Friday, 24 October 2014

And loves places that welcome Dogstarke

Travel has become more complicated but much more fun in the two years since Dogstarke came to stay. She doesn't always come with us, plane journeys aren't really practical but she is quite a well travelled doggie with her very own passport, last year she accompanied us to Ile de Re, although most of her travelling has been on home turf. So now my personal filters when searching for accommodation, dining options and days out include "dog friendly". I've found that this varies greatly particularly for hotels; I've been more than slightly confused by "dog friendly" hotels where dogs are not allowed in public areas nor allowed to stay alone in rooms: the loveliest dinner can be spoiled by that little face gazing back at you from the car. We now look for pub/restaurants with rooms which often let you eat from the main menu in the bar with a happy dog at your feet. It's nice when you can stay in the "good" rooms too, after all there's usually an extra charge for cleaning once your dog has left, so it's galling to be allocated the tired, due for refurbishing room around the back "convenient for letting your dog out". I know there will be irresponsible dog owners but most take great care that their dogs don't leave a trace. When I rented out self catering accommodation I only once had to do extra cleaning to remove traces of dog: several times if I hadn't actually greeted the dog on arrival I'd have been hard pressed to have known it had been there.

Rant over, where would I recommend?

The lovely Traddock at Austwick (, The George and Dragon at Clifton ( and ThePlough at Lupton ( are all places with great food which are also very welcoming to dogs - and their owners.

Living in Edinburgh we were really spoiled, our old neighbourhood of Bruntsfield was full of good dog friendly spots, Ruby Shoes (, Falko (Konditermeister) ( and The Edinburgh Bookshop ( were particular favourites.

With the help of the wonderful DugsWelcome site ( we are exploring our new (temporary) home of Leith. So far we really like Cafe Tartine (find them on Facebook), The Printworks cafe and Sofi's bar. If you are a dog owner in or visiting Scotland I would definitely recommend signing up to Dugs Welcome.

Salad and Tartine at Cafe Tartine
And so to the travelling between our homes...Mhor84 (, the Crianlarich hotel ( pizzas for us and big bowls of water for DS) and The Real Food Cafe, Tyndrum (excellent fish and chips, great sustainability ethos) are regular stopping off points on our journeys.


Then at journey's end?

Still exploring our nearest town but mostly relying on good weather and outdoor seating. Though I do know at least one dog friendly local bar

But I'm not telling you where that is..........





Monday, 20 October 2014

And remembers sunshine through the rain....

I'm sitting writing this enjoying the Autumn sun, no wait a minute it's raining, no sunny, um rainy, err......I think you know what I mean.


The last of the summer flowers are hanging on in there so what better time to remember a sunny trip a little over a month ago.

September, the month of back to school, berries and my birthday; this year ahem a "landmark" one, which called for a celebration. A very special birthday tea and a screening of "My Fair Lady" on the day, followed by a jaunt away with Mr S, GlamourPuss and the Prof.

Palma, Mallorca. An ideal spot for a long weekend break. Just a short flight from the UK, a quick journey into the city from the airport, a lovely compact old town, a fine Cathedral, galleries, good shops and eateries and beaches nearby. The weather in early September was gorgeous, still hot sunshine, but the city would be good all year round. We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Can Cera right in the old town. It's an old mansion converted very sympathetically into an hotel; they've retained the lovely old rooms but not overlooked modern comforts - great bathrooms, wifi, and comfy beds. I gave it a well deserved 5* review on TA.

One of the salons in the Can Cera

It wasn't just the surroundings that were lovely, the staff were too; friendly and helpful, making restaurant suggestions and bookings and giving us a late check out so that we could enjoy our last morning.

Palma is a great city for wandering in and we didn't make too many plans, which was just as well as the street names didn't always seem to match the maps. We visited the Cathedral, admired the Modernisme architecture (like Art Nouveau not Moderne) and had great fun at the market..

