‘ Time Spent with Cats Is Never Wasted’ , this Sigmund Freud quote is replicated on the time card my friend Lisa and I were given on arrival at Manchester’s only Cat Cafe. Cat Cafe in the city’s independent and creative Northern Quarter can be found on the corner of High Street. With its large floor to ceiling glass windows, it is easy for curious passers by to nosy in at the ten furry friends who call this bright and airy space home. Before Lisa and I entered the cafe area we were given disposable shoe covers and told to use antibacterial hand gel. Then it was our time to enjoy the company of its feline residents….. £12 each for the hour.
Cat Cafe is devoted to comfort. The humans can get cosy on the many snug sofas whilst drinking an unlimited supply of hot and cold beverages ( included in the entry fee) and the moggies have the run of the place. Some of them were busy snoozing and others were only to happy to play. There are plenty of cat toys for the kittys…..and their visitors to keep entertained.
Lisa and I soon made ourselves cosy with a lovely hot chocolate ( complete with paw-print) and a slab of the most delicious Orange & Chocolate cake. The cafe serves a mixture of drinks, cookies and cakes. All food is paid for at the end of your allotted time slot.
Cat Cafe has a short list of rules that visitors must abide by. No waking any sleeping cats, no feeding the cats ( except for the treats supplied by staff) and no flash photography. Many of the kitty’s were chilling on cushions and in basket beds. They have the choice to stay in the cafe area or if they are not feeling sociable, they have their own room to escape to. I think we managed to see most of the Cat Cafes Cat family on our visit. 🙂
I really like how Cat Cafe is set out and the cats really do seem to be content in their surroundings. The hour soon sped by and all too soon it was time to leave these mischievous moggies behind.
But not before we witnessed new recruit ‘Stan’ the siamese kitten enjoying ‘treat time’, which tends to happen on the hour every hour. Aw bless. 🙂
Maybe I will return oneday for one of Cat Cafe’s special cat themed events. Fancy a Yoga class or a film night in the company of some furry felines ?? Sounds very relaxing…..
Hi its Sunday yet again so time for a quick round up of the last 7 days via a Sunday Sevens post. This last week I’ve read two really good books ! I sound surprised because I’ve read a few meh ones recently , so it’s great to find a couple of cracking reads. Firstly The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Wareis a modern day Agatha Christie set on a boutique cruise with plenty of twists and turns. ‘Lo Blacklock’ is a journalist who thinks she’s witnessed a murder , a woman thrown overboard in the dead of night. But nobody seems to have heard of the victim. Paranoia and suspicion engulf Lo and make this’ Who Done It’ an absorbing and scary thriller. Secondly, a just as absorbing but true life tale is The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen. This is Amanda’s own story about how as a youngster she read the James Herriot country vet books and dreamed of working on a hill farm with her own flock of sheep. And amazingly through a lot of hard work and determination she has ended up doing just that. As well as a flock of sheep she has a husband, 8 children and lives and works on a remote farm in the Yorkshire Dales. An inspirational and often funny read, I loved it. 🙂
As well as having my nose in a book this week, I have been using up some holidays and had a couple of days off work. On Thursday my friend Lisa and I had a fun afternoon hanging out in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. She showed me some great independent shops in this creative area of the city and we also had a really tasty lunch at Oak Street Cafe Bar in the Craft & Design Centre. And I got to cross something off my 25 Before 45 Bucket List ! I had booked us a slot in Manchester’s only Cat Cafe, very originally called Cat Cafe which is situated on High Street in the Northern Quarter. Imagine coffee, cake and cats all in one spacious area , adorned with comfy sofas, cushions and cat toys. I will blog about it sooooon. 🙂
On Friday Wil, Hugo and I went to visit family in The Lake District. My family live not far from Ullswater so for some reason Wil , my brother and I thought it would be a good idea to go and check out Aira Force , a waterfall not far from the lake. The problem was, it was an incredibly rainy and windy day , which always annoys me as I can’t take any photos with the rain blowing in my face. We had to agree though that the force looked amazing in the weather and we will definitely have to go back on a much drier day.
Last Sunday it was raining too but not as badly ( Hurrah ! ) so we were tourists in our own town and took The Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail around Brungerley Park. Just in case you missed my post , you can check it out here 🙂
All in all a pretty good week. What did you get up to ?
Despite being a Lancashire lass born and bred, the EastLancashirePanopticons have totally passed me by. Until very recently that is, when Richard’s post ‘ Its Grim Up North’ ( honestly it’s not that bad ! 😉 ) , brought Burnley’s iconic Singing Ringing Tree to my attention. Ever since I have been very keen to visit this amazing structure and its fellow Panopticons. Panopticons. Panopticons. I love that word! 🙂
On the Mid Pennine Arts Website I found this description of a Panopticon.
