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.

Boy Scout badge

November 12th, 2005

ALTHOUGH IT'S been open to traffic for several weeks, I've only just driven for the first time over the new bridge connecting Montrose to Rossie Island. I grew up with the old one, and for such a long time it was a timeless feature of my life. I don't miss it. Its useful, working life was over – nothing gained in always looking back.

  I drove to Ferryden to view the new one from that side. It's still a bit shiny, but its unobtrusive, simple lines will weather into the landscape and soon we'll never give it another thought.

Leaving Ferryden I took the Inchbrayock road to Usan and turned right at the old walled garden of Usan House. Crossing over the main railway line south, I watched geese landing on a tattie field to graze on what had been left by the potato harvester.

It's not very high above sea level, but what a terrific view there is across Montrose Basin to the foothills of the Grampians. Off to the right the Old Kirk steeple rises above Montrose – another timeless landmark.

The geese were coming off the Basin where they had been roosting. Odd single birds flew in, but mostly it was big packs, two or three hundred strong. Soon the brown earth was pebble-dashed with slatey-grey backs as more and more geese arrived.

I love watching them wheeling and banking as they decide just where they want to land. Like leaves riffling down in the wind. Half a dozen wing beats to steady up for a perfect two-point landing, and finishing off with a waggle of the tail feathers.

There must have been 2500-3000 geese on the field. Modern mechanical harvesters are so efficient it's hard to believe there was enough left on the ground to feed such numbers.

I've been driven near-demented by Inka's refusal to jump into the back of the car when I take the dogs for a walk. Because he's watched me lift Macbeth in, he's obviously thought that's how it goes for all dogs. I've almost blown a gasket lifting this increasingly heavy animal.

I can't think why I didn't do it sooner, but now I put his meals into the car and he doesn't need any encouragement to hop in pretty smartly.

The cars were covered in frost this morning for the first time. I suppose it heralds the end of autumn and the start of winter.

The Doyenne and I were invited to join daughter Cait and her family for a bonfire party last weekend. Son-in-law Gibson gets his Boy Scout badge for fire building. It was a terrific success and sparks flew a'weys into the darkness. One of the other fathers related how when he was a wee laddie, his father told him each spark was a fairy being born.





Written on Saturday, November 12th, 2005 at 10:43 pm for Weekly.