Magic Moments – The Day We Emigrated Part 2

My last Magic Moments post ended with us taking off from Gatwick Airport en route to Toronto. See Part 1 here

The flight was pleasant enough and before we knew it were on the final approach to our destination.

Fortunately we had already done our official landing a few months before so we had our permanent residency cards in hand and the majority of the endless paperwork was done…or so we thought.

At baggage reclaim we were astounded to find hubbies shotguns just sitting on the floor with all the oversized luggage and strollers sporting a huge pink sticker that declared them as FIREARMS to anyone who noticed them, shocking.  With two baggage trolleys full to bursting with our bags we entered customs to declare our tortoises and shotguns.  Due to my preparedness, which reached almost obsessive levels at times, Customs were happy and sent us on our way quite quickly to collect the tortoises from a cargo warehouse and that was where the fun and games began.

We had the misfortune of landing on a day predicted to be the hottest on record and with humidity values at over 40C it was a bit of a shock when we walked out of the airport, to say the least.  After picking up the car we drove to cargo to start the wait, It took over 4 hours for a vet to check our pets before they would release them to us and then he had the audacity to question the authenticity of our paperwork and suggest that we had photocopies and not the originals and threatened to refuse to give our Tortoises to us.  I explained, begged and pleaded, argued and so very nearly lost it all together until eventually he signed the release papers but that still wasn’t the end.  We then had to travel to Customs a few miles away to give them the vet’s authorisation so customs could check them off our accompanying goods list, what a palaver!  The guy at customs for whatever reasons insisted on calling our tortoises ‘turtles’ which really wound me up, bare in mind I was extremely hot, jet lagged, had been awake for 22 hours, was emotional and frustrated, I’d lost all sense of reasonable behavior and quite frankly that dude was really getting on my nerves!  I couldn’t stop correcting him every time he said it and I started to lose my temper.  My meltdown was imminent when he finally stamped the piece of paper and let us go back to collect our pets.


Making their debut on my site, meet Bubbles and Crush our well travelled tortoises. Born in Croatia, exported to UK now living in Canada, pictured enjoying the sunshine in my garden.


We arrived at our hotel and temporary home at around midnight after being up for almost 24 hours, one look at the state of us (it must not have been a pretty sight!) and the staff took our car keys and sent us up to our room while they brought in all our bags for us, I was so grateful for the help I could have cried.  We fell into bed and were asleep almost immediately, I slept longer and deeper than I had in months.  We’d finally made it… we were in Canada at last.


10 thoughts on “Magic Moments – The Day We Emigrated Part 2

  1. Paula

    In this day and age it’s beyond me why your shotguns would be left laying as they were in the baggage claim area! Glad to see that your tortoises made the flight to Canada just fine and that they seem to be doing quite well. Nice photograph.
    Four hours to have a vet check over your pets is a very extensive wait time!

  2. Charly Dove

    So glad you’ve made it there with your tortoises – they look settled already. Sounds like you are too going on that marathon of a sleep. Must be such a great feeling being there 🙂

  3. Holly Nelson

    I didn’t know you had tortoises! Had to leave my bunny with my parents when I moved here. How much did it cost you to transport them? We’re they cargo or take on luggage??

    1. Lou Post author

      It cost a fortune Holly, over £500 in all but I didn’t have the heart to take the boys away from their friends, family and tortoises, so our pets had to come along! They had to go in a special bit in the hold but they had to be on the same flight as us, the regulations are a minefield but the boys are happy they are here with us 🙂

  4. Angeline

    I feel your pain, i understand some of it as I am from Canada… I live outside of Toronto. well i live in scotland now but parents still at home. Every freaking time I go home, I get question upon question and it very rare that the officers crack even the tiniest bit of a smile. They are terrible. Im glad you got the tortoises and i hope that things settled after .. looking forward to reading more.

  5. Emma

    I love that you took you turtles (joke!!) with you… What a pallavah, you did very well keeping your cool! 🙂

  6. Kelloggsville

    Not going into meltdown in customs is an art! We travel long haul uk to Australia almost every year. Sometimes Australian customs are utter arses. After 24 hours traveling, yes, it is possible to forget there was a packet of polos in my handbag! You’d have thought I was smuggling in a disease ridden tree trunk the way she carried on.

Comments are closed.