A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Baxter

The pool table is out, so it’s winter. The bar is full of scarecrows, the odd punk rocker, bride and grooms, ministers, and men dressed up as women. Just another night at the Inn. Possibly the excuse being anniversaries of one kind or another, it being January. The food and wine were in abundance and their effects were kicking in. The pool table was the dance floor, Baxter the dancer, the sound system was blasting out “Wild Thing” and the door opens to reveal a passing visit from the local constabulary. Note at this point that one was a bonny lass who came from Glenelg and had joined the Force. To complete the picture, it was late, the bandanna was on, the shirt was off and Baxter was in full country and western mode on the pool table. The sound system was blasting out The Troggs Wild Thing when the door opens he sees the new arrivals, ” I think I love you, that is some fancy dress you are wearing”. (Modified a little for those who did not know Baxter). He had thought they were dressed as Bobbies come for the party.

There was another time when he arrived at the Inn and stayed for a few voddies, his favourite tipple after seeing the pink elephants on the whisky drams. Anyway he wandered off only to reappear five minutes later to shout “Where’s my effing tractor”. He went away muttering under his breath when he was told he had walked down from the house and his tractor was n’t nicked.. Possibly took a little longer in going home, maybe forgetting he had been doing a little maintenance.

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Sadly these are memories of Baxter and he will not be adding to them as he passed away yesterday evening.

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For those around the Inn he will be sadly missed and it was not all about the voddie. He had lots of time for a chat, you knew where you stood with him and he was loyal. This community has lost one of its long time characters and here on Mother’s Day there is a missing part. I have been here long enough to see many people come and go, see the changes, a lot have made me feel just a little sad. The passing of Baxter is one of those events. The community will always be here and when the likes of Baxter was around you never knew what was going to happen next. What we will not see any more is Baxter driving any where on his tractor,to the Bank,

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or anywhere else. One of the little jobs I did for him was keep the red diesel flowing by delivering cans and he was always grateful. He did not always have the best of fortune with his tractors,

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but they were often seen around the community if not Baxter himself.

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Feel good I was able to give him some good music to listen to towards the end.

There was the one about his shed going on fire and his beloved tractor parked up against it. The only thing the firemen found in the emergency of trying to save his tractor tyres was using the pan his dinner was in, the soup ended up over the tractor with Baxter jumping up and down in the background “that’s my effing dinner”.

The evening finishes with many, many more stories of the guy and there will be many more by the end of the week.There was far more to the man than the voddies, as Judith said tonight when he worked at the Inn as handyman he would disappear after cleanup and then three or four days later reappear with a chain welded fence for the Garden. Courtesy of the Applecross Heritage Centre and his sister Isobel this is a cracking photo of him in his early days up at the Walled Garden, when his daughter Elaine is carrying on the connection. Many thoughts.

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Comments on: "Baxter" (6)

  1. Alasdair Macrae said:

    Sad news about Baxter’s passing. He was one of Applecrosses great characters. He made a big impression on me as a child and I always looked forward to seeing him when I returned to Applecross. I always appreciated his support,friendship and loyalty to my father in his later years. When they were together they provided hours of entertainment and I enjoyed their company when I visited. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      All one can say it was good to know him and I suppose that is the best compliment you can give.

  2. Rod Coldwell said:

    You have said it all Ali. It was a privilege to have known James (“Baxter”) and Applecross will not be the same without him. Along with Morty, Legs, Roddy and all his other mates, we will never see the likes of them again. I’m sure they’re all together now in the wide, blue yonder enjoying their favourite tipples. God bless them all.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      That is the best way to remember them Rod, a privilege to have known them.

  3. In the late sixties/early seventies Baxter used to live in a wooden shed above the beach below the hotel.In those days he possessed an old post van without reverse gear.So if you met him on the road you had no option but to reverse to the nearest layby.He used to use Toscaig pier car park as a turning point and had other areas where he would drive up the bank and roll back. I was his supervisor at Kishorn and got him into the training school as a welder. Unfortunately his wife went off with the welding instructor. As he was taking unofficial time off I talked him into going over to see the personnel officer and state his case as long as he was sober. After agreeing a meeting with personnel he turned up at the school house an hour later with a drink for Dutch courage. He later helped me move over to Lochcarron as I had to vacate the schoolhouse when the school roll increased. May he RIP Gone but not forgotten.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Cracking tale about the van, that is already doing the rounds and getting lots of laughs. Like you say never forgotten. Lucky enough you have known your folks amongst the Toscaig crew, the Dannys, Roddys, Jessies, Kennys and all the rest of them. Different era.

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