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.

Not cool to be cold

September 18th, 2010

IT'S COOL – I don't mean cool in the sense the grandchildren mean it – like,  smart'   I mean, it's chilly   It's not the late night walks with the dogs when I feel it   Some evenings, when the wind has completely died away, are still surprisingly mild   It's in the mornings that I realise autumn has arrived.

The Virginia creeper which covers one wall is dying back and the ground is littered with crimson leaves that a month ago were on the vine and living green, but now are spent and fading   It's an odd transformation, for you'd think the crimson was so much more the living colour   But soon the crimson, too, will fade and the leaves turn brown and I'll be sweeping them up from the corners of the yard where they've collected.

Not everything is dying   By contrast I've come across several empty pigeon eggs, discarded by parent birds well away from the nest so as to deflect attention from their newly hatched chicks   Pigeons nest almost throughout the year, so this is just a normal late hatch   The squabs have enough time to mature before winter – if it was any later it could get too hard for them to forage for themselves.

Coal tits, easily identified by the white patch on the nape, are back feeding again on the peanut nets   Their other favourite foods at this time of year are beech mast and conifer seeds, which are plentiful in the woods at the back of the house   Blackbirds go silent during the summer months, but I'm hearing them again, scolding the dogs as they hunt through the undergrowth.

Life outside our back door is pretty tame compared with an old school chum who lives at Cranberry Lake, Powell River, Canada   He sent a video clip on YouTube of a black bear in his back garden, which was filmed by his neighbour.

The bear makes an unexpected mock charge at the cameraman who you can tell gets an almighty fleg, because the camera is suddenly pointing every which way as said neighbour scrambles to safety   After making his point the bear goes back to contentedly scratching its rear end on a tree.

Apparently this defensive action is called bluster, and is the bear's way of telling other creatures that it is nervous of –  €œleave me alone, you're too close €   There was a comment that black bears do not attack after doing this – aye, that'll be right, if you're safe inside the house!

I've got a black animal in my back garden and he'd better not try any bluster with me, for I'm not feart of him.

A long time ago one of the grandchildren snuggled up to the Doyenne and confided –  €œGranny, I'm not cosy €   It had nothing to do with any modern idiom; the bairn was just plain cool.

Written on Saturday, September 18th, 2010 at 1:16 pm for Weekly.