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.


June 14th, 2003

WHATEVER HAPPENED to fly cemeteries, those delicious, gooey, raisin filled, buttery pastry top and bottom, sugary, cholesterol sins?

“I'll have one of those” – I said pointing to one under the glass counter in a roadside restaurant. “A fruit square ” – said the young lassie helpfully, looking at the grey hairs. It was no use remonstrating. She would never have understood what I was talking about. I might have upset her, and you can't do that sort of thing when you're a grandfather. Anyway it was a fly rectangle.Driving past Inverkeilor the fields were filled with buttercups. If granddaughter Cecily had been around I could have held one under her chin and discussed with her whether she liked butter. Do children still know about these harmless old fashioned entertainments?

Alternatively we could have picked dandelion clocks and played “he/she loves me, he/she loves me not”, as we blew off the parachute seeds. A chancy business, mind you. You need to take care you each get the right number of puffs to ensure that love is equal.

A tit or a finch, I'm not sure which, flew straight off down the road in front of the car. By the time it got up to full speed it was doing about twenty three miles an hour. It's quite staggering that such a small creature has so much power in its tiny frame. If we humans could convert our body weight into similar energy we'd conquer the world.

Two early morning (about five am) visitors to the bird table have been a red squirrel which came for the peanuts, and the return of the much sought after woodpecker. Readers from the very start of this diary will remember the squirrel which featured in my first contribution.

The woodpecker was also attracted by the nuts, but didn't stay long. They are both shy animals and probably prefer to come into the garden only when the dogs are indoors. Early as it was on each occasion, it was a great delight to see them both.

Despite these two visitors, the bird table is generally much less in demand with the rest of our resident birds. No doubt the supply of beetles, bugs and creepiecrawlies produced by the warmth of the early summer weather makes a very acceptable change of diet.

A shower of rain just as dusk was fading delayed my final outing with the dogs, before bed. In the damp, windless evening air the smell of honey- suckle was overpowering. For me, this is the most romantic scent I know.

Due to illness two old buddies who hadn't seen each other for several days met up again in the village Post Office. “It was my nerves, you see”, explained the patient. “But I'm on the right road now. The Doctor put me on a course o' thae tantalisers”!

Written on Saturday, June 14th, 2003 at 8:45 pm for Weekly.