Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Yan (a wee man with the heart of a lion)….

Yan (a wee man with the heart of a lion)
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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 .

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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

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