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