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.

Spring parade

April 22nd, 2006

A ROE-DEER calf was skittering about in the stubble field on the other side of the stream. It was undecided what to do and I couldn't see the mother. Had they got separated? – it didn't seem likely.

Inka got scent of it and raced towards the fence on my side of the stream, which he can clear without breaking stride. It was all too much for the doe which had taken cover below the bank. She was over the stream and away with her calfie with the effortless, easy speed of our smaller native deer.

What was good, however, was that Inka stopped and returned to heel when I shouted at him. There's a long way still to go with his training, but he's very biddable and wants to learn.

He's grown to be very much my dog. The Doyenne has a bit of trouble when she is out with him on her own, but I think that will change as he reaches full adulthood. It's easy to forget that he's just at the tearaway age that parents dread with their unruly sons!

Further down stream I saw the rear end of a mallard drake sticking from out of a clump of grass. It could hardly have been more obvious if it was sitting on top of the grass. As it's only the duck that incubates the eggs I presume there was a nest nearby and the drake was keeping guard. He was making a poor job of the natural camouflage all around him.

Each morning the shepherd checks the lambs in the field beside the house, and feeds the ewes grain mixed with protein and minerals to keep up their milk production. He was bemoaning the lack of grass because of the recent cold weather. The estate still grows turnips for feeding, which are proving a godsend meantime until the grass has time to recover.

We – the haill unseemly  crew of us, that is – spent Easter with son James and his family down near Peebles. It's such a snug town and we enjoy our visits there.

Historically it was dependent on the River Tweed which flows through it. First for flour and meal mills, and latterly for the woollen mills which were the lifeblood of so many Border towns. I watched my first great crested grebe puddling about in the shallows just below the weir at the west end of the town.

The Doyenne, with daughter-in-law Harriet and grandson Alfie, attended Easter service at Rosslyn Chapel, where a number of family milestones have been celebrated over several generations. The Chapel has had fame thrust upon it through the novel and film,  The da Vinci Code'.

In the crusading spirit of agricultural diversification, the adjoining farm was advertising  da Vinci Manure – 50p'.

I wonder what fragrant choices Angus farmers could offer?

Written on Saturday, April 22nd, 2006 at 7:00 pm for Weekly.