... but not if you go to The Smuggler's Inn in Dorset. Richard Johnson tears himself away from a faithful friend

A dog's life is a good life. If you're a dog. Which Martha Bulldog clearly isn't. Not to me, anyway. She appreciates the very special genius of my conversation like no one else. Even though she's heard all the stories before. We used to walk and talk the entire length of Lulworth Cove. Not any more. Except, perhaps, in the twitching of her well-fed dreams. Nowadays, the pebbles hurt her paws too much. She has had her day, and would rather watch the waves instead.

A dog's life is a good life. If you're a dog. Which Martha Bulldog clearly isn't. Not to me, anyway. She appreciates the very special genius of my conversation like no one else. Even though she's heard all the stories before. We used to walk and talk the entire length of Lulworth Cove. Not any more. Except, perhaps, in the twitching of her well-fed dreams. Nowadays, the pebbles hurt her paws too much. She has had her day, and would rather watch the waves instead.

And then share my pub lunch. But The Smuggler's - a pebble's throw from Lulworth Cove - wasn't having it. Now let me tell you, Martha has taught me some valuable lessons in life. 1) If it's not wet and sloppy, it's not a real kiss. 2) If you stare at someone long enough, eventually you'll get what you want. And 3) If you do something wrong, take responsibility - as soon as you're dragged out from under the bed. But The Smuggler's told me to leave her outside. Like a dog.

And, to think, the thatched 13th-century inn looked so inviting. I should have known. There was something too quaint about it. It wasn't the thatch. They even thatch public toilets in Dorset. Or the low beams. Although people taller than 5ft 4in would do well to stay away. It was the old-fashioned notion of what people really want from a pub. The landlord had turned a rowing boat into a chair. And fashioned saddles into bar stools. You couldn't sit on either. I don't want novelty from my chairs. Just chairiness.

A jukebox would have improved my mood. Always does. Veterans know that an investment of £2 is required to get the most out of your basic jukebox. That allows you a satisfying cross-section of songs - and should accompany the best part of a pint. To put in more than £2 is caddish. The pub is the agora of our times, and all citizens must have a voice, etc. So I always choose a good long song to see me safely back to my rowing-boat chair, ready for a good old nod.

"American Pie" is a predictable favourite. But there are others. Some jukeboxes have a Pink Floyd album called A Collection Of Great Dance Songs. It's the first choice of the sensible-slacks set, and will certainly do the trick - and then some. In very particular circumstances, punch in Orb Live 93, with tracks that are measurable only in geological time. But The Smuggler's had none of these. Just a pianola - the first jukebox. But it would take more than "Daisy Daisy" to make me like this place.

I sat and worried about Martha. Until I met Neris, Martha was more constant than any woman I had ever known. She loves me when I leave my clothes on the floor. And she doesn't shop. So the fresh lobster from Weymouth Bay, and the Badger that washed it down, left a sour taste. I had another pint (while I composed myself, you understand) and then left. On principle. Remember: always try to be the person your dog thinks you are. Martha Bulldog - this column is for you.

The Smuggler's Inn, Osmington Mills, Weymouth, Dorset (01305 833125)

drinkwithrichardjohnson@yahoo.co.uk

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