St Kilda Diaries: The Diary of Alice Maclachlan (1906 - 1909)


October 1907, St Kilda

October 1st: Just 1 year today by day since Norman Gillies was drowned. We went up the village in the afternoon to see Neil Ferguson’s wife who has measles badly. The three whalers in the Bay, but none of them came ashore, as it was fearfully stormy. We were at Finlay Gillies’ house & they gave dunie a pair of socks & me a pair of gloves & were so kind. I saw Donald & was speaking to him, kindly of course.  

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Wednes. Oct. 2nd: Still a very stormy day with high East wind. The whalers left the Bay early but came in right far about 12 o’cl. with flags flying & syrens sounding. I am sorry to say this is their good-bye. (Tha mi bochd.) There is still the chance we may see Captain Skontorp - if he makes one more trip before the Ørnulf leaves for South Africa. Kate & Dunie busy with hay. In evening Annie Gillies came to help. Liner passed mouth of Bay this morning. We shan’t see many more boats now. Did not go to P.M. but went up the village to see the sick folks. Neil Macdonald’s wife in bed bad with swollen leg & Neil Ferguson’s wife (measles). Saw Roenig today. She is better & getting up a little. Mostly every night. The invalids are now better a little. Saw Annie McQuien at William’s door tonight.

Thurs. Oct. 3rd: The very high wind went down during the night and it is a lovely day today. Dunie & Kate at hay first thing after breakfast. The men came down just before school & went to Borrera. Two boat loads of them. Angus went so we shall get a sheep I think from B. Went into School a little about 12 o’clock. Children in till 2 o’clock & then out to help. Mist coming on. Helped Dunie & Kate all the afternoon with the hay. The men came home before darkening with lots of wedders. Glad to say we got a nice one from Angus. William came in and killed it for us. No boats or signs of any liners fishing anywhere in neighbourhood.

Frid. Oct. 4th: Fine calm day but not much drying. Dunie & Kate as usual at their beloved grass. Men down cleaning the boats. Two liners have come to fish at Levnish this morning. Everyone busy out. The men all went to Soay today. Poor luck, only 8 sheep. We didn’t get one. Making “Marracken geal” and using up all the pieces of inside of sheep. It is a splendid one with I’m sure ten or twelve pounds of “gair” (“geir” to be correct). Children got off at 2 o’clock by doing without dinner hour. Dunie & Kate out & I in bad headached. Kate fell this mg. & spilt all the morning’s milk. Mary (Malcolm’s) came to help as she has done so often. Rain came on at night.

Satur. Oct. 5th: Very wet night last night. It cleared up nicely by afternoon today & wind gradually rose. The Grimsby (or N.S.) Liners in bay all day (one all night). Fine Borreray chops today for dinner. Busy with blue flannelette blouse. Neil Gillies came in the evening & cut a lot of the hay. It was great help to us. Kate busy spinning my white gown. At second piru today. She is in a wonderfully good mood for her. Was in bed all aft. resting. Reading “Eben Holden” and enjoying it very much. Went to Roenig’s today. She is keeping better & her thumb is looking alright. Very high North West wind, which all are hoping will continue till hay is secured. Got 5 eggs today. Two liners in bay. Neil Gillies came down & cut a lot of grass tonight after tea. Dunie cut u & salted our Borreray sheep today. It is a very nice one.

Sunday Oct. 6th: Changeable day but good on whole. Church twice & S.S. Beau Angus & Meirut here as usual. Another boat in bay from Grimsby going to Rockall. 2 eggs. Finished “Eben Holden”.

Monday Oct. 7th: First Mond. in month. So no School but monthly mid-day Meeting. Very showery & cold day. North wind piercing cold. Only 1 boat in bay. Soon there will be none. Finished “Erben Holden” by Irving Batchelor last night, and have enjoyed it so much. Wish I had another American story. Dunie cutting corn in his spare time (in front) very much lying down. Corn at back cut over a week ago & very good it is. Dunie made it into a stack himself on Saturday & it has stood very well. William’s “potoch” was very soon blown down. Have been supplying milk to the Precentor for a fortnight now. Also to Roenig. Went up the baile with Dunie after tea to see about our winter’s sheep. Were highly successful. Got promise of one from Donald McDonald, also Ian Bahn. Then we went to Norman McQuien’s, who also promised one. Then to Malcolm, who is to give another. We finished up at Finlay Gilles, who supplied the last we wanted. These five with the splendid one from Angus will keep us alright till Summer. Three boats in bay. Two from N. Shields (including Rambler) & one from Grimsby.

