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.

Pigs may fly, Macbeth can’t

June 19th, 2004

HAVING BATS in the belfry is an accepted hazard of life, but we were unprepared for swallows in the wardrobe. The Doyenne came down from the spare bedroom to ask me to deal with one swallow which was flitting round her head and would not fly out of the window.

I went upstairs to sort the problem, but found nothing. As an afterthought I looked into the wardrobe and there were two swallows roosting on the clothes rail. Once they had left the following morning I closed down the skylight to a small gap – just in case they were thinking of starting a nest. It may seem a bit hard, but indoors it could be a bit messy.

The woodpeckers have been so busy at the bird table that we're thinking of calling it Peckerdilly Circus. They start flying in to feed about half past four in the morning and continue through to around eight thirty in the evening. We haven't a clue how many families we are supporting now because the traffic is so constant.

We can identify the young birds because they have shorter beaks than the adults. Although they can fly and seem well able to feed on their own it is very sweet to watch the mother birds still feeding their demanding offspring with special morsels of peanut.

One youngster decided to practice its  drumming' on the roof of the nesting box which sort of confirms my comments last week about why the blue tits aren't nesting in it this year. Another climbed the wooden electricity pole performing a lively paradiddle as it went, until it hit the yellow plastic hazard sign. It wouldn't have had time to learn about such impenetrable man-made materials!

An unexpected visitor to the table has been a jay. I watched it trying to work out how to land on the mesh of the swinging peanut baskets, and finally accepting it doesn't have the right kind of gripping claws. Anyway its beak is probably too broad and blunt to be able to peck through the small mesh to feed.

A friend called from Montrose to tell me that it was AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh who said –  sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits'. Readers are doubtless shaking their heads in disbelief that I didn't know this. My explanation is that my Mother didn't bring me up on the Pooh stories, which probably confirms that I'm the product of a deprived wartime generation.

Macbeth has discovered that, unlike pheasants, hares don't fly. In his spangled mind this means he can chase them for field after field, blithely ignoring the red-faced bellows of exasperation receding behind him. It's plain he and I need several more sessions in close conference to explore the deeper implications of the command –  no'.

Written on Saturday, June 19th, 2004 at 11:19 am for Weekly.