Tuesday, December 09, 2014

#Pup-social weekend - Birmingham 2014 (Saturday through to Sunday)



Both Sir and I were exhausted after all the fun of the PupSocial, so we headed back to the hotel to strip the pup of his rubber and shower him down - and then fell into bed for a wonderful snuggle.

I've said it before, but it's true: those moments wrapped warm and safe in my Man's arms are some of the best moments of any play-date - and the sleep I have, knowing He is there, surrounding and protecting me, some of the deepest and most satisfying I have anytime...

We woke after a few hours, then had to dress quickly and head out - ready to meet Neil and friends for a night of culture. We didn't really have time to eat, so grabbed some chips, hopped a taxi - and then ate in glorious out-of-the-bag decadence, sitting on a wall beside the canal - introducing Neil to the culinary delights of deep-fried battered mushrooms in the process...

We had been booked to see 'The Judas Kiss' at the Crescent Theater. The play was incredibly moving and explored Oscar Wilde's disastrous relationship with the unbelievably selfish Bosie (Lord Alfred Douglas) in two scenes: at the Cadogan Hotel whilst Oscar waits to be arrested, and two years after his incarceration, shamed, broken and penniless in a rat infested hotel in Naples. Seeing the shame and horror of the Victorian world at 'the love that dare not speak its name' seemed especially poignant, given the context of the rest of our weekend, and the Pride I feel in publicly being who I am - and yet it also made me think of all the places and cultures that still exist in the world today who seek to humiliate, outlaw and silence our love, our culture and our very existence.

Everyone was quite talkative about the play (and especially the very sweet actor who played Robbie) on our walk back through Brindley place, the Gas-street basin and on to the Gay quarter - but they still managed to talk themselves into another night of Skinhead chasing at the Boltz club, whilst my Man and I retired back to the hotel for a nuzzle, a snuggle, and a catch up with our sleep...

8----8

Sunday began - as all puppy-mornings do - with a great deal of sleepy puppy tail-wagging, a very wet licky tongue, a hungry welcoming throat, and a very happy puppy getting a well earned shot of protein - and then leaping out of bed to get my Man a reconstituting tea and biscuits...



We had no real plans for the day, so dressed and headed down into the city - ending up at the Canalside Cafe in the Gas street basin, for a breakfast watching the narrowboats bobbing at their moorings as various boat-tours came and went with happy tourists waving as they passed. A canal-boat tour seemed a very good idea, so we strolled along to have a look at the ICC (and a sneaky peak into the Symphony hall) and then joined a couple of German gents to hop the next boat for a very pleasant chug along the canals and Birmingham's rich industrial history (the fact that the helmsman was a rather cute, curly-headed blond in some rather fetching work-jeans didn't do any harm either...).

We were a little chilly by the end of our tour, so we headed back through the ICC and out into Millennium square: there to be welcomed by a skating rink full of people, and the edges of a German Christmas Market so stuffed with crowds that they had had to instigate a one-way system at one point. It was rather fun though - as were the roasted chestnuts and Belgian hot chocolate that we bought; just to warm our hands, you understand...

We wandered for a good hour, then finally met up with a great bunch of guys from Boltz at a huge Weihnachtspyramide-topped Bieerkeller stand - including the boot-mad Nicholas (who we had met before in Berlin, but it took me half a conversation to recognise - and then make everyone laugh by apologising with the universal 'What would I know: I'm a dog!' ). Neil was also there, despite having called off on meeting us for high-tea as he needed to catch a 3:30pm train back to Cardiff - saying he had been lured to stay longer by the very sweet Kevin, and his promise of a 20% discount on a new pair of made-to-measure Wescos. At least, that was the excuse - I'm not sure it wasn't Kevin's moustaches that sweetened the deal - it certainly would have been were it me...

We chatted to everyone for a while, but my Man was getting tired, so they offered to walk us back to the hotel. Even so, there was a great deal of milling outside of Tescos, a little bit of beard-cruising, and a fair consumption of tiny pancakes until we finally made our way back to the gay quarter - were we made our farewells, and agreed to meet later in the evening for supper.


Sir and I headed back to our hotel for a much needed snuggle and 'Disco nap' before the rest of the night's entertainment - then it was into our chaps and boilersuits for a walk into the Gay Village, there to wait - hassled by amorous drunks - whilst we waited for the boys. It was a rather longer - and colder - wait than we'd arranged, but we finally got everyone together for a fantastic noodle supper at MinMin - (even if the waitress did make my man laugh by asking 'Are you on a boys night out?' - 'Honey' He said 'I've not been called a boy in a VERY long time!')

Feeling contentedly fed (but not 'too full to fuck'), it was then on to Boltz - which was much quieter than the previous night. We bumped into one of Sir's friends for a brief chat on our way in, but then my Man dragged me off into the Bullring for a little fun.

Sir chose to start our play in the 'Motorbike room': ordering me to strip down out of my boilersuit, then drawing me over beside the bike and the down onto my knees before Him - my tongue eager to work His cock from the tight confines of His leather jock-strap so that I could worship and pleasure Him - pulling Him down into my throat and into my soul. I was utterly lost in devotion, but still aware of the guys who gathered to watch and give awed encouragement to my dedication - feeding off their arousal and using it to power even greater attempts to please and honour my Man.

