Crossing the Channel with Monty

Bonjour, tout le monde! I’m Monty Spaniel, Phileas Dogg’s brand new continental canine reporter.  I’ll be bringing you the lowdown on what to do, see and sniff across the Channel, along with my personal recommendations for canine cuisine.

Ever since starring in an advert for puppy food when I was little, I’ve led a bit of a celebrity lifestyle. I’ve also been on TV, playing ‘Police Sniffer Dog Number 1’ in a real-life murder reconstruction, and have appeared in several magazines. Like many celebrities, I now have a holiday home in the south west of France, where I can lie doggo when I get fed up with the pup-arrazzi.

My house is in a tiny village in the foothills of the Pyrenees, and all the locals call me ‘le chien anglais’.  Although there are Springer Spaniels in France (known as ‘les Springers’, pronounced ‘sprin – jair’), there aren’t any others in my neck of the woods, so I’m quite the local figure. When I’m at home in Britain and not crossing the continent, I live in Cheshire.

This is me, hiking in the Pyrenees

Of course, I have my own pass-paw-t. Since the regulations were changed on January 1st 2012, it’s even easier to go abroad – you just need a microchip, a rabies vaccination and a passport.  It’s also really important to get your owner to treat you against ticks, as they carry some nasty diseases in some parts of France, and long-haired breeds like me are more at risk. Plus, I think the ticks like my blue blood.

I like to travel by Eurotunnel. It’s completely straightforward and stress-free, as I get to travel in the car with my owners, and the journey only takes half an hour. Plus, Eurotunnel have special doggy play areas where I can stretch my paws before the journey, and have a last sniff of my home turf before heading under the sea.

 

As a seasoned traveller, here are my recommendations for a comfortable journey.

  • A decent, non-spill waterbowl, as it’s a long way to France, and a dog doesn’t like to get wet paws on the corners. I like the Road Refresher – solid, sturdy and it really is non-spill.
  • Bedding to travel on – vet bed-type fleece is comfortable and easily washable.
  •  Toys – of course, I have two sets of toys, one at each end, but if you’re a novice traveller, you might like to take a toy to help you settle in.

I’ll be bringing you recommendations for dog-friendly places to stay, walks to do and places to visit in France, but for now, au revoir, mes amis (that’s French for ‘see ya later, chums’. I’m on page two of ‘French for Dogs’ now).

Phileas Fact Box: Travelling to France

 

Me in France, learning to ski

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sherborne, Dorset

The Umbrellas of Sherborne

The Queen is following in my paw-steps, or at least the Corgis are. For, just ten days after I, Phileas Dogg, visited Sherborne in Dorset, she, Queen Elizabeth the Second, is there visiting. TODAY!

Jane wanted me to investigate Sherborne in the course of my research because, on a visit there 15 years ago, she thought it the ‘cutest, quaintest little rural hideaway’.

The buildings, she has often rhapsodised since, are very ancient and appear to be hewn from great slabs of toffee. Sherborne Abbey, founded in AD 705, is one of the great churches of England. Sherborne, Jane continues apace, has a fine and busy town centre, brimming with independent traders. And two castles. It was once the capital of ancient Wessex.

(I’ve used a bit of poetic license there – Jane doesn’t actually staccato out random facts like that. In fact, I’ve used a bit of poetic license and Wikipedia.)

Oh but initial investigations did not reveal Sherborne to be the most dog-friendly town in the world. Was it to posh to pooch?

The man at the Britannia said no canines allowed: try the Half Moon, opposite the Abbey. The Half Moon said nae, try the Plume of Feathers, next door. The Plume said yes – but it only had a couple of bedrooms and they were busy. Someone else reckoned that The Bakehouse B&B accepted canine guests, as the owners had a dog. But no human hand or canine paw was picking up the phone at The Bakehouse.

This was all very odd, especially from a town that boasts the wonderfully named Hound Street!

The delights of Sherborne were to be hidden from me forever – until Carol at The Crown Inn answered the phone.

‘We have never been asked if we take dogs before,’ Carol said.

‘But do you?’ Jane asked, persistent. She is learning some terrier instincts from me. Make your bark heard!

‘Well, I suppose we could,’ Carol said. ‘Is he well-behaved?’

‘Very,’ Jane replied.

And that was that. We were booked in with Carol and her husband Malcolm for the night at The Crown Inn – and at a bargain £40 for a double room. That’s £20pppn – amaze-bones value for money! Including a big breakfast and SAUSAGES for me.

I can report that, after my stay at The Crown Inn, Carol and Malcolm have made it their policy to always throw down the red carpet to canines. This is on account of my breeding and manners, so impeccable they could have been learnt at the school just one minute down the road. I have opened the door of The Crown Inn to all dogs – and should a canine visit, on my recommendation, he or she will be most grateful. For, while The Crown is neither boutique nor five star, gentrified nor gastronomic, it’s clean, super-friendly, and a two-minute stroll from the centre of Sherborne. What more do you require, hounds of Britain?

Things for dogs to do in Sherborne: take your owners for a walk (on the lead) in the 42-acre grounds of Sherborne Castle. Go to one of the antiques fairs in Digby Hall, where you will receive much fuss. Stroll through the ancient streets enjoying the medieval architecture (lifting your leg against it, in other barks.)

Humans can go to the Rajpoot Indian restarant but dogs aren’t allowed so I disapprove strongly of this course of action. However, Jane says that I must report that the Rajpoot is one of the finest curry houses she has ever visited and has a spectacular view of the Abbey, particularly attractive in the evening, when it’s floodlit.

I’m sure the Queen won’t go to the Rajpoot though. I have heard on the dog and bone that the Queen’s philosophy is: if somewhere’s not good enough for the corgis, it’s not good enough for her.

Royal Woof!

(NB: This post is entitled The Umbrellas of Sherborne because it rained all the time we were there.)

Phileas Fact Box, Sherborne:

  • The Crown Inn, Greenhill, Sherborne, Dorset,DT9 4EP. Tel: 01935 812930. Website: www.crowninn.biz. Prices start at £20 pppn; dogs stay free.
  • The Bakehouse does accept dogs, at a cost of £5 per night. Human prices are £49 for a single human and £69 for a double human. The Bakehouse, 1 Acreman Street, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 3NU. Tel: 01935 817969. Website: www.bakehouse.me.uk
  • Sherborne Castle, New Road, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 5NR. Tel: 01935 812 072. Website: www.sherbornecastle.com
  • Rajpoot Indian restaurant, Half Moon Street, Sherborne, DT9 3LN. Tel: 01935 812455. Website: www.rajpootsherborne.co.uk

 

 

Mawgan Porth, North Cornwall

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.

