2017 UK  regulations for a pet passport #petpassport

It isn’t impossible that someone someday will ask me about moving to Europe, although probably they’ll be using me as an example of how not to do things.  Since these days I am hard put to remember my name (be fair – I have about 5, I use 3 different ones just for my books)  I shall track my findings on the blog, under the category TRAVELS, tagged ‘travel advice’.

NB – always worth checking the regulations as they have changed from what they were and Brexit means they will likely change again. As at July 2017, here we go

  1. The pet must be in good health, because a healthy immune system is essential. Age of a full-grown adult pet doesn’t matter, state of health does.
  2. All those expensive boosters you’ve scrupulously kept up to date all these years? Forget them. No-one cares. The only record that matters on the passport is the rabies shot.
  3. The rabies vaccine needs 28 days. Despite this, passports can be issued, and the pet can travel, 21 days after the vaccination, without a further blood test. That’s one of the big changes and many vets don’t approve; it could well change again. For your own peace of mind, allow 28 days, especially if your pet is tetchy and argumentative with strange animals.
  4. If your pet isn’t looking well, even just has the sniffles, it will not be given the shot. You’ll be sent away, to try again in a week. A strong immune system is essential for activating the vaccine.
  5. The passports will be issued during the waiting period. Photographic likeness is not required. Instead, the pet’s chip will be read and put on the passport, so you can’t get a passport for an un-chipped pet. The cost for the microchip is around £15.
  6. Once issued, the passport is valid for a year. If you get the rabies booster done before the year is up, the passport is valid for a further 3 years (another change from before, when it was 2 and 2).
  7. The price hurts a bit – £175 per pet. They’re worth it, but I will not be impressed if either cocks their toes up just afterwards.

Pity the Customs officer trying to scan my xenophobic paranoid dog’s ear when she’s at best a testy traveller, but we’ll manage somehow.  I just hope that she passes the physical, rising 12 is geriatric for an English bulldog but her Frenchie half does keep her bouncy.

Ever researching on your behalf

Elegsabiff

 

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Life – that thing that flashes past your eyes before you die.

I live it pretty much alone – great friends, some lovely relatives (and some not so lovely), but I do live alone and I’ve finally had to realize that’s by choice because even when someone suitable for a home share comes along I’m not entirely comfortable until they’re gone.  The cat that walks alone, that’s me, and usually, I’m absolutely fine with that.

And then something has to be done and you realise having another human being in your life can be truly useful. Whether it is as minor as putting up a six foot curtain rail, or as major as trying to work out how to get a dog + cat + car + furniture from point A to point B 2000 miles away – and on a very, VERY, tight budget.

I’d like to drive, in my much-loved car, with my dog and my cat, sending the furniture via professional movers, but I can’t, obviously, drive 2000 miles in a day and I don’t know if I will be able to find pet-friendly hotels all along the route at exactly the point where I am tiring and thinking it time to call a halt.

My sister and her bloke have done the same trip every winter for years (well, without the furniture, of course). They plonk the cat in the motorcamper, he drives, (her bloke, that is, not the cat) and she follows in the car, and they stop whenever they want for as long as they want.

Could be a plan. I could buy a fairly elderly but hopefully reliable left-hand-drive motorhome, and sell it when I get there. That’s me and the pets sorted, but unless I’m going to nip to the shops in a motorhome, mmm, what about my car?

A clone would be extremely handy at this point. Or a second driver – someone I like enough to share the close confines of a motorhome with, overnight  – bringing up the rear.

I had a eureka idea moment – tow the car! I mean we’ve SEEN those campers, right? And yes, we’ve been caught behind them as they pant up hills at ten struggling miles an hour but . . .  if my aging motorhome did break down, it wouldn’t be impossible to unleash the car and go hunting for help. I was really rather pleased with that. See? It is possible to have it all!

motorhome and trailer

 

Apparently it’s a bad idea. Towbar expensive, trailer expensive, taxes, tolls, and fuel all doubled, not to mention straining the elderly motorhome to the point where it will die on me. Not worth taking a fairly old car which is right-hand drive anyway, no matter how loved or reliable it is.

So my brain has quietly exploded.  I even wonder if I am past the age of adventure. Everyone said I’d never cope when I came to the UK (no pets, no car, too many boxes of books) 17 years ago – in fact, the way things are panning out, it would be 17 years almost to the day when I leave again – and maybe this time they’re right.

