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.

Snip in haste, repent at leisure

February 13th, 2010

LADIES DAY, for me, was Thursday. It was time for a haircut and after decades of entrusting the now greying locks to him, I instinctively made my way to Dennis Burke's hairdresser's shop in Murray Street, in Montrose. I got my usual cheerful greeting from the barber shop trio of Susan, Fiona and Lynn.

There's always a robust exchange of conversation between the girls and customers which keeps everyone on their toes. I began to explain some of the frustrations I'm having with Inka who is just over a year old but very stubborn.

Thankfully he doesn't display some of the more antisocial habits that young dogs can, and while he's an affectionate animal he's hard work to deal with and I have wondered about the wisdom of neutering him.

To the snip of scissors we discussed what might be best. The general consensus was that neutering doesn't always calm down a headstrong dog and Inka may very well settle down in the next twelve months or so.

He's a handsome animal and I'd like to see his line carried on so I've accepted the collective wisdom of the day. Hair will grow again, but another sort of snip can be very final!

Meeting the challenge to diversify and make best use of their resources, farmer Jimmy Nicoll and his wife Sybil opened the Forfar Golf Driving Range and Farm Coffee Shop on North Mains Farm on the outskirts of the town.

As I don't play golf I'd always felt a bit shy about calling in. But I'm glad I overcame my reservations and I've had lunch there several times. I can't comment on the golfing facilities but the coffee shop is bright and welcoming, spotlessly clean and obviously a big favourite with ladies who lunch for I was the only male in the place when I popped in on Thursday after the haircut.

The menu isn't extensive but that's more than made up for by the quality. So far as possible ingredients are sourced locally and all the food is freshly prepared.

I had a piping hot bowl of home-made broccoli and bacon soup which was almost a meal in itself – and thick enough to “trot a mouse on” as my mother used to say. But there's no evidence of any such wee visitors, I hasten to add.

Soup was followed by a brown roll with delicious Italian chicken and mozzarella cheese filling. There's a daily choice of fillings for the sandwiches and paninis, and you can finish off your meal with a generous slice from the oven-fresh cakes and tray bakes.

Even if it's just a cup of coffee you call in for – and I share Jimmy's enthusiasm for the quality and taste of his golf range brew – you can enjoy the views over the Angus countryside. You're so close to town, yet so completely in the country.

Written on Saturday, February 13th, 2010 at 10:43 am for Weekly.