Toto takes a walk around some top Sidmouth shops

A dog on a sandy beach looking a the camera

Toto in his Yappy bandana - Credit: Toto's

MATTER OF THE MONTH – This story turned my head the other day. Stateside boffins have researched why dogs tilt their heads when you talk to them. They concluded that, when a dog’s human mentions for instance a toy that we know and love, we then spend a second or two enjoying the memory of playing with it. And when we remember, our heads tilt. Rubbish. We tilt our heads for one reason and one reason only. And that’s this: humans seem to love it. And this increases our likelihood of getting some tasty nosh. It’s really not rocket surgery.

'MUSEMENT OF THE MONTH – No toy this month. Just thought I’d mention how much I love 'musing myself by sitting quietly in the sun, on the beach (natch), looking super sharp in one of my new SIDMOUTH – MY YAPPY PLACE bandanas. I think they might feature a typo, but it’s a yappy – er, happy – accident. They’re the perfect Christmas prez, and we haven’t got many. So get down to my shop now or it’ll be ‘Christmas time, miss out oh you’ll whine’. As Cliff (no, not one of the Sidmouth Cliffs) used to sing.

MOSEY OF THE MONTH – Branscombe - went around the back of the Sea Shanty up a lane to The Fountain Head. Then took the path through the woods back to the cliff. Super. Fierce bunch of cows in the way en route. No bull. No, I mean there wasn’t a bull. Thank goodness.

MERCHANT OF THE MONTH – Libra Court. On balance, if I was into horoscopes, I’d say it’s in the stars that you visit this lovely little courtyard that totally scales the heights. If you like nice nosh you’d be silly to sally past Selley’s. You can leave your human getting their claws done at Lashes and Lacquer while you try your paw at pot painting at Something Lovely. And there’s a place in the corner where I rocked up once with my Elton John glasses on and a spangly jacket. Turns out it’s not a pop pup space. Pop-up. Embarrassing.

Anyway, let’s talk Art Den. It’s quite a draw. I’ve been in Manet times and I’m etching to go back. Let me paint you a picture. To start with, that bloke inside isn’t called Den. Or Art. He’s Bruce. Lorraine is the nice painter lady (I’ve often had a brush with her). So, why do I love this place? Is it because Lorraine and Bruce are the Frida and Diego of Sidmouth? Is it because I’ve canvassed opinion and it’s easelly top of the art fart’s art mart charts? Or is it because there’s a portrait of me in the window? You decide. Lorraine does super dog portraits. And you don’t have to be a super dog like yours truly. She even gets all Moggiegliani and does cats from time to time. Not sure why.

There’s arresting stuff on every wall in the shop (nothing by Constable, though). You simply can’t Turner way. Me, I like Bacon. Emin to say, he doesn’t dilly-Dali and he’s totally on the Monet. I’m mostly into Pup Art. And Bauwauhaus. I like impressionism too (esp Mike Yarwood). Licktenstein is great, as is Ruffael. And when I’m feeling sore I like some Bottyjelly. I have a beret good frame of reference and an all-encompassing palette. Mind you, I’m aFreud to say that I saw some old bore on the telly waffling on about a worthless dotty splatterfest. Pollock’s, I thought to myself. Not sure who the artist was, but he totally took the Pissarro. I’m more into realism, like that painting of dogs playing snooker. Could be a photo. Anyway, sorry to be a bit sketchy but I get Chagall words to play with: I only have Vermeer 650. So, I’m Sickert heart to say it but it’s time to Gau(guin). Dada for now.

Toto out.