New book remembers 'Auld Hiemooth Toon'

THE largely hidden writing talents of Eyemouth residents, both past and present, have been unearthed for a new book out this week.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th July 2010, 11:16 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2010, 11:19 am

'Dear Auld Hiemooth Toon' comprises a series of poems and songs by the people of Eyemouth, many of which had been lost or forgotten about as the years passed.

The man responsible for pulling them all together is Jack Willox, of St Ebba's Place.

Jack said that after living amongst many of the authors for the past 50 years he felt it was important to give them some deserved recognition.

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"There was and still is a great deal of talent in Eyemouth," he began.

"People in the community have a natural storytelling talent and while in most cases this only goes as far as gossip or anecdotes, there were some people who put pen to paper and came up with poems and talents.

"I started researching this further after being given a copy of a poem by Jimmy Sands.

"I started asking around to find out about any other well known poems about the town and got talking to some of the authors who are still alive today.

"It's taken me the best part of a year to pull it all together but I felt it was an important thing to do.

"Many of the bits of paper the poems were originally on had gone missing and this is the first time they have been together in one book.

"I've included a number of poems by Henry Blaikie and he himself wasn't sure where they gone. I stumbled on them by chance when I was given a box of audio tapes and one of them was a recording of him reading his poetry."

Although he revealed he had no inclination to follow the authors into the world of writing, John said it was easy to appreciate the fruits of their labour and people and places they'd written about.

He continued: "It would be unfair to single certain poets out but one of the most memorable ones is by Margaret Waddell who unfortunately is no longer with us.

"She wrote about a walk through the Wynd in Eyemouth and the different sights and sounds she saw on her way. And then there's another about an accident on the pier.

"The majority of the poems and songs are about local things but in one of them, 'The Quaker Girl' there is mention of 'Hitler's War'."

Two hundred copies of 'Dear Auld Hiemooth Toon' have been printed so far and after receiving orders for more, Jack's thoughts have already turned to producing a second book in a similar vein.

"The book is currently on sale in the Post Office and there could well be a volume two but I don't think it would be more poems from Eyemouth. There are sure to be many other places in Berwickshire that people have written about.

"The poems in 'Dear Auld Hiemooth Toon' are very much to do with what life was like in the fishing community but there's bound to be poems concerned with the farming industry too.

"What is so good about the poems is that they are written in local dialect but that also means that some of the younger people in Eyemouth and people from outside of the town might not be able to understand them!"

'Dear Auld Hiemmoth Toon' is priced 4.50.