And yes, I do hear your eyes rolling. Pete’s sake, woman, you’re saying out loud, just fly with the animals, rent a car, be at the house to meet the movers, then buy a car and return the rental, bob’s your uncle.

Oh, would it were that simple. I’m on my third offer for this house. I rejected the first, the second fell through, and although third time can be the charm, ain’t no guarantees.  The one thing I cannot afford to risk is buying t’other place before I have sold this one, or I will own both and eek, that tight tight budget will go nuclear.  So that’s on hold until missives are concluded (which may only be a Scottish term?  basically not before the deal is signed, sealed, and funds transferred).

Missives are often only concluded on the day of occupation. Okay – furniture into store, and you suddenly start to see the attraction of the motorhome, rather than me to a hotel and the animals into pet storage.  Once I have the money in my hot little hand I can re-start the process in Spain, but it could be weeks before that completes and I can move in. Again, the motorhome means I can be there on the spot, hopping from foot to foot and spurring them on.

So I am bidding for one on eBay.  Never seen it, although I’ve pored over the pictures and researched the make intensively and will come back and kill the seller if it’s a pup – I write whodunits, I know how to kill.

So far I am still the winning bidder. 5 days to go. I genuinely, now that my brain has exploded, don’t know whether I want to be the final winner, or whether that’s the biggest mistake I’ve made so far. In fact I don’t even know if the house in Spain will still be on the market when this sale does complete. Maybe it shouldn’t be. Things that are meant to happen fall neatly into place. This is not falling into place!

I’ve not blogged much lately so with any luck no-one will even see this rather forlorn ramble. I can’t write. I can’t think. It’s as much as I can do every day to teach, both to keep at least some tiny income trickling into the coffers and increase my experience as a very newly-qualified teacher of English as a second language.

And yet – in some bizarre way – I’ve never felt so alive, so challenged. If it does all fall through and I have to settle back down to life as it has been (with or without an expensive left-hand-drive motorhome sitting outside, eep) it will be very anti-climatic.  A sneaking relief, the easy option but – very flat indeed.

Teleporting – and about time too. Dedicated to those at Stansted yesterday –

There’s a link to a Mirror article already mourning what we’ll miss when teleportation comes in (Brits are nothing if not quick to see the nostalgia in everything) at the end of this post.

I’ll tell you what I won’t miss.

Flying.

It seems to be more unpleasant every single time. Yesterday I flew back from Stansted, and was caught up in a fire alarm debacle.  There we were, sitting on a plane waiting for around 50 or 60 passengers still due to load, and there they were, being evacuated from the terminal because of the fire alarm. In the stampede they were well mixed with other passengers not cleared by security to fly to Edinburgh.

Since it is an obvious truth that everyone given a sliver of a chance to fly to Edinburgh will, quite rightly,  grab it, there was a lengthy wait while the powers that be debated whether it would be quicker to wait for the compromised passengers to be re-sorted, or to find and remove their luggage from the hold. After, oh, quite a while, it was announced that since the passengers were nearly ready to come aboard anyway we’d just wait for them.

Our excellent pilot then put his foot so firmly on the gas to make up time that we arrived in Edinburgh earlier than expected and had to wait on the plane for the ground crew to release us from our metal cage. That took about half an hour. He could have saved the petrol. However, my 4 hours of being caged was a mere cherry on top of the usual standard joys of flying.

Is Stansted the worst airport in Britain? It offers nothing – absolutely nothing – to do (except stand and smoke, or sit on a metal bench on the pavement and stare into space) before you go through security. Nothing.  Smokers don’t even have benches but must stand in roped-off areas. And don’t get all sniffy with me and say its my fault for being a dirty smoker. You non-smokers can’t even sit down inside the terminal building.  Stand, sit on the floor, or go through. Them’s the choices. Stansted is not subtle about declaring its preference for which choice you should make.

So I nicotine-loaded with the other unclean, then went through security, waited until 10 minutes before boarding time for my gate to be announced – #30 – and realized I had to catch a train to get there in the narrow window of opportunity before my ticket said the boarding gate would close.

Managed to cram into the second train and with a mighty jerk (which caused a particularly hefty passenger to lose his balance and stand heavily on my foot) we tore off to our destination.

