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.

Swimming Moles

August 12th, 2006

IT MUST  have been a particularly successful breeding season for buzzards for we are nearly driven demented by their incessant, keening cries round the house. They're handsome birds to look at, but their whining, repetitive call is quite at odds with their fierce appearance. I can't think that there's enough feeding to support them all, so perhaps some will move on simply to survive.

By comparison, three herons landing at the stream which runs through the garden were a lot more notable. I've seen four or five in a field following the plough when there's plenty of grubs and beetles being thrown up, but the stream holds very little that might interest these birds. Which probably explains why seeing even one is a bit of an event.

Still on birds – despite thinking that the hen bird had deserted her eggs, the second brood of swallows at the front door porch has successfully hatched. At least three gaping beaks can be seen stretching up for food each time one of the parent birds lands at the nest.

Global warming has a lot to answer for. The heatwave may have been welcomed by many, but most definitely not by Macbeth and Inka. The two of them have stayed firmly indoors for the past month, only going out when it was walk time. We had to bring forward Macbeth's regular three month clip because he was so uncomfortable.

Hot days mean warm evenings. The Doyenne and I joined a host of friends for an annual barbecue on Lunan Bay beach. We drove home in the gloaming over Maryton Hill which has wonderful views across Montrose Basin to the foothills of the Grampians. The lights of the town were reflected in the water and the hills stood out inky black with the light of the dusk behind them.

A farmer was using every hour available to get the harvest underway. As we paused on the brow of the hill we watched the lights of a combine harvester as it crawled over the land like some monstrous horniegolloch.

The Doyenne and I went to pick geans (wild cherries) from a wee stand of the trees by the side of the River North Esk. We've never seen such a profusion of fruit, even in orchards in France when on holiday. In about forty minutes we picked fifteen pounds and now the problem is knowing what to do with them all.

I'll end this week's  sack of shakings' with a 'fishy' story to test the limits of your credulity. Son Robert was fishing in Perthshire and one of the party caught his first ever fish – a 4lb pike. When he opened it up to clean it, out popped a dead mole. I know – I cast my eyes heavenwards too. Most folk know you don't get swimming moles as far north as Perthshire!






I lost all my e-mail records incoming and outgoing and am now trying to recover details of websites which have kindly put up  a link  to ‘Man with two dogs’ website. Can any readers who know that there is a link to my website  from their own one, or an organisation to which they belong, please contact me on     and let me know their website name, and I can get my records back in order again  In anticipation, many thanks.

Written on Saturday, August 12th, 2006 at 10:28 am for Weekly.