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Thursday, 8 January 2009

A trip to the seaside

A couple of days of days ago I went with Morag to Eyemouth over on the east coast at - where else but - the mouth of the river Eye, where she was to be visiting clients It was my day off so I decided to have a day out! While she was working I would go exploring and we'd meet up for something to eat later.

I had a great time! Nothing much was open, certainly neither of the museums, I discovered as I walked around the narrow streets and through the occasional narrow passageway connecting to the harbour.

The Eyemouth Museum

Eyemouth has been a fishing port for centuries and is still a bustling place landing fish to be sold in its fishmarket. Apparently about 80 boats sail out of Eyemouth and probably around the middle of the day most would be out on the open sea.

I saw a couple of boats returning through the narrow entrance between harbour walls, and a few tied up at their moorings, where gulls were enjoying picking for leftovers, among the trawling nets and accoutrements of the fishing industry, but I wasn't quick enough to photograph the medium sized flounder that disappeared down this gull's throat in two gulps! Quite satisfied with its quick feed, it flew off again, leaving a place for the next comer, amid great squawkings and shriekings! Wonderful sounds!

Herring gulls

Later I enjoyed a stroll along the curve of rough shingly-sandy beach, all the while taking photos of the rocks and cliff, shells and stones, and of course the sea - the North Sea, next landfall Denmark!

There were only a couple of other people walking their dogs, who being curious all came bounding towards me - Freddy, Ben and Hamish, I discovered while exchanging the time of day with their owners. The opposite end of the beach beneath the cliff seems to be the spot where the flotsam and jetsam come ashore, and bits of old rope, odd pieces of plastic, etc. lie tangled with seaweed, shells and pieces of driftwood. Oddly, some of the natural arrangements are quite attractive! At the end of the beach it looked possible to continue along the coast by clambering over rocks, but without a stick for balance, it wasn't something I reckoned on attempting so after a look at a few rock pools left by the receding tide, I turned back to a slipway where I could return to the town.

It was amazing to see that some of the seawater caught behind an old concrete seawall had frozen! I seem to remember that salt water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water, so it must have been a lot colder over preceding days.

So, from the slipway I headed back past the shops, and little passageways between buildings, getting a real feel for the town's relationship with the sea. To find out more about Eyemouth and its story click here.

Back at the harbour I watched a seal swimming about and photographed some seabirds on the rocks. Out on the harbour wall the wind was strong - and icy, so a return to the Fishermen's Mission for something warming to eat was very welcome. Morag met me there for lunch of homemade lentil soup and a filled roll - wonderful! There are branches of the Fishermen's Mission all over the country, providing support and acting as a social club to all fishermen, working, retired or disabled. The canteen/cafe is not just for the fishermen though. Open to anyone, it is one way of raising funds. It's a pleasant environment - no frills, and excellent food at reasonable prices. So we had lunch followed by a huge mug of tea, before we headed off to the other side of the river to have a look at Gunsgreen House, a beautiful house built for an 18th century merchant, who may well have been involved in some of the tales of smuggling connected with the house as well as with the town itself! There are said to be passages and tunnels and secret chambers under the town itself. Gunsgreen is going through a major refurbishment at the moment and should be open to the public sometime this year, restored to its former glory! It will be interesting to see if there are secret passages, and fireplaces that move to allow access to tunnels, as rumours have it that there are!

The wind was getting up again and felt very chilly so we did not linger long - just long enough for me to take a few more photos of the harbour - before we began our journey homewards.

Friday night
Sorry I have taken so long to get this episode uploaded! I think I'll finish at this point for tonight as I have one or two other pictures to show you and they can wait for another time!

Talk again soon.

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