Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Smells ,Bells and flash backs

got these two shots this morning ,i love the way the wood decays slowly back into the earth,and the second picture sleeping berrys to me shows the exquisite delicate side of mother earth
What a way to wake up,pulling the curtain at the front of the bus i had to look twice ,ice had formed on the windscreen at least i/2 an inch thick.
I grabbed my dressing gown ready to take the boys out but the door was frozen solid 
eventually i managed to pry them open and with the dogs on their leads headed out into the morning air 
Last night i had a wonderful walk with my headlamp torch landing on the different surfaces lighting up dancing crystals of all the colours of the rainbow, breath taking the chance to watch mother nature playing.
When i got the boys inside i had a coffee and set of with my wee Kodak camera ,the excitment of not knowing what you might capture fills me with so much joy.
Lying on the ground trying to snap a gorse bush i turned around and a landrover passed by with the people inside smiling and waving ,the simple thing of a wee group of people passing each another and smiling so simple but heartwarming..


I have always been amazed how a simple smell or even a wee sound can take you sometimes as far back as your childhood ,touching the gorse bushes this morning ,i was taken  back to my childhood when i used to go into the hills at the back of Cardross a small village on the river Clyde.
We used to climb Ben Bowie and from there you could look down onto Loch lommond and turning to face the clyde you could see various lochs ,holy loch ,loch long and much more 
I remember we used to run down the hill and see who could get to the bottom first ,and running as fast as you can downhill ,for a few brief seconds it was as if you were flying pure magic

then CRASH straight into a gorse bush and with your friends laughing you would head down into the village.

we have a small bell in the bus and for some reason it reminds me of school days at Hermitage Academy in Helensburgh 
i thought i would share one of my tales from those days i hope you enjoy it :

DOUBLE SCIENCE 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- 



looking through the small square pane of glass in the door that seperated the stationery cupboard from the classrom , i could see the rest of the class busy doing the experiments they had been assigned by Mac donald the science teacher ,berfore as usual he then headed of only to return just before the end of the lesson.I was sixteen and had less than a week before i was out of that school and Helensburgh and off to the army. 
Hermitage academy was a large shool with two 3 story buildings facing each another, with large windows so from one building you cold look across and into the other. 
from the Headmasters office in the bottom corner up to the far right hand english class and everything in between, 
and if you looked to the left was a view out across the clyde and to the right Ben bowie and beyond Loch Lommond it really was a stunningly beautiful place Helensburgh ,but how i hated this school i found most of the teachers so boring and yet through my life i have enjoyed learning new things in fact i live to learn new skills but there sitting in that liitle room of the main classroom with my mates kenny and john I was bored beyond belief.So to releive the boredom we had come up with a wee game and after Macdonald handed out his lesson then disappeared as usual we would head into the room . 
We had found the internal phone and so the game was to see who could get the most ammount of people to stand outside the headmasters office . 
each person was allowed ten minutes a turn and we ticked of the people as they stood at the door and the loosers bought the beer at the dance at the caple at the weekend 
so what you would do is say phone the english teachers extension and say Mr grey (Headmaster) whats to see you urgently . 
then look around the building and choose someone else and send them down as well by the end of 30 - 40 mins there would be a huge queue outside the heads office. 
and we could see him calling in each person in turn, we could only guess he was asking what THEY wanted only to be told they had been sent down eventually he would burst out the door to see maybe 30 to forty people queing up.Then we would just burst into fits of laughter as you each tried harder and harder to outdo one another, the door would open and one by one the class mates would squeeze in to see what all the laughter was about only then to join in as they understood what we were up to . 
We would start by sending one person down at a time only to end up sending complete classes down the corridor to stand and wait their punishment this would go on for over an hour and then we would know macdonald was on the way up (someone on the look out)we would then 

try desperatly to compose ourselfs re- enter the class as if nothing had been going on . 
and as we took our seats again you couldn't resist one last look through the window you could see the ensuing chaos in the other buillding 

Macdonald would come in without a clue at what had been going on, grunt something to us. 
then the magic sound of the BELL would go and yet another DOUBLE SCIENCE would be over 

FREEDOM 

by a.p.lowe 






_________________
www.theblackbuscompany.com 


 
 

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

a wee poem i read wondering

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest! if you must; but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow;
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit;
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.