The Beach Hut at Watergate Bay

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! 

    Keep your paws off our pasties George!

 

 

 

 

Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight

Okay, I’m going to confess something now – I’ve never been to the Isle of Wight and neither has any of my intrepid band of rover reporters. But Jane discovered a little booklet called Pawprint, produced by Wightlink, the ferry company which serves the Isle of Wight, and in this little booklet are 12 dogs that either love living on or visiting the island. So Jane rang the people at Wightlink and asked if we could share these island tips with Phileas Phans and the people at Wightlink said yes.

This photograph is the main reason Jane wanted to share Pawprint with my readers – not hers. But I don’t mind. Seven-year-old Breez lives in a part of the island called West Wight and she is ferried around the country lanes in a customised sidecar on her owner Graham’s Vespa scooter. A dog’s life indeed – how much better is that than having to squeeze on to the smelly old number 12 bus in Peckham and be stared at in a none-too-friendly manner by a lot of dog haterz?

Photograph and copyright Lee Higham; Wightlink 2012

Here are Breez’s top tips for her patch, near the village of Freshwater on the island.

‘In the summer I love swimming in the sea at Whale Chine. It’s quiet there and we often have the beach to ourselves. Another favourite is Fort Victoria Country Park where the coastal walk through the woods provides inquisitive dogs like me with lots to sniff out. The Fort has large cannons which I like to jump over and if you visit you can check out the model of me sitting in the sidecar of Graham’s scooter at the Model Railway.’

Three-year-old Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Daisy-May also lives on the Isle of Wight and Daisy-May runs a hotel, along with the occasional assistance of her humans, Mary, Kim and Cam. Daisy-May barks: ‘I love meeting the dogs that come to my guest house as long as they remember I’m top dog.’

Photograph and copyright Lee Higham; published by Wightlink

  • Daisy-May’s hotel is called Heatherleigh Guest House. It is at 17 Queens Road, Shanklin, Isle of Wight,  PO37 6AW. Tel: 01983 862503. Website: www.heatherleigh.co.uk. Prices start at £32 pppn.
  • Her favourite walks around Shanklin are the south end of the beach by the Fisherman’s Cottage and the low tide walk from Fisherman’s Cottage to Luccombe beach. ‘I like paddling in the shallow water up to my chest,’ she barks.

The top ten pubs in the Isle of Wight, as selected by the pups and pooches of Pawprint are:

  • The Crab & Lobster Inn, Bembridge (crabandlobsterinn.co.uk/01983 872244). This dog-friendly establishment topped the Pawprint dog poll and is located above the beach at Bembridge Ledge.  Dogs are welcome in the bar and eating areas.
  •  Crown Inn, Shorwell (crowninnshorwell.co.uk/01983 740293).  Recommended by Spice, dogs are welcome in the inn and outside in its picturesque garden.
  • Culver Haven Inn, Culver Down (01983 406107).  Chosen by photographer’s dog Noah because of their specially cooked sausages for dogs, this cliff top pub has spectacular views to the mainland
  • Driftwood Beach Bar, Sandown (driftwoodbeachbar.com/01983 404004).  Surfer dog Sherrie and owner Pauline paddle their kayak to this beach bar.  Open from March for the summer season.
  • Fisherman’s Cottage, Shanklin (01983 297171). Recommended by locals Daisy-May and Sherrie, this historic thatched pub is on the beach below Shanklin Chine.  Open May-October.
  • Folly Inn, Whippingham (folly-inn-east-cowes.co.uk/01983 297171).  Just up river from Cowes in Whippingham, this riverside inn is a favourite of both Daisy-May and Foxy.
  • The Spyglass Inn, Ventnor (thespyglass.com/01983 855338) was another Pawprint Poll favourite, located just above the beach on Ventnor seafront.
  •  The Steamer Inn, Shanklin (thesteamer.co.uk/01983 862641).  A Foxy favourite, this seafront pub welcomes dogs on a lead and provides two water bowls for light refreshment.
  •  The Sun Inn, Hulverstone (sun-hulverstone.com/01983 741124).  A second nomination from Noah, this character pub near Brook Chine provides biscuits for good dogs in the bar and garden.
  • The Wight Mouse Inn, Chale (wightmouse.co.uk/01983 730431).  Spice and Foxy both enjoy the huge garden of this south Wight pub.

Phileas Fact Box: Isle of Wight

  • Dogs travel FREE on Wightlink ferries. Log on to www.wightlink.co.uk. Foot passenger fares start from £12.50 for a day return and car ferry fares start from £36 for a day return for a car and four passengers. I, Phileas Dogg, very much hope to visit the Isle of Wight some time soon so that I can sniff bottoms with Breez and Daisy-May. Grrrrr-huzzah!
  • (If you’d like a copy of Pawprint, log on to wightlink.co.uk and the people there will send you and your owners one.)

 

 

East Sussex

Hastings: Attlee goes into battle

It is the first weekend of spring and I am off to the seaside – Hastings, in fact, which is famous for the Battle of Hastings, a long time ago, in 1066. So we are safe now.

The most exciting thing that happened to me in Hastings was that there was an ice cream cone abandoned on the pavement, and I snaffled that and then I snaffled a whole big portion of abandoned chips as well. Chips and a cone – I was really having the full British seaside experience. Grrrr-huzzah!

The Hotel

Jane has booked me, the photographer and her into a hotel that she found on-line, called The White Rock Hotel. It said on the Internet it was dog-friendly and within five minutes of us arriving another two hounds had checked in and I’d had had a bark off with a Border Terrier. Most amaze-bones of all, a dog called Rocky – the hotel dog, apparently – works behind reception.

Everybody in The White Rock Hotel was very friendly and the lady who showed us to our room, which was big and clean, said she preferred canine to human hotel guests, because dogs don’t get drunk, rowdy and have arguments. We are polite hotel guests.

The White Rock Hotel is right opposite the seafront. If you had a seaview room you’d be able to see Hastings Pier, which was so badly damaged during a fire in 2010 that nobody is allowed on it – not even an intrepid dog like me. Anyway we didn’t have a sea view room, but Jane didn’t care because she said The White Rock Hotel was very reasonably priced and the bottles of water in the mini bar were FREE, instead of costing about fifty pounds like they do in most hotels.

The Beach

Hastings beach is pebbles, rather than sand, and sadly for me there wasn’t any seaweed on it, even though I searched and searched. Seaweed would have been the perfect pudding to my cone and chips. It is a very long beach but I couldn’t run all the way down it because some of the things that divide it width ways – groins, Jane says they are called – are very huge and I could not make it over them. (Nobody could – not even a wolf – so this is not a reflection on my athletic abilities.)