Tuesday Oct. 8th: Went to see Roenig after breakfast. First time since Saturday. School in aft. Finished the Aberdeen potatoes today. Went to help Dunie & Kate with hay in aft. and helped well (Dunie said). No news to speak of. A very fine day and everyone busy with hay. If we could get a few more days like this we should soon be done with hay. The Dragon in a very good mood, wonderful to relate. Finished Coll cheese these days. Dunie busy cutting the front corn with hook in his spare time.

Wednesday Oct. 9th: No rain all night. Consequentially Dunie and Kate are as usual on such occasions – off their heads. I don’t know whether it is anxiety to get the hay or a wish on the part of the one to get off school and the other to escape housework. However there it is. The people were gathering for Prayer Meeting before they even designed to come in for tea. Lovely day. Corn from back put in barn today in good condition without any rain. Busy in house all day. School afternoon. Didn’t go to Prayer Meeting. Hear that Finlay Mòr was praying for the two sinners (Annie and Donald Gillies) publickly. It must have been rich had I understood the Gaelic. Busy writing letters. No boats in but the two liners are at the back of Dun. High wind. Grand for drying.

Thursday Oct. 10th: Very dull morning. Dunie out early. Annie Gillies and Katrione (K’s sister) came before breakfast & helped to put in the hay which was out as it seemed so much like rain. Dunie made also a stack of corn in front. Kate & everyone else cutting all morning. Rain came on in torrents at 12 o’clock. We hear that Finlay Mor took Annie his daughter back to his own house last night & we are so glad. William & Neil McKinnon put paraffin cask into tigh big & Dunie opened. Dunie went up baile & I stayed in & finished blouse.

Friday Oct. 11th: Very mild damp morning. Kate went out cutting all morning. I did odd jobs & went up to Roenig’s twice, second time with my remaining white basin as I smashed hers. Second visit found her up at the fire-side. Went as usual to School & when I came out found Finlay Gillies & Donald (Mac Ian Bahn) cutting. They were soon joined by Hugh MacDonald. Such a lot cut but unfortunately it came on to rain very heavily. Busy making baby clothes for Annie McQuien’s expected kiddie. Bed about 11 o’clock. Very wet & stormy night. Took pill this morning. Bad time.

Saturday Oct. 12th: Very blowy & wet mg. Two liners came into shelter last night. One out fishing. One of these here all the time is the “Rambler” from N. Shields. It has been here for the last three weeks or so. Kate bothering me very much this weather with her hay-cutting. This afternoon she went away before tea & never said she was going. So we waited & waited for tea. Dunie cross also (Saturday night of course). So it isn’t a very pleasant house. Roenig got no milk today for the first time since June or July. Wet, blustery night. The people were cutting Bess’ lot today and finishing Angus’ corn. Ours finished now (the cutting) but still some hay to cut.

Sunday Oct. 13th: Lovely calm day. Boats have left bay, but are out fishing at Levinish. I hope to be able to get our letters off with them yet. Very bad headache. Forgot to say we were much interested yesterday seeing them ruaging. Saw one of William’s – on Oshoval at Coll point – a very cross one – slip down into the sea. It was drowned. The men soon had a boat out & got its carcass. Church twice today & S.S. No news to speak of. Mary MacDonald (Aig Callum) has measles.

Monday Oct. 14th: Showery day. Men busy all day ruaging. Kate & Dunie busy with hay. Kate out of sorts. Got three fine wedders at night – one from Callum – one from John Gillies & the third from Norman McQuien (brought and killed by Donald og). Entertained all to supper. Ian Bahn did not know what to do with my butter pats and took them off the plate with his fingers! Callum was much more polished but denounced our biscuits as not good at all. Finished Annie McQuien’s baby frock. Have got a tub full of sheep insides.

Tuesday Oct. 15th: Kate had got measles!!! Very mild she is, just laughing at them herself, but measles right enough. Simply a glorious day. We shall be very busy today, with marracks etc. School in the afternoon. Kate & I did the marracks at night, and Dunie cut up the two wedders. Bed 11.30 Very stormy night. One Grimsby boat in bay. New one.