- by anonymous

Saving Pounds & Nerves & Army days






all ready to go and 2 hours left on our van on Ebay.
Yesterday we swept through the bus and sorted everything including a quick repair to the exhaust.
so today we are sitting watching Ebay and the van has sold but still with the chance of further bids
It will be so good to head of even simpler life 
the next job will be to take out the windows and build some frames for my pictures along the side of the bus so hopefully i can sell some as we trundle along the road.
I am so excited about this coming year 
We have a friend flying to inverness to meet up with us, also i have a friend from spain and another in Norwich coming up to travel around the summer festivals 
and hopefully we will meet up with Tui & Rima 
Well better head over to ebay and check out how much we have to head of to Inverness with . 
just remembered an old friend from 30 yrs ago got in touch trough facebook 
took me right back to my army days wow the power of the net yet again amazing
this is one of my wee stories from them days 


Yan (a wee man with the heart of a lion) 
......................................................... 
We had been on the road for over two weeks solid now i reckon i had had about 12 hrs sleep if i was lucky but the adreniline was still coarsing through my viens .I was twenty and i couldn't believe that wee boy from that wee village Cardross in scotland had managed to qualify as a R.E.M.E craftsman and here i was travelling down the Autobahn somewher in Germany on a full size Excerise .sitting in the antar we had just got some grub together and we were flying down the road at maximum speed the noise coming from the rolls royce engine was incredible the smell of the exhaust was blowing in through the window from the truck in front and sitting there with a bacon butty i had never been happier then we hit a hill and the speed dropped from max 18 mile an hour (believe me in an Antar with a chieften tank on the trailer total weight 160 tons going at 18 miles an hour if felt more like 180 mile an hour)down to 3 or 4 and slowly began the climb in front of us where 15 complete antars and behind us were a further 10 followed by my reme wagon with my mate in it we were the only two reme on the excercise and i often wandered up the convoy to be with different friends then i would climb back into my wagon there were maybe 10-15 motorbikes buzzing up and down checking everything was ok and a few landy's about and in he air we had several different kinds of helicopters following (pumas etc) then we always had the German police following in cars and there own helicopters . 
It had gone well during the night no break downs so we were all still together and we had only another few miles before hitting the base were we were to drop the tanks at Osnibruk (if there was a breakdown it was up to me and my mate to fix the problem how everlong it took and keep the commander informed with things sometimes we could be there for a day or two and then we would have to catch up with the convoy. 
I looked out of the window and could see the german police helicopters were heading of now and just as i looked back i saw the antar in front slowly start to drift to the left then come back on th road only to swerve violently to the left and start to go down the steep banking on the left of the autobahn we coul do nothing but watch as the Antar roared down the bank uprooting trees as if they were twigs the noise was incredible it sounded like the largest bang of thunder i had ever heard but still the truck ploughed on when the tank turret began swinging round and the barrel of the gun dug into the ground and lifted the whole trailer into the air the smoke was billowing 200 to 300 ft into the air and the noise as metal was being twisted and ripped into was absolutely terrifying eventually though the truck stopped followe by a strange silence only broken as the odd thing fell from the wagon to the ground i looked at my mate and without saying anything we though our friends in there had had it no way any one could walk from that but just as we were getting out i could see the side window open with a jerk and slowly out popped Yan the smallest tallest man i have ever met he crawled to the ground got up walked up to me and simply i swear to god said "Andy give us a fag bud" 

Yan was M.S.O he was about 70 yrs old when i met him he had seen his family slaughtered by the Natzi's during the war all my friends in the mso had similar stories and i will never forget meeting that bunch of MEN and for the HONOUR of inviting me to join them after leaving the army they will travel with me ALWAYS . 