The Shops

A lot of the shops in Hastings are dog-friendly – more than in London. Just next to the hotel, there is a shop called Collared, which had a pretend pink dog in the window. An Afghan Hound. Thank Dog for it that it’s pretend because if it was real it would get some funny looks down the park.

The old bit of Hastings, about quarter of an hour from the beach, is called The Old Town and, as we know, people love Olde Thinges and Townes. There is a shop there selling old bicycles which have been restored, and a place called The Furniture Hospital, which is like the vets, but for chairs.

There are also lots of antique shops – Olde Thinges again – and a little independent cinema, which I don’t suppose dogs are allowed in, but Jane liked, because it was cute. Unlike the Peckham Plex, which is cheap but not cute.

The other shopping bit of Hastings we went to, about a ten minute walk from the hotel, was Norman Road in St Leonards-on-Sea. It is all olde thinges again but there is one shop that sells some new things, called SHOP. And I was allowed into this SHOP – more than that, when Jane and me were standing outside the owner of the SHOP came out and said: ‘Dogs are welcome here!’ She was practically rolling out the red carpet for Phileas Dogg! Even though part of the SHOP was a café and people in cafes are normally like: ‘Get that scruffy mutt away from my cream scones and profiteroles.’ I wish more humans were like the lady from SHOP!

The Pubs

Ye Olde Pumpe House is in the Olde Towne and has lots of historic beames on the outside. Inside there are two bars – a little one downstairs and a bigger one upstairs – and there is an outside courtyard and I was allowed EVERYWHERE! The food was decent pub grub – big portions so lots of spare chips for me. There is a pub dog but I didn’t meet him – likely he’d heard I was coming and thought he’d keep a low profile for the night. Grrrrr-huzzah!

A man sitting outside The Anchor Inn told Jane that it is the oldest pub in Hastings but now she’s checked the website it says it’s not the oldest. It’s the second oldest. Humans lie! But it was a good pub anyway, housed in a Georgian building (the photographer said and I am reporting) and the beer was good (the photographer said and again, I am reporting). From my point of view, which is really the most important, everybody was very friendly. When we sat outside, I could bark at all the dogs passing up and down the street to make them all terrified. I am a terror-ier, after all!

The Cafe

On Norman Road in St Leonards there was a café called LOVE and Jane LOVED it because it was a mishmash of comfy sofas and little bistro tables and paintings and oddities that customers could buy – for example, a big red velvet throne. Jane also LOVED the LOVE café because the bubble and squeak she had for breakfast was in a perfect little patty, like a little round bun. The SAUSAGE was very good as well – so good that, even though it was mine, the photographer ended up eating about half of it. Not happy. (The photographer has asked me to mention, so I will, despite the SAUSAGE incident, that there were some lovely photographs for sale – artistic landscape pictures of Hastings – by someone called Bob Mazzer.

 

Phileas Fact Box: Hastings

  •  The White Rock Hotel, 1-10 White Rock, Hastings, TN34 1JU. Tel: 01424 422240
  • Website: www.thewhiterockhotel.com
  • Scores on the Paws: Attlee – 5/5; Jane – 4/5; The Photographer – 4/5
  • Dogs are allowed on Hastings beach from the pier, westwards to groyne 32 and from groyne 42 (next to the slope at Marina) westwards.
  • Collared, 37e Robertson Street, America Ground, Hastings, TN34 1HT. Tel: 01424 719918. Website: www.collareddog.co.uk
  • Bells Bicycles, 4 George Street, Hastings, TN34 3EG. Tel: 01424 716541. Website: www.bellsbicycles.co.uk
  • Electric Palace Cinema, 39a High Street, Hastings, TN34 3ER. Tel: 01424 720393. Website: www.electricpalacecinema.com
  • SHOP is at 32 – 34 Norman Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, TN38 OEJ. Tel: 078255 02159
  • The Olde Pumpe House, 64 George Street, Hastings, TN34 3EE. Tel: 01424 422016. Website: http://yeoldepumphouse.com
  • The Anchor Inn, 13 George Street, Hastings, TN34 3EG. Tel: 01424 201472. Website: www.anchorhastings.co.uk
  • Love Cafe, 40 Norman Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, TN38 OEG. Special Phileas Dogg Paw Print of Approval for this caff – it is one of the best places I’ve been.
  • There is a website about Norman Road that is very fine. It is written by Norman and it is at www.thenormanroad.co.uk

 

An afternoon in Lewes

So Jane and I are spending a sunny afternoon strolling around the ancient town of Lewes in the South Downs and we are off to a good start – a man in the first pub we visit is feeding me delicious blocks of cheddar cheese. And it only costs 55 pence for Jane’s lime and soda – not £1.50 like it does in some London boozers. This pub is called The Brewers Arms and is very friendly – especially the man with the cheese.

After The Brewers Arms we walk down a very steep cobbled street with a bookshop at the top of it – the bookshop is built of wood and has books outside on shelves, that any passing ruffian could half-inch. But Lewes does not seem the sort of place where passing ruffians would half-inch books. Lewes seems very genteel.

We go to Anne of Cleves house, although apparently Anne of Cleves never lived in it – it was part of her divorce settlement from Henry 8th. Never mind not living in it, I’m not even allowed to have a nose around inside it. This is a shame because I like the smells in old houses and recreating in my head the lives of the people who were there, through my nose and the things it tells me.

I am a bit sad until we reach Priory Park, a five minute walk from Anne of Cleves dogs not welcome house. Priory Park is amaze-bones! It used to be a monastery, where monks lived, and was founded in 1078. I cannot even think how far back that would be – my great-great-great-great: no, I give up. 1078 is very far away in time anyway. Now the monastery is ruins set in a lovely green park and it’s lead off for dogs. We can inspect the ruins with our noses and roll in the ancient grass and all the people in the park are pleased to see us. Priory Park is my favourite place in Lewes, bar none. Even more favourite than the pub with the cheese squares!

After an hour in Priory Park, we investigate another dog-friendly Lewes pub – this pub is called The King’s Head and it is laidback with a barman who is sort of friendly and sort of grumpy at the same time and brings me a bowl of water. It has a beer garden too, where people can sit and drink beer in a garden.

Then we go back up the very steep Keere Street to Lewes Castle, which is called Norman. There are lots of steps up to the castle and dogs are allowed to walk up all these steps with their owners only to be turned away from the castle itself. This is a bit unfair – all that effort for no reward. Luckily Jane has some Reward dog treats to remedy the effort/no reward equation.

