Why should Brighton only be for hens and stags: what about the higher echelons of the animal kingdom? Dogs! Brighton was recently voted Britain’s most dog-friendly city by Cesar (which is a pet food for small dogs, so obviously I don’t eat it) and I thought I should check it out too. These small dogs can get confused sometimes, unlike a medium-sized chap like me.
Anyway, one of my friends in the blogosphere and the real world too, El, of www.eljae.com fame, lives in Brighton and we had IMPORTANT blogosphere business to discuss. We had our high level business meeting here, in front of Brighton’s famous Royal Pawvillion.
After that I decided a stroll along the seafront was in order but – well, many strange events happen in the day to day life of Phileas Dogg but nothing to compare with this…
Now I’m not a chap who scares easily but I must admit the hairs on my back stood up when Jane and I were approached by a lot of strange people, covered in blood, walking in a staccato, stumbling sort of way, like Malamutes on Mogadon. There were LITERALLY millions of them.
Jane said they were called zombies. I wondered whether these zombies were a sort of designer cross breed of human, like we have designer cross breeds of dogs – the Cockapoo and the Labradoodle. Maybe Zombies were a designer cross breed of human that had gone terribly, terribly wrong.
But Jane said no: zombies are the living dead, walking the earth as corpses. Howl-O-Ween.
Then we saw a Zombie Dog. This freaky fella was really trying to put the fear into me, howling like a Hell Hound and putting his paws up for a fight. I wasn’t cowed though, despite the fact the stench of rotting flesh was making my eyes water….
Reader, I took him on. He was running back to his kennel in the underworld after meeting Attlee Common and make no mistake. Phileas: ONE; Zombie Dog; ZERO!
Still, I did need a drink after that experience – thank Dog Brighton has lots of booze hound hostelries. After the sight of all that blood, even a carnivore like me felt a little queasy so we started off vegetarian – at The Prince George where we had a veggie burrito thing, which was so massive I even forgot about zombie dog for a minute. The Prince George has a good pub quiz on a Sunday night, chips in Jane, where El’s father once made a plasticine model of a Teenage Fanclub album. Irrelevant but thanks, Jane.
We were on a proper mission now so we headed to Kemp Town, to the Ginger Dog – woof! I was served with a big bowl of water as soon as I set foot in the establishment. I think the good publicans of Brighton had heard of my encounter with the TERRIFYING ZOMBIE DOG and were all in paw of me for keeping the streets safe. Quite right too!
After my terrifying experience I’d have liked to be settling my head down for the night in a top boutique hotel – the Paskins Townhouse, for example, which has had excellent write-ups in The Times and is dog and environment-friendly. Or The Grand Hotel – which is, appaz, very GRAND!
But Jane’s funds didn’t stretch to that. So we had to kip the night at our friend Don’s. The good thing about this is that we could stop in The Gladstone, which is a big yellow pub near his flat, for a much-needed nightcap – well, I had had rather a trying day. I like The Gladstone – it is quite bohoundian and full of student-types, perfect for me being, as well as a Slayer of Zombie Dogs, something of an intellectual.
The next morning we strolled along Brighton beach. Some bits are dog-friendly and others aren’t. Seems a bit ridiculous that they won’t let dogs on some parts of the beach – but they will let the living dead. Flagrant Dogism!
Jane wanted to visit the open fields and hills of Devil’s Dyke for a good walk. But, imho – in my hound’s opinion – after my encounter of the previous day, I didn’t want to go anywhere near the Devil, even if he was only ten minutes away from the city centre by number 77 bus.
So we decided on a roast – in the Hobgoblin. What is it with this town – Zombies, Devils and Goblins? There were loads of dogs in the pub though – High Paw! – and, even though it had a Gothic feel, it was glamorous Gothic rather than gloomy Gothic. And the roast was excellent.
So Brighton rocks, as well as shocks. Maybe we’ll come back in the summer next time, when it’s a zombie-free zone.
Phileas Phact Box, Brighton:
- El’s blog is at www.eljae.com
- Brighton Zombie Walk takes place on the beach every October. Best avoided!
- Prince George, 5 Trafalgar Street, Brighton, BN1 4EQ Tel: 01273 681055; www.princegeorgebrighton.co.uk
- The Ginger Dog, 12 College Place, Brighton, BN2 1HN Tel: 01273 620990; www.thegingerdog.com
- The Gladstone, 123 Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 3QB Tel: 01273 620888; www.thegladstonebrighton.com
- The Hobgoblin, 31 York Place, Brighton, BN1 4GU Tel: 01273 682933; www.hobgoblinbrighton.co.uk
- Paskin’s Townhouse, 18/19 Charlotte Street, Brighton, BN2 1AG Tel: 01273 601273; www.paskins.co.uk
- The Grand Hotel Brighton, 97-99 King’s Road, Brighton, BN1 2FW Tel: 0871 222 4684; www.devere-hotels.co.uk
- Between October to May, Brighton’s beaches are ALL dog-friendly. To see where dogs are allowed during the summer, log on to www.brighton-hove.gov.uk
From Zombie dogs – to cartoon ones! James Barklee, the canine narrator of Sad Tales for Me, is the most misunderstood and overlooked member of his family, just like me. And, just like me again, he’s a pawthor and a member of the National Union Of Dogs That Can Write (NUDTCW). James shared his favourite dog-friendly places exclusively with Phileas Dogg.
Whitstable, Kent: The wind in my fur and the chance to play in the surf, is one of the reasons why I enjoy Whitstable. You can visit the tiny harbour, walk along the seafront and my family always enjoys the oysters you can buy. But I love watching the seagulls and running into other dogs down by the beach. Plus I always get to snack on a few chips – a perfect day by the sea.
Hampstead Heath, London: Going for walk on the heath is like being in the countryside. There’s woods, ponds, muddy tracks, long grass to hide in: you can roam free. My family loves it too. And there are lots of dog-friendly pubs nearby too.
Walking the National Trust Wey Navigation to Basingstoke Canal: I love this walk in Surrey. Trotting along the canal, down the towpath, you can see all kinds of boats, houses and wildlife. We normally start in Weybridge and then walk in the direction of Woking. There are some lovely pubs along the route that always have water bowls for dogs outside.
Visit Barking: Just because of the name. Every dog should have its picture taken outside the station. Paddington Bear has Paddington station, so why can’t dogs?
You can follow James’ adventures at Far Far Away Books on Facebook and @FarFarAwayBook on Twitter.