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.

Genealogy and Scottish Heroes

August 6th, 2005

MAKING CONNECTIONS has proved to be a rewarding part of writing this weekly column.

Shortly after I started in January 2003 Mrs Betty Bell wrote from Dundee to tell me that she had worked for my mother in 1942, when my parents moved from Forfar to Usan Cottage, near Ferryden. When I was six months old the family moved to Montrose, so Betty had the dubious privilege of seeing me when I was not only wrinkled, but pink!

It took a while longer for the next connection to emerge. I wrote in May that my paternal grandmother came from Kirkwall in Orkney. This jogged the memory of 90 years old Mrs May Christie of Arbroath who had worked for my Granny when she lived in Forfar. My grandfather was a partner in the solicitor firm of W & JS Gordon.

It was Mrs Margaret Fletcher, also living in Arbroath, who wrote to me about Mrs Christie. By coincidence Mrs Fletcher had worked for my father in the Montrose legal firm of Alexander Lyell & Son.

It's unlikely I would have met these ladies if I hadn't been writing my Saturday pieces. What's been so interesting is talking to people who can share their memories of my parents and my grandmother which I would never otherwise have had.

A fortnight ago I wrote about the great Marquis of Montrose. This prompted a letter from Mrs Jean Dundas whose late husband George was senior partner in the Kirriemuir legal firm of Wilkie & Dundas. Her interest is as a member of the 1st Marquis of Montrose Society whose aims are to raise awareness of the man himself and his impact on Scottish history.

I remember George Dundas from my own short career as a solicitor, which ended in 1977. The added interest is that before my grandfather David Whitson became a partner in W & JS Gordon, he was previously a partner in Wilkie & Dundas.

Puppy walking with Inka takes up a lot of time. A passing cyclist stopped and commented on the new dog. He's a regular reader and knew about the addition to the household. As so often happens, we got talking.

He had grown up in Inverbervie and asked if I knew about  Lucy Arnots', as this is the season for them. I'd never heard the expression, but it's the Bervie name for pignuts or earthnuts. You'll see them on the roadsides and they have frothy, white flowers resembling ground elder. They have an edible tuber or bulb, but be very careful you know what you are eating if you are tempted to go digging for them.

Finally, a plug for James Graham, Marquis of Montrose. Log onto the society's website to find out more about one of Scotland's heroes who is as remarkable as William Wallace or Robert the Bruce –

www.montrose-society.org.uk