Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Still at Large

Have you seen this cat?

Well we hope he's still at large somewhere because he's still not here.  It's been over a week now since he was last seen by a neighbour over the road, he jumped over their wall and was believed to be heading in the direction of Eggerslack Woods and Hampsfell, both of which are places where a bonkers cat could easily live off the land for a while.  Apprarently it's really common for cats to go AWOL for upto a month or more when they've just moved house, which is comforting in some ways, but to be honest we're finding it hard to buy that one.  Monty has always been a very home-loving cat.  Even after he'd spent 6 weeks cooped up in Delores with us last summer he spent every night of the next week still sleeping on our bed.  Still, we haven't given up hope just yet, there are posters of him up around the village, he's got his own twitter account, we've distributed nearly 200 leaflets and spoken to many of our new neighbours, he has a slot in the local village magazine out this week, all the local vets & rescue centres have been informed, Animal Search UK have him on their website, we've spent countless hours wandering through the woods shaking a tub of his favourite treats and we have told *everyone* we know, so at least if he doesn't return we'll know we did absolutely everything we could to try and find him.  After a week of frantic activity trying to find him and pursuing activities to distract ourselves today we're having a very lazy day crashing out and watching movies.  This easter break was supposed to be all about relaxation and settling in to our new home, but life often doesn't work out the way you planned, does it?

Hospice Hamspfell
Apart from hunting for Monty we've tried to take full advantage of the fabulous weather and have been out and about exploring The Lakes.  First off was a trip up Hampsfell which is right on our doorstep.  A 20 min walk brings you to the very top of Hampsfell, a place with magnificent views from Blackpool Tower in the south across to Skiddaw in the north.  At the top of Hampsfell is the Hospice which is a large stone shelter with some very rickety steps up the side to a viewing platfrom on the top.  From here you can gaze out at the glorious views and make good use of the mountain identification contraption which consists of a large wooden pointer mounted on a plinth with degrees marked around the side.  When you swing the pointer to aim at a given peak in the distance you can check the degrees reading under the pointer and cross reference this with a list of peaks handily attached to safety fence to identify which peak you're peeking at.  We've been up and down Hampsfell a few times over the past week but I don't think it's a place you're easily bored with...

Our yomps have also taken us over the fell to Cartmel with it's fabulous pudding shop and even more fabulous cheese emporium.  I'm glad we can walk over there as I quite fancy a trip to Cartmel races but it's a tiny little village and I can only begin to imagine what traffic chaos ensues every time the races are on.  We have one of those amazing picnic backpacks so we can fill it with goodies and a bottle of something pink & fizzy and spend a pleasant afternoon/ evening at the races before taking a lovely evening stroll home over the top of the fell.

Heading further afield we've been up to Rannerdale in search of their bluebells, unfortunately we were a little early for them but we're planning to head back later this week to try again.  Our search for the bluebells took us to the top of Rannerdale Knott where you are perfectly positioned to see Buttermere spreading out below you to one side, Crummock Water wrapping itself around you on the other side and Lowes Water twinkling away in the distance.  Beyond there, on a clear day, you can see all the way across the Solway Firth to the hills of Scotland on the horizon, so close you can almost smell the haggis.  We actually made the drive to Rannerdale on the lovely warm and sunny Easter Sunday, all the locals had warned us about the traffic and our planned route took us right through the centre of Bowness, Arnside and Keswick, a slightly mad idea but we wanted to see what "bad traffic" looked like up here.  I think our verdict is that although the traffic was undeniably heavy, for two people who've spent the past 20 odd years of their life tackling various routes around the M25 in the rush hour it was always going to take a lot to impress us on that front.  Yes, the journey times are longer but I'd rather work my way through heavy traffic up here when I've got gorgeous scenery to look at along the entire route than sit in 4 lanes (or more) of stationary traffic on a wet Friday afternoon on the M25.
Crummock Water

And that's about it for now - hunting for Monty has taken up a lot of our time this week, but it has meant we've got to explore bits of Grange that we wouldn't ordinarily have found and has given us the chance to get to know many of our new neighbours, most of whom are utterly delightful.  Of course there's been an emotional impact to losing Monty, mostly an understandably huge wave of sadness.  This is also tempered on occasion by anger at the thought someone may have taken him, or know where he is and also hurt at the thought he may have been adopted by someone else who he prefers to us.  Either way it's not pleaseant and we'd really just like him to come home.