A smell of paint in the air

There was a smell of paint in the air as we strolled around the harbour. A hint of spring sunshine had sent fishing boat owners scurrying for pots of paint, and on numerous decks crew members were lethargically draped over pieces of equipment brushing and rolling out paint in a variety of colours.

Leisure craft owners wielded sudsy brushes, scrubbing away the grime and slime of winter, preparing wood for a shiny new coat, polishing all that could be buffed.

Elizabeth of Glamis, RNLI lifeboat

A ‘visiting’ RNLI lifeboat, Elizabeth of Glamis, named after the former queen mother. She looked new so may have been on trials, or having some work done in the Eyemouth boatyard

The whine of an electric saw, and the phut phut of a small generator competed with the gulls and their screeches, like opera singers desperately reaching for that high note.

Boatyard at Eyemouth harbour

Eyemouth boatyard which repairs fishing boats, leisure craft and lifeboats

Bright plastic boxes and sad looking lobster pots were stacked on the quayside beside bits of boats that were undergoing serious renovation. All glowered over by the black bulk of an Isambard Kingdom Brunel chain barge at the end of the harbour.

Chain link barge

It’s an ugly brute, like a scrapyard challenge put together over a weekend by a bunch of crazy amateurs

The day was mild and bright, the lack of wind making us aware of the whiff of fish from boats and processing firms. Boats that take divers out to explore wrecks and the underwater world were tied, empty, to the floating pontoon.

Maritime Museum, Eyemouth - ship figurehead

Ship figurehead outside the Maritime Museum in Eyemouth

The harbour area was surprisingly quiet, devoid of visitors. Even the seals that in summer frequent the harbour were missing, and the stall that sells bags of fish pieces to feed them was shuttered. On summer days inquisitive crowds gather here, children twisting with excitement, adults leaning out over the rails to snatch a shot of the seals jumping from the oily harbour water for a fishy titbit.

Seal in Eyemouth harbour

A curious seal who is obviously wondering who I am, yet posing for my camera

They know they are the stars of Eyemouth harbour, these seals. They float and flip, eye up the eager watchers, jump so quickly it leaves you wondering if you had indeed seen one leave the water and spiral through the air. Silkies, they are often called. Thought to come ashore in the evening, shedding their seal skins to become lithe long haired temptresses, leaving broken hearts as they slip back into skins and water with the coming of dawn.

Swimming seal

Seal or silkie? There might be a story there. A fishy tale, perhaps.

Standing proud across the harbour is Gunsgreen House, built in the eighteenth century by John and David Nisbet, local merchants cum smugglers who stored brandy, tobacco and tea in the large cellars with direct access to the sea.

The home of merchants and smugglers, Gunsgreen House in Eyemouth

Gunsgreen House, Eyemouth, formerly the home of merchants and smugglers, now restored and owned by a trust, it is open to the public. Its atmospheric displays tell of the house’s history and about smuggling which was rife at that period. In front is berthed the RNLI Eyemouth lifeboat.

Our Eyemouth treat, we call it. Ice cream from the multi award winning café and fish and chip shop by the harbour. I ask if they have Sea Buckthorn. I’ve only had it once but it was so delicious I keep hoping it will be on offer again, but never has been. So I settle for rhubarb sorbet.


Rhubarb sorbet. Yum!

We sit on a seat and lap up ice cream and sun. It feels good.

Eyemouth harbour

View from the end of the harbour towards Gunsgreen House and the sea


About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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20 Responses to A smell of paint in the air

  1. Oh, that seal close-up is priceless!

  2. Lovely post, I feel like I spent the day with you. 🙂

  3. Rita Kay says:

    I love the photo of the ship figurehead, what a beautiful lady !!! You should have your photos made into cards and sell them. Your photos are always so beautiful.

    • I have a bit of a fascination for ship figureheads and did a bit of research into them at one time for something I was writing. Considering so many ships were built (Glasgow was famous for them at one time) it’s amazing so few figureheads seems to exist now.Pity. Thank you for your enthusiastic comments on my photos. I just love to take them and use them. I don’t sell cards but I always make our own Christmas cards and do cards for family birthdays, anniversaries etc.

  4. mamacormier says:

    Beautifully written and your photographs are outstanding. I love the first seal shot.

    • The seal is cute. They seem to understand that by being cute the get fed pieces of herring. So pleased you think the piece was well written. I’ve been working hard at my writing. So many people these days do creative writing degrees or courses, whereas I just have to learn as I go along. Am considering publishing a couple of ebooks…but that’s another story.

  5. Cr says:

    I enjoyed this trip with you to the harbor. I can feel the joy that the day gave you.

  6. Great pictures, great text!
    Funny, but I just painted my little boat and I am very much looking forward going out soon.
    Happy boating

  7. Sorbet and a sea breeze, always an ahhhh feeling…

  8. Sheila says:

    These kinds of things have been going on here too with everyone preparing for summer even though it’s still freezing out there! I think we have some of the same seals – I love how they’ll come right up out of the water to look at us.

  9. Dina says:

    Funny, when I go to see the seals on Blakeney Point, I’m not sure if the seals are just as amused watching us from a distance…
    Great story with fine photos!
    Love Dina

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