A Dalmatian is often referred to as a plum pudding or spotted
Dick. But that applies to the outside appearance, which means
very little. What matters is that Major’s heart is in the right place.
The Dalmatian of old was a carriage dog”that is to say, it
was his principal function in life‘ to trot or gallop beside (and quite
often under) the carriage. The inventor of the internal combustion
engine will not therefore be blessed by the spirit of all Dalmatians.
But it must be confessed that Major does not seem to object
in any way to the transition.
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The Hare and Hounds is steeped in coaching history; it dates
back to the seventeen hundreds, but our old enemy”the disastrous
,oods of the ’twenties-“destroyed the records of many Thames-
side taverns, including those of this old house, which were kept
in the brewery.
Nevertheless, Major and Mine Host graciously conducted me
over their ancient charge to indicate by informed bark and word
of mouth the many points of interest.
The facade and the surrounding walls are the original structure.
The present off-licence was the old saddle room. As you take home
a little of what you fancy, you may almost sniff the pleasant,
centuries-old aroma of harness
At the back of the house is the joy and pride of Mine Host”
the bowling green. This green, with that of the Sun Inn at Barnes,
are the only two of their type in the South of England. Here they
play what is known as the “Old Raleigh” game.
It is this sort of technicality which makes the ordinary
bowler acquire a sudden thirst.
Major – The Dalmation
But even Major and I can see that it is indeed a ﬁne green.
The bowling club, of which the Han and Hounds is the head-
quarters, has already provided six Mayors, including the Charter
Mayor, from among its members.
Major is two. Sometimes, it seems, he sees the ghost of his
forefathers in the open road as they leave the coaching yard.
Certainly, for no apparent reason, and with a purposeful look in
his eyes, Major is oﬁ’ for the road. He can be seen as far aﬁeld as
Richmond, walking most energetically.
But I can tell you a thing about these walks of Major’s: He
has never been known to refuse a lift home. The presumption is
that he knows a good thing. Who shall say him nay?