There ends Phileas Dogg’s guide to Lewes. A brief encounter but enough to judge that Priory Park is my second favourite park in the world and that the locals in The Brewers Arms are generous with their cheddar cheese blocks.

(Disclaimer: Jane is watching Take Me Out as I scribe this with my quill and ink and the noise of the television is rather distracting me so if my copy does not flow to its usual high standard, blame her.)

Phileas Fact Box: Lewes

 

Cambridge: Attlee gets an education

Cambridge: Attlee gets an education

So we are off to Cambridge, where Jane’s friend from university Neil lives. (Neil also lives in Baku, where something called the Eurovision is taking place with someone called The Hump in it – the Hump is something I am NOT allowed to do.)

Anyway, Cambridge is famous as a seat of learning and all the students cycle around on old-fashioned bikes and Neil does too – he cycles to meet us at the station, like a proper Cambridge person. Normally I bark at bikes but not today because the streets are too full of them for me to take them on.

There are a lot of things in Cambridge dogs are not allowed to do. For example, we are not allowed in any of the colleges. Also not allowed are radios, bicycles and picnics. This is a bit rich, if you ask me, lumping dogs in with a load of inanimate objects. Dogs are sentient, in case you hadn’t noticed Cambridge colleges!

Dogs are also forbidden in the Botanical Gardens – probably because we would lift our legs against all the exotic plants and flowers. Again – unfair. I lift my leg against Jane’s daffodils in our garden and they are sprouting up a treat. And our owners could keep us on a lead, stopping any leg lifting incidents.

So what can dogs do in Cambridge you may well bark? Well, all the posh young men trying to sell us rides on boat-things called punts say that dogs are allowed on them. But I don’t like water so we don’t take up any of the punting opportunities that are offered to us.

But Cambridge city centre, with all the cloistered towers of learning that are too clever for dogs to be allowed inside, is very easy to stroll around. There are people with clipboards who want you to pay them to stroll with you – they are offering guided walking tours. Guided walking tours – I have never heard such nonsense. You just walk and smell the pavement and see where your nose takes you.

The colleges are clustered around Sidney Street and Silver Street and Trumpington Street. King’s College, the most famous college of them all, is on King’s Parade and all these places are within ten minutes’ stroll of each other. Basically you just walk along one of the streets in the centre of Cambridge and you will see a college – that’s how it is. A bit like how if you walk along one of the streets in south-east London you will see discarded fried chicken.

Another place to stroll in Cambridge is along The Backs – The Backs are the behinds of the Cambridge colleges and not the fronts. The Backs are good because to reach them you have to cross the river and from one of the bridges – there are lots – you can watch all the silly punts and have a laugh at the silly humans guiding them along the river with huge sticks. Sticks are for chasing, mate, not for faffing around on rivers!

The two most famous bridges at The Backs are the Bridge of Sighs and the Mathematical Bridge. I don’t really know why they’re famous – I’m a dog, for Dog’s sake, not a historian.

The Backs are also good for peering into the college grounds. They are so enticing-looking, with their manicured lawns and old stone walls. Why am I NOT allowed in? This is me, at the back of King’s College.

To be honest, finding a pub that allowed dogs in Cambridge city centre was about as hard as getting a degree in metaphysics. That means, very hard. There was no room at the inn for me in several places we tried and in the end we settled on The Eagle, because, even though I wasn’t allowed inside, it did have a pleasant outdoor area with heaters and big umbrellas to keep the rain off the humans. The Eagle is very ‘istoric – and in the RAF bar part (where I wasn’t allowed) there is graffiti by WW2 airmen on the walls and ceiling. And DNA was discovered here. What is DNA? Dogs’ Noses Amaze? I don’t know.

Jane had a proper Sunday roast and it was a bargain, compared to London, at £7.99. But, when she asked if she could have a SAUSAGE on a plate for me, the girl behind the bar said no. Ridiculous – how much trouble is a SAUSAGE on a plate? But one of the waitress people obviously appreciated dogs because she brought out a biscuit for me – a human biscuit too – and got me a bowl of water.

 

Phileas Fact Box: Cambridge

  • The Eagle, 8 Benet Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QN. Tel: 01223 505020
  • For more information about Cambridge, log on to www.visitcambridge.org

 

 

 

 

Thaxted, Essex

We are on the Stansted Express and I am not a happy dog. Normally, up and down the land, on trains, I am treated like royalty. Train guards respect me as the esteemed traveller that I am and other passengers break off bits of their sandwiches to give me – sometimes without me even having to beg. But today – today –  I am not allowed to sit on the empty seat next to Jane, (on her coat mind, so none of my fur touches the horrible grey chair which might as well be the throne of the Queen of England herself, the way the guard squeals when she sees me on it.) And the guard gives me evils even when I am lying neatly in the aisle. It is a most unpleasant journey, especially as Jane tells me that the Stansted Express is DAYLIGHT ROBBERY in terms of the prices it charges for tickets.

And that is appropriate, dear reader, because we are going to the home of the great highwayman himself, Dick Turpin. (Or supposedly the home of Dick Turpin, although when we arrive a local man tells us it might not have been his home after all. Dick Turpin might have lived there – or he might not have lived there.)

Whatevs – we are going to Thaxted in Essex, in the most expensive way possible, on the Stansted Express. I don’t know why we have chosen this over-priced route and neither does Jane.

At last we are off the Stansted Express and on a little local bus from the airport to Thaxted. It is only eight miles along windy, country roads and when we arrive in Thaxted it’s amazing to think we’re so close to the airport because the little town or big village, I’m not sure which Thaxted is, is so old-fashioned.

There is a big building that is six centuries old and it is called the Guildhall. It is huge and white timber-framed and looks too hefty for the seven wooden pillars that support it at the front. I will not be standing under that for a wee.

And there is a traditional bakers, selling Thaxted SAUSAGES. I hope to have a taste of them before we depart.

Thaxted’s main street runs up a hill to the parish church at top – the church is big, more like the cathedral in Durham than a village church – and opposite that is our kip for the night, in The Swan Inn, part of the Old English Inns chain. Dogs are welcome in all Old English Inns, at no extra charge. High Paw!

And, when we sit down for dinner, next to a coal fire, the menu is all pies, which are some of my favourite things. Unfortunately pies are Jane’s favourite things too, meaning I often miss out on a doggie bag when pies are involved.

Not too worry – there are SAUSAGES at breakfast.

Attlee’s Guided Walk of Thaxted

After breakfast, Jane and I go on a big walk. Here is the walk, written down by me. It takes two hours and is called Turpin’s Trail. I’ll get on his trail all right, the dastardly highwayman.