Sir stopped me before I could bring Him to climax though - preferring to save that gift for one of the other rooms where we might have more privacy. Both sling-rooms were busy - and Sir had no condoms with Him so we couldn't get very active in the sling anyway; Sir finally led me into the Worship room, there to sit enthroned with the pup at His feet, greedily working away like some God-awed acolyte - before putting the pup down onto his back in the cage so He could get right down into my throat and TAKE His pleasure as long and deep as He wished - before having me kneel and take His holy seed upon my tongue in blessed sacrament (then greedily suck the last beautiful drops whilst Sir squeezed them out from the very base of His meat with His hands...)

Sated and bonded, we headed back out into the bar - and caught up with Andy to chat about how much fun the Social had been, and his plans for future PupSocial events on a bi-monthly basis.

It was a great end to the day - and we finally managed to drag ourselves away around midnight with lots of hugs and beard rubs all round.

8---8

Sunday morning found us slow to wake - horny and hungry but not wanting to get up. Several days of having my hole plugged had made me so ready and eager for my Man - and I confess to being very wriggly and whimpery in my desire to be fucked (even flipping myself onto my back with my legs in the air with my hole twitching a morse-like 'Fuck me now - PLEASE!') - but Sir was very strong and told me 'NO, pup! - I don't want to start something we won't have time to finish...'

So instead it was into a cold shower, then packing and check-out in record time - and then heading out onto the road home.

We often take the A roads for a more scenic route home - so Sir took us out of Birmingham through the Asian markets and hookah shops of Solihul, and then on through the winding country roads of Warwickshire and Oxford.

We skipped breakfast, but found a wonderul little Farm shop and tea room at Lime farm, Farthinghoe - where we stopped for Hommity pie and a pet of their goats, rabbits and pigs - then headed on through Banbury and Hoxton (the pup frantically writing notes for the blog on a notepad on his knee) - and a surprise little visit to my Alma Mater's originating location at Heythrop Park before finally turning for home and our farewells for another few weeks.


Thank you Sir - it was a wonderful weekend,and much needed. I Love my Man - balls to bone!



#PupSocial weekend, Birmingham 2014 - @PupSocial



Sir and I had heard about the upcoming OiFest #PupSocial when we ran our own puppy-play workshop at the Bristol Leather Weekend; it's been a while since we have attended a purely pup event, so it seemed a perfect plan to head up to Birmingham and see what it was like.

Sir drove - with both of us feeling warm in our full leather, and a trunk full of gear. The pup had found a cheap room at the Paragon - which looked very impressive in turn-of-the-century red-brick splendor in the pics, but proved to be rather UN-impressive once we got to our (tiny and very basic) room...

Still, we were there for the social not for a luxurious room, so we dropped our cases, made a quick change from leather into rubber, pulled on our boilersuits and headed back down to the car - with the dog hopping into the back as we headed down to Boltz.

It was still afternoon so Sir was able to find a parking spot just outside the club; He locked on my leash and made me wait patiently on all fours beside the car, waiting for a safe gap in the traffic before trotting me across the road and buzzing at the club door to be let in. The poor doorman took one look at Sir's High-vis Dog Handler uniform and white flat-top cap, and thought He was the real Police doing a raid; it took quite a bit of persuading (and a look down at the rubberpup accompanying Him) before he would let us in ;)

The downstairs club-space was surprisingly busy for a Saturday afternoon, but Sir had me trot straight through and up to the #OiFest event taking place in the social space up stairs. There were lots of horny skin guys around in bleachers and high-laced boots - and tons of stalls selling jeans, boots and skin gear - and it was nice to see the lovely guys from Dogs Bolloxx there with their stall too. They made a real fuss of the pup and gave me some lovely gingerbread doggy-bone biscuits (and Sir some curiously carnivore beef-and-onion ones!); sadly, however, they hadn't got any further in organising for us to deliver our pup workshop at the LeatherPride Belgium Camp k9 event in February...

Sir let me look over their gear for a while, then took us on a short trot around the stalls - stopping to say hello to the various traders He knows - and then led us through into the bar: following the sound of squeaky-toys and puppy-mayhem...



Sir's friends Nigel and Chris were both there at the bar, so Sir stopped to say hello - and then left His pup in safe hands whilst He went to find some drinking straws for the dog. Neil was really sweet, and knelt down so that I could have a friendly face in view - but I still kept one eye on the door: trying to find were my Man had gone - and the other on the crash-mats were all the pups were happily rough-and-tumbling at play.

Sir finally found some straws, and let me hydrate with a few gulps of cold lemonade - then He led me over to the pup-space to watch the frolics a little closer.

Richard and Andy had both done a great job in organising everything - with nice big clip-together crash-mats so the pups could jump about without hurting themselves, and a TON of toys and squeakies to play with. They had even made up individual doggy-bags for each pup to take home with them, each containing a ball, a dog-pull, and a squeaky-toy - for which, of course, this pup showed a hugely happy tail-wagging Thank you!



