Here, in an extra post, is all the stuff I couldn’t tell you without spoiling the grim and ghostly lighthouse atmosphere of today’s main post.
The sun was not in evidence, yet the dog needed walking.
The centre of all good holidays is motivation. Phil and I were sold on the Visiting A Desolate Lighthouse Used By Marconi project. The kids, not so much.
It was the advert for the South Foreland lighthouse which solved everything.
“Why not borrow a kite from us and get outdoors in the bracing sea air, or enjoy traditional games on the lawn?” it piped up, rallying the troops so that Felix was in the car before I had got to the advert’s full stop. Maddie was close behind.
Now. The dog.
There was a brisk walk across the fields to reach the lighthouse. But what to do with a spare dog when we wanted to tour it?
“Dogs welcome in the grounds. Dog loops and outside seating are available at the tearoom”, confirmed the site.
Were there small tight round circles custom-built for wiry terriers just waiting for Macaulay to try them out?
No; They have places to tie dogs up while you potter round. I don’t like leaving the dog. But on a remote cliff top, away from crowds, in the fresh sea air, well: it just might work.
We found the place with little trouble. The lighthouse stands out in the landscape. We parked and walked and Macaulay sniffed and christened and disappeared joyfully into a field of some crop or other, tail serving as a dogmark. We recalled him hurriedly.
When we arrived, we went to reception. “Excuse me, I asked, “but where are your dog loops?”
Directions followed. Then I thought I’d chance my luck. “I don’t suppose,” I ventured, “we could leave him tied up outside your office?”
They were extremely nice. Of course, they said, tie him there, we can keep an eye on him.
The dog was not pleased. He was indignant. He was put out. His moustache said so. He yelped like a dog who has been trapped in a small room for a week. Where are you going? His non verbal language bawled. I’m over here!
We went. Into the lighthouse with its mercifully thick walls. We took the tour and ooh-ed and ahhed and looked at gas lamps and generators and heard about Marconi’s antics.
And then we got to the top.
And we looked , gingerly over the top to see how the dog was.
There he was, tied up outside reception. A tiny dog in a sea of turf and picnic tables. And within a tenth of a second his radar had located us, at the top of a Very Tall Tower.
He. Was. Outraged. Very small, a dot on the ground, but palpably outraged.
What do you think you are doing up there? He barked. What kind of a height do you call that? Call yourself dog owners?
He made such a furious fuss that we watched in chagrin as the kind National Trust ladies came out, untied him, and took him into reception.
We could do nothing. Imprisoned on our tour, we could only trail and count the seconds before we could go and retrieve our personal hairy bundle of fury.
Which we did.
He forgave us instantly on our return, of course, dogs do that. And then he helped us fly kites.
And as we left, we noted the next dog, tied up at the picnic tables as its owners travelled up lighthouse stairs, and far, far away.