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.

Next generation

November 1st, 2003

TURNING BACK the clock can sometimes be a chancy business, but last Sunday we all had do just that. The approved moment to do it was at some unearthly hour of the morning when all decent folk should have been soundly sleeping. The Doyenne, who is a step ahead of the game most of the time, beat the system by changing our clocks before we went to bed. Unlike the couple who turned up for Church an hour early!

They've moved the sheep from the field beside the house, which means a favourite walk for the dogs is back in action once more. A stream runs through the middle of it, and at the moment its banks are thick with clumps of wild watercress. Last spring, as often as not, there were a couple of pairs of mallard duck dibbling away in the shallows. At least one pair nested further downstream, well away from dog disturbance.

We – the dogs and I, that is – put a pair of the duck off the water as we took our first walk in the field for some time. I like to think they are offspring of the earlier visitors and that in due course they too will nest nearby and hatch a brood for next year.

At the far end of the field an elm tree has fallen. It's quite dead and dry throughout and had snapped off its roots at ground level when they could no longer sustain the weight of the wood above. It'll make great logs for the winter fires.

It's one of a number of elms locally, which have succumbed to Dutch elm disease. It's sad that such a tiny beetle, and an imported beetle at that, can inflict such total destruction on such resplendent trees. After growing for a hundred years and more, giving pleasure for all that time, they deserve a more dignified demise.

The grass has had its last cut of the year and I'm thankful to see the back of it. There's not so much to do in the garden for the next few months, and what needs to be done can be tackled a bit more at leisure.

I called on business at what used to be RAF Edzell, although latterly it was universally known as the US Navy Base. When the Americans pulled out and the site was put on the market, very little maintenance took place. A local company, the Carnegie Group, have bought the old aerodrome and spent much time and effort bringing the grounds back to their former good order.

Director Alan Carnegie tells me they cut a hundred acres of grass a week, which is a sizeable undertaking. It's good to drive past and see the place looking smart once more – with a new future, and hopefully lots of new local jobs?

Written on Saturday, November 1st, 2003 at 3:43 pm for Weekly.