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.

Daffodils for breakfast

March 5th, 2005

I MEASURED four inches of snow on the lid of the wheeliebin on Tuesday morning. I was caught a bit unawares, because the previous week's fall had all but disappeared except for a few patches in sunless corners. It had been very mild when I took Macbeth for his final outing the previous evening, and I decided that we'd had our ration of snow for this winter.

It must have gently fallen through much of a windless, silent night because there were no drifts in exposed parts of the garden, or on the roadside opposite breaks in the wood.

Four inches is about as much as Macbeth's little short legs can cope with. Much deeper and every step becomes a leap. He's fine once we get out of doors, but in adverse weather Macbeth peers from the hallway making it clear that, with the exception of food, most other things can be postponed for a day or two.

There were scrapes in the shallower snow in sheltered places beneath the hedges. Half a dozen hen pheasants had been scratching about for food. I've seen plenty of single hen birds throughout the season, but seeing a posse like this looks as though a cock pheasant is already gathering together his harem with spring and the mating season foremost in his mind.

The snowdrops disappeared again beneath the snow, but they are hardy flowers and will reappear unscathed.

I read in a Book of Days that the daffodil is March's flower. Although I wrote a fortnight back that the grandchildren had picked daffodils for the Doyenne, they – the daffodils, that is – have had a bit of a check with the weather since then.

I associate them with Easter, which more often than not is in April. But first March is St David's Day, and he is the Patron Saint of Wales and the daffodil is the Welsh national flower – so that is probably the explanation, for the Welsh at least.

We had a friend who brought his family for many years to join us for Easter in Glenesk. He had a terrible habit of eating daffodil flowers for breakfast. I always suspected it was to take away the taste of the previous night's whisky!

I'm told that snowfalls are good news for the water men. Our water supplies are dependent on snow melt as well as on rainfall. Snow falling on high ground thaws over a period, releasing its water slowly. It percolates into the ground and filters into our rivers and into the lochs and reservoirs which supply our homes.

Rain flows more directly off the hillsides which can result in flash flooding, carrying the water straight off to the sea. Rivers rise and fall too quickly and the water can become discoloured, with a reduction in water quality. So snow melt is more satisfactory.