I've always shied away from puppy-moshes before. I'm a wee pup and surprisingly shy - and have always feared being overwhelmed and knocked about too much in the rough-and-tumble. But Andy and Richard kept a close eye on everyone, and stepped in when any pups got over-excited or aggressive - which made me feel safer, and so I was soon drawn in to a fantastic game of chase-the-ball with a wonderfully pupped-out Rubeus (who I've known through Pupzone for many years, but have never had the chance to actually meet) and the incredibly cute pup Xanto. Both Rubeus and Xanto were infectiously excitable, and incredibly good at getting even the shiest new pups involved in the games (especially Rubeus: even when he was totally in the zone, he always seemed to have one eye on the newest pups in the mosh). It was an honour to watch them both, and you couldn't ask for a better representation of how a big-brother pup should look after his pup-bros if you tried.

There was also a fantastic moment when Xanto finally worked out how to get the Maltesers out of the treat-ball - resulting in a cascade of chocolates and a baying scrum of puppies trying to hoover them up despite the various handicaps of mitts, hoods and muzzles (with sweet Rubeus coming to the rescue of one poor pup in a huge, spiked muzzle from Dogs Bolloxx - feeding him chocs one-by-one through his hood...).




I know there were a lot of photos taken - and one fantastic video that Xanto shared of he and I deeply involved in a game of squeaky-toy bounce that ended with everyone in stitches of laughter - but in all honesty I was blissfully lost to the world. Who could have thought that joy really could be found in just the smell and sound of a squeaky toy - that you could have so much fun chasing a laser-spot across the floor - or that you could lose yourself so completely in a simple game of 'Stay... Fetch!' (for which I must thank the sweet man from Dogs Bolloxx - sorry, I never got your name, but those moments focusing on the raggy, then waiting for your permission to 'fetch' were the most intense moments of puppy head-space I've had with anyone other than my Man...).


I was a wreck by the end, and leaving great pig puddles of sweat that leaked from my rear-zipper - much to everyone's amusement. Sadly, I also managed to split the knee of my pup-suit on something sharp: the second suit to go whilst pupping-out (making me wonder whether I should progress to something more 'robust' when at public events in future...). But I can honestly say I have never had quite so much fun. EVER. All the Handlers and owners were so supportive and encouraging, and the other pups so idiotically perfect - I really will hold that afternoon as a beacon of puppy-heaven for a long time to come.

And the best bit is that Andy says Liam has agreed to let them stage another PupSocial in January...!!!!



Thursday, December 04, 2014

Squeaky-toy heaven (#PupSocial, Birmingham 2014)

I'll be posting about last weekend's Pup Social at the Birmingham OiFest very soon - but I just couldn't wait to share this fantastic video from @PupXanto of he and I playing 'Bounce with a Squeaky-toy' (I've got one in my mouth, under the muzzle - I don't normally sound like that, honest ;) ).

Ah, happy puppy days!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

I got 'Outed' by Facebook's privacy settings...

Anyone who actually knows me, knows that I am genuinely open and disarmingly honest (or so I've been told). I've been 'me' for long enough now that I can honesty say I am happy being me - and I am equally happy for others to see and know who I am too.

I believe in telling the truth about who I am, and how I see the world - because I believe that such honesty is how the human race comes to understand each other, itself, and the world.

That said, I am equally aware that we all live within multiple groups and communities: 'Family', 'Work', 'School', 'Bowling buddies' - and we regularly move between those groups as we live our lives. Within those groups, we will find ourselves sharing different aspects of our personality and identity - showing different 'faces' that relate to the context of the group we find ourselves in. And so we find we are a different person to our parents than we are to our friends, and wear a different 'mask' at work to the one we show our lover in bed (or the dungeon)...

There are some of us who purposefully use these 'masks' to create and explore may different 'identities' - using them as a way to explore aspects of our personality that are normally hidden and undeveloped. When we don these other 'masks' we are not hiding our 'true' identity (whatever that might mean in our postmodern world) but using it as a way to become more fully another part of who we might be, and can become:

I am 'little David' to my family, 

'The tattooed Librarian' to my students,
MAT_Librarian to my professional twitter contacts
'High Priest and Elder' to my Coven,
and 'bootbrush' to my friends in the BDSM and pup-play communities.


The problem comes when those different communities converge - and those multiple identities merge. I may know that it is still the same 'me' who sits within and behind these many masks - but the members of some of those communities may be unwilling (or unable) to cope with the sudden revelation that seeing one of these normally unseen masks may bring - especially when the new mask they see appears to be diametrically opposite to the one they are familiar with...

At least, that's what I thought - until I got 'outed' this weekend by Facebook's privacy settings.

I have a 'writer's page' on Facebook for 'bootbrush', but my normal sign-in is my real name, since that's the identity that the majority of my friends and family know. I initially joined Facebook for work, and so most of my connections there are colleagues, family and 'vanilla' friends - and save most of my fetish interactions for the social networks specifically set up for that task (Recon, Fetlife, pupzone etc); however, I have found that self-imposed separation has slowly eroded over time as I've connected to friends within the leather community, and as more of the Leather groups have moved over to Facebook as a way to publicise their events to a wider audience...

