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.

Early Peacock

June 2nd, 2007

PEAJOCKS, BUBBLYJOCKS, the fighting Jocks – the word  Jock' seems to have a broad application in the Scots' vernacular.It all started with an eldritch screech that broke the reverie of the Doyenne's sleep. In the best tradition she passed responsibility on to me, saying – “What on earth was that?” I didn't need to ask, I had guessed already. One glance out of the bedroom window confirmed that it was a peacock stalking around outside the front door, his electric blue breast shimmering in the early morning sun.

A peacock is just not the sort of thing you go to bed on a Sunday night expecting to see at a quarter to six on the Monday morning. It was an outrageous time to be awakened – but not too early to make the first cup of tea of the day to help restore the Doyenne's tissues, as Bertie Wooster might have said.

The bird was paying an awful lot of attention to the cars, and I was concerned that it was looking at its reflection in the bodywork and thinking it was seeing a rival that should be chased off. I doubted if I could cope with the Doyenne's early morning utterances if she found the paintwork on her cherished car chipped by a pecking peacock.

Macbeth had heard the commotion too and was padding round the house, growling hideously and looking for an open door into the garden. I knew what was running through his little mind. In best canine tradition he was ready to do battle with the intruder, drag it to the house and proudly lay it at the Doyenne's feet to prove his ferociousness. As usual his ambitions far exceeded his abilities, and I fear that one peck from that great beak would have brought his retrieving career to a painful end.

And what of our bold Labrador retriever who might have been able to carry out such a feat? He just lay back in his bed, legs akimbo, paws stuck up in the air, obviously taking the view that if you've got a dog, what's the point of retrieving yourself.

What could have brought such a visitor to our door? He seemed to be unaccompanied, and the nearest peahen is probably at Edzell Castle where there is a  muster' of the birds. There was word that after he left us he turned up in a neighbour's garden further up the road. As the  man of the hoose' is a retired lieutenant colonel maybe he appreciated an early reveille better than the Doyenne.

Peajocks are handsome birds but they are raucous, noisy brutes and their calling cards are decidedly larger than a sparrow's! I heard his howling cries up in the woods behind us for several days, and then there was silence. We weren't sad to see the last of him.