Saturday, 7 May 2016

and enjoys some new ones

This week I had a quick trip back to  Edinburgh to meet up with friends and grab a bit of culture (and shopping).  I love my life here in Argyll, it's certainly not a cultural desert, we've a fab local cinema, there's music, and lots of creative people producing great arts and crafts, but one thing we don't have so much access to is "big name" exhibitions and last time I was  in Edinburgh I'd  spotted an ad. for Masters of the Everyday, Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer at the Queen's Gallery at Holyrood Palace. So I decided to combine a visit to it, with a catchup session with some girlfriends.

getting in the city mood, a century of Vogue on the  train 

I like the Queen's Gallery, it's just the right size and as you might imagine puts on some pretty good shows, after all H M has one of the world's largest art collections,  so there are loads  of great paintings to choose from.  And to use a much abused word,  the exhibitions are always well curated, with just the  right amount to see. I get sensory overload if I go to a really massive exhibition and much prefer smaller shows that leave me wanting more.

I'm sure the GlamourPuss has a pair like that

card players were a popular subject

Vermeer detail

The exhibition runs until the 24th July, catch it if you can.

the gallery itself is lovely

After my culture fix I had a quick trip to the shops and then had lunch at The Forth Floor Brasserie at the top of Harvey Nichols. It's an old favourite of mine from my Edinburgh days, I love the views and the buzz.

tea with a view

And where did I stay? Here!

respite from the heels

The Hub by Premier Inn, on East Market Street  between Waverley station and the Royal Mile. It's pretty new and a good addition to the budget hotel scene. Rooms certainly are compact but very well designed, with a good amount of storage, comfy beds and generous showers. I don't know how much I'd like to share the space but it was great as as solo traveller. One proviso, if you're short and have reduced mobility you could have a problem getting into bed;  the non hanging storage is underneath so  they are quite high. My feet couldn't touch the floor when I was sitting on it (I'm  quite short, 5'2). Still  that didn't put me off and I was all set to rebook for my next trip south but prices had risen so I'm trying out yet another budget option then.

homeward bound

But before that, I've an  island safari to look forward to,  and MrS and Dogstarke  get to come on that.

Until then

Marina x

Monday, 2 May 2016

and ponders on "friendliness"

Dog friendliness to be exact. You may have noticed a certain doggycentric slant to my posts. Since Dogstarke came to live with us back in 2012 she has become a very important part of our lives.

Who could resist this smile?

And so she comes with us when we travel. I heard a piece on the radio recently reporting how hotels were responding to the demand for pet friendly holidays. I know I've been on my soapbox about this before but it didn't really chime with my idea of what  dog friendly means. High up on the list of things were special dog menus and beds. Now I don't know whether we are exceptional but DogStarke fares best when she eats her regular diet, which we always take with us and her own blanket and bed to make her feel at ease. Dog spa treatments got a mention too...DogStarke likes to seek out her mud and seaweed fixes herself and hates grooming, so not much appeal there.


So what do I look for?

1) Friendliness, to people and pets. I think if you can't be friendly to customers then really you shouldn't  be in the business.

2) Somewhere to walk. It doesn't need to be a massive garden but that is a plus. It's good when rooms have suggestions for local walks too.

3) A bin for the inevitable waste. One very nice inn we've visited several times not only has no bins on site, there  are no waste bins in the village. But if you do fail to find a bin that is no excuse for leaving little bags around the place. Take it away!

4) Having an eating area and some public space accessible to dogs and their owners. It's not really friendly if poor dog has to be locked in the car when their people leave the room, and very unwelcoming to non drivers.

5) A sensible supplement for cleaning, because, well rooms should be thoroughly cleaned after every guest, dog or human.

Everything else is just window dressing.

DogStarke on her travels

And for our part we dog owners should abide by certain minimum standards of behaviour.

1) Always pick up your dog's waste.

2) Clean your dog, wipe their paws etc after those lovely muddy walks and...

3) Don't bath your dog in the hotel bathroom, that just spoils things for future guests, I know of a least one formerly dog friendly hotel that throw refuses dogs because of this. Many hotels/inns in country areas offer outside taps/towels. Use them.

4) Don't allow your dog on the beds/furniture even if they are allowed at home.

5) Keep your dog under control and don't let it wander about, not everyone is a dog lover.

6) Have fun with your dog, go for walks, play.  A happily tired dog after a great day out with its people will be more likely to settle down for a snooze under your chair.

have ball, happy dog

Well I've just finished booking a short break  at various dog friendly places, I'll let you know how we all get along.

Marina x