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.

How sweet their memory still

August 20th, 2011

CEMETERIES HOLD many memories   Some folk think they are sad places because of the memories; but life is a happy experience and the memories don't change because we die   Cemeteries only become sad when they are forgotten and neglected.

Sleepyhillock on the outskirts of Montrose, on the Brechin road, is a cemetery where it might almost be a pleasure to be buried if you were able to share in the arrangements at the time   The name itself surely gives some reassurance about the future, if you dwell on such things.

It's not a place I visit regularly, although over the years I've bidden farewell to several of its residents, including my own parents   I had to call there on Tuesday to get my father's date of death off his headstone – I suppose most people remember those sorts of statistics, but for me it's the memories that count, not dates carved into stone.

Its situation, beside Montrose Basin, is rather special   The tide was out and maybe you need to have grown up in Montrose to appreciate the sun shining on the mudbanks, and find it an attraction   The Basin has been an extension of the town for as long as the town has been there, which is why the town's name is part of its title.

Were it not for the hum of traffic the eternal peace of Sleepyhillock would be complete   Looking across the Basin to Rossie Braes, the butter-yellow barley will soon be ready for combining   The colours change with the seasons but the memory of the skyline is constant.

Early in the year curlews fly inland to the moors to nest, but they are starting to return now to the Basin for winter   The mud and glaur is like a monstrous supermarket for them where they probe away with their long, curved beaks hunting for tasty marine worms and molluscs   Their wild, bubbling, trilling call is another memory you can't shake off.

The Auld Kirk steeple dignifies Montrose's skyline   I'm a collector of old prints of the town and it's the single most instantly recognisable feature in all of them   And I don't believe I know of another town that has water on three sides – Montrose Bay, the Basin and the River South Esk   Those sort of things stick in the mind.

Before the South Esk debouches into the Basin it runs through the Slunks and the Lurgies, areas of reed beds and mud at the rivermouth   I consulted my Dr Jamieson's Dictionary to find the derivation of these two words   A slunk is a quagmire, which is how the Slunks are when the tide is out and the mud is exposed.

The meaning of Lurgies seems lost in the mists of history – but then there have always been things that drop out of the ken of man.

Written on Saturday, August 20th, 2011 at 9:30 am for Weekly.