Last Saturday was a big day in my life because I went to a wedding – a dog-friendly wedding, if you will. I was the guest of honour and York Register Office, having heard of my celebrity status as Britain’s top canine correspondent, made an exception to its usual rules and allowed me in to survey the proceedings.
The wedding belonged to Jane’s sister, Steph, who was marrying a man called Jerome.
Marrying means that Steph and Jerome aren’t ever allowed to speak to a member of the opposite sex again EVER, apart from each other. This being the case, I don’t think marrying would be my bowl of dog biscuits. Right now, my favourite bitch in the park is Sky but last year my best bitch was Plum and the year before that Fenn. Who knows what hot dawg might turn up next year and catch my eye?
So I don’t think I’m the marrying kind.
Anyway, I am glad Steph and Jerome married, because I like Jerome, and now that he’s part of our pack I am officially his pet-in-law. That means he has to make extra dinner whenever Jane and I stay with him and Steph and serve some up to me. Grrrr-huzzah!
Needless to say, I was the smartest guest at the wedding. I don’t know why everyone makes such a fuss about what to wear to these events. Jane went down to Whitstable, to choose a dress, and then to Waterloo station, to collect a petticoat, and then to Pimlico, to buy a hat that had pretend flowers on it. Pretend flowers – what’s the point? If a flower isn’t fragrant it’s useless – it’s just a thing for me to lift my leg against. And I couldn’t very well lift my leg on Jane’s bouquet-less bonnet because it was on her head!
Yes, all this palaver among the people over clothes whereas I simply turned up in the park the day before the wedding and was presented with TOP HAT AND TAILS by Annie, my official couturier.
* And here I am looking fit as a butcher’s dog, even if I did feel a bit of a fool. I would like to post a photograph of the bride and groom but unfortunately rights to the wedding pictures have been snapped up by Hello magazine so it’s out of the question for a humble little site like Phileas to get our paws on them. Bark Out Loud!
Well, after the service at the register office, we went for lunch and all the humans drank a golden liquid with bubbles in it that made them Laugh Out Loud a lot.
It was a little bit rum as I wasn’t allowed in the venue – #notAmazoneBones – and had to wait outside in the gardens tied to a table with my lead for three whole hours. Under normal circumstances I’d have made a great fuss about this but it wasn’t my big day – it was Steph’s big day. So I was patient and well-mannered and courteous and I reaped the rewards as all the other guests were sorry that the best-dressed chap at the event was banished outside so brought me lots of tit-bits. I snaffled, in no particular order: Parma ham, chorizo, pumpkin pasta, bread and butter pudding, cheese AND biscuits. #AmazeBones
Anyway, enough of this – I am just talking about me, me, me, Jane says, whereas my readers want information that is useful to them, like where to go in York for the best sights, smells and sounds. And I can help with that, because in the course of the weekend I visited two hound-happy hostelries and kipped in a hound-happy hotel. So here are my findings.
- First up, and my favourite pub – high paw – was The Lamb and Lion Inn. This was the Bonio best because it was built into the city walls and had lots of corridors from olden days to sniff my way along. And it had a private dining room that I was welcomed into rather than being barred because of some EU law that doesn’t exist, but HATERZ pretend does, about dogs not being allowed in restaurants. And it had a roaring fire, which was required, even though I visited in mid-May. And one of the main dishes on the menu was PIE, which Jane ordered and her PIE-eyes are always larger than her stomach, meaning I get my piece of the PIE. Grr-huzzah!
- The Lamb and Lion Inn, 2-4 High Petergate, York, YO1 7EH Tel: 01904 654112; www.lambandlionyork.com
- The other pub I visited, on the Saturday night, after the wedding, because the humans wanted more to drink while I had had quite enough water in my bowl for one day, thank you very much, was the Three Legged Mare, known to locals as the wonky donkey. Anyway, it’s the sort of pub Jane likes because it was quite grungy and no fuss. But mainly she liked it because a random stranger asked where she’d bought her dress. Jane was rather thrilled by this and reckoned it made her the best dressed guest at the wedding but I put her straight on that one.