This weekend was the Bristol Leather Weekend, organised by Leatherwest. Details of the weekend were widely publicised, as befits a Leather Pride event, and the weekend events circulated via the events page on Facebook. I stand by that initial statement of honesty and openness - and agree that it is only by being visible that we are able to be free - and so I decided to tag my attendance for the events that my Handler and I planned to attend (including the puppy-play workshop that Sir and I led). What I wasn't prepared for was Facebook then choosing to promote my attendance at those events to every one of my followers and friends - including links to the blog posts about it on Leatherwest and my own blog (replete with images from our naked pup-romp through the Fuggerstrasse at last year's Folsom event...).

The first I knew about it was when I received a couple of rather 'clipped' messages from some distant Facebook friends along the lines of "you people shouldn’t be allowed to flaunt your perversions in front of myself and my children; you should keep your private life private".  I was, quite frankly, pissed - both at Facebook for outing me so coldly and out of context, and at the prudishness of a few people whom I had thought were 'friends' and therefore would know me enough to know who I am and what I sometimes get up to.

I was pissed enough - and, to be honest, embarrassed enough - to post a little caveat emptor on my timeline:  



What I wasn't ready for was the mini flood of 'likes' from all the rest of my genuine friends - or the wash of love, praise and acceptance expressed in their comments. And not just from properly close friends: but from friends on the Pagan scene, colleagues at work, and friends of friends whom I have only rarely met:



And the moral of this story?

One: be careful with those Facebook 'like's and 'going's - you may find yourself sharing more than you intended. 

But, equally:

Two: live your life with honesty and conviction - and feel no shame for being who you are and liking what you do. Be truthful to those you meet and know - be open and be OUT. You might be surprised at just how many people will not only accept and LOVE you for being just who you are, but who will find your honesty an inspiration to fully embrace their own long-hidden desires and identities.


Namaste!



Sunday, October 19, 2014

#BLW2014 and Mr. Leatherwest

Blimey, what a busy but incredibly fun day! 



Our Pup Workshop seemed to go well: we had a dozen guys, and a nice mix of Handlers and pups - with some old friends and new faces amongst them, and an embarrassing depth of experience (at least for us presenting, and feeling like the proverbial egg-sucking demonstrators ;) ). Still Sir and I had fun sharing some of our thoughts and experiences, and everyone shared nice comments afterwards about how helpful and 'comprehensive' it had been. We even got asked afterwards if we'd consider presenting something similar at the Camp K9 event next February as part of Leather Pride Belgium...!



Then it was home to Sirs for a chill and a change into our 'formal' leathers, before heading back into Bristol for the Mr. Leatherwest evening festivities and Union party at The Retreat. It's amazing how hot a bar can get when it's full of  40+ BLUF and leather-clad Men - and I don't just mean temperature... ;)

Congratulations to Phil, Spencer and Tim for gaving organised such a brilliant inaugural event - and special congrats to Neil, our First ever Mr. Leatherwest!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Pup training at the @leatherwest Bristol Leather Pride #BLW2014




It's been a busy month, what with My Handler and I putting in extra hours to pull together the last few pieces for our 'Pup training' workshop, taking place in Bristol this coming weekend.

The workshop is one of three, organised as part of the first ever Bristol Leather Pride weekend: 17th - 19th October, and including various events from a BLUF dinner, an art exhibition, a Leather Speed-date and the inaugural Mr Leather West competition.

Our own workshop is billed as 'Pup Training', and we plan for it to be an entertaining and informative mix of talk and discussion mixed with chances to experience the various aspects of puppy play. We hope to cover expectations, gear and forms of play - but Sir will also be focusing on the Safety aspects of being a Handler, whilst I look more at the headspace of being a pup.

It should be a fun day; there are still a couple of tickets available, if you are interested - but be quick, because they are going fast!




Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Zoom zoom: Dog on a motorbike

I went down for a mid-week visit with Sir this week - and to catch up with our friend and Downsized-Gypsy Andrew, who was camping out on Sir's drive for a few days with both his Airstream and his beautifully self-designed Triumph Thruxton (lovingly called 'The Thruxter').

We rode down into Bristol for a beautiful sunset supper at the Dockside - both my Men in their gorgeous leathers, and accompanied by Andrew's intrepid little dog, Dougal. Dougal was so happy, wearing his special Doggles and safely secured in his special back-pack on his Daddy's back - we just had to take some video...






Now that is what you call a real Bike-pup. His Daddy's not bad too ;)


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Edinburgh 2014



My man and I have just been up in Edinburgh, enjoying a little time in the 'Athens of the North'...

Friday

We flew up late afternoon on the Friday, courtesy of Sleazy-jet. It was an easy flight, and we were soon hopping the lovely new Tram into the city, and the bus out to our B&B - both of us amazed at how simple and uncomplicated the journey had been; that was, until Sir realised he'd left his wallet on the Tram and had to make a dash to retrieve it before it headed back to the airport...

Our B&B was lovely - we checked in, dropped our bags, and then decided to make the most of the evening with a walk back into town and the Royal Mile. It was heaving with the Fringe Festival crowds, and so we strolled around and gawked at a few of the street performers for a while, then escaped the crowds by wandering back down towards the Parliament buildings and Holyrood House. It was getting late, and the sun was starting to set over Arthur's Seat, but we were very good and resisted the urge to eat our first deep-fried Mars Bar - choosing a very healthy Turkish Meze supper at Empires instead: loving the intimate and exotic atmosphere created by the original textiles and handmade lamps. (We also had great fun eavesdropping on a theatre 'Lovey' sat at the table next to us, bigging up his performance to his friends and bitching about other shows that he had seen - and then trying to pay his bill with free tickets because he didn't have enough money...).

