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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

People in my life: Watto

Dr Ian Bruce Watson. Scholar of Islamic history, artist, cattle breeder, gentleman. 

  The name was enough to strike terror in the hearts of undergraduates who were good enough to do better in their studies than they did, and dared insult his intelligence by handing in inferior assignments than they were capable of. Yet this was the same man who could pick up the broken student from the floor and for hours patiently unravel their problems and set them off on a positive path. 

  On the other hand, Dr Watson strikes fear in the hearts of politicians and bureaucrats when they incur his wrath, which is fairly often; they surely hear about it, and in no uncertain terms.

  Watto lives some 40 km away with his gentle and lovely wife, on his small cattle property. He gave up the university several years ago when it failed to live up to his high standards of scholarship and became a commercial enterprise with a fast declining understanding of the meaning of the traditional university ethos. 

Maureen cooks us goodies and they bring produce straight from the farm. They drop them in every so often, much to our delight. Both of them have been towers of strength in many ways for us in the past months.

Watto's painting. He also illustrated many of the stories in this blog.

When Watto heard of the fundraiser to buy the prohibitively priced Avastin, he donated one of his fine paintings to be raffled. He's a mate in the best national tradition of this country, I’m proud to be his friend.

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