The day had dawned when I had to say goodbye to my little Herder’s Hut.
I had arrived reluctantly for my two nights in what I had referred to as a shed on wheels (looking back I’m so ashamed). I’m not a great camper. I like big comfy beds that have been ‘turned down’ (whatever, that means). I like a belly busting evening meal, finished off with a whisky in a big leather chair by the fireside, and finally a short stumble upstairs to my hotel room. As a rule I do not like sleeping outside, with all it’s coldness, wetness, wildlife and creepy crawlies.
So it was a surprise to no one more than me when upon being introduced to my little hut it was love at first sight.
Two days of chillaxing. Reading books. Listening to the radio. Cosying up by the wood burner. Eating fish and chip suppers washed down with Prosecco whilst the neighbours looked on.
But now, alas, it was time to say goodbye. During my time sulking about the glamping part of our holiday I had insisted that following our hut stay I needed one more night in a nice hotel before we headed home. As a result we had booked a night at the Plantation in Poole to give me my required final bit of holiday luxury.
So with a tear in my eye we bid adieu to our holiday romance and headed back out onto the road.
Our stop along the way was to be Lulworth Cove, and thankfully we arrived early. Even with an early start we still needed to be put in one of the many overflow car parks, but by the time we left the visitor numbers must have easily doubled. Making the most of the relatively thin crowds we managed to have a quiet walk around the cove. Truly beautiful. Although Grenson does personally prefer a nice sandy beach. Those pebbles aren’t good for paws.
To make up for this we bought him an ice cream. In one of the shops we noticed a sign advertising Billy + Margot nutritional iced treats for dogs. How brilliant!? As if he was ever going to let us walk by that shop without picking him up an icy treat?
We could have then (and really should have) followed the coastal path over to Durdle Door, but after En Brogue‘s experience at Baggy Point (See part 2) and a general feeling of lethargy falling on the group we decided to head on to our accommodation instead. I’ve since seen pictures of Durdle Door and realise that this was a bad choice, it is pretty stunning, but to be honest I think we were all beginning to feel that we’d been on the road for long enough. Morale was low. Maybe in hindsight the hut would have made a perfect end to our trip?
This feeling endured when we arrived at the Plantation. It was a lovely looking pub/hotel, but unfortunately there was a party going on so there was no space in the car park, meaning we had to park a few streets away and walk with our bags. Following this I noticed that there was an outside food hut in the garden offering pizzas and burgers. I decided a burger would really hit the spot, but then noticed a sign saying that they’d sold out. Finally whilst at the bar I read a black board offering a range of tasty bar snacks including home cooked pork scratchings. As avid readers will know, I’m a Black Country boy, there is no way that I will ever pass up an offer of scratchings. Happily I ordered, only to hear from the kitchen that they’d run out.
Very rarely do I complain or lose my temper with waiters or bar staff and the like. There was one infamous time at the airport on our honeymoon when I embarrassingly overreacted to a McDonalds employee who informed me that it was too early to be serving filet-o-fish (I wanted ‘filet-o-fish for my wife’ like in the advert at the time…I doubt anyone will remember that reference). But the lack of scratchings pushed me over the edge ‘no burgers, no scratchings have you got anything that I want?!’ was my outburst to the stunned barman…I was tired and emotional. I apologise.
Luckily my mood improved when I was presented with a delicious steak for dinner. Who wants burger when steak is on offer anyway? Then a post dinner walk down to the beach suddenly made the extra day all worthwhile.
Poole beach is so lovely. One of the nicest wide sandy beaches I’ve seen. Very impressed. Strolling along the prom in the evening sun, it felt like I could have been in Miami. I expected bronzed young hipsters to roll by on retro roller blades wearing shiny short shorts and listening to walkmans!
The only down side is that there isn’t much space for dogs to go on the beach. So eventually we dragged a frustrated Grenson back up to the hotel. He wasn’t complaining when we got back to our lovely huge room though. It was about the size of ten Herder’s Huts, complete with a settee at the bottom of the bed. Grenson quickly bagged this as his own bed for the duration of the stay.
After a good night’s sleep all that was left was one final breakfast. Similarly to Salcombe and Clovelly, we weren’t allowed in the large main restaurant with Grenson and instead were restricted to a smaller area in the bar. This made little sense to me. The area we couldn’t go into had a tiled floor, whereas the area we were allowed in had a carpeted floor. Surely if you’re worried about mucky paws the non carpet area is easier to clean? It also made no sense as there was only one non-dog owning couple in the restaurant, with three doggie families squeezed into our much smaller area.
Shaking my head and grumbling under my breath I realised that I’d become a proper moaner. It was clearly time to go home.
Looking back we’d had a great time in Devon and Dorset. Yes it had rained pretty much the whole time but it had still been marvellous. That phrase ‘it rained the whole time…it was marvellous’, I must admit is copyrighted to En Brogue’s granddad (and you have to say it in a Welsh accent). Basically it’s a perfect phrase to sum up the attitude that you need if you’re doing a staycation in this lovely green and pleasant land. You may not have the sun all the time but from fisherman’s beer houses to herder’s huts, and from gorges to baggy points, you’ll find some amazing places that you can enjoy with the whole family… including the four legged members.
The Man and the Dog.