The sun gets up way too early in the morning over here (4am) for my liking and because of that, we haven’t needed to set any alarms for most days. And anyway, we have just been chilling out at home, taking on any treks as and when the mood takes us and while I’m still trying my best to be on the mend we are having yet another easy day. Caroline - the awesome (as she is now known), has managed to organise for me to go see the last thing on my animals wish list, a real live hedgehog. YAY!! And yet another total stranger who doesn’t know me from Adam is allowing me into her house to enable me to do so. I am loving the hospitality of these wonderful people in this gorgeous little town. I feel so special (licks window). Thanks again for your help Caroline :)
|Awww another huge dose of cuteness|
This morning, Caroline and her friend Angie came round and grabbed us after they tossed their kids off at school. It was still a little cold outside for Australians but believe it or not, I am getting used to walking around in a t-shirt now but I still took a jacket just in case. We walked for about 15 minutes through wooded lanes, past farm buildings, over hills and rain soaked valleys and it would have been faster if I wasn’t hobbling, but I did manage to navigate my way over a makeshift stone built turn-stile. That was a challenge worthy of a post all of its own but I won’t bore you with the strategies employed for scaling the dizzying heights of this Matterhorn styled obstacle course.
|Not Heidi but I so|
WANT this colour!!
Anyways Heidi, who was Angie’s eldest daughter and the owner of the hedgehog, finally got to open up her front door to us. And walking into her house was like walking into a fairyland petting zoo, for it was here that all creatures great and small called this house home, and I was lucky enough to be able to step inside and enjoy this new adventure with them. Our host, with her hot pink hair (yes I was totally annoyed that all her fabulous colours were not on me), handed us her pet albino hedgehog. This little thing was so tiny and spiky. And she hissed whenever you touched her spines although she only once curled up into a ball. BAD ANDY!!!
So how does ONE get to stroke a hedgehog? In truth, you don’t really, you just allow it to crawl all over you and occasionally hold it in your hands and tickle at its belly. They are just gorgeous little creatures. I was led to believe by Mr Robinson that these gorgeous little beings were in fact almost vermin, living outdoors in the wild and just vessels in which to transport heavily infested herds of germ carrying fleas in their coats from one location to another and that due to this; no one would ever think of keeping them as pets. But Maisy the hedgehog, had no such afflictions, she was completely flea free which was good considering there were two dogs, a kitten, a rat and guinea pig and tiny tarantula spiders all living together in the same house.
|Maisy the gorgeous albino hedgehog|
So I finally get to say “hedgehog - check!!!” And all the animals I came to see have all been covered off. And all with so little fuss to boot.
|Welcome to Lambert's Mill|
Well we eventually fare-welled our newly made friends and headed off further down the same road to a nearby place called Lambert's Mill, to check out the footwear factory museum inside and maybe grab a bite to eat. Downstairs was mainly a furniture store and from the looks of the locked door we all piled and crashed into, the museum was closed. According to the shop assistant, it was closed because they were waiting for an emergency electrician to come and fix the lighting that had shorted out earlier that day. Who knows? They may still be waiting. So we (me, Caroline and Andy) headed upstairs to the gift shop and cafe.
I was still on a mission for the Great British afternoon high tea, consisting of scones with jam and thick Devonshire clotted cream, and YAY it was here on the menu. Unfortunately when I asked for it, today had to be the day they had no scones. NO SCONES!!!! SIGHS. Instead we opted for coffee and a shared piece of triple chocolate layered cheesecake between the 3 of us (we were being polite). We wandered through the gift shop for about 20 minutes after our coffees to peruse all of the locally produced wares and laughed quietly to ourselves when we came across a half decent display of ‘temperance drinks’ by Fitzgerald’s (remember them?). We had to ask ourselves whether this place sold more than the actual shop we had visited did. Slowly we covered the whole shop floor and made our way back downstairs.
Right at the bottom of the stairs, next to the main sales office, there were a couple of shelves stacked full with all styles of work boots for a handsome price of just £25 a pair (or £12.50 each for those with only one leg) and well the pink ones they had, seriously caught my eye. £25 was indeed cheap for such attractive full leather, steel capped and pink work boots, so Andy and I got a pair each (in hoping to preserve his manliness, especially after finding all the other recent defects in his stature, I have to inform you his weren’t pink). It was only 10 days ago he found out he was 3 inches shorter than he used to be, and now, when he found out his boot size had shrunk too, he was a little on the quiet side as he pondered his crotch with a tear in his eye for the rest of the afternoon :)
|Boots, boots, boots, boots... Marching up and down again|
Property of HRH the PINK DRAGONFLY PRINCESS
Naturally, the boots I wanted had every available size but mine, so in desperation I tried a size larger and it fitted perfectly. It seems every brand has a different fit, so I wasn’t at all surprised. Andy was still sulking and wondering what could possibly take so long to pick a pair of shoes and I was lucky that the factory that made these shoes was only next door and the helpful sales assistant was only too happy to run back and forth as we tried on different styles and sizes. How’s that for service?
The once thriving shoe industry in Rawtenstall and surrounding areas practically closed down over night when earlier outbreaks of Foot and Mouth and CJD (Mad Cow Disease) hit at all the leather producing cows which had to be slaughtered and burned. This meant no leather for shoes and factories closing down left right and centre for the whole valley and the opportunity was quickly stolen by China's shoe industry.
Sadly the place doesn’t appear to have recovered, even though there are still a few manufacturing, most places are now wholesalers to store front customers. There were some very pretty shoes in my youth I would have been knocking down the door to get to, but alas, one busted up knee has seen the end of the 4 and 5 inch heel days, ok, all heels, and seriously, there are very few sexy flat shoes too, which is just as well really or I would have needed a dozen extra cases for my return trip home.
|A £4 saving at Lambert's Mill|
Meet the groom... He's REDUCED!!... LMFAO
After all that excitement, we were off once again to Tesco to stock up on comestibles and get a taxi back home as I was by now tiring fast, about to be struck down again with whatever it was that was ailing me and all laden up with shiny new boots. Caroline came home with us for a while before leaving to pick up the kids again and heading them off back home for their teas.
So all in all it was another wonderful adventure in this surprisingly friendly little town. I have been truly blessed by the all people I have met here and I am really going to miss this place when I go back home.
*sniffles* I DONT WANT TO GO HOME *sniffles*
And one passing thought on hedgehogs... Why can’t they just share?