Its that time of the year again. The Berwickshire reports that
in preparation for the Duns Festival this years 'Reiver' and 'Reivers Lass', the Right Hand Man, the Left Hand Man, the Wynsome Maid (a Primary school child) and the Maid's attendants have all been selected. Huttonian gets a bit boring about all this and I am sure that local festivals are all jolly fun and makes for good community bonding but why on earth can the Borderers not find better role models than the awful Reivers-gangs of marauding and murdering thugs, cattle and sheep stealers and 'English' or 'Scottish' as their paymasters dictated-ad hoc, ad hominem and ad nauseam. Of course further south we have Robin Hood who was a sort of up market reiver or Dick Turpin the Highwayman with a conscience. Thugs certainly but at least their reputation is founded more on robbing the rich and befriending the poor than on out and out villainy. Our common or garden Reiver had no such pretensions to virtue and are better consigned to the land fill sites of history rather than gloriously recycled every year and not celebrated for the low life they were.
Mind you some of the Borders Establishment families can claim (or rather not avoid) direct descent from the most notorious Reiver clans. And not a few of those with handles to their names are descended from titled thugs who were no better than Reivers in what would now be called their life style. This week's Berwickshire also reviews a new book 'The Border Line' about our 'colourful area' Paxton (sadly not Hutton) gets a special mention by Eric Robson, the author:
' a beautifully proportioned demonstration of how the hoodlums who ran the Borders at the time of the Union of the Crowns adapted to King James reforms and continued to prosper'
I suspect it is Paxton house which is 'beautifully proportioned' rather than the sprawling and expanding village-and who the hoodlums were then and how they have prospered since we will need to let dear bloggees work it out for themselves. Or like Huttonian be off to Amazon to acquire this work which describes a walk from the Solway Firth to Berwick-105 miles and not a bus in sight. In that respect at least, nothing much has changed.