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.

Golf balls

December 10th, 2005

GOLF BALLS should be on golf courses, so I was surprised to find one when walking with dogs in a field not far from the Drovers Inn near Memus. The nearest golf course is at Kirriemuir about six miles away, so there had to be a logical reason for the pristine Slazenger golf ball doucely lying in the long grass.

I'm sure it was humorist PG Wodehouse who wrote a story about a golfing challenge which involved driving a ball cross-country between two towns, but that seemed unlikely in this case. There's the River South Esk to cross, and several woods to negotiate where it would certainly be lost. So is there a golfing enthusiast tractor driver out there who swings a casual golf club when nobody is looking?

A local laird opined that it was probably a crow that had picked it off the Kirrie golf course and flown off with it till it tired, and dropped it where it lay. Jackdaws are well known to carry off a wide range of objects, but I should have thought a golf ball was a slightly tall order for one of the smaller members of the crow family. Carrion crows are also thieves, and are quite capable of taking a golf ball. It's just that six miles seems an awful distance for even the most sporting crow to fly with such an improbable object.

Conservationist David Stephen wrote many fine wildlife articles and I pulled out his anthology  Scottish Wild Life' to see what he had to say. He didn't throw any light on my conundrum, but told a delightful story about a farmer's young daughter who knew about carrion crows and thought they were so named because they were for ever  carryin' things awa'!

For a man with two dogs I've neglected writing about them of late. The Doyenne took Macbeth to the vet for his booster injection and he – Macbeth that is – is in good fettle. He's the right weight for his size, and the only complaint, which can be corrected with a change of diet, is the rather lethal  dog breath' which he likes to share with you when he whispers in your face.

Inka is seven months old now and has all the bumptious confidence of a teenager. He's gone back to tormenting the life out of Macbeth. He thinks it's tremendous fun to race at his small friend and bowl him over, and sometimes he's so rough I have to shout at him.

There's not such a bond between them as Macbeth had with old Sheba, but she was twelve years old when Macbeth came to us, and she became his surrogate mum.

Christmas smells are floating from the kitchen where the Doyenne is up to her oxters at her annual task baking dozens and dozens of mince pies.

Written on Saturday, December 10th, 2005 at 10:04 am for Weekly.