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When we were in the Scottish Borders last week, we met up with one of my heroes - the renown Borders photographer Sir Walter Baxter who I have blogged about before - here. Passionate about his home area, Sir Walter has meticulously captured thousands of wonderful images of the Scottish Borders which reveal the region's beauty, its history and some of its quirkiness.
We met him in the town of Melrose but - and I kid you not - Sir Walter was expecting me to look like my blog image that you can see in the sidebar. This is just a silly picture I put together using Yorkshire puddings and a sausage. Imagine walking down the street looking like that! People would run a mile!
Anyway after some initial confusion Sir Walter led us to Russell's Tea Room in the Market Square where he had reserved a table for lunch. It was a bit posh for Shirley and I - with blue rinse Scottish ladies sipping tea and Scottish gentlemen warming their hands vigorously inside their sporrans. Sir Walter kept interspersing our conversation with unfamilar terms and expressions such "och aye", "hen", "away the noo" and "ye Sassenach bastards!"
I was sweating about the lunch bill but then something incredible happened. Sir Walter insisted that he would pay the bill. Now as you probably know, the Scots are well-known for their meanness. Only Yorkshiremen are tighter with their money. Walter's generosity proved to me that he could not possibly be a fullblood Scotsman and later investigations suggested that he is actually of eastern European extraction - probably linked to the noble Baxinsky family of northern Poland. Well that's my theory.
After the delightful lunch, we drove on towards Dryburgh Abbey, stopping at Scott's View and at William Wallace's Statue - which spookily reminded me of a certain resident of Canton, Georgia. In Dryburgh Abbey's evocative ruins we saw the graves of the novelist Sir Walter Scott and of the wartime military leader Field Marshal Douglas Haig.
It was an honour to meet with Sir Walter - having only "known" him via his photographs and e-mail communications. The fellow has a gentle demeanour and a wry sense of humour but I must apologise to him for not looking like my sidebar image. Perhaps I should invest in some radical plastic surgery! Shirley snapped us in the car park at Dryburgh Abbey. When Livingstone met Stanley...when Lennon met McCartney...when Gilbert met Sullivan...and now when Baxinsky met Pudding. Such meetings can change the world...
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