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.

Age shall not wither them

September 13th, 2008

AGRICULTURAL ROUPS (auctions) being held outdoors, in all weathers, attract a hardier breed of participant than the usual emporiums of unfulfilled temptation and impulse buying.

Mearns Vintage Vehicle Club's annual Rally, held last weekend at Arnhall Farm, Edzell, started its festivities on Saturday with a roup of diverse vintage vehicle spare parts, ailing machinery and implements and a selection of secondhand equipment. An eclectic mix of Ancient and Modern you might say – pretty much how you could describe the followers of the event!

The auctioneer had the traditional six-shooter patter of his calling. He obviously knew his audience and he played them like a well-tuned fiddle. He could be heard encouraging assorted Ecks and Wullies to reach deeper into their pooches and part with that extra pound that would capture the prize of the day.

I suspect that some lots, bought in a frenzy of denial to other bidders, remained hidden by sacks in the boot of the car, to be surreptitiously removed under cover of darkness to a dusty corner of their new owners' outbuildings. Then, unearthed in a year's time to cries of, “Mercy, so that's where that got to. It'll maybe fetch a bob or two at the roup.” It's a harmless conveyor belt of endless recycling which continues with the approval of indulgent wives who see it as a way of keeping their husbands out of worse trouble.

One man was taking a note of every price “on the hammer”, as they call it, as each lot was sold. He didn't say what he was going to do with his wee notebook and all its figures, but he's probably got an indulgent wife too. Somebody said the auctioneer wasn't an auctioneer at all, but a jeweller from Mintlaw, in Aberdeenshire. It shows how I was so spellbound by the whole atmosphere that I accepted this information without so much as batting an eye.

A notice at the field gate announced that entry was £1 – “no ifs, no buts.” The lady taking the money looked pretty stern, so I handed over the cash without a murmur. Another notice instructed that dogs must be kept on leads at all times, which would have been an affront to Macbeth's and Inka's spirit of independence. It was as well that they'd been left at home.

There is a serious side to the Club members' activities. Each year they raise money for charitable causes, so the more support they get for their weekend festival the more these needy causes benefit.

This two day annual event provides insights into rural life, so town folk leading sheltered  toonser' lives should make a note to come along to it next year. I'll be there on the Sunday to write about the Rally of vintage tractors, static engines, motor cycles, cars and all the rest of the excitement.

Written on Saturday, September 13th, 2008 at 1:25 pm for Weekly.