The Crazy Rat Trip

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[cub]
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by [cub] » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:30 pm

Bon voyage! Lycklig resa! :luck: (Is that right? :? I speak zero Swedish. :lol: )
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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hjanders
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by hjanders » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:21 pm

Well, I have made it to Germany :) .

What have I learnt so far?

Don't arrive early for ferries - I got there with plenty of time and then waited and waited while a million containers were loaded on first.

The ferry was rather like a floating Premier Inn with evening entertainment that was rather suspect. But I slept really well.

Germany does a good line in spectacular lightening and thunder.

Kiel is a lovely city with lakes and parks galore. I was supposed to be driving the 500m from the ferry terminal to Mike's hotel but due to satnav and roadwork issues I made a full inspection of the city centre :lol: .

I love my husband so am happy to be reunited.

German roads are busy busy busy, far more like the UK than Sweden. And some people drive at crazy speeds.

My German is non existent!

It is nice to be on a road journey without the voice in the back saying "Are we nearly there yet" or "I'm hungry....."

All good so far 8-) !
Popcorn, Me-Me, Nelle, Luna, Maggie and Tutsie
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️

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[cub]
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by [cub] » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:04 pm

hjanders wrote:a floating Premier Inn with evening entertainment that was rather suspect
That is the best mental image. :o :oops: :lol:
hjanders wrote:Kiel is a lovely city with lakes and parks galore. I was supposed to be driving the 500m from the ferry terminal to Mike's hotel but due to satnav and roadwork issues I made a full inspection of the city centre :lol:
I suppose it would have been a shame to just pass through quickly without having a bit of a look around. :P Maybe a place to go back for a weekend break someday when you're not on a mission to retrieve rats (and chocolate)?
hjanders wrote:It is nice to be on a road journey without the voice in the back saying "Are we nearly there yet" or "I'm hungry....."
Don't forget "I need a peeeee" ... ideally five minutes *after* passing a rest stop. :roll: :lol:
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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hjanders
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by hjanders » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:59 am

We have reached the promised land :D (docking in Harwich at 06:30 this morning)

Things I have learnt since my last post:

There is no physical border between Holland and Germany. An excellent finding for the way home. Although we have all the relevant paperwork we would rather not be stopped by the authorities.

Holland is very flat but rather beautiful and has the best service stations EVER. We had a lovely coffee served in pretty ceramic mugs, sat on a comfy sofa, in front of a log burning fire in a sparkly clean, contemporary building.

The satnav, nicknamed Serena, can't make her mind up :lol: .

Overnight ferries are a good way to travel.

Driving on the wrong (right? left?) side of the road in a left hand drive car is very weird and potentially dangerous :o . I am leaving this job to Mike.

I am increasingly excited about this afternoon's meeting with Mary and the 19 babies that we are taking home :D .
Popcorn, Me-Me, Nelle, Luna, Maggie and Tutsie
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️

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Caza66
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by Caza66 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:20 am

How exciting and what a journey so far. I guess the guys aren't bothered at all by any of it.
My current gang :hearts: Groot, Star-lord, Yondu
:rattyrainbow: To all those who have filled my heart, have fun at the bridge.

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cyber ratty
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by cyber ratty » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:30 am

Welcome back to our island :luck:

I hope the journey home will be just as smooth - I'm sure the 'babies' (some are quite big by now though!) will take it in their stride. See you later :D

(Serena may struggle to find us, so I recommend double checking with a map, and Heather can describe where we are.)

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[cub]
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by [cub] » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:45 am

Okay that is it, I am going to learn to drive so that we can hire a caravan and take the rats on holiday to the continent. It'll be worth it just to see these fancy Dutch service stations! :lol:
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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hjanders
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by hjanders » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:39 am

The mission is just over half accomplished ;) .

We had a full day yesterday with shopping for cadbury's, malt loaf, sultanas, and all the other goodies previously mentioned. We also managed to buy a small oven, a down jacket, a trugg and a few more random items not on the list :lol: .

