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.

Rosie with tuba

February 7th, 2009

MISS ROSIE came to visit last weekend and for a couple of days we were a two dog household again. Rosie is a four months old spring-loaded bundle of energy and she is grandson James' Jack Russell puppy. At that age you daren't take your eyes off her for a second for she's poking her nose into everything, under your feet most the time and wanting to be chums with everybody.

I'm afraid Macbeth gave her a rather frosty reception to begin with and it took till the next day for him to thaw out. It's four months since Inka died and I hope he's not getting selfish about being the only dog in the house.

James also brought his tuba, and the contrast between his dog and his musical instrument could scarcely have been more comical. The Doyenne and I need all our wits about us to keep up with the variety in his life!

Macbeth and I took the walk through the Blue Door up the side of the River North Esk. Beyond the turbulent Loups we stopped and watched the normally calm flow swollen with snow melt and rain, agitating and eddying. A solitary cock pheasant called on the other side of the river. His whole day is spent foraging for food, for as one of the fowls of the air he neither sows nor reaps. I wondered how he was managing in the inclement snowy conditions.

Continuing last week's theme about Irishmen, I'd like to introduce some more to you this week. In the late 1940s my father bought a book of Irish short stories called “Ballygullion”. It's not a long book, one hundred and twenty eight pages and written in authentic Ulster vernacular, about Irish country life in the fictional town of Ballygullion.

He bought a sequel to it called “Lobster Salad” and he regularly took the two books with him on our family holidays. I remember him chuckling away to himself at the shenanigans that the characters got up to. The author was Lynn Doyle, a bank manager turned writer for whom I feel an affinity having been a one-time solicitor and eventually turning to writing after several career shifts.

Whether it was coincidence or not I came on the books again as I was looking for a little light reading. Like my father I've read and reread them and Mr Doyle's delightful characterisation and light touch with humour haven't dimmed with time.

Ballygullion was first published in 1908, so it has passed its century. If the Man with two dogs can give readers in a hundred years time the same pleasure that I'm getting from my renewed acquaintanceship with Pat Murphy, wee Mr Anthony the solicitor, Billy av the Hills and many others I shall feel I have left a suitable legacy for the great grandchildren.

Written on Saturday, February 7th, 2009 at 9:26 pm for Weekly.