Step out of The Swan Hotel and walk across the road and into the main entrance of the church. Pass between the two yellow and pink alms houses – your owner will not want you to lift your leg against them because they are very pretty. In fact, your owner will want to take lots of photographs of them. Booooooo-ring!

 

 Follow the sign to the windmill through a metal gate; then pass through a kissing gate.

The windmill thing is on your right behind locked gates. Good – wouldn’t want to waste valuable walking time having to look inside that. But Jane says I have to write about the windmill because it is important. Okay, it is called John Webb’s Windmill and it was built in 1804. There we go!

A concrete path turns into a track through the field – and I’m off the lead!

Scarper along the left of the field for about three minutes with the hedge on your left, then a track crosses the field at a right angle – follow this, keeping the hedge that also crosses the field to your right.

At the bottom of the field turn left and cross a small concrete bridge across the River – it’s more of a stream at this point – Chelmer. Turn right and the river will be on your right.

This bit’s jolly good fun – a wide open field with lots of sniffing and snouting to be done. But after about five minutes I’m back on the lead because we’re crossing a road. It’s not busy but the cars that drive along it come at quite a crack.

Into another field and walking by the river again, with a small redbrick pumping station on my left and the Stream Chelmer on my right. And I’m off the lead again. Grrr-huzzah!

We walk by the river, through two fields, cross a plank bridge and we’re in a huge field – the biggest open space I’ve ever seen. So much FUN.

Still on the right of the river, we follow the path along, and Jane grows a bit edgy as I get close to the water, sniffing the smells in the reeds and burrowing deep into them. But I’m not an idiot – I’m not going to fall in the stream.

After about quarter of an hour, we come to a small field, which we cross diagonally along the path, and then we swing right, into a field with lots of pylons and telephone poles on our left and the river still on our right, across which are some paddocks with those hoof-pawed horse things in.

Turn left at the end of this bit and then there’s a bridge to the right – I jump it in one swoop, still after the scent of Dick dastardly Turpin!

We turn left and follow a path with two narrow lanes of concrete for two minutes and the path turns from concrete to track. A postmarker has a badge on it saying Turpin’s Trail. We’re on to him!

Go right at this post and we’re in another wide grassy field; follow the path of the river. But Jane spots a road ahead so it’s lead on, across the road and down a lane pointing to Goddards Farm. LEAD OFF!

Veer off the lane to walk by the Chelmer, on our left now. About half way through the field is a way marker – turn right on the track through the field towards a farm track, which goes up a slightly sloping bank.

There’s a house to the left with a sign saying private property so turn right and walk along the edge of the field.  At the top of the field there’s a paddock where humans are sitting on top of those hoove-pawed horse things being carried around. I wouldn’t carry a human around on my back. Stooopid!

Turn right up a path through some pretty woodland. There are two noisy terriers barking at me through a fence so I bark back and they shut up, cheeky devils. Putting Egon Bone-ay off his work!

At the top of this woodland lane is a red house called Golden Farmhouse.

Turn away from it and you’ll see Thaxted Church spire in the distance – you’re on the home strait.

Follow the path diagonally through a field, then, when you reach the hedge bordering a road, turn right, with the hedge on the left of you. At the end of the field, I’m back on the lead and we’re crossing a road and walking past some houses called Bellrope Meadow.

Then turn left into a public footpath, leading to some playing fields. Walk through the playing fields and at the far end turn left into a residential street called Guelph Street. Walk down this for about five minutes and you’ll come to a road to the right called Margaret Street. Margaret Gardens are on your left, the church hall on your right. Take a left and then you’re in Bell Lane, back at The Swan.

 

After the walk, we find that rarest of things, on Thaxted main street. It is called Parrishes restaurant and it is a café by day and a restaurant by evening and it allows dogs at all times. This deserves a major AMAZE-BONES KLAXON because so many cafes don’t take dogs and I have never heard of an evening restaurant where dogs are allowed to go. Parrishes is romantic at night, because it is like a little bistro in France, where I have never been but might go one day, if I achieve a thing called a pet passport. It has candles and linen tablecloths at night. But it is no good to Jane that it is romantic at night because she is in Thaxted with plain old me, her canine sidekick, so we go in the day and Jane has carrot and coriander soup that comes with a warm fresh from oven baguette. But Jane doesn’t eat bread so I get the baguette. Once again Attlee triumphs over the Atkins!

  • Phileas Fact Box, Thaxted

 

  • Jane and Attlee stayed at The Swan Hotel, Bullring, Thaxted, Essex, CM6 2PL. Tel: 01371 830321.

Website: http://www.oldenglishinns.co.uk/thaxted

A single room cost £44 on a Friday night, including full English breakfast.

  • Parrishes Restaurant is at 36 Town Street, Thaxted, Essex, CM6 2LA. Tel: 01371 830482. Awarded Attlee’s High Paw for Excellence!
  • John Webb’s Windmill is open to visitors between 2pm and 6pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays between Easter and September.
  • Thaxted Guildhall is open to visitors throughout Easter Weekend and then on Sundays and Bank Holidays until the end of September.

 

 

The Only Way is Essex at Diva Dogs in Chelmsford

The Attlee Way is Essex

I’ve never been to a grooming parlour before and, to be frank, I don’t think I need to go to one now. I keep myself smart and I’m no Beau Brummel. But Jane disagrees. Jane has booked me in for a session at Diva Dogs, in Chelmsford, because all the stars of The Only Way is Essex take their dogs there and she wants me to try it out too. Because I’m worth it, like the advert with Buster Cole’s owner in it says…

At first I am not sure. It is very strange. The parlour is pink outside, with a silhouette of a poodle on the logo, and inside there are lots of clothes and beds and toys for dogs. That is all right, I suppose – the toys bit anyway. I am not that mad on wearing clothes, unless I am being a Beefeater at the Tower of London or Sherlock Holmes solving a mystery at Dartmoor – that’s different. And I don’t need a bed, as I have my own, a double one, which I graciously allow Jane and Dodger to share.

At the side of the shop, behind a white picket fence, is a waiting room for dogs who are about to be coiffed, with a chaise longue, for dogs, and complimentary biscuits, for dogs. This is quite fun until a dog emerges from the grooming parlour with a ribbon on its forehead. A ribbon – I do not want one of them stuck on me. I’ll look ridiculous.

At first I don’t like the parlour bit of the shop, where Louise takes me, because it is behind closed doors and, for health and safety reasons, Jane can’t come with me. I would never say it to Jane, but, even though I’m big and brave, sometimes I do feel just a little bit safer when she is by my side.

