Well, we’re home, and both pretty relieved about it.
The journey was much less painful than it might have been: only 2 hours from Windermere to chez nous. A friendly assistant at Booth’s in Windermere held Piglet in the porch for me for 10 minutes so that I could zip round and stock up on salad and chicken and goat’s cheese, and now I don’t have to nip into town to get something yummy for dinner. (Pity I forgot the milk, but c’est la vie!)
On the way from the station to the house we popped into the vet’s but Piggly’s favourite isn’t in until tomorrow, so we’ll go in the morning and see what he has to say.
Piglet seemed overjoyed to be back in the house. She raced from room to room and then into the garden, and it was only when I spotted her dashing past like a brown and black blur with something pink in her mouth that I realised she’d grabbed a poor soft piglet from a place she isn’t normally allowed to go, and tossed it around in the garden. Wee monster! The poor thing is now muddied, but recovering with a stiff gin and the company of the other piglets on top of the drinks cabinet.
It’s a shame we didn’t complete the walk, but it became clear to me fairly quickly that (i) the exercise was going to take longer than I’d anticipated, and (ii) that Piglet wasn’t wholeheartedly committed to it. I think I was, but I’ve learned quite a lot in a short space of time, and one of the things I’ve learned is that reining in/dragging along an alternately over-enthusiastic/reluctant wee terrier on an extending lead adds considerably to the burden of what at this time of the year up there is already quite a challenging day.
Having to drag Piglet along is simply not what walkies is supposed to be about, and when I woke in the night on Wetherlam to find her shaking–not cold, but frightened (I assume) by the way the wind was buffeting the tent–I felt it really wasn’t fair. When the following day I realised that what a couple of days earlier I’d assumed to be marks left by a tick on one of her front legs had actually been the beginnings of a large sore created by the rubbing of her coat cuff on her leg it seemed clear that it was time for a re-think. I was unsure last night about what to do for the best, but despite the improvement in the weather today I’m quite sure now that I did the right thing. Despite having purchased a new rucksack. Doh… Does anyone want an Osprey Ariel, size small?
I have to say that even if I’d not had Piglet with me I’m unsure about whether I’d have been able to complete the Wainwrights in the sort of weather we encountered up there. Bad weather is only to be expected in the Lakes at this time of year, of course, and I did expect it, but it’s demoralising when it happens every day; and it’s also very clear that the exercise requires much more planning than I put into it. The Joss Naylor route is a great one, but it’s clear to me now that it doesn’t really suit a person with a penchant for regular descents to pubs with warm fires, restorative beers and bowls of crisply sizzling chips. Maybe I could have done it, or maybe not. What I *do* know, though, is that as I struggled along in virtually nil visibility, with my boots slipping and sliding on rocky ascents and praying that my pack wouldn’t tilt to one side so suddenly that I was unable to correct it, with the consequence that it dragged me off the side of the hill, stranding Piglet alone and unprotected, I thought many times of what Steve Perry achieved on the Munros back in the winter of 2005-6, and marvelled with a whole new insight at his fortitude and determination.
I’m still keen to complete the Wainrights with Piglet, but I think we’ll approach it as a series of day walks instead. As I was travelling home it occurred to me that a camper van would be a very nice way to do it, but since I haven’t got a camper van
yet that’ll have to remain a pipe dream for now. In the meantime, Piggly and I will be delighted to go walking up some Wainrights with any of y’all who may be up for it from time to time.
Right! Now it’s time for a shower, and then I’m going to cook something to eat. After that I’m going to see whether I can find any episodes of The Restaurant on TV on Demand. I was horrified to realise that I’d left home without setting the cunning wee device under the television to record it for me… Kate, watch out! I warned you that MTP was just the thin end of the wedge… Raymond Blanc is coming next!
Thank you to everyone who offered advice, encouragement and kicks up the bum, in whatever form. Sadly my email wasn’t working on the phone, and I suspect that I may therefore have missed a few messages, but both Piglet and I treasured every text, telephone call, meeting with friends (thank you, Martin, Brummie Dave, Susan, Alan and Phil) and posting on here as a most welcome connection with home and great friends. And now that we’re home we’re both very glad to be back ♥