_________________
www.theblackbuscompany.com

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Buy Buy


                              Buy , Buy (January Sales)
Time for the sales
What shall i do
I'm standing in line
At the back of the queue
Waiting for the doors to open
wondering what bargains there are inside
Doors fling open
Everyone pushes forward 
Out of my Way "I say" 
and there goe's my pride
We all push this way and that
Trying to get that one special bargain
Picking up clothes that are far to small
But its only a pound a BARGAIN a BARGAIN
No matter at all  ,i will lose some weight
In no time at all
Fighting off
the lady in the brown suit
And when you get home
the bargains are left in the bag
and pushed out of sight
are all the clothes that you fought so hard for
and into the wardrobe is where they will STAY.

(only another 365 days to the next January sales)

poem by m.m.lowe                  

Saturday, 27 December 2008

New Friends & Laptops




what a day,it's now 1/2 past 10 at night and after i take the boys out i am off to bed.
All day long i have answered emails from people all over the world .
I have also been busy trying to get thebrain cell working to set up my Etsy shop where i hope to sell my pictures and Mels various craft.
I have always thought of my self as worthless and no one would want to buy my stuff but slowly i have come to understand that the people that made me feel that way were expressing their own faults 
So now i hold my head high and everyday i gain so much from my photography it has taken me to so many places and it has shown me nature in all its wonder and awe.
I also set up Ebay today to sell the wee van so we are more mobile i will be sad to see it go as it has been well faithfull but we both want to just have the bus and travel .
It amazes me that i am able to get my head around all this computer stuff but the joy at having met up with so many wonderful people from all over this stunning world drives me on to learn more.
Well my friends i hope this coming year 2009 brings you all such happiness 


lots of highland blessings from us at the blackbus xxxx 
 

An Email from two friends

Got this wee email from two good friends,they recently hit the road full time...

HELLO! Happy Christmas! And thank you to you all for such a jubilant waving-off! We have travelled the whole length of the country through rainclouds and sunclouds and in and out of radiator leaks and battery failures to get here, although we have always been "here" wherever we stopped along the way and we've always been heading "there".


Gradually day by day we have settled in to our wheely home and begun to realise why we did it. We have had warm candlelit evenings by the fire eating mince pies with cream and saying to each other - do you remember leaving all those months ago? (when in fact it was just the previous monday) Days turn into weeks when the scenery changes so fast and your days are so full of so many faces. It is wonderful to wake each morning to a new tree outside the round bedroom windows, and in its branches, a new bird singing. As we have headed south, the cold Scottish winter has lessened its grip on our toes and there have even been days on the street selling pictures without coats!


We have been lucky enough to find forests or at least a tree or two beside which to park each night, and have met interested people young and old along the way who have come inside our house to nose about. Sales got gradually better as we headed south too, culminating in a shockingly lucrative two days before Christmas in Canterbury - our favourite town to sell!


The TK is a beast of a thing to manoeuvre around little snaking lanes and is left floundering on slightly inclined motorways, managing a top speed of about 45mph. And of course there have been mechanical stresses too.. our last leg of the journey was made through heavy four lane traffic with a bolt stuck in a radiator hole to quell a leak until we could reach "dry land". I had to leap from the vehicle amid traffic to refill the leaking radiator with water whilst impatient drivers zoomed round us. We just made it to Canterbury and found ourselves heartily welcomed. It was a delight to meet kind folks of all sorts in all corners. The Brothers of St Francis whose wall we sell our pictures against were accommodatingly friendly and the Park & Ride attendant offered redundant tree stakes to burn in our fire which we delightedly collected from the emptying carpark to bemused stares from the departing shoppers.



However we had reached our final selling destination with no leafy corners in which to moor our land boat, and were beginning to worry a little. Thank you for all your kind offers and ideas.. You may well be hearing the rumble of a Bedford engine up your lanes one day :) On the day before Christmas eve Tui got into conversation with a nice bookbinder man inquiring about a commission. The converation turned to houses and horseboxes and he said "well if you are stuck for a place to stop I have an orchard with a barn on it where you'd be welcome to park"... what a perfect turn up that was! And so we trundled away from town with bulging wallets on Christmas eve to find this excellent spot where we have been given kind permission to stay for a while. This was just the most perfect outcome after all these long months of work, exhaustion and bad weather, and there we'll be able to spend a time resting. We can rig up internet and power, make windows and build roofracks, mend radiator holes and add another layer of waterproofing. And I can paint clocks at my desk and we can take afternoons for reading books and wandering about the hedgerows. And after a time there we can wander off again :)