Panopticon ( noun) Structure, Space or Device providing a comprehensive or panoramic view.
East Lancashire is home to 4 such sculptures and on Saturday Wil, Hugo and I managed to hunt down two of them. Thankfully it wasn’t a bad day weather wise ( unlike Richard’s experience) and my home county was bathed in sunshine. 🙂
First we drove to the town of Rawtenstall in Rossendale and parked at The Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery on Haslingden rd. The museum is set in a pretty park and car parking is free. There is a cafe and a bar in The Whitaker and a children’s playground in the park. Therefore it is a great place to start and finish a walk up to The Halo Panopticon on Top O Slate , in the hills above Haslingden.
My first celandines of the year.
And flowering Gorse.
It didn’t take to long to find The Halo , an 18 metre diameter steel structure , supported on a tripod. It definitely resembles a Flying Saucer don’t you think ??
In daylight this Panopticon is the perfect vantage point for admiring the panoramic views over Rossendale. But it is when darkness falls that The Halo really stands out. The structure lights up at night and it’s blue glow gives the impression that it’s hovering over the valley. Maybe it does get mistaken for a UFO. 🙂 Check out haslingdenhalo.co.uk for more images.
After our spaceship discovery we walked into Rawtenstall , had a nosy around the shops and enjoyed some refreshments at Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar & Emporium. Fitzpatricks Temperance Bar on Bank Street has been serving Lancashire folks alcohol free tipples since 1890. In fact it is England’s only remaining original temperance bar ! Having recently been refurbished, Fitzpatricks now sells delicious cakes, icecreams, floats, coffee & tea , as well as its famed vintage cordials.
We sat outside with a couple of hot cordials. Wil had a Blood Tonic and Orange and I had a Lemon & Ginger cordial. Of course we had to sample some cakes as well. 🙂
These lovely Temperance Bar goodies set us up for our next Panopticon. The Singing Ringing Tree is situated about 15 minutes drive from Rawtenstall at Crown Point above the town of Burnley. Taking the form of a tree bending in the wind, this unusual musical sculpture is made from galvanised metal tubes. The wind whistleing through them creates a humming sound, as though the tree is singing. 🙂
We were treated to a harmonious wailing up there in the Pennine landcape,which I find hard to describe. Think a cross between angels singing in old black & white movies…and a pack of howling dogs. Hugo was most intrigued..
With far reaching views over the urban sprawl of Burnley and to the hills beyond ,this Panopticon gives the town dwellers and visitors a new appreciation of the surrounding countryside……as well as its own personal backing track. 🙂
So thats two East Lancashire Panopticons bagged and two more to go, the others being Colourfields in Blackburn and The Atom in Wycollar Country Park. My Panopticon Quest continues….. 🙂
Ever since I heard about Millie & Ruby’s Dog Bakery opening in Great Harwood, I have been wanting to visit with my Black Labrador Hugo. As you can imagine this place is ‘Doggy Heaven’ on the High Street. A Bakery/Shop that makes tasty treats, biscuits and muffins especially for pooches ! All are free from artificial flavourings, additives and colourings and they are made with Rye Flour , which is wheat free and low in gluten.
The Bakery is named after the Owner’s two collies and you can see pictures of them on the ‘Millie & Ruby’s’ Facebook Page. When we visited on an incredibly wet and windy Saturday morning, the lovely owner was very welcoming and told us that Hugo could sample any of the various baked biscuits and treats in store. He was only to happy to oblige. 🙂 The little blue plastic buckets you can see are full of free samples.
Millie and Ruby’s sells allsorts of pet related baked goods including Apple , bacon & Cheese Bones, Doggie Donuts, Occasion Biscuits, Chocolate Cookies, Salmon & Catnip treats ( so Kitty isn’t left out of all this Puppy Love 😉 ), Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins and even bespoke Birthday Cakes.
I ended up purchasing Hugo some Chicken Liver Buttermilk Bones, a Paw print Cookie and a bottle of ‘Bottom Sniffer’ non-alcoholic Beer for dogs. I also bought a couple of doggy donuts for a friend’s hounds. The whole lot came to just over £8 so was very reasonable I thought. 🙂
So if you ever happen to be visiting Great Harwood with your four legged friend , make sure you bob by for a pup cake. Millie & Ruby’s is situated at 48 Queen Street and is open Tuesday to Saturday : 9am to 5pm. And if you are feeling peckish yourself, the lovely Finch Bakery is just up the road. 🙂
When planning a break with your four-legged friend , it is always handy to know that one particular Lake District resort has been voted ‘Uk’s Most Dog Friendly Town’ by the Kennel Club for four years on the trot. Lovely Keswick has it all. Stunning countryside with miles and miles of walks, a beautiful lake ( Derwentwater), cosy pubs and cafes, eclectic shops , several dog-friendly parks and a variety of accommodation and visitor attractions that welcome waggy tails. It seemed the ‘Pawfect’ place for a January Break with our labrador Hugo. 🙂 Here’s what we got up to….
