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.

The runaway train ……

February 3rd, 2007

A RUNAWAY railway carriage powered, seemingly, by some supernatural force rolled down the road ahead of me, like something out of an Edgar Allan Poe tale of mystery and imagination. As we were so close to Brechin I bet myself it was heading for the old Caledonian Station, operated and maintained by the volunteers of the Brechin Railway Preservation Society. So I followed it, and I was right.

I wanted to see how they would unload such a monstrous thing from the lorry transporting it. Parking in St Ninians Square I crossed over to the siding beside the station office buildings, and got talking with one of the volunteers whose enthusiasm was unstoppable. I learnt that it was an eight compartment coach (you remember, one of the old ones with a corridor and sliding doors into each compartment), built in 1961 in Derby. It had just come up from Tunbridge Wells as a swap for one of the Brechin carriages which was being taken south.

I already knew a little about the Society's activities because the Doyenne and I have been guests at several train parties run between Brechin and the station at Bridge of Dun. It's a most original way to entertain your friends. Although it's only four miles there and four back, what with a bit of shunting here, and some slow speed ahead there, and a refreshment stop to ensure your glass doesn't spill, it's amazing how the engine driver can spin out the time to fill the afternoon. And you pass through some hidden bits of countryside you would normally not have the chance to see.

As for the unloading – it couldn't have been simpler. The flat bed of the trailer is custom made and fitted with rails which the carriage sat on. Extension rails were slotted into place which curved down onto the main track. A diesel engine reversed up the extension, coupled up, and gently pulled the new acquisition off the trailer. I doubt if the whole thing took half an hour.

I shall have to have a word with my Yorkshire brother-in-law. He's been reading recent articles and e-mailed to say he'd been trying to find the “connection between the person who forgot the stuffing for the turkey (it couldn't have been the Doyenne, could it?), a small dog called Titch found wandering in the wilds of Angus, and some daft wassick sitting on the top of Caterthun looking for a comet, chilling himself and his two companions to the bone in the process, just to have the excuse to drink a gallon of sherry in order to get warm again”.

In my entire puff I've never been called a  wassick', let alone a daft one. It just shows how you can never be sure what else you are taking on when you take on a wife!