Sunday, 28 February 2010

Gaelic Dalek: Things seen but not snapped

Gaelic Dalek: Things seen but not snapped

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Another wonderful photographer from Scotland

Shabu Images - A Photograph Is A Memory Never Forgotten
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First Light another book by an author friend here in Scotland

Another book from here in Scotland this time it is a good friend and her book    FIRST LIGHT

to visit her blog click here 

to buy her book click here


A book to keep your mind busy!
2 Sep 2009: In her book Michelle Frost paints a world with no hope. Or as she declares on the book's cover: a world, where colour is a crime. Oh horror! Her writing makes this unthinkable world take shape to a point so realistic that you can almost taste the dust and feel the harsh light of this world on your skin. Luckily, the colour still lives in the hearts of a few people in these alien surroundings, and it is the destinies of these few we follow throughout the pages.

The characters being so utterly vivid, almost as if you had known them forever yourself, and the very idea behind the story being woven into a pattern, where at times you know exactly where the story is headed for, only to realize on the next page that you haven't got a clue, make this book a true page turner. And Michelle keeps you guessing, of yes, she does. All the way to the last few pages, where she finally reveals her bigger picture. Which, I might add, is breathtakingly beautiful!

All in all, an extremely enjoyable read. But this book has it's downside also: it ends. Just when she finally sheds light to the true colours of the story... it's over. As luck will have it, the end leaves the door open to a sequel, and I do hope she is busily working on volume two!

some more things people are saying about her book :
"You actually got me thinking about some other story than Twilight...and that hasn't happened since before Christmas.

well done believable bad guys...all beautifully acceptable within their cultural norms... wonderful.

I love your characters...they are travelling with me during my day, tickling my mind with their mysteries..."
~ P W ~
... "Errors pick up this book, and see the people, and you just get engrossed and want to learn how their stories unfold and what happens to them. You just don't want to put it down till you Know How They Are.

...i was going to finish, or read more today, but i couldn't wait, so i started reading again and finished this Wonderful Book at 4 this morning. I do NOT stay up till 4 am any more, till yesterday/uh, this morning. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!"
~ L J ~
"I loved your book!!! You did a wonderful job of plot development, character development, etc. The ending was very moving and I had tears in my eyes when I finished. In my mind the mark of a very good book is when you feel satisfied with the ending but sad when it ends cuz the story is so good you want it to go on and on ... and that is how I feel about this one - can NOT wait until the next story comes out ... are you working on it yet ???"
~ D M ~
..."I was thinking that I should drop you a line to say:-

a) I’m *seriously* impressed
b) I’m reading it again – first time I’ve re-read a book immediately after reading it in ages
c) I’m telling everyone I know that real talent comes from Zimbabwe!"
~ M B ~
"The book was excellent.
In the fantasy genre, but not limited to fantasy ... a whole world, with its own history and mythology, compelling characters, whose stories she has interwoven to create a delightful journey for the reader through a moment in time when all the characters' stories come together... and how that all turns out, requires you to read the book."

Her book on you tube

The Last Traveller a wee tale from the tin can in the highlands of Scotland by the Dafthermit

The climb up the hill was the hardest it had ever been each step seemed to drain more and more of his energy
but eventually he made it to the hidden glen
As the small fire took hold  at last some warmth wrapped itself around the traveller as he sat back and looked down the mountain side where he had come up from .
he could see his tracks off into the distance
nothing else was visible no other signs of human activity for as far as he could see
The feeling of joy at being in the mountains again washed over him and putting the hot cup of coffee to his lips he was glad that he had made the journey home

