Waving goodbye to tea towel Tuesdays in Ettrickbridge

Villagers in Ettrickbridge waved their tea towels in the air for the final time last week.

By Kevin Janiak
Monday, 20th July 2020, 5:10 pm
The villagers of Ettrickbridge waved their teatowels in the Main Street for the final time last week.
The villagers of Ettrickbridge waved their teatowels in the Main Street for the final time last week.

During lockdown, a group of friends in the valley village were no longer able to enjoy their once-a-week get-togethers over a cuppa, so they came up with the idea to keep in contact.

And they’ve been doing it every Tuesday morning at 11am for 16 weeks.

Kath Hewson, who thought up the idea, explained: “We all used to meet on a Tuesday morning for coffee, but then lockdown came and we were not able to do that any more.

“So I came up with the idea of tea towel waving on the village street as a means of seeing others and staying in contact at a distance.

“At first I thought of waving flags, but not everyone has one of those.

“I had a tea towel in my hand at the time, so that’s where the idea came from.”

The weekly waving has been well supported and there has even been a different dress theme each week, with different colours, or wearing a hat or carrying an umbrella – which came in handy some weeks.

Anne Turnbull, who was born and bred in the Ettrick Valley said: “The regular Tuesday morning tea towel waving has really helped people stay connected through lockdown.

“It’s been a way to see and speak to other people, albeit it at a safe distance, and it’s brought a smile to people’s faces.”

Villagers who were self-isolating or shielding were also kept well fed during the lockdown.

The community council organised lockdown food deliveries of meat, bakery goods and fruit and veg to hubs in both the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys.

Ettrick and Yarrow Community Council secretary Barbara Harrison said: “It was good that we were able to keep the local community supplied using local shops with people picking up their orders from safer outside collection points.

“However, we were also concerned about people’s mental wellbeing and the tea towel waving clearly helped with this.”

But all good things must come to an end.

Kath said: “The local pub is re-opening this week and people have more opportunities to socialise safely, so it is probably time for our last teatowel wave.

“It has really helped me through these challenging times and we all hope that the virus can be kept under control so we do not have a second wave of either the virus or our tea towels”.