Wednesday Oct. 16th: Fine cold morning. Wind gone down. Kate in be all day with measles. Pretty bad. Annie Gillies came down & milked Cruvack and helped Dunie with hay all day. No School. Dunie got grass in dry, and Annie helped well with the hay. Kate held a reception in her room. Donald F. caused gt. amusement by exclaiming at Kate’s beauty??? in bed. Donald MacDonald’s son Hugh brought a “molt” when we were beginning to think about bed, & it had to be killed and supper prepared for him. Donald Gillies (pa) came and ceilidhled.

Thursday Oct. 17th: Splendid day for grass. Rose first of course & did fires. Kate better but to be in bed today at any rate. Annie Gillies helping with grass. Katrione (senior) did meinnach for me. School afternoon. Kate had some visitors. Finlay Mòr came and ceillidhed with us & had supper. Dunie busy cutting up sheep & salting. Gave Finlay Mòr his bible & he was very pleased. Kate in bed still.

Friday Oct. 18th: Simply glorious night, last night. Such bright moonlight flooding the rooms. You could almost read a book in the light of the moon all the night. Very strong gale of East wind, so we may not expect any boats. Kate rose out of her bed during the morning and is playing the part since of the interesting invalid. It is most amusing! Very dull morning. Dunie & I flew and gathered the spread hay & made it into rucks before we took our dinner. Some of the schoolboys helped and were (as they thought) amply repaid by two biscuits. Rain came on in torrents soon after. Dunie busy cutting up and salting Donald McDonald’s sheep, last at present in larder. Barrel now full. Little Neil Gillies’ leg turned very sore today coming to school & he simply could not walk home. His father had to carry him from the Glebe right home. We were afraid there is disease in the bone still.

Saturday Oct. 19th: Puring buckets all day and terrific wind. Kate up first and quite herself. Unfortunately though when shaking the hearthrug in the mg. outside she must have raised with the rug a stone that bruised her cheek pretty badly. Donald Fer. called to see Kate. I went up to the Baile & saw Neil Gillies, Bess Roenig. Fearfully wet still but not blowy. Have made a petticoat for the “expected” today in pink flannelette. Dunie very busy all day with the books & outdoor work.

Sunday Oct. 20th: Good day, but no drying. Church three times. Kate better. Scolding her sister Mor for not coming to see her when ill – called her a “barbh” (bull)! No boats. conseq. no news. Sc.

Monday Oct. 21st: Kate cutting hay all mg. I busy in kitchen. In the afternoon (even. rather) Donald og, Ewan McDonald, & Donald Gillies (son of Ian Bau) came & finished cutting, so that is splendid. It will take some time to get it dried though. Dunie & I went up to the village. It has been a glorious day, just like Summer. It came on to rain when we were up. We shall expect boats by morning Neil Gillies about same.

Tuesday Oct. 22nd: Fine mild morning. A little liner fishing out Levinish. It is some days since I wrote the foregoing so I forget exactly the doings. I went up to see Beau Finlay Gillies who is sick. Took egg. Annie & Mary big helping with hay. Little liner, “Rambler”, came in & we got fish. Dunie went out with the men and got our letters away at last (A.F.Y). Took Gregory & Chl. Roenig Ferguson at last.

Wednesday Oct. 23rd: Fair day. Not much done to hay being Prayer M., to which (wonderful to relate) I went. Finlay Gillies came to ceilidh & brt. back Postal Order which I had given Annie to be exchanged as our “Postmaster” was afraid to give him the money for fear he would not get it back!

Thursday Oct. 24th: Dunie and Kate busy. Kate doing huge washing and Dunie doing many things. In the middle of the day a trawler came in, which happened to be one from Grimsby (the “General” – Captain Bantock). The men came out at the steamer’s whistle and the Capt. came ashore. A very decent man too. A teetotaller for 28 years. He sent us some fish. We went up & saw Roenig, Neil McKinnon’s folk, Finlay McQuien (to whom we gave a good few plain words for his selfishness in not helping us in any way) & William Precentor. Home 10 o’clock. Village cows let out tonight for the first time this year. Two liners tonight. Men went out with letters.