With his damp boots and socks nestled by the crackling fire to dry out
his mind wandered and as the darkness swept in from the west he could not help but think this was a sign of things to come
For the years he had been away from the highlands he had been disturbed by the way things were happening all across the planet
His years of travels flashed in front of him from Paris ,London ,Berlin and beyond
But as time had crept up on him ,over the last year or so he had felt an overpowering feeling of tiredness and something told him to head back to the mountains NOW.
He had watched as sameness crept across the globe and the rise of celebrity diluted all cultures across the globe
one day it will be hard to tell which country you are in let alone which town or village
but above all the feeling of lack of tolerance towards anyone or anything that dared to buck the norm, scared him more than all the things along the journey of life
But sitting here by the warm fire nature nipping at his toes he was happy and thankful for a wonderful life’s journey

so many people so many sights ,smells and sounds .
As his feet warmed up by the fire he gazed at the night sky it seemed to be more clear and star filled than he had ever seen in his lifetime
he watched as embers from the fire cracked and spat wee lights high into the night sky as if adding more starts to the already jam packed clear sky
Placing the coffee cup onto a wee rock by his left side a multitude of voices called out
faces and voices from far away some smiling some crying for what seemed like hours images flashed before him, but he was sure it had been only a couple of minutes
Then as quickly as it had started it STOPPED and peace and quiet returned to the glen and the high mountains pass .
Again the feeling of tiredness overcame him but this time stronger and more intense than he had felt ,he lay back against the moss covered rock wow4
Above his head a mist rolled in over the ridge of the mountain and raced down the heather lined side to wrap itself around him completely in a tender embrace the like he had never felt.
from deep inside the mist two hands reached out from a warm red glow to take his heart in a gentle caress ,a feeling of fulfilment and journeys end flashed around his body  
His head rolled to the side and his last hand rolled fag dropped from his warm lips and hitting the ground the fire on the tip hissed and darkened in a wee pool of highland mountain water
the final sleep gathered him in her arms and with a smile beaming from his face the traveller was GONE
the fog slowly lifted skyward all signs of the traveller and the fire were gone ….
from high in the sky a brilliant yellow moon cast her light on the magical highlands
                                                             ……The End….

            A wee story by the Dafthermit in the tin can in the Highlands of Scotland   

Friday, 26 February 2010

Police Unimogs and kindness

The snow gates between Aultguish and Braemore junction were closed yesterday and we huddled in for a real battering the snow was driven by some of the worse winds we have had all winter creating huge drifts and the road was buried under foot upon foot of snow
The first sign of life was the Unimog with the police following closely behind the driver gave me a wave and slowly carried on while the police pulled in
With smiles at the latest storm and a chat about the beauty of the mountains they asked if were
ok if we needed anything brought from Ullapool i said we were ok and with a final smile they headed of to Ullapool
I just want to say a massive thanks to the officers and to praise the drivers of the snow ploughs for all the amazing efforts in keeping the road open

2010-02-26 2010-02-105

Ice cubes for the IRN-BRU
Loch Droma and beyond
  2010-02-264 2010-02-265
Today has been spent cutting wood and clearing all the snow and ice from both the truck and the bus ,we had to carry the cats a wee bit away from the bus in order from them to go to the loo but business done they were back inside before us and really annoyed with us for taking them outside but a wee bit of tuna and all was forgiven
The dogs on the other hand are having so much fun running and diving into the drifts wonderful to see them at play and free to run..

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The piper of Glascarnoch Loch

