We love our wee town. This vibrant little fishing town has so much going on and is bursting at the seams with character and talent. It is full of hidden gems.
Number one favourite is the Rialto, where you will get the best flat white in the whole of the South of Scotland as well as the best cheese scone in the entire universe. Michael and Aileen who run the place are a top team in customer service and in the winter time there’s a comfy seat by the open fire – it’s braw.
On the same theme of food and drink (getting my priorities in life right), if you’re looking for a meal and drink – Oblo is the place to go. Haddock Goujons (spelling?) and big fat chips is the best fancy fish supper you’ll ever have. Kerry Waddell general superwoman and all round good egg (not pickled) runs the show and has cultivated a family-type business environment where their staff go out of their way regardless of whether you’re a regular or a passing visitor to make sure you enjoy your meal. When the sun shines you can sit on the balcony and enjoy a vin blanc.
Forget your artisan and reassuring overpriced gelato parlours of Edinburgh and Glasgow and get a wee trip to Eyemouth for ludicrously good ice-cream. Between McKay’s and Giacopazzi’s you’ll be struggling to choose. Mad Italian/Scots pal travelled over from Gala last month just to get Parma Violet Ice Cream at Giacopazzi’s!
Many of us here at ReTweed have been loyal patrons of the Co-op over the years, We can all confirm that the Eyemouth Co is the warmest, friendliest and most community-focussed ‘supermarket’ they have.
The staff in there are part of the reason to shop – they manage to juggle keeping their store efficient with making sure that everyone feels like part of a community. A lot of the old folk, those who are lonely or visitors to the area must go in there just for the buzz of general sociability.
The Eyemouth General Store is Aladdin’s Cave – it has EVERYTHING – literally! They have sweeties, hammers, hairdryers, pot plants, pet food, kitchen-wear and all the most random artefacts imaginable – it’s like the a trip to Aldi where you go in for a pint of milk and come out with a wet suit. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in there, head along to the Fisherman’s Mutual Association or the FMA – they have all the essentials that you didn’t know you needed until you went in there.
And since on the day of writing this, I have just had my hair done, a big shout out for De’Luxe Hair and Beauty. Honestly, I am so cheered up and motivated to write this blog since I feel like I’ve had the full Steel Magnolias experience. The chat in there is the best in town. None of your “Are you going anywhere nice on holiday this year?” – REAL conversation about the important things in life.
Moving on…that 2p machine in the amusements is a blast from the past. Highly addictive, better fun than you’d have in any casino and not so bad if you’re only a £1 out of pocket when you leave.
Talking of tourist attractions, the Eyemouth Museum, Gunsgreen House and our poignant and entirely beautiful statue of ‘Women and Bairns’ on the Bantry give you an evocative sense of the history, heritage and character of this wee town. The town has known tragedy like no other. Eyemouth is home to the biggest fishing disaster in British History. A heart-breaking story which the entire community retain in their consciousness with a deep sense of respect for their ancestors who risked their lives to provide for their families and communities. If you’re lucky, you might see ‘The Bee’, out in the bay. The Bee is a 1904 restored fishing boat, looked after by the older men of the area as part of our local Berwickshire Maritime Trust Project.
If you fancy a rummage or a rake – head to the BAVS charity shop. Another top team in community service – Erin, Morag, Carol, Ernie and co will give you all the time and help you need to find your bargain basement treasure of the week. Likewise if you’re cleaning out your cupboards and donating to Charity, then BAVS is the place go. Some of the profits from the shop go back into supporting community projects like ours, or outings for the disabled or elderly.
Throughout the whole year, there are flowers or trees in bloom and lovely pieces of public art connected to the town’s maritime and fishing heritage at every turn. These are the results of the good-hearted labours of The Eyemouth Rotary and Eyemouth Enhancement Group, our civic heroes who give their time, energy and hard graft to animating and beautifying our town throughout the year. Talking of flowers, the floristry on the High Street, Occasions is the place to go if you’re looking for a special bunch of flowers. You go in there with a vague notion of what you’re looking for and get a personal consultancy service like no other. They’ve got creative wizardry down to a fine art and have that magical ability to take a look at their customer and provide an elegant bouquet which reflects individual taste.
Talking of art, see a gig at the Eyemouth Hippodrome; the best possible transformation of the Old Fisherman’s Mission is our own arts and culture centre. The Hippodrome is an amazing arts space where visitors and locals come together and enjoy a wide variety of international music, films, exhibitions and theatre. The harbour front is also host to Splash, our local community organisation. They run food, arts, learning and fun events throughout the year. Mr Neep our nomadic greengrocer hosts an amazing fruit and veg stall there once a week.
Going back to our opening theme of coffee and cheese scone, Lough’s the bakers should have a sign above the door ‘Beautiful Bread’ because it is and their warm doughnuts (MM mmm). If you’re looking for a picnic on the beach, keep an eye out for Jarvis Pickle Pies, official winners of the ‘Best British Meat Pie 2018’. Yes that is a real award – or head to Claire’s Kitchen for take-away salads, rolls and baked tatties – the portion sizes are legendary.
With an abundance of fish and a top quality local butcher, you’ll get EVERYTHING you need here in this town and will have no need to give your patronage to the soulless superstores elsewhere. Whether you’re a visitor to the area, a day tripper or a local, give some time and contemplation to making the most of the wonderful opportunities here in this town which extend far beyond our busy harbour and picturesque seafront.
ReTweed is a business for social good and not for profit. We set up stall in Eyemouth two years ago and our project has gone from strength-to-strength. One of the reasons for that success, is that we have been entirely welcomed and looked after by our local community at large and been supported by local businesses in the town and across Berwickshire which is our motivation for this homage to our most excellent town and the folk in it.
With thanks to the local students and volunteers of ReTweed who helped in the composition of our little tribute to Eyemouth.
This blog post was written by Hazel Smith – ReTweed Founding Director