Tuckered out, we headed back to our hotel for our one and only early night - and a little bit of puppy throat-nobbing before bed... ;)



Tuesday

We woke nice and late - and were drawn down to breakfast by the lovely smells coming from our host's kitchen... I had already decided on the very fortifying 'Scottish' breakfast - with veggie Haggis; it was my first time eating the Scottish national dish, and I am pleased to say that it was exceptionally good :) Braced for the day - and suitably attired in a fully traditional kilt in my family tartan - we then headed back up to the city to see what was to be seen.

We took a detour up to Calton Hill first; good lord, talk about steep steps! It was worth it for the stunning views though: across the city to the Castle and the hills beyond, and over Leith to the Forth. We did need to take a small break for a refreshing brew though - and took in both an impromptu exhibition by Ross Sinclair, and very entertaining game of catch-the-raggie by a guy and his dog (that only narrowly avoided the dog leaping off the hill and onto several tourist's heads...)





We nipped back to the Royal Mile next, so the pup could collect some tickets for the performances we had pre-booked earlier in the week; then we joined the crowds to watch a rather funny juggler from New Zealand (who did the most amazing things with a leaf-blower and his mullet), before heading up the esplanade and into the Castle to see the views over the city - and only just missing the firing of the famous 1 o'clock gun

We were hungry by now, but found a little cafe perched down one of the iconic closes, behind the Writer's museum, before heading down to the Princes Street Gardens.



Our first event was a Cabaret at The Famous Spiegletent; It was a rather mixed show, to be honest. The compare was laconic and witty, but he was followed by a very 'Fringe' act of a guy in a red leotard stuffed with balloons (the 'Red Bastard') who jumped about the stage and tried to be 'interesting' (but failed to be anything more than irritating and embarrassing). A burlesque fan-dancer followed - which was a rather interesting experience fro two gay men - and then a rather clever mind-reader. Best of all was the witty and terribly dashing Mr B. 'Chap-hop Superstar' - in tweeds, spats and glorious facial hair, banjo in hand and ready to have us all singing along to his wittily 'Posh' retakes of hip-hop and house classics. 'All hail the chap!'

Luckily, being inside we also managed to avoid that afternoon's torrential rain.

It was rather too late to head back for a nap before our evening show by the time we were finished at the Cabaret, so we took a stroll along Hanover Street instead - had a lovely relaxed street-side nibble at Wellington Coffee - and, finally, spent an enjoyable hour fingering the tartans and tweeds at the lovely 21st C kilts on Thistle Street. Damn, but Howie makes some of the most gorgeous kilts I have ever seen, and I could easily have spent a fortune! Sir was very good, however, and kept both me and my wallet on a very short leash...  

Supper was a posh burger at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen - whilst the rain hammered down outside (and the pup was complimented on his kilt by a nice man who shared the same family tartan) - and then we headed for our next show, and Sir's favourite: Pirates of Penzance

The venue was true Fringe: the vestibule of what looked like an old bank, transformed with tons of scaffolding and acres of black cloth; it was a brilliant show, though - and had both Man and hound singing along with glee. The Pirate King was rather a dashing sight in full beard and flashing smile too, and if I wasn't such a dedicated pup, I'd have been very happy to be kidnapped by him into a life of piracy ('Against our wills, papa. Against our wills...!')

Unfortunately, he would have only thrown me back, because I started to feel rather rough that night and didn't sleep very well at all...

Wednesday

Breakfast the next morning was a gentler affair of fruit and yogurt - and trying to settle the dog's poor stomach and sore throat. Sir decided we should get some fresh air afterwards, and so we headed out in the opposite direction from the City, down the Leith Walk to the Ocean Terminal and the Royal Yacht Britannia



It was fascinating to see the almost homely domesticity of the Royal Cabins (who would imagine, the Queen doing make-do-and-mend with old sheets cut down from Queen Victoria's bed!) and the glistening splendour of the Banqueting hall - and comparing that with the cramped life of the sailors and marines below decks. Seeing the Queen's personal study, and discovering that she would regularly work 16 hour days was quite an insight into her sense of duty - whilst the numerous photographs and mementos that filled the walls of Britannia's various tours and state visits showed how much she loved the freedom the old tub had given her. But saddest of all was to see the photographs and the letters from Britannia's final decommissioning - and to see how much the yacht was missed by both Royals and those who had served aboard.

All Royaled out, we then hopped a bus back to our hotel, so that Sir could snuggle His poor sickly pup for a reconstituting afternoon nap. 

We had made some plans to see a curious Performance Art show that evening, but the pup wasn't feeling very up for it, so we made a last minute decision to go for a 'City of the Dead' ghost tour instead! The man who checked our tickets loved my collar, but it was a rather strange goth girl who actually took us down into the vaults for an hour of ghost stories, weird feelings and scariness - and one rather horrible jump at the end that left both Man and pup feeling twitchy and sick and eager to leave as soon as they could.