water run3

With a final look at the night sky and the huge halo around the moon i smiled and  closed the door and hurriedly headed to bed .
Already all life in the bus was in the land of nod ,snoring and dream filled whimpers filled the room
Pulling the duvet up i fell back onto the pillow and started to drift off ,it had been a day filled with sites and sounds that only the mountains can supply.
In the moment between being awake and asleep i could hear the sound of some pipes drifting passed the bus ,many times over the year i have heard this sound sometimes passing the dam other times sitting by the loch the haunting sound of the pipes would drift passed .
Tonight was different the sound was  clear and so loud almost as if someone had pulled into our wee parkup
i pulled on my dressing gown and went to see who it was that had pulled in,many times people in trouble on the road would stop and ask for help
but as the door pulled back to reveal nothing ,no one was there yet the music played on .. i was shocked but just put it down to the wind and maybe someone was parked just up the road turning to head back to my warm bed i stopped and listened
the sound was louder and seem to be played with so much passion
before i knew it i was walking along the side of the road heading towards Loch Glascarnoch
The full moon was resting on the summit of Ben Wyvis  and lit my way almost as if it was daytime. still the music played on .
As i walked passed the wee copice of woods on the left the music STOPPED and as the loch came into view
peace and quiet filled the glen no wind nothing just quiet ..
water run1
Looking up the road towards Loch Glascarnoch dam and Aultguish inn beyond i could see that no one was parked at any of the layby’s ..
For the first time since coming back to the mountains a feeling of terror filled my whole body the hairs on my neck stood proud , a shiver started , shocked and reverberated throughout my body
a feeling of being watched was overwhelming but i shook my head and forced myself to get a grip and as i did the negative feelings seem to leave to be replaced by quiet and calm once more ….
Looking to the loch i was sad that i had forgot my camera the loch and mountains were a perfect image the very air all around was pure and cold
Something seemed to beckon me to the water edge and i made my way there ,i love these mountains and as i have said they have given me a feeling of place and space like i have never had in my life .
Sitting on the rock a feeling of wonder rushing around my soul a splash in the middle of the loch caught my eye
water flew into the air an fell onto the blue cracked ice again another splash this time a few yards away
a pike was on its hunt for food ?
Ice covered nearly 90 percent of the water .the natural shapes and colours from the ice truly nature the artist at play .

the wind stirred and played with the shapes formed by the ice ,sounds echoing of the mountains and rolled back to the loch and seemed to race to the dam wall only to disappear over it and off down the glen to Garve .
A cloud rolled in and slowly the light from from the moon faded and i was left sitting there in the dark only the stars where left to cast a dim light out across the frozen water
at the edge a small crack in the ice quickly grew and grew then a loud crack was sent bouncing off the walls of the glen and a large piece of ice started to rise skyward gently rolling to the left before crashing back to the water
i stood back trying to work out what could have caused this sudden movement in the frozen surface
i watched as a mist rolled down the side of the mountain and quickly reached the edge of the water and with a strange feel to it i watched as it rolled out and within a minute the loch was almost invisible
the cloud that had covered the moon rolled on bye ,the golden rays from the moon shone on the fog ,the atmosphere took on a foreboding feel and once again a feeling of terror gripped me
i noticed a large rock to my left and dived behind it not sure what i was escaping from but every sinew of my body said this was wrong
i looked round the edge of my large piece of moss covered granite to the water and what i saw froze me to the spot even though i tried with all my might i could not dive behind the rock for cover
From the water a head began to emerge strange pieces of material draped from it ,that only as the head rose was i able to see it was weed from the depths
i managed to step slowly back behind the rock but the image before me captured me like nothing in my life before
and i watched as a man wearing full highlands dress emerged the ice parting as made his way to the shore he was carrying a set of pipes in one hand the other held a huge golden claymore he glided out from the loch and as he stood there under the moon
water dripping back onto the ice with only a faint splash
he stopped to look all around he headed for a large rock i stared in awe ,then the piper once again stopped and slowly he turned his head towards me and let out a call in Gaelic i could see that his right eye was missing and in its places a small stone was lodged
a large scare was etched into his face from the corner of his mouth up to his left ear
i dived to my right forcing myself against the rock without thinking i stopped breathing and fear gripped me i was sure he had seen me and i waited for what seemed like an age before gathering the courage to turn and look again .
after a couple of minutes i convinced my self i was just dreaming to much cheese before bed as my old mum would say
getting to my feet i turned and as quickly as my confidence had returned it vanished there not two feet from me was the piper pipes at his mouth the sword strapped to his side
i thought my heart was going to explode and with it my life would end here at this wonderful highland snow covered spot
But with one smile from the piper all my fears went to be replaced with an overwhelming feeling of warmth and peace
he beckoned me closer and before i knew it i was shaking hands he said with the softest voice sit and i spent the next hour listening to some of the most haunting and passion filled music i have ever heard
at the end of it he took of his cap and nodded to me and heading  back to the water and entered it
the frozen water lapped at his feet but in seconds he was fully emerged and the sound from the pipes had gone
the last image i have is when he had turned to go i could see several tears in his jacket and a large knife handle was sticking out, fully embedded to the hilt how many years had he carried this reminder with him ..
I headed back to the bus
I think i will keep this wee story to my self

