When a picture prompts 1,000 words

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My jolly, red-suited, white-bearded Chrimbo mood vanished like the vapour on a well-lit Christmas pud last week, and was only restored on Saturday morning.

Comedian/actor Ben Stiller who has made me laugh like a drain on numerous occasions (There’s Something About Mary, Zoolander, Meet The Fockers, etc) made my blood boil midweek. He had a ‘wild weekend’ with Bear Grylls on my favouritest-ever island (and place I was married about eleven million years ago), Skye.

He waited for Mr Grylls at ‘a distillery’ (Talisker, as it’s the only one on the island – so why not give them a plug? If he ordered a case each for all of his Hollywood pals, he would have boosted the profits massively. Thank yoooooo, Mr Stiller).

But that’s an aside. What got my goat was the fact that Mr Stiller (why is it that when you tell someone off – children, dogs, household staff –

you use their full name or their title?) decided to have a dram whilst he was waiting for Mr Grylls (oh, oh. He’s in trouble too). His host arrived by private helicopter (how wild and outdoors-y is that? Man, he knows how to rough it, that Bear. Surely he should have yomped the 700-odd miles from his Devonian barn conversion, which I imagine is where he lives).

On seeing the helicopter, Mr Stiller knocked the whisky back (heretic) and then tossed the paper cup on the ground (litterbug).

Now, I’m sure a minion from the film crew picked it up, but nevertheless, that’s not good.

I come from a generation growing up at the same time the ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ campaign was launched. I am forever haunted by that wee stick figure leaning over a bin and that terrible advert they did, where they stated that if everyone in Britain chucked their litter in the streets it would be over Ronnie Corbett’s head. Ohhhh noooooo! Puir wee Ronnie! Death by excess litter!

To cap it all, the fact that Mr Grylls had spent (someone else’s) good money on a helicopter, and instead of sitting inside he was hanging off it, standing on those rail thingies that helicopters land on.

I started to warm to Mr Stiller when he expressed some slight surprise at having to hang on to the outside of a helicopter as it took off, to which Mr Grylls snorted words to the effect of hadn’t he been in a helicopter before?

Yes, said Mr Stiller graciously, but he usually rode INSIDE them.

Give me good old-fashioned Ray Mears any day in his khaki ensembles and the haircut of a man who still lives with his mum.

You wouldn’t get Ray hanging off the side of a helicopter, he’d be safely buckled inside, observing the safety instruction sheet. And he would never, ever drop litter. Not even for effect.

Gotta love you, Ray.

And then on Saturday morning we went to look at the results of the free family portrait sitting we had won at the Border Union Show, which included a free mounted print worth £49.

The sitting was in Hawick at Parris Photography, with John Parris. Odd to think that tucked away in a corner in a cul-de-sac is this very talented Borderer who travels all over the world taking portraits and documentary photos.

Leafing through his books, poring over the gorgeous but thought-provoking images of township kids in South Africa amongst many others, we got to pondering the value of photography to document stages in your life, special days and events, milestones.

And the albums of photos that were brought out where the young ones learned ‘the story’ from the older ones. Whole life stories between two covers, more or less gone in these digital days.

But our gorgeous portrait cheered me up, and its story will be passed on. Thanks John.