Christmas Day dawned over young apple and quince trees, Kentish oast houses and a draughty barn; the early coo-hoo of a wood pigeon made us feel very much in England. I have noticed a phenomenon amongst folk we meet whilst selling.. they almost all ask "where are you based?" or "where are you from?". It's a strange question anyway, because you never know whether that means where were you born or where do you live.. and when your house moves about it's even harder to answer! It seems an interesting need in people to be able to pinpoint some kind of originating place, and it makes passing through other people's originating places all the more interesting.
I am writing at present from my family home where we have been able to spend lovely time at Christmas; and dotted amongst these words here are pictures from our journey: sunrises in Lincoln and tree-stake fires and peeps in and out of our door. Soon I will be blogging from "our" orchard and I look forward to making stories and creating things from inside our lovely creation of a home.




We wish you all warm and happy tale-filled Christmastimes all over the world wherever you are from and wherever you are going to in 2009!


Friday, 26 December 2008

Nature 5 of my favourite shots i luckily caught






Happy xmas all and a great 2009 when it comes,we had a lovely quiet day with friends from all over the world sending amazing messages,
 what a wonder this modern technology is  
As i said i decided to sort through my pictures on the laptop and what a job over 7 hours of sorting and deleting ,but as you do i found some old ones i forgot all about.
enough waffle i  will post 5 of my favourite nature shots hope you enjoy and once again to all the friends we have met a wonderful 2009 to you all



lots of highland love Andy & Mel xx

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Flowers and Fungi

this is Mel's favourite one 




Now for my 5 favourite flowers and fungi shots ,doing this has shown me how i must sort my work out it has suprised me how many pictures i have manage to get in such a short space of time.
well anyway i hope you enjoy this little collection the dafthermit

Lanscape pictures by the daft hermit






Above is my 5 favourite landscape pictures that i have been able to capture this year,I would like to thank Robin for your comments on my photography attempts .  
more of my pics can be seen at flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/failedhermit/

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

My 5 favourite wee beastie shots of 2008



This is my favourite shot ,i just love the detail of him,amazing to think how much beauty is hidden from us unless we stop and really look



The pictures are 5 of my favourite wee ones as i wondered and meandered my home country of Scotland.
I hope you enjoy looking at them and i look forward to next year with so much excitment as i learn more and more about Photography .



Water ( Giver of Life )

another of my pics 

                                                    Rain Pure Magic
          ......................................................................................................

what joy RAIN 
....................................... 

What a beautiful day the rain is here 
Watering the plant's in the gardens 
The flowers are lowering their petal's for more drink 
The frog's are hopping mad 
The grass on the ground and hill's are looking very lush 
What a wondrful day 
The streams are rising and churning boulders away 
And the birds are having a feast 
My dog's are in the stream barking in disbelieve 
The sky is getting darker now 
And the dropplet's are getting bigger 
The waterfall i can see is roaring down the glen 
Such a pretty day when raining 
There is a rainbow near the waterfall 
And the colours are glisening 
The wildlife enjoys it to as they preen there feathers 
While watching you 




by m.m.lowe

                                      Water a gift we must respect
                         ..................................................................................
For many years now i have collected rain water ,spring water etc ,and by carying it in 5 gallon containers it taught me the real value of water.
Turning on taps is so easy you forget sometimes how valuable it really is until it stops ,i guess like so much in our lives.
I know from my own experince that when i have walked to a stream and sat there for a while maybe getting the odd picture as the barrel fills up i would never go back to mains water if i could.
Then the journey home with it on your shoulder you know you have earned that cup of coffee brewed with highland spring water.


pic by me taken near leadhills in Scotland




what joy RAIN 
....................................... 

