Boofuls, Douggie and me have just got back from a week away in sunny Devon.
“Oh! Have you been away?” I can hear you saying. Dang! I love how you all miss me so much!
Yes we have, we’ve been searching for our perfect home on the south coast.
One day we decided to broaden our search and investigate a few of the other towns and villages along the coast. People kept telling us how nice it was in Sidmouth so we went for a look. Quant little English seaside village. I think it’s actually God’s waiting room. I’ve never seen so many grey haired people all in one place in my life. Pensioners were marauding everywhere with their walking sticks, wheelchairs, zimmer frames and scooters. Don’t get all excited thinking that the pensioners on scooters were zipping round on the scooters of your childhood or on trendy Piaggio’s, how cool would they be?
No, I’m talking about yer good old mobility scooters.
My mum used to have a mobility scooter. It had two speeds: hare and tortoise. It had a picture of a hare and a tortoise on it’s dashboard. My mum only ever used to use it on the ‘hare’ setting, or as she used to call it, ‘rabbit speed’. She once got told off by a traffic warden for speeding on her scooter. She nearly took his kneecaps off when she came ‘haring’ out of a shop (see what I did there?).
Anyway, back to the plot and talking about getting told off….
Once Boofuls and I had thoroughly investigated Sidmouth we went a bit further round the coast to Dorset and Lyme Regis.
Sigh. To be fair, it wasn’t the best of days, we were cold and tired, the wind was blowing, we were not really dressed for the weather as it had been quite warm when we set off, we were hungry and we were fed up and on the verge of an argument.
We popped out heads into a few of the local eateries to be met with faces of disgust when we enquired if they were dog friendly. That’d be a no then. Eventually we did find somewhere to eat that was warm and welcoming. I partook of the chestnut and mushroom soup which was surprisingly tasty. I’ll be making that.
Once we’d decided that we could really linger in their any longer just keeping warm we decided to head off back to Torquay. “I’ll just take the dog on the beach for a pee”, said I.
I checked the sign about dogs on the beach: April to November. Blah blah, yeah, yeah. Douggie ran off grateful for a chance to stretch his legs while I trudged up the stony beach feeling like I was on the verge of hypothermia. Up ahead the beach became sandy so I headed to that part. To get to it we had to walk on the prom for about eight feet. I decided I’d risk it without putting him on his lead.
As we jumped down onto the sandy beach an officious looking character approached me. Douggie looked like he was about to go and say hello to him so I threw his ball in the opposite direction:
Officious character: “Your dog is off the lead. It’s not allowed to be.”
Me: “Seriously? We only walked on the prom for about eight feet. Just to get onto this beach.”
Him: “You walked all the way down that beach with your dog off the lead. I watched you do it”
Me: “Yes we did.” Looking vacant as I said it, still not realising where this conversation was heading.
Him. ” Didn’t you see the signs.”
Me: “Yes, course I did. April to November. Well it’s December now, what’s the problem?”
Him: Slowly as if talking to a child, “No dogs at all between April and November and dogs on leads at other times.It says it very clearly and you’ve passed at least four of these signs. There’s one there, there, there, there and there and you’ve gone past them all and totally ignored them, I could fine you £70.”
Me: Turning white as the penny drops. “OH NO!! I totally misread it. I’m sorry, (much grovelling).
At this point he was starting to enjoy being able to lecture me and made a point of lecturing me at length about dogs not being allowed to run free on beaches in Lyme Regis, all this while Douggie gambolled happily around his feet and I squirmed with embarrassment. Eventually, the official realised that the dog was still running loose and instructed me to put his lead on, which I did post haste, still grovelling. My purse was twitching with fear at the thought of having to surrender £70 of it’s hard earned money for not bothering to read a sign correctly.
Eventually the official had had his fill of making me squirm and decided to let me off with a warning. As I hot footed it back to the car a couple who’d been watching with amusement asked me if he’d let me off and informed me that Lyme Regis isn’t known for it’s tolerance for dogs.
We probably won’t be going back there.