Friday Oct. 25th: Loevly mg. altho’ little dull. All of us in good form. The “General” fishing off Boreray, we hear. Three liners fishing (S. Shields). HAY FINISHED TODAY, I AM THANKFUL TO RECORD. Annie Gillies (Finlay’s), Mary G., John McQuien, and Mary MacDonald all came to help. Gave them big tea. I was over at the stretch sand today & it was so lovely that I took of my shoes and stockings and waded. It was lovely. Donald Ferguson brought back white coilleach. Men went out to the liners & sold some skins. They also ordered goods. I ordered a stone of apples. They have only been fishing four days & are full up. Dunie taking up potatoes, very good. Not very well myself today. Lovely day. Got clothes dried.

Saturday Oct. 26th: Simply perfect day. Sewing and flying round all the morning. In the afternoon, Dunie & I went up Beren-a-haih and sat for a long time watching the sea below us which was calm as a glass. The fulmar were fluttering round us & we had a delicious time. We came home and I went up the village to see the sick people. Neil Gillies is much better, Bess is spinning. Beau Angus is like a “droch spoirad”! Saw two liners near Levinish today & two further out; but as I write tonight they have left for home. Men cutting grass on Conacher today. Satana clemhaill. Finest day of the year.

Sunday Oct. 27th: Fine Autumn day. Everyone out who could possibly. Went up before service to see Roenig, & took her milk. Liners all left for their destination yesterday, so our letters will have to be posted on Monday night or Tues. mg. Went self to church & S.S. Not out at night. Read all the “Shoes of Fortune” by Neil Munro in “Good Words”. Not taken up much with it.

Monday Oct. 28th: Another fine day. No liners or boats of any kind about. People all away in a body – cutting grass on Conacher and at the Glen. Got white clothes dried. Little hens started laying today. Sent milk to Roenig, & butter, Meirut & the Gillies. Made butter in morning. Feeling first rate, both of us. Gave old black hat to Mary bhig. Bed 12 o’clock. Putting nicer sleeves in new blouse. Succesful.

Tuesday Oct. 29th: Fine breezy day, with boisterous East wind. Splendid for drying the hay in the cleits. Busy making knickers in mg. Made a record pair in less than 2 hrs.! Tha mi bochd. People all busy cutting grass on Conacher, Glen & elsewhere. No one at hoem at all today. Kate busy ironing white things. Angelic! Our letters posted in N. Shields will be posted today! Bed early as slight cold.

Wednesday Oct. 30th: Lovely day but still high wind, occasional heavy showers. Glass going up. Last day of month. No sign of boats. Terrible sore throat myself today. Must have caught cold. Not out all day. Neil Gillies came in evening with molt. Killed it after Meeting. He told us the astounding news that Annie McQuien had a little baby (girl) this morning. Everything serene. We had heard nothing of it & they never sent to tell us. Mary Ann (sister) came down for bandages & I sent up the baby clothes I had made. The young hens, some of them, have started to lay. Thursday Oct. 31st: Very bad night. Had to stay in bed all day. No news. Dunie went up to see Annie McQ. and baby. Windy day. Grimsby boat fishing in vicinity.

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November 1907, St Kilda

Friday Nov. 1st: All day in bed after bad night. Meirut my only visitor. Feeling a little better, but throat still swollen.

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Saturday Nov. 2nd: Very stormy day altho’ yesterday was so fine. Feeling throat very sore. Better through day. Took good tea & rum after it. Mary Gillies came to see me. Dunie came to bed in afternoon!!! Soon went to bed as felt so tired. This morning a boat was seen in the neighbourhood of Levinish but mysteriously disappeared.

Sunday Nov. 3rd: Much calmer day. Feeling better but not allowed to get up till after tea. I have been “receiving” all day, both while in bed and after I got up. Feeling much stronger today. Had nearly all “Hirta” calling for me: Dunie specially kind. Kate I suppose is trying to be but is as senseless as ever. Sour cream, dirty dishes, and trying to get off with doing as little as possible. No word of boat seen at Levinish. Gave John Gillies (Junr.) Balsam – at least Dunie did, for Neil Ferguson (Senior’s) leg, which was cut in the ruaging. Had more visitors after church tonight.

