i Editor's Letter: A dog's place is a holiday kennel


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The Independent Online

I am not one who likes contrarianism for its own sake.

It's boring. But, is it being contrary when I hold genuine views counter to mass tastes: eg not liking The X Factor, The Artist (despite its Oscars), dogs or UK holidays?

I got a double-whammy of bad news yesterday, learning a) we are all being encouraged to have "staycations" in the UK, and b) that it is getting ever easier for people to take their dogs away with them on foreign holidays.

It doesn't help that I am allergic to dogs, nor that I have inherited belief that the British care for them more than their own children. I am not – to paraphrase those who write in saying "I'm not homophobic, but... that photo of two men kissing is DISGUSTING!" – cynophobic, but I really don't want dogs, their habits and their blinkered owners anywhere near my hotel or beach, let alone on my plane.

The worst of all worlds for me is the dreaded English beach/seaside holiday — in my childhood perhaps in Bognor Regis or Margate, as an adult (despite protestations) in Cornwall. Not only do you have to put up with the damp dwellings, damp weather, soggy food, and scary over-pricing, but you have to sit in the car park at the beach to shelter from the driving rain, hiding from all the people you don't want to see from "town" all doing exactly the same thing. When the sun belatedly appears, the beaches become infested with dogs and one-eyed owners.

Give me the guaranteed sun, warm sea, delicious food and wine, plus the anonymity of the Italian / French / Spanish or Greek Med any time (or South-east Asia in winter). Places where the beer is properly cold and the fresh fish doesn't get smothered in batter; where they know a dog's place is a holiday kennel back home.

Even if all the above were not the case, the "staycation" ad stars Stephen Fry. Don't get me started. So, put me in the stocks with Deborah Ross (p16)!