We had lunch with a friend and picked up my beautiful little goddaughter from school.

But most importantly we fetched 19 young, active, adorable little (or not so little in the case of some of the boys!) ratties from the wonderful Mary.

I got a vision into the life of a dedicated rat breeder. What a set-up! It was fascinating.

We set up the 2 cages, boys in one, girls the other - I have had nightmares about putting a rat into the wrong cage. Then I would be taking potentially hundreds of rats back to Sweden :P . We wanted to make the journey as comfortable and fun for the rats as possible. Lots of substrate, 2 water bottles per cage, dried food, peas, toilet rolls, boxes to hide in, fabric pieces etc.

We have managed to smuggle our precious consignment onto the ferry to Holland with no questions asked. When we left them on the car deck they seemed pretty desperate to come and explore the ferry with us. Hopefully they settled down after we left!

We are soon to go and see them this morning. Hopefully they will have had a good night. Then for the 6 hours through Holland and Germany........
Popcorn, Me-Me, Nelle, Luna, Maggie and Tutsie
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️

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[cub]
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by [cub] » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:13 pm

That is all sounding very successful so far! I hope all 21? of you have a comfortable journey home! :D
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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hjanders
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by hjanders » Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:54 pm

Thanks Cub, the 21 of us are all fine! 2 of us are pretty exhausted and the other 19 have had a lovely time so far snoozing happily in heaps.

Before we left the ferry in Holland a family in the car next to ours on the car deck saw and were fascinated by the rats. The kids came and helped to feed them which was very sweet. The little girl said she wanted some pet rats. Dad seemed highly amused (or maybe a little upset) when I launched into a spiel about how rats make wonderful pets! They were Brits heading, rather randomly, to a Speedskating competition in The Hague. However, I am sure we were more random to them than they were to us.

More learning points from our journey:

The Dutch appear, to our eye, grow a lot of marijuana. At least, there were miles upon miles of huge greenhouses, some of which had suspicious orange lights illuminating them.

Driving on motorways in any country becomes very samey and boring very quickly and having to make a turn becomes very exciting (especially when you've just travelled 150 miles on the same road)

To relieve our boredom playing our whole music collection on random a was great idea. A very eclectic. With a few exceptions that we thought we would skip - individual chapters of the Narnia books, Mary Poppins, Paddington, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and a classic Cliff Richard Christmas song

Don't play 'yellow car' with Mike on a 6 hour drive. He won by about 253 to 67 (ok, maybe not quite that many)

Driving long distances means there is plenty of time to discuss the meaningful things in life - do dumbo sewer rats exist? Why do so many Australians pass wind in Germany? The pros and cons of particular car colours on different shaped cars, what is the average body mass index in various countries in Europe? And Mike thought the funniest was: If Serena satnav was Stanley satnav would the darn thing stop changing it's mind about our time of arrival.....

So, we are just leaving Kiel, Germany on our fourth and final overnight ferry home to Gothenburg. We should be home by 10:00 tomorrow morning. My bed is nearly in sight!

I am so excited to get them home and let them out for a play so we can really meet them properly.
Popcorn, Me-Me, Nelle, Luna, Maggie and Tutsie
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️

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cyber ratty
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by cyber ratty » Sat Sep 30, 2017 5:01 pm

Lovely to meet you both yesterday :D

I hope the rats are still behaving themselves, and aren't being too smelly! :P

I should fill in with an account of how our day went yesterday... in the morning the rats needed to be checked by a suitable qualified vet and certified fit and healthy to travel and thus be allowed into Sweden.

I don't drive, and couldn't carry 19 rats on foot to and from the vets which is a mile away, so I had a good plan in place... a friend who would be passing shortly before my 10am appointment was to take us up there, and once we were done, I'd call my daughter to bring us home.

But as we know, best laid plans etc. - so at 9:15 I got a call from the vets who had booked me in for 9am... cue desperate calls to my neighbours, and fortunately one was in and both willing and able to take us up there.

