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.

Images of France

October 23rd, 2010

DOGS ENJOY a holiday just as much as us humans   New territory and fresh scents to sniff are a stimulation, and the adage  €œa change is as good as a holiday € holds good for them too.

The Doyenne and I came back last weekend from a fortnight's holiday in France   While we were away Macbeth stayed on his own quite close to home with one of his fervent admirers   I suspect he enjoys being top dog all to himself for a while and I doubt if he missed his kennel mate.

I wanted Inka to have time in the company of dogs of his own kind and size so he went to Bridge of Cally to stay with the lady I bought him from   Both went off without a backward glance, which rather sums up my place in their affections!

We stayed in Lauzerte which lies on the border of the Dordogne and the Lot   The village is considered to be one of the prettiest in France, set on a hilltop with 360 degree views   We were lucky with the weather and most days the temperature was 25-27C.

Lauzerte is on the Compostela Way, a 1000 year old pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain where, legend has it, the bones of St Iago, or St James the fisherman, are buried.

Every day walkers tramped past us with walking poles and sturdy brown legs on their way to complete the 780 km journey   My sister told me about meeting a pilgrim who did the walk with only his dog for company – what could be more appropriate?

The food and wine met all our expectations   Duck is the speciality of the region; magret of duck, confit of duck, pate and rillettes – duck generally   Madame in the boulangerie tempted us with éclairs, fruit tarts and mille fueille pastries   The pate de campagne from the charcuterie was another favourite.

Most towns and villages have their own outdoor markets where we bought cheese and wine and wonderfully fresh fruit and vegetables   The local wines – Bergerac and Cahors – are principally red, full bodied and not for the faint hearted   A holiday like this is all about different tastes and different presentation and leisurely eating outdoors in the sun.

We were in a wooded, agricultural area and I saw several buzzards and kestrels   Feral pigeons roosted in the old village buildings and house sparrows popped in and out of the shrubs.

Lizards sunning themselves in the midday heat, the chatter of magpies in the cemetery, pomegranates on a pomegranate tree, strong French coffee – just some of the disparate memories we brought home.

When we collected them the dogs greeted us with much tail wagging and wafts of hot, smelly dog breath   They'd enjoyed their break but, like us, they were pleased to be back in familiar surroundings.

And there’s more now –

See my new blog   A Breath of Fresh Air From Scotland

Written on Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 at 9:10 pm for Uncategorized.