Friday, 6 May 2011

Return of the Prodigal Cat

Did you miss me?

Yes, we have killed the fatted Whiskas!  The good news is that Monty finally returned home exactly 2 weeks after he left and we are, of course, utterly delighted.  All he's done since he got back is to eat and sleep, but he's been given a clean bill of health by the vet so we just need to look after him while he regains his weight and generally recovers.  He was covered in tics and very thin when he got back, but appeared otherwise fine, and over the past day or so we've begun to see signs of his old mischevious self returning so not long now until we can put this whole thing behind us.  Where he went is anyone's guess but the top theory is that he first helped the Easter Bunny out with his deliveries then headed down to London for the wedding and a party at the palace before joining a covert US military mission somewhere near Islamabad - but of course he's saying nothing.  Military training and all that.

Ullswater from Howtown
He now enjoys a sort of celebrity status in Grange-over-Sands as everyone knows about him and has been watching out for him.  When Steve went to take the posters down he was continually stopped by people asking if Monty was OK and whenever we've met new people we've been able to introduce ourselves as the people who lost the cat.  In fact I've just got back from the Docs (where I've been diagnosed with a shocking case of shin splints) and when he asked if I'd been doing more hill walking than normal I began my reply with "well, you know that cat that went missing..." and he completely understood.  I've now been grounded alongside Monty for at least the duration of this weekend - boo hiss!.  I would like to add that if anyone reading this is unfortunate enough to lose a pet I can strongly recommend the people at Animal Search UK - absolutely amazing support and lovely people too.

A hidden away lake - but which one..?
It's hard to remember what else we've been up to since the last post - most of it has involved looking for a cat - but inbetween times we found time to sneak off and discover more of our wonderful surroundings.  We took a drive up to Glenridding last week then caught the steamer to Pooley Bridge and walked the whole way back along Ullswater.  A stunning walk, but a little longer than expected, my overly optimistic view of how far we could walk in an afternoon was largely to blame, but it was a glorious afternoon and we stopped for a picnic along the way - and isn't that what adventures are all about?  We also had another adventure back at Rannerdale where we actually got to see the bluebells in full flower this time, if you're ever in the Lakes in bluebell season it's somewhere you really must try and see.

Rannerdale Bluebells
Talking about people visiting the Lakes we've been quite puzzled by the movement of tourists around the area.  Cumbria is the third largest county in England, each year we get somewhere in the region of 12 million visitors and pretty much all of them head for the same places - Bowness, Ambleside, Keswick, Glenridding and Scafell Pike.  No wonder they think the place is crowded!  You can barely breathe in Bowness on a sunny Sunday but a short drive away you can find yourself next to a peaceful lake with barely another soul in sight.  I can't quite understand why people pour out of cities at the weekends to escape the "hustle and bustle" then all wedge themselves into the same small lakeland towns.  Of course I'll not mention here where all the best spots are because then everyone will go there instead and they won't be the best spots any more will they?  Mind you, most people seem of the opinion that a day out isn't complete without a trip around the shops and as most of my favourite spots don't have shops, I'm probably quite safe.

We've even started to give our own names to places, there's so many peaks around here that it's hard to remember which is which was you go by, so we've invented a few of our own.  As you drive along Thirlmere (a truly gorgeous lake but one that just gets driven past as people whiz from Ambleside to Keswick) if you look up you can spot "thumps up mountain" sitting just behind it, the top of which looks for all the world like a hand giving a thumbs up sign.  Maybe when I discover the real name for the peak I'll find out that it's an ancient norse translation of "thumbs up"...  There's also the memorable path we took down from Rannerdale Knott, which wasn't really a path at all and which I came down largely on my backside, earning it the nickname "Bum Plummet".  Steve came up with that one and I think it's truly one of the finest names for a descent I've ever heard and I may well mention it to the chaps at the Ordinance Survey.

So here we are back at the weekend again.  Luckily for me the weather forcast is pretty grim which means I won't be chomping at the bit quite so much to get out and about and my leg may just get the time it needs to heal.  Or is it 'heel' when it's shin splints?  Either way I am destined to drive Steve to distraction as I have the patience and attention span of a gnat and am not at all easy company when I'm confined to quarters.  Perhaps I'd better behave in case he takes a leaf out of Monty's book and heads off into the woods for a few days to escape me, although I'm pretty sure I could lure him back quite quickly with a bowl of custard.  Hmmm - I wonder if those nice people at Animal Search UK can help finding lost husbands..? Worth a go, although until I get him microchipped there's probably not a lot they can do to help.