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The Weekly Blog

Economy & False Economy

Having been interviewed for a local TV news feature recently, I’ve been receiving some feedback. The people that care about me most had two main questions: what’s with the Rupert-the-Bear scarf and why was your hair brushed forward like that? Needless to say my key message, about Kelso Races doing its bit to oil the cogs of the local business community, were entirely lost.

Or so I thought. But in questioning my sartorial sense, I’ve been handed a further opportunity to illustrate the points that I’d been trying hard to highlight in the first instance.

Jonathan and his scarf

Firstly, my scarf looks nothing like the one worn by Rupert-the-Bear. While his is a bold yellow colour and boasts a striking large checked pattern, mine is dark green with no checks and is made from the softest cashmere by Johnstons of Elgin – who have a factory and mill-shop just down the road in Hawick. I wear the scarf, not just for its comfort and warmth, but also to demonstrate the superb craftmanship of our local manufacturers.

And while my favourite tweed jacket was purchased from the same source, other local cashmere and tweed manufacturers are available – providing warm winter clothing to wear while meeting others (no more than five adults from two different households) outdoors. Only a few months ago, school children from several local Borders towns worked with Sinclair Duncan Textiles (of Galashiels) to design a bespoke tartan scarf which will be produced to celebrate the next Kelso Ladies Day (even if we’re obliged to wear them over our faces when the time comes).

I have a confession to make about the hair. Having purchased a set of clippers from the local Co-op, I am guilty of boasting with relish about the savings that I have made (more than £40 worth since March) by taking the blades to my own head while inverting myself over the bathtub at home. Despite putting a pound of my savings on Saturday’s selection (Before Midnight at Market Rasen), the results have not been great. All I have done is chew up my hair and deprive poor Lilian, from the barbers’ shop in Horsemarket Street, of a few quid.

When I put my head around the door earlier this week, Lilian was magnanimous. “Hello,” she said. “I saw you on telly the other night and thought – there’s a customer I haven’t seen in a while.” She said nothing about the strange barnet, the unequal lengths on top or the wiggly tufts at the back where I can’t quite reach with the clippers. So I’ve made an appointment for next week and hopefully she can get me straightened out before the next Kelso fixture on Sunday 4th October.

No good ever comes of withholding trade from a neighbour; it pays to help one another and to put a pound in another person’s pocket – the main reason why we’re so keen to keep racing going and get crowds back to outdoor sporting events soon. Together we will clamber through the economic doldrums and face the Winter challenges ahead – with a decent haircut and a nice warm scarf.

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