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.

May morning kisses

May 8th, 2004

MAY MORNING, first morning of May month, is traditionally the morning that young girls rise at dawn and dash outdoors to bathe their faces in the early morning dew, hoping this will bestow on them a flawless complexion.

After a lifetime of shaving every day I did not believe that even the most resolute May morning dew could do anything to jolly up my skin tones. So I saw no good reason to be rising any earlier than usual last Saturday morning.

Yellow has been the predominant colour for me this springtime. Fields nearby are planted in wide blocks of daffodils, all of different varieties, from almost white they are so pale, to the deep yellow trumpet which for me is the traditional flower. But they are all starting to wither now and the bloom is off the fields.

Driving to Deeside the Doyenne and I stopped at the top of Cairn O'Mount and looked down onto the Mearns and the fields of Angus. The oil seed rape crop is starting to flower, continuing the yellow theme patching the countryside. It is grown in huge fields and my Mother used to get very enraged about the impact of such large swathes of colour on the landscape. I never understood why, but no doubt she found some of my notions pretty arcane.

Father, on the other hand, said when the yellow gorse was flowering it was kissing time. As the gorse flowers all year round the Old Man may have known thing or two!

May month is when gorse blossom is at its best and its fragrant scent is very reminiscent of marzipan. It's a scratchy bush so don't get too close, but if the sun is warm stand downwind and enjoy its sweetness.

Macbeth leapt like a panther into the undergrowth and I wondered what interesting outcome there would be. It wasn't a mouse or shrew as I had expected, but a large, furry bumblebee. I think he must have got it in his mouth and it buzzed around a bit before he managed to spit it out, and then he shot off through the wood to where he hoped it was safer.

Last Sunday morning I sat with a cup of coffee and watched our bird table, which never fails to fascinate me. At one point there was a red squirrel hanging from one of the peanut baskets, a cock pheasant feeding on the discards from the seed feeder rejected by the tits and finches, and a pair of goldfinches which seem inseparable and regularly feed together on the other peanut basket.

That was maybe not a particularly notable mixture of visitors to some bird tables, but round here it's pretty exciting. It shows how easy it is, with a little patience, to attract wildlife from its more natural habitat to enhance our gardens.

Written on Saturday, May 8th, 2004 at 9:34 am for Weekly.