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.

Jelly pieces

August 23rd, 2008

COUNTRY MICE sometimes go to town, which is what the Doyenne and I did recently. We usually try to take a short break during the Edinburgh Festival to sup up a bit of culture.

We heard a delightful piano recital of Mozart and Schubert in St George's and St Andrew's Church in George Street, which is a fine example of Georgian New Town Edinburgh architecture – oval inside and beautifully decorated. Built to the glory of a god, it has the most wonderful acoustics for such an instrumental presentation and provided as great a celebration of a musical experience as any spiritual one.

There was no place for dogs of course who went to The Moorie kennels at St Cyrus. It's always very gratifying when we go collect them to be told that they have been no trouble and that the kennel staff enjoy looking after them. We've been lucky with the dogs we've owned. One or two may have been fairly brainless (no names no pack drill) but every one has had a thoroughly decent nature, which was terribly important when our family were small.

This season has been quite the best I can remember for wild raspberries and they have grown in great profusion. One afternoon I picked over five pounds, and because they are half the size of the cultivated fruit it took me twice as long. I bore them home proudly to the Doyenne who, despite having already made potfulls of raspberry jam, popped them in the jam pan and boiled them up for raspberry jelly.

For husbands like me who rarely question what goes on in the kitchen, I've discovered that jelly is made by boiling the berries until they dissolve into a red mush, which is strained through a muslin bag overnight (I'm told that in the bad old days a baby's Harrington nappy was used – well washed I hope) into a bowl. The Doyenne did magic things with the resultant bree and what I spoon out of the jam jar onto my toast is such a mouth-watering confection that I've begged her not to give any of it away.