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.
Sadly these are memories of Baxter and he will not be adding to them as he passed away yesterday evening.
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,
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,
but they were often seen around the community if not Baxter himself.
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.