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.

Variety is the soul of pleasure

November 13th, 2010

BURNISHED LEAVES cascaded from the autumn trees   Like scarlet poppy petals fluttering onto the young service men and women during the two minutes silence closing the annual Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall, was the Doyenne's description   It was an apt comment for the week in which the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year falls, when we honour the memory and courage of all who have died or been injured in conflict.

The Doyenne and I have enjoyed walking the dogs in the bright mornings we've had this past week   As the days shorten it's best to get out while the heat is still in the sun   Bare trees, looking as though they've had a bad hair day   But log fires at night, hot chocolate and the hot blanket when we go to bed – sounds better than the Caribbean.

On Wednesday I set off with the dogs to take a particular photograph which needed the benefit of the high noonday sun   Deed done we were on our way back when Inka froze, his whole concentration centred on something I could not see but clearly he could scent.

Macbeth was trailing along behind as usual but I froze too, to see what developed   It was only moments but it seemed like an age – Inka took a step forward and a pair of woodcock erupted from low cover barely ten feet from where I stood – jinking and jouking away through the trees   Gone almost before I'd realised what they were.

The pleasures of walking with two dogs are constant and varied   The glory of a sunrise or sunset, which happens whether or not the dogs and I are there to enjoy it   This summer, a pair of red kites sailing over my head on long slender wings, etched by brilliant sunshine against a cloudless sky – I'd waited and watched for several weeks to see the birds close to, and my hopes were more than fulfilled.

Watching an otter for over an hour, playing in the sea off Mingary Castle in Ardnamurchan – not especially unusual but I didn't know where, or if, it might happen that day   Or my blink-of-an-eye encounter with the woodcock   Mostly I never know what the next step may bring.

The Doyenne recently picked up a new saying infused with Granny wisdom –  there's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing'   I hae my doots about there being no such thing as bad weather, but in these enlightened days of thermal fabrics, from underwear to outerwear, we can create our own portable environment to combat winter's worst.

Another wee saying for the Doyenne comes from the Inuit people –  if your feet are cold, put on a hat'   Living at the world's northernmost extremes it's scarcely surprising they've got a practical answer to every problem of living.

And there's more now –

See my new blog      A Breath of Fresh Air from Scotland

Written on Saturday, November 13th, 2010 at 9:36 pm for Weekly.