Our last full day disproved any ‘Wet Wales’ preconceptions we may have held. A day off the physical punishment was allowed, even if the Vet did her own thing. Having watched a minute of her routine (what’s routine about such punishment?) I realised she had been kind to me. I made some porridge, and settled in for a group zoom with my Singapore based nephew. Six to one aren’t fair odds so he did most of the talking, including how he blistered his privates with hot coffee. Maybe it’s an Asian thing? After all, I’ve seen their version of hell at Haw Pah villa and believe me Haverfordwest is amateurish by comparison.
Having absorbed family news and the state of the Singapore nation, we set off for a beach stroll in Freshwater West. There are in truth a possibly infinite number of sandy beaches appropriately accessorised with rock pools and dunes hereabouts, but this was chosen for a burger van.
This shabby surfer-chic emporium served the most delicious crab or lobster buns with locally sourced fillings. We met one such filling desperately hiding from its fate when we later rambled around the rock pools.
I’ve always loved rock pooling. It’s inevitable, up there with death, taxes and incompetent governments that I will at some point step into a too deep pool and fill my boots, so it is often wise to do this early rather than wait for the inevitable splosh-seep-swear combo.
Today, stars aligned, gods put away their dice and winds blew from the west. I stepped away from the final pool, did a little jump on to the sand… and landed in dog crap. Not Dog, mind. He just sniggered in a post-Muttley sort of way. So, back into the rock pool I went, armed with a cockle shell and a seething indignation. I cleaned out the tread of my boots, scanned the beach for the likely faecal-denier who left me their gift and stepped into water of sufficient depth to tip over the rim and soak my socks.
No, I refused to be downcast. I refused to fume. I stomped the length of the beach, scowled at the surfer dudes and dudesses and kick the (rather beautiful) cliff at the far end. Life was good. Even if it took five minutes to remember.
Time to move on. The Vet, having studied in Bristol acquired many Welsh friends, one of who gave their opinion of one town near us. ‘Twll’, apparently pronounced ‘teush’. It’s not complimentary.
One such friend, the West Vet met us in Tenby for a walk and a meal. She has a puppy, a cocker spaniel cross called Todd. The boys met nose to tail and did a lot of chasing. Initially we all thought ‘ah, they want to play’. Then we looked away briefly…
Oh well boys will be boys. Tenby is picture-postcard picturesque with pastel-painted cottages fronting the sea. A lot of people were there and it turned out most of the beaches had this thing about dogs. Maybe it was the X rated behaviour that dogs around here suffer from.
So we moved to Moonstone beach, a couple of miles and a small lifetime away. To reach it we had to wander through an old campsite full of scouts tents, circa 1960. Very old school. The beach too was pretty empty and the two dogs, now they’d done their own meet and greet routine ran about madly.
Dog is nearly 12. He’s a bit arthritic. But the inner pup is close to the surface and he was even persuaded to leap into the sea. That’s what youth does for you. Like me and the Vet and her hiit session.
As we walked back to the car, I shared a moment of understanding with his Muttship. Ok, so the infrastructure is creaky and the joints need a regular oiling but inside we will both always be teens. And suffer in the morning….
And we did. But what the heck, eh?
What about ice cream?