On Smugglers, Disappointment and Finding Inspiration in Unusual Places

You might have noticed already that I went on a couple of trips this week and the reason for this is that I had family over from Finland and Germany. The visitor from Germany, also known as my dad, has been here before so I needed to come up with something new to see.

Hence, we went to places I hadn’t been before like Dawyck and Kelvingrove. Today, we chose Eyemouth from my bucket list. Eyemouth is Scotland’s southernmost North Sea harbour and is famous for smuggling.

One resident of Eyemouth, John Nisbet, was such a successful smuggler that he could afford to build a villa designed by non other than John Adams (brother of Robert and James Adams). The house, known as Gunsgreen House, was built in 1753 and has since then been used for various things: smuggling, as a golf club and now as a visitor attraction with holiday apartments.

Unfortunately, I have to say that I was massively disappointed by what Eyemouth had to offer – Gunsgreen included. My dad even went further to say that the visitor attraction remains true to its origin as the admission prices can easily be considered piracy. Indeed, I have to agree that you don’t get a lot for your money and that you have to pay extra for gift-aiding and don’t even get a seasonal ticket for it or at least I didn’t get one. Although I don’t mind reading in a museum, there is a limit to how much reading and how long the texts should be before it gets tiresome. There was hardly anything to see in the house, too much to read, videos everywhere and only 2 small floors you could view. On a positive note, they put a lot of effort into making the house appealing to kids, unfortunately at the cost of adult visitors without children.

After visiting the house, we strolled though the town hoping to find something to make our 1h 30min drive worth the while and were again disappointed. On our way back to the car, we passed a diving company’s van that had a rather cheesy but true quote printed on the back: ” Remember you only have one life but if you do it right, one is enough!”.

I have to admit that I quite liked this quote and pondered it for a while on our drive back. I think it is funny how simple and yet daunting such a sentence can be. How hard it can be to do it right and how scared you can be of doing it wrong, of wasting your life in the process. How do you know what doing it right really means and how much doing it wrong can your life tolerate before you have lived it in vain?

On our way back home we stopped in Duns which turns out is a cute wee town, however, dead as it gets on a Sunday afternoon. I hoped to find some references to its most famous resident (from my point of view at least) John Duns Scotus (I know, I know resident is not the correct term here but you know what I mean). I was either too blind or daft but I couldn’t find any mention of him anywhere (a quick google search tells me I must have been too daft as I wasn’t looking in the right place – however, a cairn from 1966 can hardly be considered much to commemorate such a famous medieval brain).

At least I’ve been to the North Sea. I live on an island and never get to see the ocean. It’s kinda sad, don’t you think?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Megan says:

    Gorgeous photos of the sea! I love that quote as well, and I guess if my life doesn’t work out quite as planned, there’s always the serenity prayer to fall back on 😉 Too bad there’s not much of a memorial for Duns Scotus, but if it’s any consolation, St. Thomas Aquinas’ birthplace Roccasecca has no monuments for its most famous resident either.


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