- Three Legged Mare, 15 High Petergate, York, YO1 7EN Tel: 01904 638246; www.york-brewery.co.uk
- We stayed at a guesthouse five minutes walk from York Minster called The Holme Lea Manor, or Homely, as Jane called it, which would be a far better name, as it was, really, homely – with rooms that weren’t too self-consciously interior designed. I am not a fan of self-consciously interior designed. A bed and a chair and a bowl – that’s all that’s required to sustain canine-kind. Fido requires not fripperies! One criticism however – there were lots of pictures of Winston Churchill on the walls and not one of my namesake, Clement Attlee. I think the homeley Holme Lea should rectify this, especially as Attlee (ie. ME!) has stayed there and I’m not sure Churchill ever did. Oh, and another criticism, from Jane and Steph – no biscuits to dunk in their tea.
- The breakfast was proper though and, even though I wasn’t allowed in the dining room, when Jane brought my SAUSAGES up to me they were of the highest order. Yorkshire sausages, Jane said – but I would have thought SAUSAGES are more Pork-shire than York-shire. BOL at my own joke!
- Steph and Jane slept in twin beds on the night before the wedding but, on the night of the wedding, Steph was gone, off to begin married life, so I had her single bed all to myself. Perhaps marriage is for me after all, as long as it’s other people’s.*
- *I’m not sure that I was strictly allowed to have a whole bed to myself on the Saturday night so please keep this aspect of my trip under your hats!
- Holme Lea Manor, 18 St Peter’s Grove, York, YO30 6AQ Tel: 01904 623529; www.holmelea.co.uk Prices start at £50 per night for a single room: £XX extra for dogs.
- My official couturier and seamstress is Annie – www.annie2pins.co.uk. She might make you an outfit if you send her a request but I cannot promise you’ll look as handsome as me. Sorry.
Extra York Notes
And I have even more information about York, because, in January, I stayed at William and Mary’s house, Middlethorpe Hall, which is ten minutes’ drive from the city.
William and Mary were so very, very glad to welcome me and aware of the privilege I was bestowing on them by visiting that I was afforded the best room in the house – not so much a room, as a whole cottage.
But then, woe, when I fancied a mooch around the main attraction – the big posh hall – William and Mary would not allow me in. I was stuck on the doorstep!
Now, this is clearly wrong. Anyone who has watched Downton Abbey knows that dogs are definitely not below stairs – we are above stairs. The Labrador in Downton follows Lord Grantham everywhere and mixes with the upper echelons of society without causing anyone any embarrassment.
Oh sorry – interruption from Jane. She is informing me that we were not staying at William and Mary’s house at all – but in a William and Mary house, which is a different thing altogether. A William and Mary house is a house that was built during the reign of William and Mary – three hundred years ago. William and Mary don’t exist. Well, they do, somewhere and they did, with big golden crowns on their head. But William and Mary aren’t at this particular house now which is, in fact, owned by the National Trust. Major confuse-bones!
Anyway, back to where I’m allowed and not allowed. Apart from the wrong-ness of people thinking dogs are too scruffy for posh houses (THE CORGIS AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE – I rest my case!) the people at Middlethorpe Hall did allow me on the terrace and did give me a map on arrival, showing me all the good walks in the area and in the hall’s 20 acres of grounds, and were very friendly whenever they saw me, and didn’t charge the humans extra for me to stay. (A lot of places do and this is the biggest Bark Out Loud in the world because I should charge them for the privilege of a visit from me.)
So all in all it was a good stay and I would recommend it, as long as you don’t get ideas above your station and try to set paw in the main house.
- Middlethorpe Hall, York, Yo23 2GB Tel: 01904 641241; www.middlethorpe.com
- Prices start at £99 per person per night – no extra charge for dogs.