales seems a distant memory. The event was though, rather traumatic, for a number of reasons.

First, Charlie has begun to be terrified at every journey now. I found this out the day before the flight when I had to take him for his last visit to the vet. Only 5 minutes into the 15 minute journey he began being sick, and not only. The next day on the way to the airport, the same thing happened. Ooh, er. Not pleasant for anyone concerned  - beginning with Charlie himself.

When we arrived at the airport the airline knew nothing of Charlie’s booking. I had nothing in writing as the payment was made over the phone by card. I had arrived about 3 hours ahead of our flight. We had to wait on tenterhooks until the flight was closing and only then was Charlie’s ticket confirmed. Wonderful, not! And neither was dragging him out of his cage in the middle of the airport while the staff took his cage away to x-ray it for security a picnic either. Thanks so much to the lady from Bristol who was travelling on the next flight who watched over Charlie while I battled over the missing paperwork with airline staff.

Anyway, board the plane we did! The Thomson staff were lovely and checked on Charlie for me. “He’s fine and he’s got his water,” they told me. But I couldn’t relax because I had never noticed just how noisy a plane is until that one took off and I knew my little scared puss was in the hold below me. The engines positively roared! In actuality they were no noisier than on other planes it was just that this time the decibels mattered. I only hoped that when we were airborne he would get bored with being scared and nothing happening and just settle down. There was apparently another cat in the hold with him, so that was a bonus. 

We landed. I got my bags – lots of them which had cost me a fortune in excess baggage! Then we began the next fraught stage – the dreaded document check.

I had sent scanned copies of all the paperwork to Devra in the UK. And they had said that they seemed to be in order. But no one commits themselves to say for definite that they are. And I worried about the chip in Charlie’s neck, would the reader be able to scan it okay, and so on. If anything whatsoever is not in perfect order your pet may be taken away and put into quarantine. And this time in a cage, for who knows how long until you can sort things out. Think – time, money, worry and you are on the right track. (People who travel with their pets for fun must have very strong nervous systems!)

So, what happens is – the authorities go to the plane and collect your pet from the hold. They then take them away – in this case about a mile away from the airport at Bristol. There they check the animal over to make sure it is healthy. And, in Charlie’s case, they were kind enough to clean him up too. Boy, he really needed it! Then they thoroughly check all the documentation, including the pet passport, which has to be attached to the animal’s cage in a plastic wallet. If all goes well you are then free to pick your pet up and take it home.

We had landed at ten o’clock at night. It was dark and pouring down with rain. The airport was confusing and it took some time for my brother, who was meeting us, to find me and my luggage. It was also a bit of a hassle subsequently trying to find Charlie’s whereabouts. But find him we did. And collect him without problems in documents or anything else, we did!

Our mission was accomplished!!! Amen and alleluhia!!

All we had to do was drive home and get on with the rest of our lives…

P.S. If you want to bring your pet from abroad and want any help please don’t hesitate to contact me.


  1. Frankly speaking dear, I am looking for such kind of help and finally I found your article which was very helpful for me… Thank for this helpful post. great post.

  2. Hi Stephanie, so glad this was useful. For Charlie and I it was very traumatic and costly! But it had to be done. Wish you a great day! Teresa