This year's Michaelmas Dinner was held on Friday 26th October at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel.
Over 100 guests sat down to a delicious meal, fine wines and convivial company. There was a distinct frisson in the air and a fair degree of anticipation from those gathered as they awaited the highlight of the evening...the speeches.
Would they be disappointed?
The Deacon had gathered an eclectic mixture of sophistication, glamour, and local wit and wisdom for the top table. The sophistication and wit being supplied by the six gentlemen resplendent in white tie and tails (more a flight of stairs than Fred Astaires one wag was heard to whisper) and the glamour supplied in spades by Boxmaster Paula Ogilvie.
The order of proceedings was:
The Loyal Toast:
Toast to the Guests:
Michael Crawford, Deacon-Elect
Toast to The Borders and its Industry:
Michael Moore MP
Richard Bell, Deacon
Toast to Borders life:
The Loyal Toast was proposed with aplomb by the Deacon.
Following swiftly was the Deacon-Elect who proposed a fine Toast to our guests whilst introducing the top table speakers. This is invariably the most difficult Toast of the evening as, not only being the first with any great dialogue (the loyal toast being renowned for its brevity), but also the one which cannot be written until the Deacon-Elect has received suitable biographies from the said speakers. Indeed there were several adjustments made to the Toast during the meal.
Our local member of Parliament, Michael Moore, then proposed the main toast of the evening to The Borders and its Industry. He talked of challenges ahead for all of the Borders and with opportunities to be met. His speech was received with enthusiasm from a very knowledgable audience.
The Deacon was next in line by replying to Michael Moore's toast. With a size of font that was readable this year he was able to manoeuvre himself through the task with a minimum of slips.
To propose the toast to Borders Life we welcomed a new speaker to this Dinner, Ronnie Hudson. He is well known in his homeland of Langholm as an after dinner speaker and we were well entertained and inspired by his outlook on the Borders.
The final speech of the night is the reply to the toast to Borders Life. Traditionally this task is given to a speaker who is instructed to entertain the audience with jokes and anecdotes as well as touching on the Borders and its importance. Billy Young another Langholmite was charged with task and he most certainly did not let us down as he regailed us with funny stories, one-liners and anecdotes of Borders life.
Throughout the whole evening we were all kept in check and in order by the previously mentioned boxmaster, Paula Ogilvie.
With the official part of the evening concluded there was nothing left to do but to repair to the bar to engage in a couple of glasses of networking and to catch up with colleagues and friends