The first thing I can tell you about Cornwallshire is that it’s a long way from my hood in south-east London – a very long way in the car, which involves two stops at one of those motorway services places that don’t allow dogs inside. Haterz!
(Sophie, a little human who is five-years-old, measures car journeys in songs – how many songs away are we? Well, Cornwall is about a thousand songs away from London – perhaps even a million.)
But Jane and the photographer, who are privileged enough to be accompanying me on my travels on this occasion, cheer when we pass a big sign that says Cornwall and that means we are there. Or nearly there. We drive around lots of one lane country roads and behind car things called tractors and then over a hill and there before us is a beach the colour of a golden retriever and the shape of one of those shoes that a horse wears on its feet-paws. It is a perfect beach, with a big cliff hill at the back of it, and we have arrived at our destination – the village on the north Cornwall coast that is called Mawgan Porth.
We are staying at a cottage called 4 Porth Farm Cottages – part of a little crescent of grey stone cottages. But ours is the BIGGEST. The door knocker is in the shape of a Hunter wellington boot and this means good things because Hunter Wellington boots equals walks.
Inside the cottage there is a big kitchen table and on this table people have laid out lots of good stuff in preparation for our arrival. Cornish tea bags, for Jane, and Cornish strawberry jam, for Jane, and Cornish dog treats, for me. And Costa Rican coffee, which is not Cornish at all.
Inside the big pink fridge that has the word SMEG written on it, there are Cornish SAUSAGES and Cornish butter and Cornish bacon and Cornish eggs. We are in Cornwall.
The cottage is very big. It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms and a front room. There are lots of things for humans who have little humans, like a high chair, and there is a big metal bowl ready and waiting for me and my SAUSAGES to be cooked and placed inside.
My favourite thing about 4 Porth Farm Cottages is the floor in the kitchen. It is made up of big grey slate tiles and, when I lie down on them, they are warm. Amaze-bones!
Outside the cottage there is a lot of grass for me to roll about in and a rowing boat and a tyre attached to a wire which is called a zip wire. The humans play on this but it seems a very odd game – sitting on a tyre, whizzing down a wire. Why don’t they just chase a stick like normal mammals?
That is all about the cottage.
Outside the cottage, in greater Cornwallshire, there are a lot of adventures to be had. The best adventure is on the beach at Mawgan Porth, five minutes down the hill from the cottage. There are so many dogs on the beach and some of them are even in the water with the big roaring and rearing waves. I not like the sea but then maybe these Cornish dogs, so brave in Cornwall-shire, would balk at some of the rough-housing I have to deal with in the parks of south-east London.
Anyway, I meet a Dalmatian and I chase his stick and I dig about in the sand. It is truly the best fun ever.
There is a pub opposite the beach called The Merrymoor Inn. It is the only pub in Mawgan Porth but that doesn’t matter because it is very merry-more and full of dogs and the portions of pub grub, like the steak and ale pie Jane has, are big, meaning CHIPS. The photographer says the Cornish ale is good but Jane drinks white wine wherever in the world she goes and there is no Cornish white wine on offer – just Sauvignon Blanc. And Cornish water straight from the tap for me.
There is a fish and chip shop and a restaurant in Mawgan Porth but it is April and they are not open. There is a corner shop and a newsagents called Betty’s and a surf shop and another shop which Jane finds amusing because it is called Grand Central Disco Beads. This is a big hilaire joke because Mawgan Porth is tiny and if it had a grand central disco there would be no one to go. Dogs are allowed in Grand Central Disco Beads so I am able to report that it sells beads, in lots of shiny disco colours.
Seven miles from Mawgan Porth is a pretty little town called Rick Stein. Actually it is not called this at all – it’s called Padstow – but it should be because everything in it is Rick Stein. There is the Rick Stein café (dogs allowed in the garden only) and the Rick Stein restaurant and the Rick Stein bed and breakfast and the Rick Stein bakery and the Rick Stein shop. And some other stuff too.
After we’ve visited Rick Steinsville, we go to a beach called Watergate Bay. This is about a mile from Mawgan Porth and there is a walk over the cliffs to reach it. It is the biggest beach in the world and it is all made of golden retriever colour sand and there are big multicoloured birds that Jane says are kites flying above it. I bark and bark at these multicoloured birds called kites because I don’t like the way they swoop to the ground and crumple and then billow up into life again.
There are also a lot of bipeds that look like humans but don’t smell like humans. They smell of rubber and are clutching big planks of wood – too big for me, even, to fetch – and they take the planks of woods into the sea and stand on them and then fall off.
Very strange. Taking all this in is quite exhausting – a lot for a little dog’s brain to process, even though I am above average HQ.
In fact, I need a pasty to recover from it. And Jane and the photographer need a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc (not Cornish) in the Beach Hut, which is a restaurant in a fancy hut sort of shed right on the beach, on stilts, sort of. The waitress tells us that when the tide comes in the sea reaches right up to the huge glass windows of The Beach Hut. And even though Jane enjoys her mussels, fresh from Fowey, which is also in Cornish-wall, I do not want to wait around for the sea-waves to rear up at us, not that I admit this. So I yawn and pretend I’m tired and need to head back to the cottage for a snooze on the warm grey kitchen slates.
Phileas Fact Box: Cornwall
- 4 Porth Farm Cottages is part of Beach Retreats’ Cornish cottages portfolio. Call 01637 861005 or log on to www.beachretreats.co.uk. Beach Retreats allow dogs at most of their properties on the North Cornish coast so high paw to them. Prices start at £435 for three nights in 4 Porth Farm Cottages.
- The Beach Hut, Watergate Bay is at www.watergatebay.co.uk/thebeachhut. Tel: 01637 860877 to book a table. Dogs very welcome – we’re even given a super-cool White Stuff bowl to drink from. Woof!
- The Merrymoor Inn is at 01637 860258 and www.merrymoorinn.com
- If you want some disco beads, log on to http://discobeads.com. THEY GLOW IN THE DARK – how cool would a couple of them be on my collar? Disco Dog!
- Some Cornish beaches are closed for dogs May to September but Mawgan Porth and Watergate Bay are dog-friendly all year round. Grrrrr-huzzah!