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.

The Rovers Return

July 18th, 2009

I'M CONSCIOUS that as the Man with Two Dogs, I've scarcely written anything about  them two dogs' for several weeks. They are in good form, as well they might be, having both had tremendous holidays while the Doyenne and I were away in Norway.

Macbeth stayed with his number one fan, Vera, who spoiled him shamelessly. He spent part of his holiday in a camper van in Crieff where he graciously accepted the admiration of neighbouring campers. Inka returned to the estate near Bridge of Cally to be looked after by Margo and Graham who I bought him from. He distinguished himself several times by escaping from the dogs' kennel and finding his way into the bitches' kennel. If this is a sign of things to come, I may have to tie a ball and chain onto his leg!

It was the subliminal hum of many tiny wings that made me look up into the branches of an immensely tall lime tree covered in greeny-yellow blossom. The fragrant lime nectar is a great attraction for honey bees and bumble bees and this ancient tree was repeating a seasonal cycle several centuries old. It's one of two neighbouring trees, and it's interesting to speculate how much honey these two old-timers must have produced in their lifetimes. The leaves are heart shaped which accounts for the myth that Venus the goddess of love, in one of her more romantic moments, fell asleep at the foot of one.

I'd noticed bees swarming round the creeper-covered eaves of a house on the walk round to the wee loch. As there were no flowers to attract them I assumed that they had built a nest in the loft space. Several days later the owner confirmed that bees had been nesting there for years and that there is about forty pounds of honey lying untouched in the cupples.

It's a better year for butterflies too. I'm seeing many more of the little Ringlet butterflies than I can recall for a while. Small and brown, they can be mistaken for a moth, but it's the eye spots on their wings which identify them and give them their name.

And foxgloves are having a good year. These tall plants are one of our handsomest, native wild flowers and flourish on poor soil, and are seen in open woodland and along roadsides. It was always the thing when young to pull off the rosy, bell-shaped flowers and stick them on your fingers like glove ends.

The recent humid weather brings out the flies which torment both dogs. They were hunting in packs round the fringes of the lochan the last time we walked there. Macbeth snaps desultorily at them, but I know his heart isn't in it. Inka looks at me, begging to be allowed to run free and escape his tormentors.