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.

Hormone horror

March 22nd, 2003

DEAD PHEASANTS lying by the roadsides have been knocked down by cars. It's mostly cock pheasants, which are probably beginning to fizz with excess hormones, as their breeding season gets closer. It must be difficult to be so gorgeous and not let it turn your head – with savage results in these cases.

In years past there was less traffic, it went slower, so the carnage was less. Pheasants have never seemed the brainiest birds, and although their minds are on the joys of mating, they should give more thought to their mortality. Hitting a heavy cock pheasant can cause damage to cars which seems out of proportion to their size. Dented bodywork and broken headlamps are not uncommon.

There's great excitement in this household as we have heard woodpeckers drumming away on trees nearby. Only twice, but it's a start. From what several kind readers have told me the key to attracting these handsome birds to the garden, is an unremitting menu of peanuts. I'm dreaming up a strategy of placing feeders on the edge of the woods closest to the garden, and slowly moving them closer and closer to the house.

It's not often you see an unbroken rainbow but after a particularly heavy thunderplump of rain I saw a double rainbow; although the upper one was not nearly so intense in colour as the lower. I had to stop the car and watch them. I know the exact tree, in the exact field, where the end of the rainbow came down. At midnight I shall be out there digging for the crock of gold my Mother always promised me was “buried at the foot of the rainbow”.

Days are stretching out and the dawn chorus starts earlier. It's so much more of a pleasure to get out of bed and see the daylight breaking. There are still heavy frosts to make the blood tingle when I take the dogs out first thing.

Time to start cutting the grass again. It's aggravating stuff the way it always grows straight back up again. And our neighbours all have “bowling greens” in front of their houses.

I've noticed one or two new field fences on my journeys. Not too notable a sight you might think. But take a look at how many fields no longer have their familiar wire and post fence. There's no need to have a fence if you don't have livestock to put in the field. After the foot and mouth troubles many farms ceased to stock cattle and sheep. Perhaps the new fences are an indication of farmers' revived confidence.

Macbeth spotted a hen pheasant and was after it like lightning. By the time I caught up with him the bird was dead. It had severe injuries on its back, probably from a car, which would have prevented it from flying. I suspect the extra trauma of Macbeth was just too much for it, and it died, quite literally, of fright.