Monday Nov. 4th: Very calm morning. Am much better. Had a lot of visitors after church services. Kept old Donald McQuien to his dinner as his stomach was so bad. This was “Celad Day” No School, being first Monday of month. Up all mg. since well myself & feeling much stronger. Finlay McQuien & Finlay Gillies both came in to see me, both beaming. It is good to see them such friends. Everyone is pleased with the Question Meeting today. Long addresses were the order of the day! Amusing myself doing some crochet for knickers for summer. Put pieces in Kate’s flannels for her. 6 eggs.

Tuesday Nov. 5th: Breakfast in bed as usual. Beautiful calm day. Received some “enquirers”. Feeling very depressed & went to bed after giving Finlay Gillies and Callum tea. Had fine roast coilleach today for dinner & bacon. Bed early. Found fine batch of books in post office brt. from home. Chance trawler passed mouth of bay & whistled but went straight away to Barra Hd. A little liner at Levinish, but as yet has not come in. 5 eggs.

Wednesday Nov. 6th: Simply a glorious day. So sunny & warm. All our stock are in the front garden. Most of the “Hirsteach” went off in great spirits to Soay today. I went up the Baile in the afternoon & saw the new baby and Annie McQuien. Took it another dress & petticoat. Saw Roenig & all the invalids. The men came home with lots of Soay sheep. We got a splendid molt. Just as they arrived the little liner came from South Shields bringing all the things the men ordered, also my apples (3/- for a stone & rotten at that!) got letters aboard. Donald Gillies came down & skinned Soay sheep. Gave him shoes to mend.

Thursday Nov. 7th: Lovely day. Glass high. Busy cooking. Roast leg mutton for dinner & boiled apple pudding. Three liners working at Levinish. The Botoch Ruadh came from Barra head today, on her way to Rockall. Finlay Mòr stranded on the Dun & had to be rescued by Donald òg and Norman (brothers). They then went to the point where Botoch Ruadh was fishing, but they got nothing for their pains. Reading splendid story “Mona Maclean Medical Student”. Dunie went up baile & saw bocau. Hens doing well. Cuttting up Caora Soay. Kate finished the dluth of my white piece today. Forgot to say Captain of Rambler yesterday sent us a lovely big ling. Had it for supper & breakfast & pieces to salt. Feeling better. 6 eggs.

Friday Nov. 8th: Have not been to School yet, but must turn in soon. Made a lovely apple tart for dinner (with chope and cold roast mutton); we are living in high old style just now. Trawler – the men think from Fleetwood – came from Barra head. There are several liners & trawlers about. I went for a jolly walk in the afternoon myself to Ruadhval. Did not go quite so far as I meant as it grew so like rain. Took my warm wool combinations today – Dunie put on his warm vests yesterday. Had nice fried fish (ling) for supper. Made two nice gingerbreads this evening and am busy doing up my old black serge Norfolk costume. Lovely weather but high wind today. Dunie up the baile tonight. Bandragh MicKinnon bochd.

Saturday Nov. 9th: Wind down now. A little rain. Had lovely sleep last night. Soya chops for breakfast. We are just starting a new bag fo flour. The last has done since middle of August which is very good for 1 bag. Men went to the Dun for second or third time with lambs. Made butter today. Feeling very well. Went up the village this afternoon. The people are greatly exercised as to the christening or I should rather say the registering of Annie McQuien & Donald Gillies’ baby. They want it called after Annie’s mother – Finlay’s late wife. Finlay himself will not here of this etc. etc. The “Rambler” in the bay every night; by the lights they have evidently plenty of fish. Finished black skirt repairing & cleaning. Finished blue flannelette blouse & cleaned out sitting-room cupboard.

Sunday Nov. 10th: A very fine morning, but changed during the day, & came on very blowy and wet. Wind riding rapidly. Church morning & S.S. Stayed in at night. We are living on the Soay carcase & enjoying it thoroughly. Forgot to chronicle that my oldest Soay sheep as gone over the rocks of Oshaval! Bad luck indeed! Rambler in bay as usual. No news.