What a beautiful day the rain is here 
Watering the plant's in the gardens 
The flowers are lowering their petal's for more drink 
The frog's are hopping mad 
The grass on the ground and hill's are looking very lush 
What a wondrful day 
The streams are rising and churning boulders away 
And the birds are having a feast 
My dog's are in the stream barking in disbelieve 
The sky is getting darker now 
And the dropplet's are getting bigger 
The waterfall i can see is roaring down the glen 
Such a pretty day when raining 
There is a rainbow near the waterfall 
And the colours are glisening 
The wildlife enjoys it to as they preen there feathers 
While watching you 




by m.m.lowe

Monday, 22 December 2008

THE BLACKBUS: Mechanical Hermit (Grumpy Sioux)

THE BLACKBUS: Mechanical Hermit (Grumpy Sioux)

Mechanical Hermit (Grumpy Sioux)


With the sun beatting down onto the bus and the rays spilling in through the windows ,i thought it was time to get the grubby overalls on and head under the bus,
I always imagine the worst when it comes to things like this and if it works out then BONUS!!
I lifted the rear cover and first went in hunt of where the exhaust had gone and with the first good bit of news i saw the problem the flexie pipe had snapped first result
Then i set too to find out the problem with the gears and with the largest hammer i could find and a can of wd40 i started to check the gear system 1/2 an hour later and crawling effortlessly out from under the bus (who am i kidding)
I went to the cab and fired her up ,and with a wee touch of nerves slipped her into gear and hey presto she started to roll forward what an amazing feeling,but then i heard a few clatterings from inside and i knew the dishes etc would be all over the place as i had not tatted down looking at the rear to the bedroom i could see Mel sitting in morning SHOCK !!!!!

So tomorrow i will head out to a yard and find some flexie pipe and the old blackbus will be heading north again ..................................

The Simple Life


Wow what a day,The wind has howled down the glen today forcing any birds back to the trees i watched for 1/2 an hour as a crow battle to make headway up the course of the river until he finally gave in and settled back on a tree.
So as for crawling under the bus i decided no way and have spent the day meeting so many incredible people spread right across this wondeful planet.
At 47 no nearly forgot 48 as from the 20th not that i usually keep track ,i hate the idea of birthdays they seem to distract from life so many people worry about this age then its oh no im nearly whatever 
Sorry i wondered off what i was going to say was that i am so happy that we have no debt and have a lovely home that is bought and paid for i know it is not everyones cup of tea as the saying goes but i feel it houses myself mel our 2 dogs and 2 cats welll enough 
I have always believed in the saying Walk gently on mother earth 
When i was younger i had my own business's  employe people and was well on the treadmill of life .
Then one day going to the bank i decided no more gave the business away bought a small caravan and headed out onto the road .
It has took me many places and i have met so many amazing people allong the way .
And now as i get older i find that i want a simpler life closer to nature which my macro photography has taken me.
The joy of getting back from a walk and seeing maybe one picture out of loads that has come out well and shown some wee insect in all it's beauty there in front of me on the screen .well i tell you, they can keep their millions the real joy and happiness is all around us and they can never take that away from us .


 

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Gearboxes , Exhausts and DIVORCE (a travellers tale)

                                                         One of those day.s  (Highland bus tour )
                                             ..................................................

When i woke this morning i had a bad feeling about today.And slowly over the day it has been problem after problem.
But to night we got ready to head of and forced ourselfs to think positive ,and with the turn of the key ohhh ohhhh ohhh flat battery cool get the charger out and within  a few minutes the old bus fired up smokey as hell as usual but quicly she cleared
Mel was busy tatting down and with a smile we light a fag and engaged reverse gear  thinking to myself i thought bloody hell wouldn't it be funny if we broke down right across the access road to the wheelie bins, and with pictures of people and police all around the bus at 6.00 am banging on the door thinking we had thrown out an insult to everyone by blocking the road completly.
I engaged first gear ready to hit the road and head of to a lovely parkup i had found pressed the accelerator but nothing ,tried again and again but nothing and with two old hermits wondering around the old bus scratching our heads the exhaust started to blow i just thought go on we can take it
 life is full of little tests 
With a bit of jiggling i managed to reverse the bus into a corner well out the way 
I then reversed the van in and came back onto the bus only for Mel to say you will never guess what .
i thought the gas had gone
But NO Mel has pulled her back out shifting the water barrel so all in all i can't wait to hit the sack 