The queue to board is always fun, every airport, but Stansted had a final refinement in store – we were then herded into a narrow, windowless, airless, passage,  with locked doors at one end and an increasing press of passengers coming up behind. Does the otherwise ubiquitous Health & Safety know about this? Priority passengers get the full benefit, because they get the longest wait – after 25 minutes a few of the earliest, at the front, were sinking bonelessly to the ground as the lack of oxygen finally took its toll. The doors finally opened, we hauled the fallen back to their feet and boarded.

So even before the fire alarm it hadn’t been a bundle of fun.

I can’t wait for teleporting, me.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/science/what-well-miss-can-teleport-10784232

 

 

 

I’m so topical I don’t understand why I’m not an icon

Just call me Ms Demographic, Demi for short. I’m a babyboomer, for starters. Born between 1946 and 1964, and a little fed up that my retirement age moved from nicely handy to six years further down the line.

I’m a writer of breezy novellas who, thanks to the ebook and POD revolution, could publish myself. That’s a bigger demographic than you might realize. Last time I checked there were over 13 million books out there, and I checked Amazon.com right now, as I’m typing this – in my main category, Mystery Thriller and Suspense, there were 6829 new releases in the last 30 days.  (One of them is mine, 17 18, woohoo). There are over half a million in that category alone.  I do get pretty excited about occasionally popping into the top twenty thousand writers, but the reality is that only authors consistently in the top thousand enjoy the dizzying excitement of being able to support themselves with their writing.  Still. My books pay for my holidays, and I do take a lot of those.

I’m a mature single – that’s an absolutely huge demographic – and have been on a singles website for a few years now. Research, of course,  but I take my research seriously, been there, done that, got my heart broken (okay, dented) and wrote the book(s). (Being the mature single is the demographic, writing On Meeting Mr Will Do Nicely and a couple of novels was a bit more niche.)

I was made redundant  recently, that’s a growing demographic, and for the second time.  With all those extra years to fill in before I can start living off the fat of the land with a (partial) British pension, I’m part of that other demographic, the one that thinks oi, life the way it is hasn’t really ticked all my boxes or rung all my bells, is it time to try something else?

There’s the demographic of the many, many Brits who bolt to the sun to try that something else in a warmer climate. A staggering percentage of them chose Spain. Never one to buck a trend, I found a dilapidated (i.e. affordable) townhouse in a fairly perfect white village, and decided that was it, future sorted. Sell the house in Scotland, buy the house in Spain, which is way big enough to run a couple of Airbnb options (another growing demographic) and Bob’s your uncle.

Okay, working in Spain would be challenging, since my Spanish so far consists of knowing how to order coffee, and increasingly talented in the areas of point-and-or-mime, and that’s after seven holidays in rapid succession in Spanish-speaking territories.  All I can reasonably ask of the house is that it will earn enough to pay for its own maintenance and upkeep.

No problem. Teach the Spanish to speak English. So I did a TEFL course and am currently busily gaining vital experience as a teacher through an international online agency. That’s a smaller demographic, I’ll grant you that, but it too is growing.

Demographically, I am in so many Venn diagrams that Windmills Of Your Mind is becoming my theme song. I’m a human fidget spinner.

Surely I can turn this wealth of overlapping demographics into cash terms somehow? Brexit and the dratted General Election are playing merry havoc with the pound / euro exchange rate, and I do need that rate strong to do the house-and-fix-up thing. Scotland’s will-we, won’t-we rumblings about independence has slowed the house-sales market to a crawl. Tchah!

Ideas on cashing in on my demographic potential ? Anyone? Ta.

What makes a granny? This is not a rhetorical question, I need an answer …

What comes to mind when you hear the word Granny ?  And WHY in the name of all that’s holy is this a cross -section of what I get when I looked online for granny cartoons?  Rocking chairs, zimmer frames, grey or white hair – remember Wayne Rooney’s “granny” scandal? She was in her late forties.  Lots of grannies are. Do the math. Have a child in your early twenties,  your child pups in his / her early twenties –  don’t really need a calculator, do we?

So women with children have a reasonable chance of being a granny in their forties, a fairly good one in their fifties, almost guaranteed in their sixties:  yet all the cartoons show dear (or feisty) old ducks, Indian summer gone, winter well on its way, average age, hmm, 80?