Monday Nov. 11th: Fine day. Busy all morning cooking. Had leg Soay mutton and boiled rice pudding. Splendid. “Rambler” in bay all day but men did not go out. They intend to go tomorrow. Went to School afternoon myself, first time for fortnight. Killed coilleach after tea for mother, to send if possible by “Rambler”. Dunie & I went up village. Paid Angus for the sheep. Called on Neil McDonald’s & Donald Ferguson, Meirut McDonald and Finlay Gillies. Finlay Gillies making cradle for Donald’s little baby girl. Mrs. Gillies bearded the lion in his den & made peace with Finlay & got permission for Donald and Annie McQuien to call the baby “Mary” after Finlay’s wife. Donald Gillies came down to supper and then registered his baby. Poor Donald. Have been busy doing up old dresses for winter. Finished black one & am now doing my brown one. 3 eggs.

Tues. Nov. 12th: Fearfully stormy day. Doing brown skirt & cooking. “Irish Stew” (Soay), prunes, curds. Had Niel Gillies (big) to dinner as it was too stormy for him to go home. Did his leg up. Reading “The Cardinal’s Snuff Box”. Fair. Finished “A Simple Gentleman” by John Strange Winter. Liked it exceedingly. It is out of the run. The “Rambler” left about 9 o’clock today. I’m afraid she is gone for good, as it is an awful storm of wind & rain today. in good form. Got 6 eggs today. This is our Harvest Thanksgiving Day.

Tues. Nov. 12th: Fearful storm of wind and rain. School as usual in afternoon. Neil MacDonald & William came down in the afternoon and put up the new back door. It is a great comfort. A strange Grimsby boat (liner) came into the bay and dodged about all night. Wind blowing a perfect gale. Donald Ferguson came & ceilidhed. He was in grand form. Gave him a hen (Mrs. McKenzie’s Garve). Kate up the village. Finished brown skirt.

Wednesday Nov. 13th: Much better day after an awful storm of last night. Not much sleep for anyone with wind. All men busy at Bandragh McKinnon’s byre today. No Prayer Meeting. William came down and finished back door. Started skipping exercise today to keep down the “fat” and feel very stiff indeed. No boats about at all. Katherine McDonald (Nigheau Donald) has been bad with sore throat for some days. Dunie busy working at Registers (School). Kate spinning. Not so windy but very wet. 6 eggs. (Mostly caracs but wee whitie is as usual laying. Sent pudding & milk as usual to Roenig McRunnion today.

Thursday Nov. 14th: Very stormy in morning but it calmed down splendidly in afternoon. Annie Gillies came down and brought me a lot of wool from her mother - brown & white. They are so kind to us. Just as we were getting ready to go up the village who came in but Finlay Mòr but he did not keep us long. We went & paid Toromich, John Gillies and Donald McDonald for the molts. That is four paid for now. Went & saw Bess and the Donald McQuiens. Was not in Beau Angus’ but hear she is in her cantrips again. Fine coilleach (roast) for dinner and boiled ginger pudding. No boats. Finished reading “The Cardinal’s snuff-box”. Not much in it but it is amusing in bits. Took Keating’s Powder to Bess & as usual she asked if we had any more. No one kept in today for wonder.

Friday Nov. 15th: Lovely bright day. Splendid sleep last night. It came on very wet & windy however at night. Nothing worth relating. Milk getting very scarce. Got 6 eggs today. Men busy these days putting boats secure against the wind. Turning them upside down. Washed my hair tonight.

Satur. Nov. 16th: A real November day. So misty & wet. Good deal wind too. Combing wool all morning. Side sore today. Finished apples today in tarts. Kate has finished the spinning of my white dress today. A liner (Grimsby) came in this afternoon. It came from Aberdeen only though where it had been disposing of its fish. The “Viceroy” is the name. The men went out but got nothing for their pains. We hear there is a trawler from Fleetwood trawling at the back of Oshaval. Went up the village after tea to see Roenig McRunnion and Annie McQuien’s baby, which has been ill. It is not thriving very well, but is a little better. Posted two letters by the liner - one to Mother and the other to Flora. Busy crocheting. Beautiful night.

Sunday, Nov. 17th: Fine winter day. A liner working out and a trawler at Borreray. Church twice & Sunday School.

