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.

… best country ever is at home. (Oliver Goldsmith)

November 14th, 2009

WELLIE BOOTS, waterproof overtrousers, my ankle boots and the stout brown brogues – over the past week or ten days they've all been pulled out from the cupboard beneath the stairs for walking in conditions ranging from just damp to raining stair rods. The ground is so saturated at present, with water lying just below the surface, that it takes very little more rain for the puddles to appear all over again.

Whatever the weather at the start of the day there's been no guarantee what it will be like when I take the dogs out for their main walk. And the Doyenne has had a dreadful time trying to get her washing dry.

I've never minded dreich weather – it's always been part of living in the north-east of Scotland. Whatever the apparent attractions for some people of round the year sunshine, the attractions have never been big enough for me to want to live anywhere else. The poor weather never lasts long and when the change to better weather comes, it's all the more welcome.

Several afternoons, as the light has started to fade in the early dusk, there's been not so much as a whisper of wind to stir the few leaves left on the topmost branches of the trees. In the quietness the noise of several hundred mallard duck carried quite clearly over the three quarters of a mile or so to the wee lochan.

The two bold boys and I set out to see what was happening. The familiar resident pack of duck of about a hundred, had trebled. What surprised me was that none of them, not even the visiting ducks, were in the least wary of strangers appearing in their midst.

I stood in full view with Inka sitting by my side. Macbeth's appearance at the waterside attracted tremendous attention. The whole three hundred birds swam over to inspect him, coffee-shopping amongst themselves about the extraordinary demented ball of string (as the Doyenne once described him) that was puddling about in the shallows.

Rooks were noisily tumbling and chasing each other above the woods on the other side of the lochan before settling in to roost. They are very sociable birds and you don't often see one on its own. At this time of year they roost in flocks for the company, but it won't be all that many weeks until they start pairing off.

I found small heaps of bird droppings below a couple of trees at the edge of the wood. This was pheasants which had perched on high branches above for a constitutional pause after their last feed and before moving to roost in the comfort and warmth (by pheasant standards) of the block of fir trees in the middle of the birch wood.

By then it was too dark to see much more.

Written on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 at 11:09 am for Weekly.