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The Chew Toy

I want to see the sea.

That was my only thought on Friday so on a whim we went.

Sutton On Sea doesn’t sound very exciting and indeed it isn’t if you look at its nearest well known neighbour of Skegness but it has a certain charm all of its own. For a start you will be hard put to find an arcade, equally finding any form of entertainment is challenging but all it’s charm comes from the lack of these facilities. Take a look at the picture above, little beach huts and bowling greens and that’s about it. A quaintness that gives it a quirky timeless feel and I like that.

The beach is plain but wide and easy to stroll along, the sea unfortunately had taken on a slightly brown tinge and left rather unappetising frothy brown deposits on the shoreline. Not quite sure what it was so decided to avoid dysentery altogether and walked a distance away from the murk.

To help stop the erosion of the beach they had thoughtfully planted large beds of reeds and grasses amongst the sand dunes, a nice touch that gave the beach a bit of elegance and it was here we decided to stop for lunch.

I’m a very wary diner when I’m outside, normally wherever I sit down suddenly becomes the focus of attention for coach loads of tourists or a destination for insects, only a month or so ago I blogged about being in the middle of nowhere until I took the first bite of a meal only to be stormed by a thousand ramblers. Indeed, only last year myself and Jayne had climbed a tortuous route halfway up a mountain to get to a marvellous view so we could eat with such splendid countryside tantalising our sight. We sat down and unpacked our lunch, just then a gabble of voices came from behind us, a coach had parked on a path that we didn’t know existed and started to disgorge around two hundred OAP’s clutching sandwich bags. They surrounded us and another lunch was hurriedly gulped.

So before I sat down I climbed the highest dune and scanned the horizon, great a few people but they are so far away it won’t make any difference. Yum I went as the lid came off our packed lunch and we tucked in.

I relaxed, the sound of the sea, a few gulls and a warm splash of sun added to the moment making the food seem paradisical. This is the life I thought, woof I thought.


My heart froze, I like dogs, let me rephrase that, I like dogs at a distance, say two miles away. Dogs have a tendancy to view me as a joint of ham and have no problem telling me that. I don’t envy being bitten for a forth time in my life or being used as a ragdoll plaything for some drooling brute so immediately I went on alert.

The dog was with a middle aged couple, it was already causing trouble further down the beach by antagonising another dog but as soon as I turned it froze and looked at me. I knew what it was thinking.


Dogs willing to prove a point to their owners that they are indeed harmless started to circle their legs and fein disinterest in me, it was still some distance away but I was aware it was figuring out the best way to rip off my limbs whilst still being seen as a ‘good boy’. That’s the problem with some dog owners, they believe that everyone should love their dog; it dosen’t matter if that person has been bitten or attacked by dogs because that obviously wouldn’t happen with their bundle of canine joy.

Cautiously I carried on eating, the couple slowly turned and started to walk in our direction. Let’s get something in context here, we are in the middle of nowhere on a massive beach at a random time so what was the odds of this particular couple walking not just in our general direction but on a course to trample right over us with a dog hell bent on dismemberment. We were an obvious obstacle in their way but still they kept coming. I braced myself for an incident, this type of stuff happens all too often for my liking, normally calm animals go mental at a whim, it’s like I have some kind of animal irritant built into my system.

At a distance Mr Doggy felt comfortable he waited until his masters were suitably distracted then went berserk, you know the type, all flailing limbs and drool. Charging across the sand like a missile he launched himself high into the air making sure he landed squarely in the middle of our lunch knocking me over, I lay on my back with a dog stood on my chest trying to eat my tomatoes and olives. I could see the headlines in the Skegness local – Failed Artist Found Mauled To Death Over Olive And Tomato Fracas – ‘He asked for it if you ask me’ said a bystander.

In a overly polite screech that sounded like Hugh Grant I shouted ‘Can you kindly remove your dog from my chest?’ I don’t know why I decided to use that terminology when I really should have been far, far ruder. I’m only glad I didn’t follow it up with the equally wimpy ‘I’m oh so sorry for upsetting your dog, please accept this gift.’. The couple in question by now had almost tripped over us such was their peripheral vision, I don’t know how they even made it out of the house if they failed to see us for all this time.

‘He eats anything’ was the reply as if this would absolve their beloved pet from nearly tearing my face off and exercising my arsehole contractions. One quick shout and doggy suddenly went placid and walked off leaving me with a momento of our meeting, two wet paw prints on my chest just where my nipples should be.

What is it with people? Do they ignore things like this out of embarrassment? They didn’t even acknowledge what had happened, no sorries, no nothing, they even had the audacity to avoid eye contact. Another incident from last year I have just remembered was being on a walk when a lady let off the lead her big black retriever who then decided he was going to take me out by ramming me at high speed in the balls, her excuse was that I was in the way of his normal route. Really? I was being so inconvenient to your dog, please accept my apologies and ask your dog to come back and have a good gnaw on my arm. Sometimes I despair!

Anyway, just to get this into context that night I sat down at home with a glass of wine in the conservatory, I was just about to take a sip when a fly dropped from the ceiling, bounced on my head and straight into my wine. Let’s get this straight, it has 25 square metres of ceiling to drop dead from and it waits until I’m directly underneath with a handy splash landing, it has echos of my time in Cardiff when I had purchased a coffee and immediately as I sat down in multi-story shopping centre some cad decided to spit off the top balcony. Where did it land? You know where it landed, squarely into the coffee that was approaching my lips splashing coffee all over my white shirt not fifteen minutes before an appearance. I was later attacked by a small terrier in broad daylight.

If it’s not attacks it’s weird stuff, whilst we we on tour last year I looked out of the car window in Chelmsford only to see a squirrel unwrapping a white chocolate Santa. It walked over to the wall with it and propped it up. It didn’t eat it, it propped it up. What the hell was that all about? Don’t even get me on about the dead fox scenario from last year, that was so disgusting I still have vivid nightmares of getting the stuff off. If you are up for a bit of grim reading you can find that entry here http://petersmithartist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/offaly-good.html

So it’s September the first, it’s been relatively dog incident free so far but things are about to change as we start to get confirmations in for gallery appearances meaning I will have to venture out into the big animal infested world again with hilarious results. These are preliminary dates, I’ll post a full list after the launch show next week.

Castle Galleries, Trafford Centre – Saturday 27 September 2014

Castle Galleries, Stratford Upon Avon – Saturday 04 October 2014

Castle Galleries, Meadowhall – Saturday 18 October 2014

Castle Galleries, Solihull – Saturday 25 October 2014

Original Art Shop, Hanley – Sunday 26 October 2014

Castle Galleries, Bluewater – Saturday 08 November 2014

Original Art Shop Derby – Saturday 6th December 2014

So if you want to see a live canine maul toy you know where to come!

Have a great Monday 🙂


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