We decided to calm ourselves down with a nice hot milk at the Elephant House though - overlooking the castle whilst the fireworks marked the end of that night's Tattoo performance. Then we headed out along the amazing Victoria terrace and struggled home through the post-Tattoo crowds - taking a naughty wee stop on the way for some very nice chips.

Thursday


After breakfast, we hopped on a bus up to the St. Cuthberts Artisan Market. There was an amazing display of work, from embroideries and patchwork chairs to paintings (and incredibly cute woolly sheep-footrests), and we had a very relaxing couple of hours wandering around window-shopping before heading into the Henderson's cafe for a rain-dodging lunch. 

We headed over to the Grassmarket in the afternoon, and a long stroll up Victoria Street - including a very pleasant visit to Walker Slater, looking at their beautifully tailored suits; naughtily, the pup even persuaded his Man to buy a rather fetching tweed two-piece whilst we were there (well, it was in the sale, and it made Him look exceptionally dashing!)




The Afternoon was then given over to a fantastically invigorating performance by the Japan Marvelous Drummers, and a dash across town to Hendersons Bistro for a fortifying supper of Haggis and Cherry pie (whilst it hammered down with rain outside, and made us worry for a rather soggy evening to come).

Luckily, the rain stopped and the clouds cleared just as we were heading up the Esplanade and our night at the 2014 Military Tattoo








It was my first time at the Tattoo, and I must admit it was stirring fun! Massed bands, precision drumming, Marching Marines and scores of men in kilts - what's not to love?

This year's programme included an international spread of 'acts' beyond the traditional Marshal music too - with war dances from the KwaZulu-Natal iButho, displays from the Hornbill festival of the Nagaland Folkloric Group, and a Haka from New Zealand Kapa Haka Dancers - so there was lots to see and enjoy (and that was even without all the fun of meeting soldiers and marines face-to-face when making use of the toilets underneath the Grandstand...). The weather stayed clear too - and Sir and I were both nice and snug in our full leathers right until the dramatic firework Finale, and the final piper played a tear-jerking farewell from the Castle Fortifications. 

We did, however, feel chilly enough to make a small homeward stop at the chippy for our one and only deep fried chocolate-bar of the holiday (even if we did surprise the frier by preferring a Bounty to the more 'traditional' Mars bar)

Friday


Our last day - and so we headed back down towards the 'coast' at Newhaven, to have a look at the little fishing harbour and take a constitutional stroll along the Forth-side to the Marina. We did make one nice little stop along the way at the Old Chain Pier pub though, for a cup of tea and a play with their telescope: watching a huge tanker being tug-nudged into Leith docks, whilst various dog-walkers came in to have their dog's treated to free biscuits from behind the bar (I did try, but they would only give them to 4-legged pups, no 2-legged ones ;) ).

The pup was getting a bit wheezy after so much fresh air, so we hopped a bus back into the City and a slower stroll around the West End and Haymarket (one question - why are there so many barbers in the Haymarket?!).


Afternoon tea saw us making our way back along Princes Street to Romanes and Patterson, and a nice bit of highland cake with a lovely view of the castle through the rain and clouds. Sir was very good, and also kept me away from the kilts (yet again...!)

And that was our time in Edinburgh nearly done.

We popped back to the B&B to pick up our bags and say our farewells, then hopped the tram back to the airport (with the guard threatening to mace the dog when he couldn't find our return ticket - I hope as a joke...). We had fun playing with Easy-jet's new self-check luggage system at the airport - and then even more fun when both Man and dog set off the alarms at Security (I did offer to take off my kilt so the security man could pat me down properly, but he just grinned and waved me on. So disappointing...) - and then it was a long wait for our plane, delayed by storms over Spain - broken by Man and hound making notes on what to write for the blog about our stay.

Never mind - flying later meant that we had a beautiful sunset to enjoy as we flew down over Wales.



It was a great couple of days away with my Man, and both City and Tattoo were a fantastic experience. I only wish that I had been feeling a little bit better, so that I could have given my Man the puppy snuggle-time that we both love so much.

Next time, Sir, I promise!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Leathermen South, Brighton (2)

Sunday

We had a much cooler night lying between the cooling fans (and sleeping the 'sleep of the just (cum)...  )

We decided that a day out in the car would be fun - and so headed out to the Roedean cafe for a hearty breakfast with the bikers, overlooking Brighton Marina, Roedean school for girls and St Dunstan’s (a very imposing training centre for blind Veterans).

Feeling nicely fortified, we headed along the coast road to Rottingdean - where we found a lucky parking opportunity that let us stop and take a look at the Art Deco Saltdean Lido (currently, sadly derelict).

We stopped again a little further down the road - and took a very pleasant walk along the undercliff walk with the iconic White Cliffs towering above us. Sir wanted to see if he could find the gay sauna that used to be in the town - but it seemed to have changed hands and was now a kick-boxing club... We had an enjoyable stroll up into the village though - guided by a helpful recommendation from Master Derek to visit the local St. Margaret's Church, knowing that I would love to see the Pre Raphaelite stained-glass windows designed by Burne-Jones - sadly, there was a service in progress, so we could only see their blurred outlines from outside...

