Being out in the countryside with my dogs gives me time to think. I’ve learnt the pleasure of solitude without being lonely, and that’s a good feeling for me.

Welcome to "Man with two dogs" - the family website for dog owners and dog walkers.

This is my countryside diary which appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper.

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Archive for 2011

Harping on

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

THE STOOL of Repentance glowers balefully from the corner of the room. My protestations that it would have been ungracious to refuse the offers of seconds of our daughter-in-law’s delicious Christmas dinner – with just a splash of wine to help it down – fell on deaf ears. I fear that, even now, the Doyenne still doesn’t understand me.

Written for Weekly |

North-East Legacy – The Scottish Banner

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

P1140229A SLIM volume of poetry with a faded dust jacket and dedicated to a friend by the poet , a small watercolour painting signed with just the artist’s initials ‘VJ’, and a single sheet of writing paper with a poem written in an unsteady hand will come under the auctioneer’s hammer in the next few weeks.

Written for Claivers |

Cold dis-comfort

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

CHILBLAINS USED to be a common winter complaint, but you hardly hear them mentioned these days.

Written for Weekly |

Local links

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

LAST SATURDAY the name of Peter Anson popped out at me from the centre pages of the Daily Telegraph. It was unexpected because he died in 1975 but he had strong connections with the east coast of Scotland and Montrose. Beneath a reserved exterior was an unconventional character and I wish I could have met him more than the two times I did.

Written for Weekly |

The old ones are best

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

ROE DEER have drifted back deep into the shelter of the woods. Old laurel and rhododendron bushes provide shelter from the snow which fell on Tuesday evening, and the dogs and I disturb them when we’re out on the morning walk.

Written for Weekly |

Swept under the carpet

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

LIFTING CARPETS can be revealing. A reader, lifting her old living room carpet to lay a new one, came across some pages of The Courier and Advertiser of Saturday August 27, 1994 which had been used for underlay. 1994 isn’t so very long ago – unless, of course, you weren’t even born then – but the old paper has provided fascinating reading.

Written for Weekly |


Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Whitson  tartanIf the family tradition is to be believed the surname Whitson in Scotland is of Viking origin. The story as it was written down by my great-uncle Sir Thomas Whitson, who was Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1929-1932, was that three Viking brothers sailed from Norway to Scotland in their longboats, landing at Footdee (locally Fittie), at the mouth of the River Dee at Aberdeen where it meets the North Sea.

Written for Claivers |

Shut that door

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

SMOKE RISING vertically from the chimney pots, not so much as a whisper of breeze to twitch the topmost branches of the tallest trees or shiver the fragile grasses in the hedgerows, and white duvets of mist hanging in the field bottoms. I wish I was talking about a fairytale morning with a frosty nip in the air and a warming sun burning off the mist.

Written for Weekly |

Horse power vs donkey power

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

MY TAUTOLOGY blunder – the Vale of Strathmore – may have run its course. I got a call from a retired farmer at the head of Glenesk who told me that he grew up calling it the Howe of Strathmore, much as we refer to the Howe of the Mearns.

Written for Weekly |

Militarily speaking

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

THE BLACK Isle is one of those off-the-main-track parts of Scotland that I reproach people for racing past in their haste to get somewhere else. The name reflects the rich, fertile land of the peninsula whose shores are washed by the waters of the Cromarty Firth on the north and the Moray Firth to the south.

Written for Weekly |