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.

All ‘At Home’

September 13th, 2003

SOME DAYS the world beats a path to our door – or at least the bits of the world we get excited about. Last Saturday was just such a day.

A reverberating stage whisper from the Doyenne urged me to quickly come and see the roe deer which was nonchalantly walking past the window. Not in the garden itself you understand, but about fifteen feet away in the stubble field. It was a “she”, and a young doe at that from her light build. I have mentioned three roes which we've seen in the neighbouring woods, so perhaps this is an offspring.

Being Saturday we sat with cups of tea to watch the bird table. To our delight a red squirrel bounded across the grass to the peanut feeders. Again, it seemed a young one. The tips of its ears lacked the tufts I associate with a fully adult animal. Also its “shirt front” was very pale, and not the old ivory colour they take on as they mature. You may remember peanuts were part of the grand strategy to attract squirrels, and it looks like it worked.

Hardly had the squirrel finished its muesli starter than our woodpecker arrived. I say “our” because we now feel the bird is becoming quite at home, and likes to start its day at our bird table.

What a time waster a bird table can be, but what a complete fascination. It seems odd now that we should never have invested in one when our family were young, especially as we brought them up in the country.

On Sunday morning the roe deer didn't call, but the squirrel and the woodpecker arrived almost simultaneously at the two peanut feeders. For about eight minutes we sat, totally absorbed, watching the two of them. It surprises me to have to admit I had only ever heard a woodpecker maybe twice, but never seen one until about six months ago.

Monday morning brought further progress. The roe deer cried by again, and the woodpecker and squirrel breakfasted together once more. We juggle the dogs' morning timetable so as not to coincide with their visits. Despite past inglorious failures Macbeth still has his ambitions fixed on catching a squirrel. Although the tits and finches pay little attention to them, the woodpecker is too timid and the squirrel too wise to be around when the dogs are in the garden.

My next project is to see if we can attract tree creepers to the feeders. Friends have been successful, but they are very shy birds.

There has been some welcome rain, but hardly enough. For the sun lovers it has obligingly rained overnight, but the rivers have scarcely risen. The Doyenne says the swallows' committee meetings have turned into coffee mornings. It's easy to think so when you hear all the blethers going on!