peace and light

the Dafthermit

The coming of spring to the highlands of Scotland,and the piper of Glascarnoch loch

The coming of spring to the highlands of Scotland



With the coming of spring to the highlands i thought i would make a wee film to celebrate it.

The last couple of days have been full of glorious sunshine and hardly a cloud in the sky followed by severe drops in temperature 

For the first time in a long time the air pipes on the truck froze as did the oil in the gearbox and the wee petrol generator but to me this is all part of the fun..

Today i was out filming again and headed to the tower have way down the loch and the walk out to it with my fear of heights as company along the way .

strange how that fear has never left me even after some of the crazy things i was forced to do while in the army .

But it was worth the walk out and i hope to have the next wee film ready in a few days ,also a wee story i am working on at the moment called

The piper of Glascarnoch loch

Friday, 19 February 2010

Scottish independence 2010 election Scotland the journey of freedom for Scotland facts history politics...

Hares ,mice and MOT’S

Waking up today in the mountains ,it is clear day with sunshine streaming across the mountains and filling our we retreat with energy and life.
After the last couple of weeks of being covered in oil muck and rust and having to deal with rules and authority the old truck now has her fresh new mot till the end of Feb 2011 ,so at last it is time to relax and with nothing to think about till august i can now get back to blogging ,filming and my photography.
The eve of the mot we were hit with a massive snow storm once again over a foot in an hour and with the temperature plummeting so i made the decision to get to my friend Roy’s yard in case i was unable to get out in the morning and then having to wave goodbye to the £75 i had paid for the mot.
So at midnight i fired up the truck cleared the snow and ice and with a wee wave and kiss to Mel  i hit the road and slipped and slid my way down from the mountains
just as Corrieshalloch dam loomed into view i was plunged into complete darkness  every single light had fused and travelling at 50mph with not even the moon for light i was lucky to have my torch at hand and quickly shone the light outside and was able to see the lines in the middle of the road and slowly i managed to bring the truck to a standstill perfectly parked at the side of the road and with the hazards on i quickly replaced the fuses  which had blown only to have them blow again 

but after a bit of fumbling in torch light i managed to get main beam on so headed of to the nearest layby where i was able to get the lights going again ,i knew i would have no choice now other than split the wiring loom and find the fault all on the day of the mot
Pulling onto the road i crossed my fingers and headed of to the sanctuary of my friends yard when the radio came on full belt quickly followed by the horn so if anyone heard an idiot going through Garve village in the early hours music and horn blaring sorry ..
I pulled in once again and after disabling the horn etc and thought what else could go wrong but with a fag in gob i tried again then from the left side of the road a hare ran out and started to dart in all directions after quickly swerving to avoid him i slowed down and watched as the hare seem to lead me down the road then with a single leap from his powerful rear legs  he cleared the hedge at the verge and was gone ,wonderful.
Again i put my foot down i knew this was going to be some journey and all to get a bit of paper to tell me my vehicle is roadworthy at a cost of £75.
As i smiled to myself at the wee journey i had just had with the hare a mouse ran out onto the road and dashed to the middle of the road then as he tried to stop an exhibition in how not to skate began with its wee legs going in all directions at once, he glanced up at this huge object bearing down on him and with a look of fear in his eyes , once again i was  sent into a swerve first this way then that to avoid the wee ball of fur but he to was safe and after a quick dance he headed back the way he had come .
The rest of the journey to the yard went without a hitch and at 4.00 am i pulled into the yard .
Ullapool 056
 After a cup of coffee from the flak Mel had made i huddled under the quilt to try and get a wee bit of kip before the day really began at 6.30am i woke to see the lights from the workshop on Hamish must be in already and after climbing into my trusted wellies i headed to the oil burner which was already well alight to get some heat to the old bones
the rest of the day was spent splitting the wiring loom and re-splicing the wires till at 1.00pm all was done and the truck was ready to head to Inverness for her test

