So a strange thing happened last week: my Dad took a holiday. A whole week off work. Apparently the reason for this was the Commonwealth Games, which were held in Glasgow – a place I’ve never been to, but I hear it’s close to my Homeland of Kirkintilloch. My Grandad, who I don’t really know (we’ve met once and that was a while back, when I was still a young fellow), had travelled over from Northern Ireland (my Dad’s Homeland) to go to the Games with my Dad, so Mum and I had a few days to ourselves.
And then, unexpectedly to yours truly, Dad took the rest of the week off work. This was confusing. This turned every day into a Saturday, except Mum was working, kind of. “It’s a part time week,” she explained. Which means…? “Which means that on Wednesday and Friday we escape to the beach,” she said.
We. Escape. To. The. Beach. Beautiful words, aren’t they? Words that bring a thrill to a canine soul. So on Wednesday, once the Parents had faffed for an acceptable amount of time (Ed: I wasn’t ‘faffing’, I was at yoga) we headed down the coast to North Berwick. Now, I used to lie on the back seat of the car, but the problem with being, shall we say, vertically challenged, is that from the back seat you can’t see out the windows, which is poor car design if you ask me, so I’ve since claimed the passenger seat instead, on Mum’s lap, where I can take in the view and have a doze when we’re on a dull road. And there’s that moment when we reach North Berwick when I wake up to smell the sea. We’re driving through the town, along house-lined streets, so I can’t see the beach, but Mum opens the passenger window a few inches and I can smell it.
And then we turn onto Beach Road, alongside the pitch n’putt course (where, Mum tells me, she almost knocked Grannie out cold with a golf club when she herself was a little pupster), and there it is: the sea…
So we park the car, by which point I’m almost howling with the anticipation, and we head… for a cup of tea. Seriously. “I’m quite tired,” Mum says to Dad. “Fancy a cuppa before the walk?” “That’s a good idea,” Dad replies. “I could do with a coffee. And cake.” I look on incredulously. We have driven 45 minutes to get to the beach, and we have to walk past the beach to get to the café. Worse: we walk along a short stretch of beach, just enough for me to feel the sand deliciously between my toes (yes, we have toes too), and then we head into town, into the café, where I sit below the table while the Parents get their caffeine fix.
Is this a good time to point out that we, us dachshunds, indeed us canines, have to put up with a lot?
And then, finally, finally, we get to the beach. I mean, look at this…
And even though there are cloudy skies lurking overhead, and we can see rain in the distance over Edinburgh, none of us care. I paddle in the sea. The sand is full of sniffs. There are people and canines, but not too many of either to worry me. I breathe out. This is where I want to be.
And, as you may note, I’m rocking a slightly new look: my Puppia harness. Now I’m a fairly minimal guy; give me my Mungo and Maud rope collar and I’m happy. I wear it every day. But it’s been warm of late, and I’ve been panting my way through every walk. This is normal. You guys sweat, we pant. But Mum was watching me panting, and pulling in my collar (what can I say, there are times when I’m keen to get places) and she was thinking that this wasn’t the healthiest thing for my neck, or my throat. So we popped into Just Dogs and picked up my new harness. And it’s the most comfortable item of clothing a canine can wear.
So here I am, sporting this new look, perched on a rock, sandy paws, ears flapping in the sea breeze… Ah, happy days.