We did find the lily-strewn village pond though - and had a very pleasant walk around the Kipling gardens (yes, that Kipling...); we even caught a little of a Croquet match going on in the nearby club - and had a pleasant chat with a group of Film Students who were filming a video for a local folk group (with the pup instantly going into 'Media-Librarian' mode ;) )


Sir also managed to bag Himself a HUGE Chinese fan at one of the brick-a-brack shops in the town as we headed back to the car (and a bag of deliciously juicy nectarines for our supper back at the hotel...)


The weather was starting to look a little cloudy, so we headed on via the South Coast Road, taking a lazy tour through Telscombe Cliffs, and Peacehaven - finally ending up at Newhaven to look at the River Ouse, the Fort and the breakwater - before heading inland on the ‘long way around' to Alfreston.

The village is pure Sussex Weald: with a narrow winding mainstreet closely flanked by flint-and-thatch cottages, a village green - and even a little flint 'lock-up' for the odd ruffian. Sir couldn't get hold of a key, so the pup was safe ;).  We did have great fun poking our nose around both the old post office (with its Lamson wire cash carrier still in place) and the gadget-stuffed Steamer Trading Cookshop.

The weather had finally caught us up by this time, so we found a comfy table at Badger's Tea Room and smugly sat out the showers with a deliciously languorous afternoon tea of delicious home-baked cheese and pecan scones (served in a little trug and an elegant silver tea pot and enjoyed from fine vintage china; most elegant!)

When the rain finally stopped (and we'd eaten as much as we could!), we finally ended our little coastal tour by heading up to the view point at High'n'Over: enjoying the beautiful view down the meandering river towards the Severn Sisters and the sea.





We'd had such a nice day that we didn't really feel like heading straight to the hotel - and ended up taking a detour into Brighton Marina for long slow stroll around the shops - and an envious window-shop at the boats, imagining what it might be like to own and sail one of the vast yachts. We stopped for a while to cool ourselves with a smoothie - and sneaked into the Seattle hotel for a quick reccie, to see if it would be worth staying there for our next visit - and finally settled for a nice little pasta meal at the Brasserie Bar and Grill on the boardwalk - watching in wonder at the murmuration as the starlings came in to gather on a tower crane, and then flew under the superstructure of the nearby restaurant to roost for the night...




Monday

We had quite a night that night.

We were woken early by a horrendous drumming: the sound of some of the biggest hail I have ever seen battering the Hotel roof above us; this was shortly followed by a huge and lingering thunderstorm - one of the heaviest the South Coast had seen for several years. Not that we really minded: the dog simply made tea and we sat at the window to watch the free light show for an hour until it passed - then went back to sleep ;)

Sadly, we didn't see the lightening that hit the pier

(Copyright @Earth_post ) 


The storm had kindly knocked out the power, so we showered and packed in darkness when we finally woke for real - and had fun ignoring the tripped fire alarms, and running up and down 4 flights of stairs to pack the car (since the lift was out of bounds...) - finding a nice pile of hail still waiting for us, left behind by the storm.

The storm messed with our breakfast plans too: we had planned to eat at a lovely French Cafe we had spotted on our first day (Eggs Florentine! the dog's favourite :) ), but they were flooded out by the rain, so we headed to the Crumpety Tree cafe instead, and consoled ourselves with a warming (and delicious!) bowl of porridge and a shared Pan au Chocolate instead.

Packed and checked out, we were then free to make a delightfully bumbling journey back home.


We called at Worthing, just for 'Old time's sake' - visited the Lido and the two swimming pools (old and new), and had a look at the bird monument in Beach House Park. We also stopped for a while to watch some rather interestingly garbed workmen trying to unblock the flooded drains in the Aquarena's subterranean car-park; Sir in particular enjoyed watching them struggling in the cloudy water in their high-vis, tall boots and elbow-length gloves (even though we also felt sympathy for the owners of the cars, flooded to their windows...). We ended our little trip down memory lane by having tea at the pup's old favourite, the Dome.

From Worthing it was then on to Fareham - and a little detour to deliver a part from Sir's Kenwood chef to be refurbished and resprayed. Since we were close, Sir suggested that we stop for a while at Stoked Bay - and sat to watch the boats plying the Solent, back and forth to the Isle of Wight (and plan to perhaps make a bike-trip there ourselves one day, perhaps...?) - before finally heading for the motorway and our way back home to our waiting Men.




What a great weekend. Thank you Derek, Aroi, and all the guys at Leathermen South for giving us such a good time - and my thanks especially to my lovely Man for taking His dog to the coast for a dirty weekend!


Leathermen South, Brighton (1)



My Man and I were down in Brighton last weekend for the inaugural meet of the new Leathermen South group, and their new leather club night at Subline.

Sir used to take me down to the Southcoast a few times a year on the bike - dropping me off for a few hours in Worthing whilst He visited His father there. We've not been down for a while, not since His dad died, but I have some really happy memories of both the lovely rides down and of deeply chilled days relaxing at the Dome, waiting for my Man to come pick me up. Worthing is also were we had all the fun underneath the pier in full rubber, High-viz and waders... ;)

The weather has been unusually hot and humid here in the UK for the last few weeks, and so we finally decided NOT to go down by bike - we had sweltered when in Dublin and Snowdonia in full leather last month, and didn't really fancy a weekend of doing the same; instead, we opted to have the dog drive us both down in my lovely new (fully AC'd) car instead.