But then I start to relax and enjoy it. I have a bath, with a deep conditioning treatment applied to my hair, and then a massage and then I am dried with a hand drier. Then my ears are cleaned and my whiskers too, and I am brushed and combed. It is quite good fun actually, being fussed over like this.

When I am brought outside for all to see, with my black and white bandana on, I feel very smart and proud and Jane gasps and claps her hands because I look so special. Like Uggie, at the Oscars, but more handsome. So I pose on the chaise longue, for some photographs.

We meet two Chihuahuas and their owner, who is a lady called Joy. One of the Chihuahuas is called Maddy and last year she was the best Chihuahua puppy at Crufts. So I am in high-up company. The other Chihuahua is called Tallulah and she is being bought two new dresses by Joy. That’s when I decide we had better leave, in case Jane decides to buy me a dress.

When I left I felt very smart and special but then I found a chicken bone on the streets and snaffled that. Then there was an empty Greggs bag to get my chops round. I clambered into a bush  too, because there was eau de squirrel emanating from it and that definitely needed to be investigated.

So, within ten minutes of leaving Diva Dogs, I was all mussed up again. Oh dear..

(I will say, though, that the deep conditioning stuff they put on my coat really worked and my fine fur was still soft a week later. So, Buster Cole, tell Cheryl that I, Attlee Common aka chicken bag dog of south-east London, AM worth it. I can be HAWT like you.)

  • Diva Dogs, Pet Boutique and Grooming Parlour, 42 New Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1PH. Tel: 01245 496644.

Website: www.divadogs.co.uk  Prices start from £20.

South-east London pubs: Attlee’s staycation

Camberwell, SE5

This is my hood and I am known in the local watering holes as the booze hound that I am. I’m very well-behaved in public houses – no barking my head off in over-excitement as if I’m on my first night out or vomiting on the way home. I just sit patiently at Jane’s feet, taking in everything that is going on and keeping my nose peeled for any SAUSAGES  or scraps of ROAST DINNER coming my way.

The Hermit’s Cave, Camberwell

Jane took me to The Hermit’s Cave to show me off when she first brought me home from Battersea. I like it because it’s no-nonsense; no food except crisps and nuts (paw out for some of those please); no music so I don’t have to listen to the barmaid’s awful mix tapes; and, usually, no other dogs, although there is occasionally a French Bulldog acting the barfly. It is just a traditional boozer with coal fires in winter, seats outside on the street for smokers and real ales. Jane says it probably hasn’t changed since the 1950s, when my great-great-great-great grandfather was alive, and that is its charm, imho (in my hound’s opinion.)

A hermit would hate it, though – people are really chatty and friendly and Jane even spotted Hollywood star Dominic Cooper in here. In fact, he spoke to her, to alert her to the fact I was chewing on one of her expensive leather gloves. Swoon – that’s Jane swooning by the way; not me.

The Hermit’s Cave, 28 Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8QU Tel: 0207 703 3188

Nearest train station is Denmark Hill, a five-minute walk away. Bus stops at Camberwell Green, two minutes away – the 12 heads to Oxford Circus and the 436/36 to Victoria and Paddington.

  • Scores on Paws: Attlee: 5/5; Jane 5/5

The Phoenix, Denmark Hill

The Phoenix is next to Denmark Hill train station and there is a huge clock in the middle of the pub, the railway clock, which can give you a start if you don’t know about it. But I do know about it so it’s all right. The pub has very high ceilings and wooden floors so my paws clack; clack; clack when I walk in and everybody knows I – Camberwell booze hound – have arrived. The best seats are the leather sofas – although I’m not allowed to sit on them. Otherwise it’s wooden tables and chairs inside and wooden benches outside, where it’s always busy in the summer. When Jane’s friend Maria l lived near us we used to go to The Phoenix every Friday night for its steak and chips and the whopping big tomato on the side.

The Phoenix, Windsor Walk, London, SE5 8BB. Tel: 0207 703 8767 Website: www.thephoenixwindsorwalk.co.uk

Nearest train station is Denmark Hill – in fact, The Phoenix is in Denmark Hill train station.

  • Scores on the Paws: Attlee 4/5; Jane 4/5
The Tiger, Camberwell

The Tiger, which is on the corner of Camberwell Green, opposite the green, was called The Silver Buckle but now it’s called The Tiger and it is very popular with students and Camberwell’s bohemian types, who it didn’t used to be popular with when it was the Silver Buckle. It has lots of antique-y things around, like books from the 1950’s and old record players, and has lots of different wines for the humans. And roasts on Sundays. Even though it is a big cat, I like The Tiger.

The Tiger, 18 Camberwell Green, London, SE5 7AA. Tel: 0207 703 5246

Website: http://thetigerpub.com

Nearest train station is Denmark Hill, a five-minute walk away. Bus stops at Camberwell Green – the 12 heads to Oxford Circus and the 436/36 to Victoria and Paddington.

  • Scores on the Paws: Attlee 4/5; Jane 4/5

The Crooked Well, Camberwell

The Crooked Well has had lots of reviews since it opened a few months ago. It has been in The Observer and The Independent and The Daily Mail. Famous gastronomes have visited and spewed forth their views to millions of readers. So I, Attlee Common aka Phileas Dogg, have a hard act to follow. But I am not daunted. Because I am the only canine correspondent that has reviewed The Crooked Well and my pawspective is as important to canines as Jay Rayner’s is to humans. I know it is.

Jane, the photographer and I visited The Crooked Well on a Tuesday night and it was packed – so packed that I had to announce my entrance with some loud barking. Jane was a bit troubled by this display on my part as, even though she knew The Crooked Well welcomed dogs, she wasn’t sure I should make my presence quite so strongly felt. Grrrrrr.

Anyway, half of The Crooked Well is a sort of bar and half of it is a restaurant and we were shown to the restaurant part because Jane and the photographer were going to eat. The restaurant is quite upmarket and I felt proud to be welcomed so warmly into an upmarket restaurant – not too proud to beg for food from the people dining at neighbouring tables, though, until Jane put a stop to it.

Within a minute of sitting down I was presented with a bowl of water – and that made me glad. I was being treated as an important customer and quite right too.

Even though The Crooked Well is quite upmarket, the atmosphere is relaxed. There there was none of that fussing and constant ‘is everything all right with your meals-ing?’ after Jane and the photographer had been served. They were allowed to get on and eat.

And eat they did – Jane finished her two ricotta ravioli parcels, which were the size of her plate, with nary a thought for me – and the photographer saved me such a small crumb of his steak that it was clearly just a sop rather than a serious concern for my tummy and tastebuds. So no doggie bag. And no sausages. Boo.

