• Little Rea

The Beach Series | Sandbanks​

I've recently come back from a long weekend away at Sandbanks near Poole and Bournemouth. There were rumours that Sandbanks actually involved some sand, which meant – to my little doggy brain – that there was a beach too! I wondered whether this could really be true, especially as it took us hours to get out of London and I got really bored in the back of the car. I am used to having the front seat so I tried my hardest to keep sniffing the air ... I can sniff out a beach you see, even though I have never been to one. All that sniffing did nothing for my image though!

When we finally escaped the Big City, and after an hour of me being well behaved, I decided to throw a bit of an 'are we there yet' tantrum on the back seat, so Mummy pulled over to a place called Mudeford. I'd sniffed out the salty air and knew that if I threw a tantrum, she would have to give me a pit-stop. I know how to play this game with Mummy – she is so easy to read. There are parts of the beach that aren't dog friendly but down by The Beach House Café, (where Mummy scoffed a ploughman's crusty roll), I was allowed off lead to snort a few grams of sand. I did also manage to scoff some of her roll too because when I lunged at one of the cheeky seagulls (that's not what Mummy called them), I dragged my lead across her lunch and tipped it onto the floor ... good food-ploy my fellow hounds!

After my sand fix, stolen food in my tummy, and a much needed poop, we drove the rest of the journey with me settled and content – until I smelt it again ... the coveted salty scents of a beach nearby. So, imagine my disappointment when we wondered down and the sand had been eaten by the sea! There was nothing for me to snort or dig!

Mummy didn't tell me that on the other side of the little town was another beach! No ... she wanted to watch the fireworks that were exploding in the air across the water at Poole. I am a dog! Dogs don't like fireworks do they! Only Mummy has taught me to like them because she gets all excited and when they bang their roar in the sky, I bark in excitement because Mummy gets all silly and we chase around the garden together like crazy people that embarrass the neighbours. It's one of the few times I am allowed to bark to my heart's content so I did ... I barked like a roaring lion ... right in the middle of Sandbank's peaceful pond-like bay. Yeah ... Mummy liked that. That will teach her not to take me to the sandy part!

With all the human stuff dealt with on the first evening, I made sure that the next day I was taken to the beach, as promised by my Mummy on such a regular basis now that I consider her to be a rotten liar. I am seriously considering giving her away at the end of summer if she doesn't improve her 'promise-record'. I don't know who would want her though because she lacks many of the domestic and social skills required to be a respectable member of any community.

My initial excitement was slashed down with utter desolation because I saw a sign saying dogs weren't allowed on the beach over the usual summer months. I know we poo and wee, and I know some owners don't clear up after our bottom activities, but sometimes I despair at these signs when I see all the rubbish left behind by humans. There should be one saying 'lazy and dirty humans are not allowed on the beach at ANY time.'

BUT .... but .... then I saw this and did a happy wiggle of my fluffy bottom! As soon as I heard my lead click from my collar, I ran down to the water and just took it all in. Oh what a dream come true! Can you imagine it fellow hounds ... that sand beneath my little toes, and the smell of salt on clean ocean air. I breathed it in. I breathed it in so hard that I started to attractively hack!

The doggy beach area wasn't just a small exercise area. I could run! I could really run! And I could splash off lead to my little heart's content ... so I did! I got myself as sandy and as wet, and as dirty as I could, to make up for the beach-neglect I suffered the night before!

After such seaside frivolity, I got really hungry. I don't know why Mummy was too because all she did was just sat on the beach throwing my ball for hours. I don't consider that worthy of being classified as hard work, but apparently it gave her an appetite. So, reluctantly, I followed her off the beach and towards the Boat Yard Cafe.

This little place is hidden from the main stretch, down a residential street. We only found it on a late night walk because our house was on the same road, but oh, they are so dog friendly, and they do proper food, not the kind of food Mummy normally gets in a cafe. We sat outside because it was lovely and warm but dogs are allowed inside too, even where the humans eat!

They don't do proper puddings though, just cakes. I think this was the only thing that disappointment Mummy ... no puddings! I didn't mind though because I wasn't even told to get off the outside furniture! Although you can't see the sea very well, the Boat Yard Cafe is just that, it is set in the boat yard, which means Mummy got to look at lots of nice boats, wistfully.

Down the road, on a another walk – towards the Ferry – Mummy found another cafe where I was allowed in too. This was an excellent place to get morning coffee and breakfast food (including a sausage for me!).

There was also a Rick Stein down the road to where we stayed, and where I was allowed into the bar area, but after our distasteful fish and chip (meh) experience in Padstow, we decided to give it a miss.

Our accommodation for the four-day sandy adventure was booked through a company called Home and Away, which we have never tried before. It was a funny place to stay. The location could not have been any better as we were five minutes from the Ferry area, the bay, and the beaches. Tesco was a short car journey, and everything else we needed was walking distance.

The house was set back from from the road, hidden behind another house so no one would know it existed, and was joined by another property next to it. As dog friendly accommodation goes, there were no rules for me to abide by ... just the usual human order to pick up my poo and make sure I didn't muck up the place. I'm far too much of a princess to be so dirty!

But, as dog friendly accommodation, it weirdly didn't have any side gates, and I could do a runner into the neighbours garden, as well as out of the property vicinity and onto the road. I did try this ... the great escape to freedom now I knew where the beach was! Mummy moved quicker than I knew she could though, and grabbed me by the scruff of the neck (she'd forgotten my long-long lead and holiday collar). I really didn't know she was as fast as me and I will never understand why she needed ten minutes afterwards to 'recover.'

Mummy said we would definitely go back and use this house again, but she also said hindsight is a wonderful thing and she would remember to take my extra long lead with a ground stake, as well as some basics like coffee, sugar and milk etc, because there was no welcome pack. The two houses can be rented from the same company (and there was an adjoining door), so anyone looking for a large family place to stay, would be well served from these two properties. For Mummy, it felt a bit weird knowing there was just a door between us and the people cooking bacon in their kitchen next door.

Our conclusion after just four days in this area is that it is outstanding for beaches. We visited Studland on our way back from our May Road Trip last year, which is just opposite Sandbanks and can be accessed by a short ferry crossing (about four minutes). This opens up the area even more. It is dog friendly, with shops that even sell doggy ice-cream, and if you want to jump in the car to explore the neighbouring beaches like Mudeford, you won't be disappointed. I loved my beach adventure at Sandbanks, and I know Mummy had a wonderful time too, looking at boats, sitting in cafes, watching fireworks, and eating scrummy food. There are probably lots of other dog friendly places to visit there too, which means I get to go back. Mummy promised we would, but like I said, she's a rotten liar and I'm looking at my trade-in options!


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