Ancient Banner ‘well and truly bussed’

COMMENTING on the often-uttered assertion that the Common-Riding is the best party in the world, Douglas Scott offered an amendment – as a cosmologist, he knew it was, in fact, “the best pairty in the universe”.

“Standing up here is really an honour beyond description,” said the chief guest at last Thursday’s Colour-Bussing, a Teri who is now a lecturer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

“I’m racking my brains to think of anything better, and I thought of twae things: for studying the structure of space and time, I get awarded the Nobel Prize – that wid actually be quite guid; the second thing is, after studying the structure of space and time, I figure oot how to make a wormhole, and I come oot the other end younger, and unmerried, and magically able to ride a horse, and I get picked as Cornet!”

It was Ross Nichol who had that very honour at this year’s Common-Riding, and the Cornet bowed to receive his sash from Lass Gillian Smith, who serenely and carefully carried out her duties “note perfect”, presenting Provost Ron Smith with a flag “well and truly bussed”.

Provost Smith charged Cornet Nichol with carrying the Banner across Hawick’s meaths and marches, and, in turn, the Cornet declared his pleasure in taking charge of the Banner and promised to return it “unsullied and unstained” to the provost at the council chambers.

The ceremony itself was flawlessly played out to the sold-out town hall and was full of defiant and joyous song from the likes of Michael Aitken and teenager Sally Thomas – perfectly encapsulating a celebration of, in the words of Mr Scott: “Five hundred years of history and protecting the common of Hawick from the thieves and marauders. We have been riding the marches since at least 1430, but probably for hunders o’ years langer than maist folk think oo hiv”.

Full story and more photographs in the paper.