Each rat was weighed, examined, and had their temperature taken (anally - they did not like it one bit, and most squeaked in protest :( ), notes were made, and the preprinted certificate just needed to be signed and stamped... except for the fact that not only had the vet's system defined the rats by species, breed, and colour, these could only be selected from a drop down list, hence all rats which had been given the breed of dumbo, were automatically black rexes, and there was no option for agouti. This doesn't cause a problem for normal appointments, but the certificates needed to be accurate, and although written notes could be added, nothing could be crossed out. I had provided a detailed list of descriptions, but nobody had spotted that the certificates didn't match the list.

They somehow managed to tweak the system to allow accurate variety information to be included (I think most rats were given the breed of RAT in the end, lol)- some printed, some handwritten, but then when it came to printing them their system failed, so the vet had to go to a nearby practice at lunchtime to get them done. She dropped us off as my home is on the way and then popped the finished certificates through my door.

Checking the rats had taken only 1 hour, sorting the certificates took another 3!

I believe the certificates have yet to be checked by any authorities - I'm keeping everything crossed that they will pass muster if/when they do. :luck:

(ETA - cross posted with hjanders)

hjanders
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by hjanders » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:01 pm

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

We arrived home this morning with the precious consignment of 19 (slightly whiffy) rats. They seem to have tolerated the journey extremely well. They appear happy and healthy.

First we had the boys out to play. And what fun we had. They were slightly crazy to start with but settled down and had great fun exploring the bathroom and new cage. I couldn't believe how sociable they were. I had lots of kisses from various of the boys (don't tell Mike!).

Once we had our own girls home we did a thorough clean of their 'holiday cage' for the import girls. They too had a riot when we let them out. Again, what a friendly bunch. However, It's very confusing to tell one from the other. I tried asking them to stand in line so I could work it out but they didn't oblige.

I have been messaging and sending photos to the Swedish breeders throughout the last 4 days. They have been sooooo excited about my trip. They come to us in Gothenburg on Tuesday to take them another 12 hours north from here to their permanent homes. I wish them every success with their breeding programme.

I thoroughly recommend travelling by overnight ferry (although maybe not 4 in a row)
and it turns out the UK is perhaps not as far from Sweden as we thought.

A huge thank you to Mary for her help in providing rats and coordinating the trip.

Overall, it has been a fantastic, if tiring, adventure. I hope we have done our bit to improve the health and temperament of the Swedish fancy rat community.
Popcorn, Me-Me, Nelle, Luna, Maggie and Tutsie
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️

hjanders
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by hjanders » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:22 pm

Update on the Crazy Rat Trip girls and boys:

So the beautiful imported rats went to their new homes with the 3 breeders in the north of Sweden at the beginning of October. They have been the most amazing and friendly bunch and are hugely loved by one and all.

After a few initial teething problems and upsetting lost pregnancies, the first 2 litters were born last week. The first, Lexi, had 8 babies (5 bucks and 3 does) and the second, Cosima, had an amazing 14 babies (10 bucks and 4 does). Sadly one of these bucks passed away on day 3 or 4 and Lexi has taken on 3 of Cosima's does to help her out. It is so exciting to watch them grow and change, even if it is just via messages/email.

There are two more litter due tomorrow (for Raimy and Maze) and fingers are very much crossed for more success.

We are hoping, if all goes to plan, we will be able to have 2-3 girls from these litters. We are so excited to be able to finally have a 'Zephyr' rat (but born and bred in Sweden!) :)
Popcorn, Me-Me, Nelle, Luna, Maggie and Tutsie
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️

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cyber ratty
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by cyber ratty » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:48 am

Fingers are crossed for today - especially since it is World Rat Day :luck:

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[cub]
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Re: The Crazy Rat Trip

Post by [cub] » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:56 am

That sounds wonderful! Congratulations to Lexi and Cosima, and everything crossed for Raimy and Maze. :luck: :dumbobaby: :baby:
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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