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.

Magic moment

July 14th, 2012

DAILY LIFE in Nature is generally much the same as daily life in our own human world – mostly a bit humdrum and, in the case of the birds and the beasts, dealing with the business of survival. Looked at from our human perspective, we wake up each morning and decide how we are going to successfully get to the end of the day – we just go about it rather differently from the birds and the beasts.

Most days, out with the dogs, I see and hear things that I expect to see and hear because so many of the sights and sounds are part of the everyday fabric of the countryside community. But once in a while something a little out of the ordinary happens that I can store away as a memory to revisit and enjoy again.

As we were coming to the end of the morning walk a roe deer calf popped out of deep undergrowth, obviously disturbed by Inka. Thankfully I’m able to call Inka to heel whenever he sees rabbits and hares and roe deer and he came back to me immediately.

We were a new and interesting experience for the calfie, however. It was clearly a bit wary but its curiosity was aroused and it didn’t know whether to run away or to investigate.

Five times it danced towards us, all skinny legs and wide-eyed innocence, as if inviting the dogs to play – each time its natural caution flashed a warning and it skittered away. It came to within four paces of us at one point and although his tail was swishing from side to side in excitement, to his credit, Inka sat firm.

It was Macbeth who broke ranks and made a dash for the deer. It’s baffling how something so large should be frightened of something so small, but that’s how nature is and the spell was broken. The calfie scampered off down a steep bank with Macbeth in hot pursuit. When he came back he was limping which slowed him down for several days but I doubt if he’ll have learnt any lessons – that’s being thrawn for you!

The calf jumped the stream and disappeared into thick rhododendrons – there was a single bark from the doe telling her wayward child to come back to her.

In reality it wasn’t such an unlikely experience – many wild creatures can be encouraged to trust humans, at least a little, if we deal with them patiently and sensitively and don’t threaten them.

In this case I’m sure we were the calf’s first encounter with dogs and a human and, if Macbeth had behaved better, I did wonder if it might have been possible to coax it close enough to touch it. That could have run the risk of it being abandoned as I have read that a mother deer will reject a calf if she detects the smell of humans or other animals on it.

Of course, I didn’t have my camera with me and I may never get another chance as good as this to record a young deer in such natural and artless circumstances. I hope the calf benefitted from a life preserving experience, I certainly had a life enhancing one.

A wall runs beside a track we regularly walk along. I saw a small bird apparently fly out of the wall and into the beech hedge on the other side, and stopped to investigate.

The old mortar had deteriorated and some of the rubble had fallen off the face of the wall leaving a cranny which has been requisitioned by a pair of wrens for their nest. I can’t see into the nest itself because the entrance is filled with dry moss stitched together with small feathers. There were no hungry squeaks inside from chicks demanding food and I don’t know whether there are eggs being incubated, but I’ll be keeping my eye on things.

I’m grateful to readers who responded to my request, in the Craigie Column, for information about the nineteenth century female agricultural workers known as bondagers. I got some interesting memories but I’d like to correct some confusion about the term which has nothing to do with bondage or slavery, but is derived from the employment bond that was struck between farmer and male farm servant.

Written on Saturday, July 14th, 2012 at 9:05 am for Weekly.