Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Devils Ditch book cover and page 1

Devils Ditch


The smoke from the log fire drifted up the lane . The Oak's leaves I was resting against playing with it before allowing it tae head skywards..
As far as the eye could see vehicles of every description were parked nose to tail . Over the last week people had began arriving from all over the country, till now the lane and surrounding ones all began to fill..

In the last rays from a perfect summers day , dogs barked and ganged together to patrol up and doon the track ..

Smells from cooking , exhausts and the occasional spliff mingled with music tae fill your lungs and soul with life on a site ..

around the fire old and new friends told tales of the last year or so on the road .. As had happened over recent times quickly the chatter moved tae tales of brutality both from locals and not tae mention the police .

I listened as each tale was told and still it shocked me . Since leaving the army and joining up with the travellers my eyes had been opened to the hidden terror just below the surface of this so called civilized country...

I had at that time been on the road some 2 years and like everyone around the fire I too had stories of police intimidation and outright violence too the point now where as far as I was concerned it was simply survival and anything was fair game …

From all the corners of the country we had been herded ever tighter and tighter , never given the chance tae work or simply tae repair our vehicles... Things had become more and more edgy till

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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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