Monday, Nov. 18th: Great excitement. Awakened by Kate shouting “The Knowsie” & by hearing the ever welcome hoot. Dunie took breakfast before he went out with the men. Kate washing & in the evening washing wool (with the assistance of Katherine her sister & Annie Gillies. I got three letters from Mother, one from Bab & Daisy, one from Jean McRaw, Mrs. Robertson. The letter bag was out all day with Neil Ferguson who was out trawling with Capt. Walckner. I didn’t expect any more letters but got a whole heap more also parcels. One from Robertson (Inspector) with work for girls, Medicine from Dr. Wolfenden, Medical from Mr. Costs, Paisley. The long looked for box from George. Also Logan’s order. Papers galore. Letters from McRaw & Jean. We went up baile to see Neil Gillies who is badly with sore throat. Capt. Walckner sent me a case of “Scotch”. I forgot to say to our great joy the letter from Mrs. Kennedy came with money for the coats. Kate greatly charmed. Very windy night.

Tuesday, 19th: I don’t know when we had such a stormy night. I positively thought the house would come down about our ears. Very little sleep. Still a good few turned out to School, altho’ the day was awful. Dunie let them go between one & two and told them they need not come back in the afternoon. Busy writing letters, cooking, & odd jobs. Day much better in afternoon. Dunie went up baile. Kate spinning for all she is worth. My little Soay lamb is turning a little darling & is taking turnips out of our hands & running to us for them. Very calm tonight or rather much calmer. Writing hosts of letters. Two boats dodging about. Do not know whether one is the “Knowsie” or not. Hope he gets fish.

Wednesday Nov. 20th: Another stormy day. Knowsie & N.S. Liner in Bay all day. Wrote letters & did cooking. Ran up village to see the Bocan - A.B. McDonald, Neil Gillies & Christina McKinnon, who are ill with sore throats. After P.M. Finlay Gillies, his wife & Neil McKinnon came to ceilidh & supper. Wrote letters again. Knowsie went out to fish stormy though it is.

Thurs. Nov. 21: Still blowing a gale. Knowsie came into bay about 10 o’clock showing she is getting fish. Had coilleach for dinner. It was very good. Busy writing letters as Neil Ferguson came in & said they were going out to the “Knowsie” about 3 o’clock. Dunie went out also. Had tea alone. Dunie came back soon after. Gave him tea. Knowsie crew in great glee as they have got heaps of fish, £200 in a day or so. They are staying in the bay for a day or so to mend their gear. Did not go up baile as it was so rough.

Friday Nov. 22: No boats in this mg. “Knowsie” at Borreray & N.S. boat fishing. We went up baile & saw those who were ill & many who were not. Great crowd in Tigh Neil Ferguson & great fun with Finlay Mor who was in great form also Donald Ferguson himself. The Rambler arrived again from North Shields & the other liner which was out fishing has come in tonight with brilliant lights, showing that she has got fish. Knowsie still working at night. Saturday Nov. 23rd: Another lovely day though cold. Snow on Connacher and other hills. First of season. Both well. Dunie & I did not go for a walk this afternoon but put in the Bulds. I went up to Roenig’s with milk & a hot water bottle after tea. Hear “Knowsie” left & “Cornelian” Hull is working at Borreray (Capt. Amazon)|.

Sunday Nov. 24th: Bitterly cold day. Three liners “Rambler & “Roamer” also “Craigside” - Trawler “Cornelian” all in bay all day. Did not go to ch. At night.

Mond. Nov. 25th: Better day but very cold. Sch. as usual. Had deputation of men from Craigside (N. Shields) (Kinnaird & Co.) in who required food, having been out in the stormy weather for a fortnight. I gave them 1 1lb. tea, do. coffee, 2 stones potatoes, 2 marracks, 1 lb. tin corned beef, 1 stone sugar. They sent me 1 halibut = 2 ling. The Captain asked dunie & I how many children we had. Dunie thought he meant in School & answered “21 at present”! The man’s face fell, as he said he wanted to give them 1/- apiece! I saw the two sides & explained. It was awfully funny. One of the men came in with a bruised finger & I washed it with carbolic water & gave him bandages. Dunie & I went up baile & saw Roenig & Lachlan who has sore throat. Took him Black Currant Jam. Found Finlay Gillies here when I came home. He came to pay cups & saucers. But we wouldn’t take anything, as he is so kind with the weaving. Dunie & I combed until 1 o’clock & did almost a whole fleece. Kate angelic!!!

