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.

Healthy eating

October 9th, 2004

ORIGINAL IDEAS don't come along too often, but the initiative started by Andrew Greaves, minister of Dundee West Church at 130 Perth Road, opposite the Art College, has tapped into a real need within the community, and has been gathering rapid support.Every Friday between 11.30am and 1.30pm in The Bridge Hall adjoining the church, the Healthy Cooking Co-operative volunteers invite everyone passing the Hall to join them in  Sharing the Harvest'. For only 50p you can buy a nourishing lunch of a piping hot bowl of soup with a slice of bread, and depending on what's available on the day, a bit of pudding too

I can vouch for the tastiness of the meal. I had  Braw Broccoli Soup' which was  thick enough to trot a mouse on' as my mother used to say! Followed by  Oaty Betty' which is a delicious recipe for cooking apples with porridge oats, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Andree is the enthusiastic cook who leads the kitchen team, and her mission is to encourage people to cook fresh produce grown and picked in its proper seasons. She gives a weekly demonstration to show just how easy all the recipes are, even for novices like me.

To encourage healthier eating habits lunchers are given a free recipe sheet for what's been cooked on the day. I can't think where you'll get better value for 50p.

But it doesn't end there. A variety – whatever arrives on the day – of fresh organic and non-organic vegetables are on sale at farm gate prices. I bought four organic yellow courgettes (yellow ones were new to the Doyenne) and a monster head of broccoli for 63p. All the produce is locally grown and arrives practically with the dew still on it.

I spoke to Marie and Ellen, two art students from across the road who had heard about the project through word of mouth. They were very enthusiastic about the availability of organic vegetables at student prices, and so close to the College.

It's open doors at The Bridge and everyone is welcomed to pop in and learn more about a healthier lifestyle. There's a lot of support from senior citizens who know a good deal when they see it, and it's obviously becoming a very social gathering. Judging by the noise level of chat the whole thing has been a runaway success.

The idea of  Sharing the Harvest' was conceived as a partnership of farmers and the Scottish Countryside Alliance with city folk. It highlights the interdependence and connection between country life and city life. Cooperation in this way between town and country helps city and rural communities to better understand each other's point of view.

If you would like to find out what's good for you, a visit to The Bridge next Friday lunchtime should give you some nutritious ideas.

Written on Saturday, October 9th, 2004 at 10:51 am for Weekly.