The collected thoughts of modern and ancient hermits, eccentrics, solitaires, wanderers, mystics, and others who inhabit the monastery within.

Visit my other blog, View From Pardes, the introspective humdrum life of an eccentric hexagenarian.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Andy & Mel, Tandem Highland Hermits

"We chose to leave bricks & mortar behind
and decided to buy a secondhand bus (£900) and convert it ourselves."

Andy had already been on the road for many years and lived in various vehicles from buses to trucks to caravans, benders, and boats; but, by far his favorite is the old bus with all her grumpy ways that he now shares with Mel. In "Hitting the Road," Andy writes about the moment when the open road called to him and he answered, "Yes, I'd love to."


I woke up with Craig, my Collie, licking my face. (who needs an alarm clock?) After a couple of minutes playing with him, I crawled out of the sleeping bag and looking out the front flap, I could see it was going to be another really warm day. It felt so good not to have to rush off to work.

I got a cup of coffee on the go and sorted some food out for Craig. Sitting there fag in one hand, coffee in the other was complete bliss. Through the trees I could see the service station was really busy so shouldn't have any trouble blagging a lift. Around mid-day I decided to get everything packed away and head up the road to who knows where. I cleared all the surrounding area where I had camped, threw the rucksack up and over, and headed over to the service station.

I left my rucksack with Craig, tied up by the door so I could keep an eye on them both and headed inside to get a good breakfast. (Well a breakfast anyway so bloody expensive and not too tasty).

I was sitting by the window tucking in, when I saw a group of the dirtiest looking sods walk up to the door and pat Craig. I thought one of them was going to look inside the rucksack. I was just about to get up, when they all headed inside the door leaving Craig to settle back down by the bag.

I turned to see someone standing beside me, asking me if that was my dog. He offered me a fag and I sat down again and had a really good chat. I learned that they were all on there way to a festival at Reading and Mark asked me if I wanted to come with them. I hesitated a wee while then said, "Yes, I would love to."

We all headed across the tarmac to a coach.(Mark's bus and home). Walking up the stairs I can only say I was blown away. It seemed like hundreds of people were laying around drinking and smoking. (Hash as I was to find out later; I was totally straight at that time.)

Mark climbed into the driver's seat, and starting telling me more about the trouble he was having with loss of power with the bus. After an hour, I had tightened up an injector pipe and some other stuff and the bus was running really well.

We pulled out of the service station and headed out onto the motorway. Sitting by Mark at the front of the bus, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was okay to travel with this lot. Looking back now, I am so happy to have met everyone at that service station. My life would never be the same, EVER AGAIN.

All rights to text and photos are retained by Andy & Mel. Continue with excerpts of their travels here on Cloister Voices and visit their website, "The BlackBus."


  1. Wowie, This brings back memories. What is at the bend in the road, and after that, and after that?
    The magical mystery tour!

  2. would love to read some of your memories

    the journey goes on inside and out

    every day we learn and learn ,

    happy highland blessings

    andy & mel x

  3. Hello Pardes.. thanks for your kind words about my new story :) Pleased to meet you and your exceedingly interesting blog :)
    Am commenting here as Andy and Mel are dear friends... glad to see Andy's travelling tale here :)
    Wishing you all bests from where we are parked :)

  4. Ahhhhhh Rima, it is so good to see you.
    Someone (another artist in England) saw your site posted on my site as a favorite, and now he is all fired up again about painting!
    Thanks for stopping by!