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.

On the Inside looking Out

August 11th, 2007

THE KITCHEN window can sometimes be the best place to watch the wildlife outside. For a start the dogs aren't crashing about disturbing birds and animals going about their lawful business. Inka is full of energy and as soon as he thinks a walk is on the agenda he capers about, knocking things off tables with his tail.

He's as bad when we get outdoors and as often as not I end up having to be stern in order to settle him down. Macbeth, on the other hand, can caper about as much as he likes and I may fall over him, but everything on the table is safe.

There are regular visitors to the bird table which we look out for every day and would miss if they didn't come. At this time of year there's plenty of natural feeding available so a number of  weel kent' faces, or perhaps that should be beaks, are missing. The cock pheasant that called regularly during the nesting season has vanished for the time being. As soon as there's a cold snap the bold boy will be back, brim full of confidence and expecting to be waited on hand and foot.

We've been watching a pair of woodpigeons flying into the big holly tree at the back door, with twigs in their beaks – obviously starting a new nest. Their breeding season can last from February to October if the conditions are right. They build a scruffy platform for a nest that you think would collapse in the first high wind, but shortly two creamy eggs will be laid in it.

I never learn to check what's outside before I throw open the back door to take the dogs out for their walk. Several days ago a roe deer which was quietly feeding about thirty yards away took off at some speed when we all piled noisily out. I don't expect them to come so close to the house during the daytime and I missed a chance to watch it at close quarters.

It was the Doyenne who saw a hare even closer in. It ambled across the grass and disappeared. Five minutes later she saw another going in the same direction – or was it the same one which had done a circuit of the house?

Less welcome were the cattle which broke out of their field. Their big cloven hooves do terrible damage to lawns and by the time they were herded back in again there were great, muckle indentations all over the grass.

Throughout summer the small songbirds, the finches and tits, the robins and the wrens have been faithful visitors. And the woodpeckers – there must be several families – call every day for the peanuts.

And out of the loo window I watch gentle bumble bees collecting nectar from the delphiniums in the herbaceous border.

  

READ ON

Read the newly published book entitled ‘Man with two dogs – A breath of fresh air from Scotland’

  

Quote from the author in Aberdeen Press & Journal review – “People ask if I’m ever lost for inspiration, but I’ve been writing these pieces for more than four years now and I can honestly say I’ve never been stuck   That’s the great thing about having a dog   It imposes on you that discipline of getting out every day for a walk and, if you take the time to look around you, you will realise what a glorious place the Scottish countryside is.

  

Purchase direct from the publishers     www.blackandwhitepublishing.com