It won’t have escaped your notice that Team Jolly recently recruited a third member. Our wiry-haired colleague, known variously as Teddy, Tedstar, The Tedmeister and Mr Ted E Bear, relocated from rural Romania in October having successfully applied for a post as Dog Friendliness Auditor. After a three day European road trip, Teddy’s convoy of canine and feline wellbeing migrants arrived at Maidstone services to be greeted by us, and other excited doglead and catbox-wielding adopters.

Fast forward seven months through a blur of research, advice, training, grooming, dentistry, weight watching (yes really) and a strict three-walkies-a-day regime, and our foreign exchange student has graduated to Head Hound with his own Instagram account pending.

Teddy’s first assignment, and with dogged determination he’s taken one for the team to sniff out 5 of the most welcoming venues in Kent’s dog friendliest seaside town. All provide water as standard but each scored an extra woof rating:

1. Scamper round The East Kent’s secure garden and get a welcome sniff from resident Best in Pub Maggie

2. Cheers to The Pearson’s Arms’ Dog House range of Bottom Sniffer dog beer and Paw-secco (with treat chaser)

3. Your furry plus one doesn’t get left out at The Rock Lodge with his own Sunday lunch serving

4. Legendary seafront pub The Old Neptune is the perfect pup pitstop to refresh your beach walkies

5. West Beach Bar and Tearooms serves the cheapest pint in town and we just happen to pass it on our favourite off-road route to the sea so it’s hard to avoid, right Ted?

With Whitstable covered and never missing an opportunity to em-bark on a new adventure, our top dog couldn’t wait to set off on an international excursion. Passport in paw, Ted gaped excitedly from the car window as we drove the short distance to Folkestone EuroTunnel, crossing the Channel via Le Shuttle and voila! we were on a French road trip. But this was no vacay – Operation Jolly Deux had begun: fuelled by a guilty obsession for binge-watching Escape to the Chateau, we pursued a packed viewing schedule, exploring the beautiful Brittany countryside to find The One. We’d already been warned it’s no longer possible to pick up a rambling pile for the price of a vintage Burgundy, but you can still find a traditional stone built cottage tucked away in a cosy hamlet or nestled in a rural retreat, just waiting to be loved back to life.

On our final viewing we admired a small bouquet of lily of the valley looking effortlessly French country chic on an old farmhouse kitchen table. Our estate agent explained this was a traditional gift for the first of May and she had been left a posy on her doorstep that morning. Neighbours exchange this sweet scented blossom for friendship and good luck, in celebration of spring. No prizes for guessing which property stole our hearts…enough to say we hope to celebrate La Fete du Muguet in Brittany next year – watch this space!

In other news…we marked The Jolly’s two year Anniversary last month in the traditional way with bubbly on arrival, before welcoming our 90th booking – so cheers to all our past, present and future guests, and our all important Jolly supporters!

Salut! til August…

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