.......choosing a jamon gift for MasterStarke who was home looking after little DogS.


...and wondering what we would order for our yacht;

.........we made sure we stayed hydrated,

........and did a little window shopping.
We also took a trip out of town on the pretty wooden train and tram to Soller and Puerto Soller. Yes, it's a touristy thing, but also a fun one, both towns are pretty, good for strolling in and full of places to eat and drink. We took a dip in the sea, even the GlamourPuss, though unlike Peter Sarstedt's lovely, it's her hair she never gets wet! I found it strange to have hot sand rather than cold pebbles under my toes.

So if you fancy a short break,












Monday, 6 October 2014

And remembers the summer on a rainy day

I'm actually remembering a rainy stay, but the hotel was warm and comfortable so the weather didn't matter. Back in August, between moving out of our home of the past eight years and getting the keys to our new one, Mr Starke treated us to a couple of days luxury at Airds Hotel, Port Appin. Even though we hadn't done all the heavy lifting ourselves it was lovely to have a break away from boxes,to kick back and relax. Airds is well placed for that; Port Appin must be one of the loveliest spots in Argyll, which isn't short of lovely spots.

Looking out across Loch Linnhe from Airds hotel.

The views are spectacular whatever the weather, steely grey seas when it rains and stripes of turquoise and blue in the sunshine, often both in the space of a few minutes, bright flashes of orange membretia and craggy rocky shores. The weather didn't deter us and we walked along the shore; to the north is Castle Stalker on a tiny tidal island but still too much of an island to reach on that walk. Mark that one down for another day.


Dogstarke enjoying the walk

A quick, hot shower chased away the chills then we were off to the lawyers and a quick peek at our new home.

Airds, well prepared for the weather

Back at Airds we settled with our books and watched sea from the warmth of our room; later we would have a bath and a good dinner.

Next day, all change, two trucks, boxes, more boxes, placing, re-placing, a picnic lunch, more placing and replacing, a cup of tea; watching the sea from a room of our own.




Saturday, 4 October 2014

And takes time out to remember some.....

Gosh, it's been an age. I posted about the first half of my summer holiday and then...nothing. But I've been travelling lots; partially for leisure and partially due to circumstances. We moved out of our old home in early August and are now spending our time travelling between our temporary city flat and our new-to-be permanent home. In between we managed to fit in trips to three very lovely places.

After our return from John O'Groats, and my narrow escape, we spent a few glorious sunny days in the Yorkshire Dales. We based ourselves at "The Traddock" in Austick, a village we awarded "RP"* status.

*Ridiculously Pretty

Austwick is built from gorgeous golden stone, the main road by-passes without leaving it passed by; it has a village green, a shop, a church and two inns. We stayed in one of these, The Traddock. We spent three great nights there, PapaStarke joined us and we ate and slept well. We also enjoyed the loveliest summer weather.


The garden at The Traddock


Just some of the delicious food we enjoyed


On our last evening we watched the WI parade to their 90th birthday celebrations in the village hall.



The brass band packing up,after serenading the WI.

We did plenty of walking in Yorkshire, up to the top of Malham cove (even octagenerian PapaStarke) and under the earth in Ingleborough cave.




Hatted up ready to explore the caves

And inside..........

Back on the surface we climbed up to find the entry to Gaping Gill

But stayed well away for the edge, that one's for real cavers.


All that exercise builds up an appetite and, despite the promise of our dinner at The Traddock, we made room for a Yorkshire tea.


We arrived in Yorkshire just after the "Grand Depart" and there was still a festive atmosphere and lots of yellow bikes.


That's the end of this instalment of my travels, but I don't intend to leave it so long before I post the next ones - a luxury break between moves and another in Mallorca to celebrate a landmark birthday; I hope you'll return to join me remembering them. I usually review places I've stayed on TripAdvisor, unless, with one notable exception, I have nothing good to say about them. So there's more on The Traddock and the subjects of my next posts there.

Happy travelling.