And hey, on the subject of 80 – Sophia Loren is 80, and going on tour. The first word that sprang to my mind when I watched her being interviewed was not ‘Granny’.  I have a cousin who is roaring into her 80s. She’s tall, plays golf, skies, gardens, travels a huge amount, she’s fresh-faced and fit as a flea, you’d unhesitatingly knock 20 years and more off her age. She’s very good at being a granny, skies with the grandkids and all. Not a rocking chair in sight.

But back to the fifty-something granny – I said to a male buddy that I was looking into the granny thing and his instinctive reaction? He said he couldn’t help, he never met either of his.  He’s sixty, single, and has dated several .

It’s a sign of the times that we of potential granny age aren’t seen automatically as grannies, and I’m very happy about that, but what word would sum up the woman whose offspring has produced offspring, if they aren’t dear old ducks?

Hence my opening question. What comes to mind when you hear the word Granny? This isn’t idle wittering, I’ve challenged myself to write a ‘granny’ story but this granny – you know me by now – is not a dear old duck.  I have no idea what her grandchild is to call her.

South Africans have a lovely option with the Zulu word for grandmother, gogo, pronounced gaw-gaw,  which I will absolutely claim in real life when the role is available. It’s a bit niche, though, Zulu not being one of the world’s widely-spoken languages.

I’ll be back to worry at this question later, but for now I’ll leave you with this, because it is currently my favourite cartoon.  In fact – I know Goodreads blogs don’t always include my pics – I’m going to add it to my profile, because I really do like it.  The credit to source shows on the photo.

 

H is for Hint / Help

Solitaire’s the only game in town – and this version offers hints for moves you might not have spotted. When you’ve moved everything you can see to move,  you press H for hint and the game may suggest a move you hadn’t seen. It isn’t always the best move, to be honest. But sometimes it was a really obvious move and you simply hadn’t spotted it.

That’s what my life needs. H for hint.

Show me a move I hadn’t spotted.

Please.

Because right now, the game I’m in, I don’t think it’s going to come out, and life doesn’t offer too many ‘undo last move’ options. Replay this game, or start over? Hah.

You see the hand. Looking pretty good. There’s a promising run building up there, and a couple of wins already in the bag, and a few cards sitting red on black or black on red which could be whisked away. It looks like it should work out, but everything depends on the next deal, the last deal.

No way of controlling the deal, that’s a given. But is everything set up as well as it could be to cope with whatever the last hand brings?

My life needs Hints.

(Turned out, this game worked. The black ace didn’t deal itself straight onto the last row, but there was a black ace, a move here, a switch there, shunt those cards to there, and YUP, game swiftly sorted after that. Do I take that as an omen? A – hint?)

I’m going to get an offer for my house – could be today, could take a month, but I know it is imminent. That will be the next hand dealt in my life. I have no idea how to play it. I’m overwhelmed with options, more accurately I have no idea how I should play it.

Press H

Goodreads and giveaways, grrrr.

Seriously, how hard should it be to set up a Goodreads giveaway?

Here’s how it should work. Click on your book. Look for the ‘would you like to set up a giveaway?’ option. Select yes, the start / end dates, and how many paperbacks you are actually throwing into the pot. Click save.

As a bonus, a little note will pop up on your profile for the duration so anyone actually looking at your profile, you know, interested in your writing, will see a helpful note saying ‘this author currently has a book on giveaway, click here to see details’.

HAH.

One particular little refinement of torture would have got me if I hadn’t already learned Goodreads’ little ways in earlier times. Before you can save / complete the giveaway (which includes some fiddly info supplied when you listed the book in the first place which should come up automatically and doesn’t, and a wheedling coaxing intro) you have to click a little box confirming you have read the T&C. Hmm, I thought, better read them. And because I learned the hard way once before, I copied my wheedling coaxing intro, which had taken some little while to tweak into shape, to a safe place. Then I went to the T&C.

When you finish reading them, you have to press a button marked BACK. Back, indeed, you go. To your profile. Giveaway details deleted.

Feel the love.

And is GR not owned by Amazon? I write under three names. On Amazon, they are linked. On GR, I cannot link the books under my other names to my main profile, because they have already been created under the other names. Uh uh uhhhh.
scold

Feel the love.

So hi. There’s a giveaway of The Money Honey coming up on GR. Or not. Who knows?  dunno

Ever researching on your behalf,

Elegsabiff.