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.

Strange tongues

March 13th, 2004

A SOLITARY tree pokes its silhouette above the skyline of a hill in the distance. It is the only tree that stands beside the path to the Brown Caterthun.

Every time we – the dogs and I, that is – take our walk in the woods, that tree catches my eye. It is a Scotch pine, I believe, and we shall take a walk to the Brown Caterthun before much longer, just to check.

Talking of which – about a year ago I mentioned Scotch pines in my Saturday piece and I was taken to task for not calling them Scots pines, which I was assured is their proper designation.

My Aunty called them Scotch Pines and I should have liked to have seen my detractor telling her she was wrong. He wouldn't have got just a flea in his ear, he would have got the whole byke around his head.

Talking of which – when I brought the Doyenne to live at Logie Pert as a bride of scarce one summer, she used to drive an elderly neighbour, Jim Foreman, to Marykirk Post Office every Monday to collect his pension.

Jim had worked locally on farms all his life, and almost entirely within the boundaries of Angus. La D came from Bradford, and was keen to integrate. I think they enjoyed racy conversations all the way to Marykirk and back, but neither understood a word the other was saying!

One Monday Jim warned her about – “twa bykes in the dyke”. To a Yorkshire lass a  byke' is a bicycle, which is a universal abbreviation of the word. And to her, a  dyke' was a ditch.

She was profoundly nonplussed about the significance of the  two bicycles in the ditch'. It took a little serious explanation to get her round that one!

Talking of which – several weeks ago I mentioned Edzell Blue potatoes. The old name for Edzell was Slateford, and an even earlier name for the village was Aigle.

Every year Jim Foreman grew a few rows of Aigle Blues, and he was the only person I have ever heard, in a lifetime spent in Angus, refer to the village by its oldest name as a matter of course.

Father used to take me to the Sauchieburn Inn (note the compulsion!) in the 1950s and 60s, which was an interesting place. I heard local people using the old vernacular of the district as daily speech, much of which now appears to have completely fallen from use, probably due to the influence of television.

Old Mrs Watson owned the pub and the bar was the kitchen, where we sat round an enormous pine table. She served us from her wheel chair, wheeling herself to and from the drink store in the back. There was no draught beer, just bottled, which I drank.

And Father, as ever, drank drams.