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.

A Rimey Morning

January 14th, 2006

LAST SATURDAY was one of those days when so little seemed to get done, yet there is so much to remember  

It was a rimey morning without a breath of wind – not even the topmost branches of the trees were moving   The temperature was hovering on freezing and the car windows were white with hoar frost.

I let the dogs out for a run in the garden and some minutes later, when I'd made cups of tea for the Doyenne and myself, I whistled on them to come back in again   A cock pheasant in the wood just over the road answered my summons   Another, further up the wood, took up the call and was followed by several more  

Soon it seemed that every cock pheasant in the district had decided to roost overnight in the wee strip of wood opposite the house, and was indignantly complaining at being so rudely awoken   Then, just as quickly, they stopped.

We – the dogs and I, that is – took the familiar morning walk into the big stubble field   Low-lying mist hung over the ground and several hundred yards away I could make out the shapes of the local family of roe deer   It has grown to six now, from the three when I first wrote about them  

Inka no longer needs his protective collar, and he was galloping around enjoying his freedom   The deer watched him for a short time, but obviously felt quite at ease with the distance between us, and soon had their heads down grazing again.

I so much identify this time of year with the geese, and I watched their straggly chevrons flying over us heading towards their feeding grounds   Hints of blue sky peeped through the clouds as if we could expect the day to improve.

Grandson James had to be returned home after spending the last couple of days of his school holidays with us   On the way back we called in at Kinrossie to have coffee with son Robert and his family.

We took the high road home along the east shoulder of Strathmore which is much more interesting than racing along the main A94 Forfar to Perth road   I look forward to driving it in spring and summer when there will be much more colour in the countryside.

It crosses the A923 Coupar Angus to Dundee road at Pitcur, where you see the square remains of old Pitcur Castle, then on through Newtyle to rejoin the A94 at Glamis.

Back home it was time for the dogs' evening walk   The geese were flying back to Montrose Basin and the still air rang with their calls   As we turned into the garden a cock pheasant clattered out of its roost in a tree by the roadside, with a final disapproving squawk.

The day was ending much as it had started.

Written on Saturday, January 14th, 2006 at 8:09 am for Weekly.