Dogs, Ducks and Lavender!
I was delighted to take a short trip to Norfolk recently to visit my dear friends and contributors to this publication Josef and Emma Teckel.
My humans had decided that as it is quite a drive from our home patch, we would stay overnight and immediately set about searching out a true ‘dog friendly’ place to stay. As I am sure you are aware, finding accommodation which will accept dogs can be a challenge and it took the humans quite a while to find somewhere which would recognise my sausagey splendour in its full glory. It was agreed that The Vines Bed and Breakfast at Great Cressingham might fit the bill.
Upon our arrival on a dark and stormy night, ok, it was just a bit of drizzle but let’s pretend for a moment. A dark and stormy night saw our arrival at the cozy 15th century property, one side of which was cloaked in a splendid grape vine, complete with grapes. Our host was most welcoming and immediately made a fuss of me. I was impressed by his swift and enthusiastic welcome and bestowed a quick sniffing upon him in acknowledgement. As befits such an aged property there was a generous complement of ‘character’, the full range of wonky floors, little doorways, beams and steep stairs.
Now The Vines is a very unusual place because they allow dogs to sleep on the beds with their humans! Yes, on the beds. No more sneaking in your own selection of throws and blankets and guiltily lint roller-ing up the dog hair evidence in the morning. They do ask kindly that you make use of the bedspread provided if your dog will be sleeping on the bed. We were so overjoyed at being able to properly relax that we were happy to do so. The room was clean and comfortable and we all slept well.
Breakfast was a similarly relaxed affair, dogs are of course allowed into the breakfast room and no one minds a bit of drooling as the humans tuck into their cooked breakfast.
We bid farewell to our accommodation (which we would most certainly recommend) and set off to meet dear Josef and Emma at the Sandringham Estate. I was fully expecting HM Queen to be there to meet me but was bitterly disappointed to see that my only welcoming committee was a selection of other dachshunds taking all the attention. I was most upset to see a couple of cute dachshund puppies charming people off to one side; I do the charming I’ll have you know! I soon recovered though as by that time Josef and Emma had arrived and after a brief refreshment stop we strolled over to the Queen’s church for a look. This church was very familiar as I had seen it on TV before with the royal family outside at Christmas. A very nice man from inside the church welcomed us and said it was OK for us dogs to go inside and have a look. I was very impressed and noted that if in the future a certain dappled news editor ever had a wedding whim it would make a splendid nuptial venue.
The silver altar and pulpit were dazzling and after such excitement I felt I might need a moment to relax, so we went a few miles down the road to a hostelry named The Feathers. I am sure regular readers will be familiar with this establishment. We enjoyed a very tasty meal, (well done The Feathers) and I was again impressed by the dog friendliness of the area as I was allowed to sit on the upholstered seating.
Our final stop was the fragrant Norfolk Lavender, a cornucopia of all things lavender. Rows and rows of soft purple lavender wafting their slightly astringent scent towards the car park greeted us. We took a romantic stroll through their little herb garden and had a look at the teeny little garden centre. I think Josef took a bit of a shine to a hot pink suited garden gnome whilst we were there, I think he might be asking Santa Paws for one of those perhaps?
Thankfully the distillery machinery wasn’t at work on the day of our visit (such things are terrifying in my opinion) but Josef and Emma’s mum told us sometimes you can see it working. Sadly I wasn’t allowed in the shop but there was enough to see outside so I didn’t care. The humans decided it was time for refreshments, again, so we took a seat outside and I watched the hopeful ducks waddling over from the stream nearby. Conversation was somewhat challenging as every slight movement was met with a loud chorus of quacking from the ducks demanding food. I must confess The Barking Bugle’s Investigative Reporter and News Editor did try to ‘play’ with the ducks but went home thwarted in their efforts.