IT was a weekend where umbrellas were as much a requirement as reading glasses, but the warmth and wonderment of the Borders Book Festival made sure everyone still went home happy.

From the culinary starters served up by TV chefs The Hairy Bikers on Thursday afternoon, all the way through to the final toast offered by novelist Kate Mosse and playwright Damian Barr on Sunday evening, this was undoubtedly another most satisfying chapter in this feel-good festival’s story.

Many old-favourites, such as Alexander McCall Smith, James Naughtie, Rory Bremner, Sally Magnusson and Nina Conti, made a welcome return to the ongoing narrative within Harmony Garden.

And a few of protagonists new to the Melrose marquees such as Robert Peston, Stacey Dooley, Neil Oliver and June Sarpong, certainly made a lasting impression on their respective audiences.

Best-selling author Ian Rankin made two appearances on Friday – the first to discuss, along with journalist Alan Taylor, the influence of Muriel Spark’s post-war novels, and the second to reflect on his own contribution to modern fiction in the guise of Inspector John Rebus.

The Edinburgh writer, who was making a second visit to Melrose, described the allure of the Borders Book Festival.

He told us: “The Borders Book Festival has this really nice feel to it.

“This tiny wee world of books, with its most amazing setting, ticks every box for both an author and a reader.”

While the authors, speakers and personalities were treated throughout the weekend to packed marquees, it was perhaps the audiences who were rewarded the most with such a diverse and thought-provoking line up.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown provided plenty chuckles with his anecdotes of days in and around Downing Street.

And another custodian of Number 10, William Hague, was every bit as delightful during his lunchtime chat of Saturday with Rory Bremner.

Charles Spencer brought a touch of Royalty with him for his discussion with the Duke of Buccleuch about Charles II, Prue Leith arrived with the recipe for an entertaining evening in the Douglas Home Marquee, and Jan Ravens managed to pack everyone from Nigella Lawson to Theresa May into her impressionist’s suitcase.

From the sporting world, Archie McPherson made up for Scotland’s absence from the World Cup with tales from the Golden Age at Hampden, Irongran Edwina Brockelsby revealed a few of the secrets to her anti-ageing challenges, and Doddie Weir was joined on stage by fellow British Lions Finlay Calder and Gary Armstrong to talk rugby and the Tartan Giraffe’s remarkable campaign to raise awareness of MND.

Melrose’s growing reputation for music during the festival was also turned up a notch or two with Nashville Soggy Bottom Boy mandolinist Mike Compton, singer-songwriter Katee Ross and the local Sound Cycle musicians.

And audiences of all ages were treated to Mull Historical Society’s back catalogue with musician-turned-author Colin Macintyre appeared in both the children’s and the adults’ tents.

Another author moving out of his comfort zone was celebrated comic writer and illustrator Mark Millar as he discussed his success from bedroom cartoonist to cult hero with Kirsty Wark on Saturday afternoon.

The author of Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kick-Ass and Wanted, told us: “When I go to comic conventions it’s normally an audience of 17-to-25 year-olds.

“I’ve never seen so much grey hair in one of my audiences before – and it’s lovely.

“There were two grannies who came up to me afterwards and admitted they’d never read anything by me before, but were now going off to buy my books afterwards.”