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 happiest time of all the glad new year (The May Queen)

January 23rd, 2010

NIGHTFALL DOESN'T mean the whole world pulls down the blinds, draws the curtains and prepares for bed after the Newsnight programme   We have those two dogs whose internal alarm clocks are programmed to go off at the end of the 10 o'clock news when they make it plain that they are ready to go out for the last run They have their own ways of nagging me   Inka (our black Labrador) waits until I am snoozing or, better still, have a cup of something hot in my hand and then firmly nudges my elbow with his nose   If the contents of the cup land in my lap and I leap from my chair with oaths and cusses, he's perfectly happy – he's got me on my feet!

Macbeth (white West Highland terrier) thinks that he can hypnotise me   He sits down squarely in front of me wearing his disapproving look and makes it clear that he is only a very small dog; time is not on his side and if there are any unfortunate accidents on the carpet they are entirely my fault.

We walk as far as the bellmouth of a field gate where, as often as not, I stop for a few moments before turning back to the house   While the snow was on the ground these midnight walks were quite special   I didn't need a torch to light the way and the loudest noise was the crunch of my boots on the snow   Most nights the wind had fallen silent and there wasn't so much as the lightest breeze to stir the topmost branches of the trees stencilled on the night sky.

On Hogmanay the Doyenne joined me   The smell of wood smoke from the dying embers of the sitting room fire hung on the frosty air   The yellow glow cast by the light over the back door fragmented into the shadowy penumbra of the woodland walk and we were marooned in our own little world of white silence.

She commented that the moon was larger than when she had looked at it earlier in the evening   Later we learned that there had been a partial lunar eclipse and also that we had been looking at a blue moon, which occurs when two full moons appear in a calendar month   I don't imagine a partially eclipsed Hogmanay blue moon occurs too often – I wonder if we'll live to see another?

To say that the curling world was sore downcast by the cancellation of the anticipated Grand Match between curlers of the north and south of Scotland, would underestimate the strength of feeling by a mile   The world's greatest bonspiel and every curler's ambition to play in it, the last one was played in 1979   Another once in a blue moon event, if ever there was one – I wonder if we'll live to see another?

Written on Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 at 10:58 am for Weekly.