Worse, the atmosphere was so pleasant and relaxed that, after dinner, the humans decided to order another bottle of wine. This could have made for quite a lot of boring sitting around for me but, fortunately, the couple who were celebrating a birthday at the next table were so taken with my good looks and refined personality that much Phileas fuss was made and I didn’t grow bored at all. In fact I was quite the star attraction. I can’t believe that top restaurant critic Jay Rayner had half as much fuss made of him as I did of me, Phileas Dogg aka Egon Bone-ay. High paw of approval to The Crooked Well.

The Crooked Well, 16 Grove Lane, Camberwell, London, SE5. Tel: 0207 252 7798

Website: www.thecrookedwell.com

Nearest train station is Denmark Hill, a five-minute walk away. Bus stops at Camberwell Green – the 12 heads to Oxford Circus and the 436/36 to Victoria and Paddington.

  • Scores on the Paws: Attlee 5/5; Jane 5/5; photographer 5/5

 

Ruskin, Denmark Hill, SE5 8EN

(Within five minutes’ walk of all the Camberwell pubs)

I like Ruskin Park because it is huge – 36 acres – and there are trees to lift my leg against and a huge field to race against the wind in. And a view right across London to The London Eye and St Paul’s.

 

 

Peckham, SE15

The Victoria Inn, Peckham

This is Jane’s favourite pub in the whole of south-East London and the reason for that is that it has her favourite food on the menu – chicken kiev. Home-made too, with lots of garlic that seeps out when she takes a bite. It makes it one of my least favourite pubs because I never get a doggie-bag. Also, The Victoria Inn has a pub dog, called Queenie, and every time we go in there she gets all the attention and I don’t.

 

The Victoria Inn Public House and Lodgings, 79 Choumert Road, London SE15 4AR. Tel: 0207 639 5052

Website: www.capitalpubcompany.com/The-Victoria-Inn

Nearest train station is Peckham Rye, about a five minute walk away.

  • Scores on the Paws: Attlee: 4/5; Jane: 6/5

 

Café on the Rye, Peckham Rye Park and Common (like me – Attlee Common)

This is not a pub at all – it is a café. A wooden café that looks a bit like a flying saucer stuck in the middle of Peckham Rye Park and Common. Dogs are not allowed inside the caff but there are always loads of us outside, sitting at the benches and racing around. There are nearly as many dogs at Peckham Rye Park café as there are babies and toddlers and yummy mummy types. It sells fried breakfasts – I always have a SAUSAGE or three – and has a bowl of dog biscuits on the counter. And bowls of water for us outside. Just as well because I’m always exhausted when I go there – Peckham Rye Park is brilliant. There is a big open field – the COMMON – where I can chase crows; wooded bits where I can chase squirrels; paths where I can greet other dogs and smell their bottoms; a pond where I can bark at ducks and an ornamental garden which I’m not really allowed in but I go anyway, before anyone can stop me, to smell the strange smells and pee against the strange-shaped foreign trees. Sorry Southwark Council but this is too good a treat to ignore.

Cafe on the Rye, Strakers Road, Peckham Rye Common, London, SE15 3UA Tel: 0208 693 9431

Website: www.cafeontherye.co.uk

Peckham Rye train station is a ten minute walk away and the number 12 bus to Oxford Circus passes the park entrance on the Peckham side.

  • Scores on the Paws: Attlee: 6/5; Jane: 5/5

The Clock House

Well, I am a bit annoyed – very annoyed – because Jane went to review The Clock House WITHOUT me and what is the point of that? I am the dog and the writer of this site so I need to be the hound on the ground, not sitting at home awaiting her comments before I can put paws to keyboard. Grrrrr-not-huzzah! The reason she didn’t take me is because she went on a Saturday night and people were playing jazz and she thought I might disturb the mellow mood. But I had my jazz paws all ready. And, when she returned, she told me that there were two other hounds watching the jazz and that they had a bark-off during it and nobody minded. How I would like to have been involved in that bark-off. Her other comments are that the pub is very quirky and traditional – part of Young’s brewery and Young’s is the oldest brewery in London – and, here’s the exciting bit…it has a cinema with 14 plush old-fashioned cinema seats in it. What’s more, it is directly opposite Peckham COMMON – my favourite place in the world. I am very annoyed I was not included in the outing to The Clock House. I am giving Jane evil eyes to show I am annoyed.

The Clock House, 196a Peckham Rye, East Dulwich, London, SE22 9QA. Tel: 0208 693 2901. Website: www.clockhousepub.com

  • Scores on the (Jazz) Paws: Jane: 5/5

Herne Hill, SE24

Herne Hill is next to Brockwell Park and that is why we go there – because Brockwell Park is amaze-bones. It is on a hill and I can chase up the hill as if I’m going all the way to the sky and then, at the top, there is a big house which used to be the mansion of some very rich man but now has a café in it. And there are always lots of dog and they are always friendly so Jane doesn’t need to worry about me meeting the ‘wrong sort of dog.’

Brockwell Park, Norwood Road, London, SE24 9BJ.

Trains go to Herne Hill train station from central London and there are regular buses north and south.

 

The Commercial Hotel

This place is Jane’s favourite for a fry-up after a good old chase around Brockwell Park. Fry-ups aren’t cheap at £7 but, judging from the scraps of Gloucester Old Spot SAUSAGE I have tasted they are worth every penny. Friendly relaxed atmosphere and there are always lots of post-Brockwell Park tired dogs for me to sniff bottoms with.

The Commercial Hotel, 212 Railton Road, London, SE24 0JT. Tel: 0207 733 8783

Website: www.thecommercialhotelhernehill.co.uk

Directly opposite the train station.

  • Scores on the Paws: Attlee: 5/5; Jane: 5/5

 

The Florence

The Florence is a gastro-pub directly opposite Brockwell Park and it is interesting to people as it has its own brewery attached and a big bit of equipment for making beer, about the size of an elephant, in the middle of the bar. It tends to be visited by lots of very noisy chiiiiiiiildren, though – why don’t they learn some pub etiquette, like us dogs, instead of racing around shrieking. If they want to do that, Brockwell Park’s the place – not the boozer.

The Florence, 131-133 Dulwich Road, London, SE24 ONG. Tel: 0207 326 4987.

Website: www.capitalpubcompany.com/the-florence

  • Scores on the Paws: Attlee:3/5; Jane: 3/5

 

Greenwich, SE10

Greenwich Park is amaze-bones because it has lots and lots of squirrels – the most squirrels of any park I know. It is also very interesting for people because the Royal Observatory is there and that is where time is made. Something like that – I don’t really know because I’m too busy with the squirrels. And in the summer it is going to be home to lots of hoove-paw HORSES who are coming because of something called the Lympics. I think I could be in the Lympics, competing for Britain in the squirrel chasing section.

