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.

Another mixed bag

October 21st, 2006

THE MYSTERIES of nature continue to confound me. Out with the dogs for their morning walk I found an olive green egg lying in the pathway. It couldn't have been there long because it's a busy path and it would soon have been trodden on by man or dog.

I took it home and put it in a safe corner of the kitchen while I saw the Doyenne off to her office. While I dealt with the mail I became increasingly aware of quite one of the most offensive smells I can remember. It was so bad I began to wonder if La D had been careless about what she was putting down the sink. It didn't take too much longer to realise that it was the egg which was the cause of my discomfort.

I took the offending object outside and cut it open. The yolk had decomposed into a black sludge and the smell was even worse, if that was possible. So I threw it into the stream. What I cannot understand is why a six month old egg should have been transferred so carefully to the ground, rather than hurled out of the nest with the least possible ceremony. It would have been better trodden on and left on the path.

Last weekend was hectic with grandchildren. Both sons visited with their families, and the Doyenne and I were on the go full tilt. One of the highlights was grandson Alfie finally getting to terms with riding a bike. It fair warmed my heart to see his father peching up and down the drive as Alfie mastered balancing on two wheels, while pedalling and pointing the bike in a straight line. It took me back to when I did the same for him.

Another high point was collecting conkers – horse chestnuts. The youngsters seemed to have just as much enthusiasm for conkers that I remember when I was their age. Whenever two year old grand-daughter Mathilda found one she was so excited she might have found a rare and precious jewel.

We also found sweet chestnuts encased in their prickly hedgehog-like shells. Unfortunately the nuts aren't big enough for human consumption, but they seem to be being devoured, probably by squirrels and woodpigeons.

I had my first game of curling for the new season. For some reason I recalled an independent-minded lady member of our club who curled for many years very much by her own rules.

When you throw a curling stone you are meant to aim for the broom held by your skip (team captain) at the far end of the rink, who  gives you the ice'. Whenever this lady member was upbraided by her skip for not  playing to the broom', she would comment – “I dinna bather wi' him. I aye just taks my ain ice”!