Driving also gave us more options for gear packing ;)

Friday



We dawdled down slowly on the Friday: Sir grew up on the South Coast, and so He took the navigator role and directed me along the smaller A-roads so that we passed through some of the beautiful little Sussex towns and villages (I must say, He is also a lot more fun to talk to than Siri :) ). We saw some beautiful places, filled with flint and red-brick churches and thatched cottages - but only made the one stop for tea and cake (chocolate and pecan!) in Petersfield - and managed to pick the one part of the day when it rained to do so! We only hit traffic once - were everything snags in Arundel - but we took a detour, with the final leg of our journey along the coast through Worthing and Littlehampton, before we finally found our way to our Hotel in Hove - just a few feet from the seafront.

We checked in and dropped our bags, then decided to take a stroll along the seafront to Brighton Pier. It's been quite a few years since I was last in Brighton (actually, a few decades...!), and we both impressed by how much has changed - not least the amazing cafe culture all along the beach and under the arches. It was also rather nice to see so many tanned and muscular young men working out, swimming and running...

We eventually made our way into the Lanes, and settled down for a rather nice supper at Zizzis, then had a cooling evening stroll back along the Western Road.

It had been a very sunny day, and it was unbearably hot in our room under the eaves - Sir had thought to bring a fan with us, but it couldn't really cope with the heat and humidity, and so we didn't sleep very well (Sir even padded down to Reception in the middle of the night, trying to see if they had any other fans - and came back with some cold drinks and a big bucket of ice instead...).

Sadly, the heat and lack of sleep didn't leave either of us in much of a mood for our usual 'pup-snuggles'.

Sir DID love His new little puppy, Moss, though (a little present that His 'no.1 crochet-pup' had been working on secretly for a few weeks, as a thank-you for 8 wonderful years wearing my Man's collar...)



Saturday

We started the morning with breakfast in the hotel (accompanied by a rather good looking polish guy whose shirt seemed to be having containing his bulging physique...), then decided to spend the day strolling around the town.

The Lanes were fun (especially popping into the gay dog-grooming parlour we had giggled over the night before: the owner looking around and asking my Man 'Do you have your dog with you?', and both of us replying 'Yes!' and pointing to my collar; I thought the poor guy was going to swallow his tongue!), but I really enjoyed our leisurely browse through the Vintage and brick-a-brack in the streets between North Street and Trafalgar Street - and selecting arm-fulls of Hawaiian shirts for Sir to try at the amazing 'To Be Worn Again' Vintage clothing shop on Kensington Gardens...

Sir also took me into the Dome to look at the marble extravagance, and we made the obligatory stop to 'Oooh!' at the Royal Pavilion and the Theatre Royal too. We also had fun people-watching at a corner cafe whilst we had a cooling smoothie - and made friends with a woman who shared our kerb-side table, and was fascinated by our running commentary about the people going by and the details that we noticed about their clothes, body-language - and shoes ;)



It was all very relaxed and totally non-fetish - but incredibly good fun. 

We headed back for a 'disco-nap' late in the afternoon - and Sir weighed down with all His shopping. We intended to get a couple of the extra fans that we had seen in the Robert Dyas near the hotel - but they had sold out of their entire stock whilst we'd been out! Luckily, the assistant checked around and found that the hove store still had a few in stock - so Sir set a brisk-pace through the heat to get to them before they closed. We were lucky, and they still had quite a pile left - so we bought a couple, and set them up either side of our bed, and settled down in their cooling hurricane to try and catch up on a little sleep before the night of fun to come...

Neither of us was very hungry when we woke, so we found a nice little Spanish restaurant locally for an early supper of tapas and Sangria - listening to the endless chatter of the mainly female clientèle (no doubt tempted in by the dark smouldering good-looks of the Spanish cocktail waiter...); then it was back to the hotel to change and head out.

The dog had brought his Fxxckers (since they got such a good reaction at the Union in Bristol), but it really was just too hot to face full leather, so Sir suggested we both simply wear our boots, jocks and harness - then throw on some shorts and a shirt to keep us 'street-legal' as we headed down to Sublime. It certainly was a lot cooler!  

The evening had been arranged by a couple of our friends from BLUF and Pride to mark the inaugural night of their new Leather club-night. The venue was rather good: down in the basement arches, with a good changing area, a nice sized bar and social space, and a very good dance/play area; best of all - most of it was nicely air-conditioned...! 

Sir bought us some drinks, and we hung our at the bar to socialise for a while - the dog getting yet more interest and praise for my substantial ink - then Sir led me out into the play space to enjoy a little pup-attention.

Sir found the perfect spot: with the pup up on a little pole-dancing dias that put his muzzle at just the right height whilst on all fours - then had fun teasing him by tying his leash to the pole and making him strain outwards to get to my Man's meat. Sir relented eventually, and let His dog work greedily away, growling and barking happily, docked-tail wagging away. We eventually gathered a nice little appreciative crowd - especially when the DJ added to the ambience with spot-lights and dry-ice...



It was a great evening - and I hope a good way for the new night to start. I hope it continues to do well!



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