Sunday, 20 November 2011

Devils Ditch (Stonehenge stories) The devils ditch page 1

Devils Ditch (Stonehenge stories) The devils ditch page 1

Devils Ditch (Stonehenge stories)
The devils ditch page 1

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The smoke was drifting up the track, past all the buses and assorted vehicles. It was coming up to summer solstice, and we’d been herded into this lane, some 15 miles from Stonehenge by the police. For the last few months we had all been getting more and more hassle from them, while we had gathered all around Stonehenge for the solstice at various sites.

It was early evening, and there were people every where in various states i.e. drunk drugged etc. I reckon there were at least 30 vehicles, and at both ends of the lane was a blockade manned by police trying to stop us from moving. We’d been there at least four days, and we had all been trying hard to get the vehicles ready for the off, whenever that came. We weren't sure whether the police were going to move in to trash us all, or move us on again (scary times)

But for now, it was good to sit at the fire with some good people and enjoy a smoke. We had had a journalist from some paper or other, at the fire after a story, and we had eventually agreed if he got us some baccy and booze, which he did.

During the night we all decided to head off in two days, and head to the stones, sitting there with Mark going over what we had been up to that day, I was so happy. In the morning we had gone up the track and found an old dumped car, which, after a struggle we managed to pull from the river and onto the lane. It had its wheels but no tyres, but we got the tow chain on it, and headed down the track to where the police blockade was.

I really don't know what we thought we were doing. there was no way the police would allow us to drag this thing all the way to the nearest scrap yard 10 miles away, but by that time we really didn't give a shit what the police thought. Pulling up to the blockade with Mark in the lanny and me sitting in this heap laughing my head off, but trying to keep a straight face on, as one of the doors fell of onto the road. We pulled up slowly to within 3 yrds when one of the coppers stood out in front of us, and ordered us to stop. I thought for a second Mark was going to carry straight on, but then I noticed the brake lights go on. The copper walked over with the sternest face, asking us where the F**k do you two idiots thing you are going with that thing. Mark instantly replied "The scrap yard, why?" We were really acting deadly serious knowing we would be turned back, but he was such a twat that we just kept the joke going, and eventually somehow he agreed we could take it, but only after he tested the brakes.

I was totally shocked and looked at Mark, who just shrugged his shoulders and we watched this idiot get into the car. I was struggling like mad to keep a straight face, looking at this copper sitting in the car no tyres, one door missing and no glass in any of the windows. " Right he shouted, slowly pull ahead until I tell you to stop" Mark got into the landy, and I swear to god that git headed of at about 60 mph with this copper shouting "STOP STOP STOP" when Mark leaned out and said "Cool" and slammed the brakes on. Well the copper was right, the brakes were shit and he went straight into the back of the tow bar on the landy !!

I watched as the copper got out fuming saying " You’re not taking that anywhere " and headed off to were the rest of his mates where, who I could see were struggling to keep a straight face.

I simple said "Thanks officer, glad someone knows his stuff about cars"

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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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