Interviewed: 3 March 2013.
© European Ethnological Research Centre, 2016.Billy recalls the ritual of the banna testing ahead of the Langholm Common Riding.
MT-J: I know last year I remember waking up…probably about six-thirty in the morning and the banna testing must have been held in the British Legion because all I could hear was played on a beautiful cornet was Auld Lang Syne.
BY: That’s right, uh huh.
MT-J: At half past six in the morning.
BY: At half past six.
MT-J: So the banna testing obviously goes on all night?
BY: Yes. It starts at nine o’clock. If the chairman can get it finished by twelve he’s doing very very well, because there are eighteen speeches and of course there are singers as well. But it doesn’t end there it’s an all night vigil and there’s you know, singing and drinking and a lot of the people that are invited stay up all night to see the cornet practice his gallop at the Kirk Wynd early the next morning.
MT-J: So he gets to have a practice?
BY: Yes, he gets to have two practices at least. One on the Monday morning and one on the Tuesday morning after the banna testing. And he’s sent home early from the banna testing he’s sent home to bed, to make sure he gets some sleep because it’s an incredibly busy time for the cornet.