Wellington Parade - Doggies in Deal
It's always nice to escape the dross in winter and find a hideaway by the sea, so when Mummy said we were going off to Deal for two nights, where there was a beach right outside the front door, I got a little bit excited and started packing my bag three days before I was allowed to. I didn't believe it was possible to have a house right on the beach itself but the prospect of the adventure made me roll in fox poo the day before so I smelt good for all the local hounds. I'm not sure this went down that well with Mummy though.
Wellington Parade was where we were heading; it is just outside Deal itself, in a small place called Walmer. The beaches in Deal aren't gloriously sandy like some we have been to, and the sea in winter is far too splashing and scary for me to be allowed to paddle in, but the sea air is strong, and bracing, and there are proper fish and chip shops that smell of frying batter and salty chips. If you are looking for a thriving seaside town, then Deal is not the place to visit; instead, it is full of well-preserved Georgian houses, has quiet streets, and is easy to walk around and explore. There are little boutique shops scattered down the small quiet lanes, and almost forgotten cafes ... but then it is November, and many of us forget the seaside during the cold winter months.
The walking coastline in this area is long (we don't know how many miles exactly) as Deal is between Dover and Ramsgate, and twenty-five miles across the sea, is France. On a clear day, France can be seen, but one of the most exciting things about the sea is during the dark hours when big tankers and boats sparkle their lights in the distance as they anchor for the night. There is always movement on the watery vista, and it's not hard to imagine what it was like during the war years, when military ships passed through on the way to and from Dover.
Our house for two nights on Wellington Parade, was easy to find just down a gravel road that no-one needed to trundle down unless they were heading for the beach, or the local pub. This meant that Mummy felt I was fairly safe off lead, or when I was so excited that I scarpered across the road and straight onto the beach itself. At first glance, we were slightly worried when we arrived as the house looked like it needed a big hug, and a Little Rea tummy rub. Mummy and I stood on the front lawn, with our bags spilling out of Betty (the Mini), and glanced at each other with some hesitation. Sitting next to Mummy and looking up as she looked down at me, we knew we had to enter, especially as we had driven for nearly two hours out of London and were cold, and hungry.
The key of the door turned and we entered into an unexpectedly pretty entrance hall. To our right, there was a supply of logs, which pleased my Mummy greatly, and as we kicked off our winter boots, we entered into the big house like children peering through a window. The entrance hall was bright, light, and full of summer. It was the kind of space that made us feel happy to be beside the sea, and I thoroughly enjoyed running through it to explore (before Mummy made me pose with my Poppy).
After investigating the entrance hall, I was allowed to run into each room to have a sniff; my little tail wagged in excitement because I could smell other hounds had been there and the Spaniel in me went nose down; I spent a good hour with my nose like velcro to the floor. On the ground floor there was a ginormous open kitchen with two settees that I snuffled in delight. Then Mummy and I explored the cupboards together and I helped her hugely by sticking my nose in every place she went. It is our jobs, as doggies in this world, to help our humans as much as we can ... they don't have the same sniffing skills and therefore all potential dangers could be missed unless they have us beside them, to help.
With the kitchen sniffed out and a quick gulp of water, I discovered the sitting room, which had a lovely fire. I have never seen a real fire before and once Mummy had made it up, I spent the evening hogging it. Apparently, I got so hot hogging it that I needed a supply of water next to me because Mummy was worried I'd go into heat stroke. I think she worries too much because I was nice and cosy on my blanket with the flames roaring against my fur - all snug and happy.
At the back of the house was another room, one that we never needed to go into, but Mummy said if we were a bigger family, it would have been a good place to hide from everyone, so we could have had a snooze on the settees, or read a book in the quiet. It had a lovely view of the garden.
Upstairs was even more exciting. There were three big bedrooms, one very large bathroom with a lovely walk in shower, an ensuite shower room to the main bedroom, and even a walk in wardrobe. There were nice touches, like a little book library that Mummy would have liked to spend more time on, and cupboards full of extra bedding and towels.
Below us, in the dark depths of being almost underground, was the entrance to a playground of a garden. We had to walk down into a spooky area, but it had a shower, loo, washing machine, and best of all, a back door to biggest garden I had ever seen in a rental property. I was allowed to run around freely once Mummy had checked out security, and any possible escape routes as there was a busy road behind us.
Now here's the thing about our temporary home in Walmer ... it was an amazing house where I was allowed to run around freely. There were no rules provided about what I could and couldn't do, where I could and couldn't go, or even what I was allowed to sit on, with or without throws and blankets. The lady who manages the property has a Cockapoo too, so she knows what we are all about, and that we are good little dogs (most of the time). What we loved about this house is that I was allowed to have a holiday too, rather than being told it was dog friendly but in reality, wasn't really. The house itself felt fun and happy, and although it wasn't as loved as it once was, we hoped that it felt loved while we were there.
Mummy said that it definitely needed a little loving and TLC, especially for the price of it (quite high for a November weekend). There were signs of it being battered over the summer months, with coat hooks not being replaced on the walls where they had fallen from, and wall paper peeling in places. The utility area below looked almost unfinished and hadn't seen any love for more than just a season. But, there are some places that feel like home, and some places that lend themselves to adventures and happy smiles; our weekend home was one of these places, and I wagged my tail from the moment we arrived, to the time we sadly had to leave. I loved the open spaces, and most of all, I loved the large aspect windows where I could spy oncoming potential threats, shouting at them as they came too close and warding them off.
Our weekend house meant I could run to the stoney beach in delight and roll in the occasional dead fish, bark at seagulls, and be free for those moments without worry of traffic. I could sniff salty delights on my doorstep and grumble at the shadows in the darkest of night skies while Mummy gazed up at the starlit sky, or out towards the twinkly boats on the horizon.
Despite the house being perhaps slightly overpriced for the love it fails to feel, if we were a larger family it would probably have been of great value because with three large bedrooms and a few sofa beds scattered around, the house could consume a large group in the summer months, along with their doggy family; for this reason, it is the perfect location and venue for a family's summer of beachy frolics. Deal is just down the road for cafes, restaurants, and shopping ... and the White Cliffs of Dover are within walking distance to see (or ten minutes up the road to walk upon).
Would I go back? Well, if Mummy told me we were heading that way again, my little tail would wag with delight because there were no doggy rules, no long drive to the beach, no having to be on the lead when we walked up to the local pub, and to top it all off, there was a BEACH. I didn't have to go to sleep dreaming of the beach because with the windows open, I could hear it every night, and that was doggy heaven for a little girl like me!
Know before you go: take a torch with you because it is pitch black in the garden and out on the street when Mummy took me for my last wee walk. The stars shine down but not bright enough for Mummy to scoop my poop! Also, go expecting things to be a little tatty. You won't enjoy the house any less because the essentials all work and work well. The showers, hot water, cooker, TV, and wifi etc. are all up to it.