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.

Highland Games

August 2nd, 2003

URGENT SUMMONSES a week past yesterday from Angus Davidson, retired farmer in Glenesk had us – the Doyenne and me, that is – hotfooting it up the Glen to the Lochlee Games and Picnic. They take place each year at Tarfside, the village near the head of the Glen. Sadly we could only get there in time for the prizegiving and as everyone was starting to clear up. La D. had an appointment with her hairdresser, which seemed a misplaced sense of priorities!

Despite several plumps of rain the Committee had been able to complete the whole programme and there were still numbers of damp looking youngsters racing round the field, not in the least put off by the weather. Some of the regulars who always support the Games had already gone. There are families who have supported the event for years, if not generations, and it's always a very friendly day to be part of. We met a pair of magically well-behaved Border terriers. They are really couthy dogs with a super nature.

I couldn't resist the offer of a dram. My Father counselled me never to turn away a dram or a kiss – I might never be offered another. I have taken his advice to heart and always received satisfaction. I hope I have given it in return.

On the way back down the Glen we called in on Jim and Marion Campbell. Jim is the retired Headkeeper from Millden which is the middle part of Glenesk. Over many years we have enjoyed each other's company and they always have an interesting comment or two to share.

We thought we had three swallow chicks in the nest by the front door. But as they have grown we see another head popping up at the back, fighting for its share of food when the parent birds fly in. They are bonny to watch, but messy if you leave anything beneath the nest.

Our thrushes seem to have deserted us. In the spring there were about half a dozen poking round the garden and I imagined some at least would build nests. However I haven't seen one for weeks.

I've mentioned bumblebees and Scotch thistles in past pieces. What I have noticed more recently are bumblebees feeding in numbers on the flowers of the thistles which presumably contain lots of nectar.

Macbeth managed to roll in something so foul he had to go straight in the bath when we got home. He's always pretty offended by the bathing bit, but rather likes the hairdryer afterwards. If my family ever find out that I allow a dog of mine to be dried with a hairdryer, I'm doomed. Anyway at the end of it all La D. looked at him and said – “Macbeth, you're nothing better than a demented ball of string”. I think she got it right.