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.

Life is …. a blessing money cannot buy

January 22nd, 2011

 €œTIME SPENT laughing is time spent with the dogs € – a Japanese proverb apparently, but I was uncertain whether it was really what I had heard on the radio as I got dressed   I was quite ready to accept that it is so, although I think that strangers meeting Macbeth for the first time might find little to laugh about if he breathes on them.

As it's so easy now to google all our queries, I switched on the computer   Just as well because it transpires that it is the Gods who take us under their wing when we laugh   Being gods I expect they would be immune to Macbeth's fragrance.

Misunderstandings can occur so easily   A young mother didn't know whether to be embarrassed or laugh when she delivered party invitations to all her daughter's chums at the village school – including one for her special friend Daisy   There is no pupil called Daisy, she was assured   Daisy is her daughter's special imaginary friend, but no less important for that when it comes to handing out the invitations.

I'm not usually inclined to share my misfortunes, but I've been off colour recently   Peely wally, you know, even a touch peeky – smitten with the latest virus.

The doctor recommended that an old style inhalant would soon set me to rights   It took me back to my prep school days when matron sat me down at a steaming bowl of efficacious vapours with a towel over my head and kept me there, breathing deeply, until the bronichal tubes had cleared.

Pleased to report that it's still as effective.

Memories of other winter remedies dished out by the school matron, flooded back   Virol was a malt extract which was sticky and sweet and, along with Haliborange (which I believe was a concoction of halibut liver oil and orange) was administered to insulate skinny little schoolboys, far from home, from the winter chills.

An uncle whose surname was Scott swore by Scott's Emulsion as the ideal cold buster     I recall it as gloopy and off-white with a texture like liquid chalk   In the winter my uncle presented me with bottles of the eponymous elixir to give to matron so that I could take a daily spoonful.

We were lucky that matron didn't particularly favour using castor oil   At moments of young boys' internal reluctance her recourse was to Cascara, known to generations of sufferers as Black Jack   All you need to know is that it was a shifter, and even that may be Too Much Information!

I fear for Scotland's health when so many of these time-honoured remedies have been forgotten or discarded   Is it too late to revive the granny's remedy for ailing children who weren't  €œmaking up € i.e. not getting better, being given a spoonful of the clear serum found in a new-laid cow pat?

Written on Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 at 11:14 am for Weekly.