Directions: Cutty Sark DLR is about five minutes walk from the entrance to Greenwich Park; Greenwich also has a train station about ten minutes away with services into London Cannon Street and south into Kent.

The Trafalgar Tavern

As well as park-racing around in Greenwich, I enjoy walking along the Thames Path, by the Thames, obv, and having a pee against the huge black ship’s anchor on the way to show that I, Attlee Common, have been in town. The Trafalgar Tavern is along this Thames Path and it is famous because Charles Dickens used to stop in this very pub to eat seafood on his walk from his home in Kent to his office in London. Now Jane stops for Sunday lunch – and a very fine Sunday lunch it is too, the best in London she says. (No doggie bag for me, sadly.) It is expensive mind – £14.99 – but that is probably because Greenwich is a ROYAL borough. If Peckham was a ROYAL borough the pubs there would be allowed to charge £14.99 for a Sunday lunch but it isn’t, so they don’t.

The Trafalgar Tavern, Park Row, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NW. Tel: 0208 858 2909.

Website: www.trafalgartavern.co.uk

The Trafalgar Tavern is a ten minute stroll, past the Cutty Sark itself, from Cutty Sark DLR.

  • Scores on the Paws: Attlee: 5/5; Jane: 5/5

East Dulwich, SE22

The Bishop

The Bishop has a pub dog – a Weimeraner – but as far as I can tell he sleeps all the time. Straaaange – if I was a pub dog I would be awake, on the watch for scraps. The staff are polite to dogs and as soon as I arrive they bring me a bowl of water, which is good as Jane often forgets about my hydration needs when we are in pubs and I am left properly parched while she glugs her glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The Bishop is good for Sunday roasts and posh macaroni cheese with bacon in it.

 

 

 

 

The Bishop, 25-27 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, SE22 8EW. Tel: 0208 693 3994

Website: www.thebishopeastdulwich.com

  • Scores on the Paws: Attlee: 5/5; Jane: 4/5

Ted’s Guide to walks and pubs in Kent

Rover Reporter Ted in the Garden of England, Kent

Molash

I’m Ted and I’m Phileas Dogg’s hound on the ground in Kent. My favourite things are surfing, chasing squirrels and being a celebrity. That’s right, a celebrity. I’ve been on television, in the newspapers and am often recognised when I’m out and about in Dover, where I live, and asked for my paw-tograph. Fun!

The other day I took my owners to the village of Molash. It is a small village with only 90 houses, a church and a pub, the George Inn. The village and the church are so old that there are yew trees in the church grounds that have split into two, and I can sit in between the split bit and pretend I’m a squirrel, perching in a tree!

Molash is eight miles from Canterbury, We could have stopped at the George Inn and gone no further – sausages – but I’m an active kind of chap and I wanted a jolly romp through King’s Wood first.

The walk through the wood is really easy to follow because there are markers all the way and depending on how muddy it is – the muddier the better imho but not in my owner Karol’s – it takes about two hours for three and a half miles.

It’s a good walk for chasing squirrels as there are so many trees for them to scurry around in and I could smell fantastic Mr Fox too. When I wasn’t snouting around among the undergrowth, my head was pointed towards the sky, waiting for a squirrel to fall from it!

There were things for Karol and Ben to stick their snouts into as well because scattered among the trees in King’s Wood are works of art for humans to enjoy. One of the projects is called SuperKingdom and it is lots of different homes for animals built among the trees. I did think about checking into one of these homes and staying in the woods forevah but I’d miss Karol and I know she’d miss me.

So we went to the pub instead. Now SAUSAGES! My owners had a roast dinner, all cooked from local produce, and I stuck my paw out for scraps and had a snooze by the fire. Perfick, as they say in Kent.

This is me, licking my lips after eating my SAUSAGES!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phileas Fact Box: Molash and The George Inn

  • The walk through King’s Wood is at: www.friendsofkingswood.org
  • The George Inn, The Street, Molash, Canterbury, Kent, CT4 8HE. Tel: 01233 740323.
  • Website: www.thegeorgeinnmolash.co.uk

 

The Wye Crown Walk

I was tickled pink the other day when my owners took me out to chase about the countryside around Wye, which lies five miles from Ashford and twelve miles from Canterbury nestling at the foot of the North Downs.

Me, Andy and Karol started the day with a walk from Wye through the countryside and up onto the open hills. The North Downs Way runs through Wye and there are lots of lovely walks and places to explore. We went along the hillside and I enjoyed the wind in my fur, although I think Karol wished she’d worn more of her coats as it was a bit windy. We saw a chalk crown carved into the hillside and I chased sticks up and down the slopes. There were lots of rabbits around too from the smells everywhere, but they stayed hidden when the saw me coming – sensible creatures.

There was a big wedge shape carved into the hillside like a giant slice of my favourite cheese. I think it was called the Devil’s Kneading Trough. I had more fun running around and down a long flight of winding stairs to the fields below and back to Wye … but watch out for the sheep and cows along the way – they’re not for chasing.

After a good run we went to a dog-friendly pub called the Tickled Trout, which has a beautiful garden to sit in. I had a sniff at the River Stour that runs alongside, but couldn’t find any trout to tickle, so we went inside. Karol said this was a seventeenth century inn, originally used as a tannery. It was warm and friendly, and they welcomed dogs – in fact the landlady, Wendy and the barmaid, Laura spotted me and came out to have a chat and tickle behind my ears. So I was the tickled trout!

Karol is an awkward eater because of her allergies, so she had a chat with their chef, Steve, and ordered some food (completely off the menu just for her) and they brought a plate of SAUSAGES out just for me – free of charge – with Karol’s food.

After I finished those SAUSAGES off I used all my charm to persuade them to bring me out a second bowl. And it worked – they did. This was a super-SAUSAGE day!

I only wish we’d been there on a Sunday, when they are cooking up roast dinners and dogs are treated to a FREE plate of chicken or beef. Next time!

Phileas Fact Box Wye and the Tickled Trout

  • The Tickled Trout, Bridge Street, Wye, Kent, TN25 5EB. Tel: 01223 812227. Website: http://thetickledtrout.wordpress.com
  • Scores on the Paws: Ted, Karol and Andy all give The Tickled Trout 5/5. Awarded the Phileas Dogg Five Paws for Excellence.
  • Wye Downs Walk – log on to www.kent.gov.uk and type Wye Downs Walk into search box.