“No plan survives contact with the enemy” so Von Clauswitz tells us and the same is true with puppies and babies. Taking Fitzroy, my Beagle pup. My friend Toni and her twin baby girls out for a day is a feat of logistics to rival those of my army days. I was due to meet Toni at 1000 but Fitz’s early morning walk met a few problems, he has to think a bit before he pees and poos and his thoughts were taken elsewhere by other dogs in the park, he’s cute and we were stopped by many folk wanting to pet him, its part of the joy of Fitz that I get to meet people this way so … trash-packing the car for Fitz also took more time than I’d allowed; poo bags, treats, water, bowls, food, things to throw (not the poo bags), lead, incontinence pads (He’s a pup, car sickness and small bladder.) the list is a long one and so, forty minutes behind time, Fitz and I set off in the Avensis out of central London and headed for Lewes in East Sussex. I’d added a fudge factor and traffic was really light so, I arrived at Toni’s (rather smugly) on time. However a prompt start to Newhaven was dashed because the twins had other ideas and needed feeding, they’d need a repeat of this too. The kit list for the twins was almost identical, though more sanitary than Fitz’s.
Before it could be packed the baby seats were cross decked from Toni’s Car to mine and this took much longer than I anticipated, fabulously safe bits of kit these, beautifully engineered to become part of the chassis, so much different from the seatbelt held things I used for my own kids thirty years ago. Then after rehousing Fitz in the passenger foot well and reducing a 4×4 huge pram to a flat pack, that fit well in the back, we set off at 1130 for Newhaven only an hour later than planned.
Its a pleasant drive along country lanes to Newhaven from Lewes and took around twenty minutes, much less than I’d spent packing for the trip but we weren’t rushing. Debussing took a while too, but what a place to de-buss!
Newhaven breakwater is rather spectacular on a windy day and there was plenty of that about, the sea smashed over the breakwater in volcanic fashion. Though the harbour is industrial it is not without beauty and all of this is best viewed from the Coastal Defence Battery atop the hill.
It’s often the case that the military grab the best views, the authority for this derives from a “Well, we’ve got guns and you haven’t” approach. The Newhaven Battery overlooks one of the beaches earmarked for Operation Seelowe , Hitler’s planned invasion of England in World War 2.
Its an easy enough trek up and a real treat to visit. Fascinating history here too from the Napoleonic era to the Cold War with lots of places to look around and explore; Fitz loved it, (There were rabbits to chase, they got away and laughed at him on his lead but he could see the fear in their eyes.) we spent two hours there, could well have spent more and didn’t see it all.
Newhaven also has a lifeboat as former crewmates at London’s Tower Lifeboat we thought about a visit but from the fort we saw it launch out on service; just as well, our timings were all awry, babies and beagles needed feeding too …
We found a dog and baby friendly pub in Lewes and enjoyed our lunch tea time. If you want to live by the clock don’t have babies or Beagles.