THE OPENING verses of Teribus have been sounded; the unmistakable strains of the Drums and Fife have been played; and the first rum and milk of the year has been tasted.
There can be no denying that Hawick is in the midst of another Common-Riding.
And at the centre of it all is 2013 Cornet Chris Ritson, his Lass Heather Amos and Acting Father and Mother Stuart and Julie Hunter.
Hawick’s worst-kept secret was made official on Wednesday night as, in time-honoured tradition, Halberdier Robert Payne knocked at the Roberton Place door of 23-year-old Chris and delivered the letter from the Provost inviting him to be this year’s man-of-the-moment.
It was one of the former Drumlanrig primary and high school pupil’s easier decisions.
And it has started what he is confident will be the best five weeks of his life.
He said: “Everybody knows the feeling when you hear the sound of the Drums and Fife. Your hairs stand on end, you get the cold shivers and your heart pounds to say the least.
“I felt something different on Wednesday night when they played down to my door at Roberton Place, something words simply can’t describe.
“I’ll cherish those moments forever.”
In the company of Ex-Cornets and Ex-Acting Fathers, family and friends, Cornet Ritson left his West End home and led a crowd of hundreds of children on the customary walk around the town.
He added: “The reception I received outside my house and walking around the town, from folk young and old, was absolutely brilliant.
“I’m sure it’s just one of the many highlights I’ll encounter over the next five weeks.”
And as he was warmly welcomed at the traditional Congratulatory Smoker in the town hall, he cast his eyes ahead at what promises to be another momentous year. He said: “We’ve got the ball rolling. Bonchester’s approaching. This is going to be the best five weeks of my life.”