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.

Rainbow palette

June 14th, 2008

“YELLOW IS the colour of my true love's hair” sang 1960s songwriter and folksinger, Donovan, and yellow has been one of the predominant spring colours over recent weeks. The blossom on the spikey, prickly gorse bushes has had an intensity and glow this year which has excelled. Yellow broom, too, has brightened up the roadsides and open patches in the woods as I've driven about the countryside.

The dandelions have flowered and withered, and dandelion  clocks' are shedding their parachute seeds into the wind to land where they will, and grow a new plant. Primroses, the increasingly rare cowslips, buttercups, shrinking violas, marigolds, laburnums and the ripening fields of oil seed rape all add to the sunshine frame of mind that I think of as spring.

“Blue is the colour of the sky” declares the songwriter. There have been some memorable early mornings, clear blue and cloudless – sometimes turning to rain later. But get up early enough and you'll enjoy the best of the day. They say blue is a cold colour, but only when the painter attempts to imitate nature and doesn't succeed.

Cornflowers, comfrey, tiny forget-me-nots, speedwell have all shown well this spring. There has been a profusion of bluebells, which are a bulb and not to be confused with our native harebells which don't flower till July. It is interesting, though, that leading wildflower painter Mary McMurtrie, in her book  Scottish Wild Flowers', calls the harebell the  Scottish bluebell'.

“Green is the colour of the sparkling corn” – that tests the imagination. Corn is traditionally described as sparkling once it has ripened, but passing a field of growing corn with the early morning sun dancing off the dew adds vitality to the start of the day.

The dogs and I walk beneath a green canopy of fresh, new leaves on the trees. It seemed a matter of only days for the transformation to take place from the bare branches of winter. There's an outbreak of greenery all over the countryside as crops and flowers and plants repeat Nature's eternal cycle of regeneration.

“Mellow is the feeling I get” – continues the singer. My response to spring contrasts with the emotions of the poet Keats in his poem “To Autumn” which starts – “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. Spring's energetic activity is balanced by autumn's relaxed contentment. Keats starts the last verse of his poem – “Where are the songs of spring?” We're singing them right now.

“Freedom is a word I rarely use” – but perhaps I should think about it more often. With the dogs I enjoy the freedom of the countryside, the woods, the riverbanks and the seashore. Freedom of the skies and the seas and lochs. Freedom of the days and of night-time too, and the seasons of the year. I hope I don't take so much freedom for granted.