Where we stopped. We booked Butterfly Cottage through Sally’s Cottages who are based in Keswick. They have over 230 pet friendly holiday cottages in The Lake District and Cumbria. Our bijou retreat was so cosy with its Wood Burning Stove ( a must for a Winter Break), open plan downstairs space, fully equipped kitchen and beautiful bedroom with comfy King Size Bed. The location was really handy for everything in town and it was super useful to have an enclosed back yard with a muddy boots and paws wash.
Where we walked. Every morning before breakfast we headed to Crow Park on the banks of Derwent Water. This is one of three Dog Friendly Parks in Keswick that we noticed. The others are Hope park and Fitz Park. Each morning depending on the weather, the scenery changed. Sometimes the mountains were bathed in gold, sometimes they were an angry slate blue. It was peaceful there and Hugo had a great run around.
There is a ten mile circular walk around Derwent Water itself which we hope to try on our next visit. We did however revisit a Railway walk which we enjoyed whilst camping in Keswick a couple of years ago. The Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path is now partially destroyed due to last Winter’s storms but what remains, still makes for a pleasant stroll or bike ride. The walk starts from the Swimming Baths near Fitz Park.
We also walked up to Castlerigg Stone Circle situated just outside of Keswick off Castle lane. With the mountains of Helvellyn and High Street as a backdrop, the stone circle is among the earliest in Britain, dating back to 3000 BC. On a clearer day the views are stunning.
Places to Eat & Drink. Keswick is great for dog friendly pubs and cafes. In fact all the pubs in Keswick welcome dogs except for the Wetherspoons. Of course we made it our mission to try out as many as we could ! My favourites were The George Hotel with it’s cosy seating area by the fire, The Wainwright Pub, The Packhorse Inn, and of course The Dog and Gun famed for it’s ‘Homemade Goulash’ and doggy treat menu. 🙂
I don’t know about you but for breakfast on holidays I love pancakes. 🙂 Keswick has that sorted . We loved Merienda on the main street. It’s a fab Cafe Restaurant open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner. With an 8am opening time Mon-Sats and 9am on Sunday it is the perfect place to refuel before yomping up those hills. Another great venue for early starters is CafeBar 26 on Lake Road which does amazing Full Spanish Breakfasts. And both do make delicious pancakes. 🙂
Many of the pubs serve great food ( try the Royal Oak for their amazing Cheese Boards & Platters) and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in Keswick that welcome dogs. As well as Bar 26 and Merienda look out for The Square Orange Bar/Cafe, Java Chocolate & Coffee Shop, Lakes Bistro & Bar, The Filling Station, Little Chamonix, Laura in The lakes, Kat’s Kitchen ( Veggie ) and Mrs F’s Fine Food emporium, to name but a few.
Shopping. Plenty of shops in the town don’t mind you being accompanied by your four legged friend. I find the best thing to do is always ask first. Lots of the Outdoorsy shops are dog friendly and so are many others. Hugo visited lovely gift emporiums Cherrydidi and Love The lakes on St John’s Street,for holiday souvenirs. He also bobbed into Keswick’s well loved Pet Store Podgy Paws which is a great place to visit for advice on local walks and dog friendly places, activities and attractions.
Visitor Attractions. Here is a quick list of pet friendly things to do and places to visit in Keswick and the surrounding area. 🙂
Cumberland Pencil Museum. Carding Mill Lane. Journey through the history of pencils and pencil making. Home to the biggest colouring pencil in the world! pencilmuseum.co.uk
Keswick Launch Company. Derwentwater. See the gorgeous scenery of Derwentwater on a lake cruise. keswicklaunch.co.uk
A Puzzling Place. 9 Museum Square. An exhibition of optical illusions and trickery. puzzlingplace.co.uk
Whinlatter Forest Park. England’s only true Mountain Forest with walks, trails and adventure play. forestry.gov.uk
Mirehouse & Gardens. Stately Home and gardens on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. Dogs welcome in the gardens and grounds. mirehouse.co.uk
The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden. Portinscale. Beatrix Potter often holidayed here and the garden was the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale Of Peter Rabbit. Reachable via a lake jetty or car. thelingholmestate.co.uk
I shall certainly take a look at the list on our next visit to Keswick. Hugo cannot wait to go again…and nor can we. 🙂