  Tomorrow is another day
 just hope the bed dosn't collapse xxx

Overalls on and scrambling under the bus joy oh joy 



Maybe it's time to get the mountain bike and trailer out 
so if you see a bike flying past you on the road with 2 dogs and 2 cats in a bright yellow  trailer give us a wee smile 

and think of mel running (well hobbling behind )with her  tele under one arm and her pots and pans clinking and clanking tied to her rucksack ,oh and her dyson carpet sweeper trailing behind

wonder how long it would be before i started to hear from behind the word Divorce drifting up the glen and a few other choice phrases  agh love ?


Wheelie Bins

It has been amazing couple of days what a wonderful place to celebrate my birthday,but tonight we are thinking of moving up the road a bit,we had another visit from the police still more complaints this time about us blocking a couple of weelie bins after i picked myself of the floor i explained that we will be moving within the next few days,so much for xmas spirit still it gives us a wee kick up the bum to get moving .
Both myself and Mel are more determined to get as far away as possible from this sort of pettiness i cant understand why people would rather phone the police and waste there time ah well i guess nothing changes,I think we have been so lucky not to have had any bother for so long but it only confirms to me why i have chosen this way of life and tonight we will hit the road and head north once again .


Friday, 19 December 2008

Tui & Rima leaving


Another couple escaping the rat race and heading out onto the open road.They are two of the nicest people i have met and are both amazing artists more about them at their blog

No Mortgage Here


This our friend Marc with his lovely old bedford

Another Home

This is our friend Ray's boat she is out the water getting an extention fitted ,he lives in her full time and travels the canals of England ,yet another way to escape the rat race .He makes wonderful jewellery which can be seen at my web site www.theblackbuscompany.com 

Fellow bus dwellers ( Escapees )


We met this couple Rob & Lucy yesterday they are based in Preston England ,so good to meet up with fellow escapees .He is only 23 but has already decided that houses are not for him and is slowly converting is Leyland National into a home ,he also hopes to head north to Scotland 

Mountains & Snow ( time to slow down )





Slowly we are getting further up into the mountains and leaving the hussle and bussle of modern life behind.
As i have said i enjoy the mountains and the way that they and the weather humble me so much as a little human.
The harsher the weather the more in tune with this wonderful planet i seem to become ,standing outside the bus with the wind howling up the glen and with snow in its grasp fills my heart with so much joy.
The shear beauty and timelessness of it all brings many a tear to this daft old hermit  .


We got some good news a friend is flying up to Inverness at the end of Jan to come and stay for a While at the blackbus and mel has already started to panic as she doe's.
In a few days i will get the wood in to make a long bench and also make a start on taking the windows out and replace them with some portholes (can't wait)


I have included some pics to give you an idea of our wee journey back to a time when you can STAND and Stare ..




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A wee film about us on STVs the HOUR SHOW click on STV logo to see the film

A wee film about us on STVs the HOUR SHOW click on STV logo to see the film
Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

Loch Ness film festival

Loch Ness film festival
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Northern Lights

Northern Lights
By submitting your story you could win £2500, and we have lots of smaller cash awards up for grabs so don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be the first to learn about them. You can also put yourself in the running to be our Best Ambassador by talking about us and tagging us @wernlights on Twitter or @wearenorthernlights on Facebook.

Creative Boom Scotland

Spreading love and peace

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Scottish Independence TV

Scottish Independence TV
This group has been set up to raise awareness of Scottish Independence in the run up to the 2014 referendum. We also welcome groups that support Palestine, Wales, Catalonia, The Basque and a United Ireland. We promote healthy debate on this group feel free to add your friends or anyone you think may be interested in the topics discussed here. We will also be setting up a youtube channel so anyone who can make decent videos message the admin. Twitter accounts and Blogspot pages will also be linked to this group so watch this space! Saor Alba!

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