Roy and Hamish met me at the yard to take the truck through and after 1/2hr of prodding and banging she failed
The guys had failed her on one faulty tyre ,i tried to explain i had a new one inside but they would not listen i was told i would have to go and change the wheel and report back to get my ticket and the price another £37 ( robbing gits) no wonder our Transport companies are in so much trouble with all this red tape and expense

a quick dash back to Muir and with Hamish to help the tyre was on and i dashed to get back before the mot yard closed for the day
I paid for the re-test ???? and waited in my truck as i was told until they were able to look at the wheel and after 20mins or so a guy came out and waved me to the lane as i was on the phone to Mel i said i have to go and put the truck into gear and was just turning when mister red tape shouted to me to get off the phone
I was just about to stop the truck and wander over to the little bloody Hitler and ask him politely ,who the hell do you think you are shouting at ? but my old legs were Knackered so i let it go and pulled in to get the tyre checked after 30 seconds he wandered in to get my test ticket
30 seconds at a cost of  £37 robbing bloody gits and rude
I was sure i could see rules and regs stamped on his head ,i could imagine him at home trying to have a bath markings on the floor to say:
1 …possible slide hazard
2 …water must be checked by gauge before entering
3 ….doctor and first aid must be alerted before entering the water
4… maximum time allowed in the bath 3.46 mins any longer and a fine will be imposed and i could imagine the idiot even giving himself a ticket
5 foot must be placed at 45 degrees to the bath while the other is lifted no faster than 0.5 miles and hour
6 a visible yellow jacket must be worn at all times failure to comply will result in a £29 fine 
7 life jacket and flare must be within arms reach at all times failure to comply will result in a £29 fine 
8 a direct line to the coast guard must be open at all times failure to comply will result in a £29 fine 
9 all permits and tickets must be displayed at all times failure to comply will result in a £29 fine 
10 life guard must be present and again displaying all his wards to confirm he is up to standard failure to comply will result in a £29 fine 
11 no splashing as this could result in a bubble popping in your eyes casing temp blindness failure to comply will result in a £29 fine 
12 NO FUN TO BE HAD failure to comply will result in a £129 fine 

anyway i drift as usual and now i have a year away from the likes of the wee red tape man

peace and light the dafthermit

just thought i would say i agree with the test but they are the ones who say we should be tested and i reckon a wee bit of humanity would go a long way
Talking to some truckers at the yard i know i am not alone in this thought ..
I now have my DVD almost finished and my book will be done in a couple of weeks so exciting and on that note
my first story to be published will be The final leap it will be in the local paper for the march copy
and a newspaper in London is after some of my pictures
so all in all it has been an incredible couple of weeks in the wonderful highlands . 

Monday, 15 February 2010



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Latest review...

"...Bryan Islip's second novel, Going with Gabriel, does not disappoint. From a slow start where he builds up the main character, Gabriel, as a nomadic musician who shuns the limelight, he draws you into an entirely believable scenario with underlying threats of Big Brother watching over you.......That the author researched many of the scientific ideas is plainly noticeable throughout the rather frightening story of the demise of life as we know it. Gabriel, hero or anti-hero, you choose, is definitely a man who sticks to this principles in a novel which keeps you guessing until the very end. The writer's ability to draw the reader into the story is excellent - a real must-read book...."
Agn├Ęs Simpson
The Ross-shire Journal
5 February 2010

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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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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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