Tuesday, Nov. 26th: Tha mi bochd! Very cold day. Wind round to East. Nothing special to record. Only it is very stormy. No boat of any kind could fish today. No visitors. Dunie & I had a lovely evening by the fire-side. We carded a long time to P’s great delight. These nights are very cold & Dunie said to Sxxxx You would be the better of  these nights! “Yes” I was thinking that myself last night” was the earnest reply!!! Sending milk up the village, to D. McQuien’s, Roenig’s William’s & Peauthirichian Ewan.

Wednes. Nov. 27th: Another fearful night of wind and rain, but “got good night”. Neil Gillies had his dinner today here as it was so stormy. (Irish Stew - Apricots - Coffee). Have started a pair of Hirteach Stockings.

Wednes. Nov. 27th: Prayer Meeting, after which Donald Ferguson came to ceilidh. He was in great form, and there were great jokes going. Very stormy night. Finlay Gillies’ wife ill & Bess - sore throats. Dunie & I carding lovely fleece of wool (Mull). Wish it was all as easy. Donald Gillies doing up small tub. Dunie & I combing last night a little. 6 eggs.

Thurs. Nov. 28th: Better day & sea getting calmer. Saw some boats passing Colas au Dûn. Annie Gillies (Finlay G.) came down bringing me a leg of mutton. Sent milk to Ewan G.’s sisters. My pet lamb getting so tame. Dunie & I went up Baile tonight. No news. Carding for Kate till 12 o’clock. 5 eggs.

Friday Nov. 29th: Splendid day. The men went to Soay today for sheep. We got a nice wedder. My pet lamb is getting so nice & tame & will run anywhere after me, & eat anything out of our hands. Donald Gillies came down and killed sheep. We hear there are five trawlers working at Borreray. Some of the men thought that the “Knowsie” was there, but we think it is too soon.

Saturday Nov. 30th: Another month gone. As soon as we woke Kate came to the door to say “Knowsie” was in Bay. We hurried up and barely had our breakfast when the whistle blew. I went out also with the men & wasn’t sick. I hurt my leg a little on the side of the big boat; Capt. Walckner so kind. Got my goods from Aberdeen. Capt. W. gave me a case of “Scotch”. The Cook also brought me papers, also the Engineer brought me huge parcels of People’s Friend. I got some letters & parcels of papers. We got tea. We also got a splendid turbot. We got post-cards galore from Africa, form Mr. Herlafson, also from Capt. Skontorp (two) & from Paulsen. They are now going to Cape Verde Islands. Some of the men went to Borreray for sheep, and the Knowsie towed them home at night. Capt. Engineer & brother of Mrs. Walckner came in & had dinner. The people gave the Capt. a Soay sheep. The “Lucy” from Fleetwood (Capt. Wright) was at Borreray & the men got parcel of “Witnesses” for us & 2 returned letters from William. Also our missing “Brother Weeklies”. Went up to see Roenig. Neil McD. here to tea. Gave him embroc. for leg.

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December 1907, St Kilda

Sunday Dec. 1st: Lovely day. Church all day. No news. Good Congregations. Knowsie & other trawler in bay at night. Came on very rough in evening. 

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Mond. Dec. 2: No school being first Monday in month. Knowsie passed mouth of bay on way to Soay Bank to fish. She gave us a salute as she passed. Lovely day. Did not go up Baile at all as it was too rough. Kate finished 1st ball dluth.

Tues. Dec. 3rd: Knowsie & three other boats in bay tonight. Dunie & I took up the Witness to all tonight. Beau William ill in bed with “Triopheadh”! No news. Wednes. Dec. 4th: Stormy. Knowsie & other boat in Glen Bay. Went to P.M. tonight. Finlay Mor came in & ceilidhed & stayed to supper.

Thurs. Dec. 5th: Knowsie & other boat in our bay. Neil Ferguson, Dunie & men went out with letters. Killed coilleach for Capt. Walckner & sent out the cocoanut for his kiddies. The other boat is the Trawler Loch Ness from Aberdeen. The Capt. of her & engineer with Capt. Walckner & brother in law all came in to dinner. Turbot, potatoes, ham & eggs also tea. They went up baile & Capt. Loch Ness brought a sheep from Donald McQuien 15/-. I got a basket of cod’s roes sent in. Gave men off boats magazines. They came in & saw school. In school self all morning. Friday Dec. 6th: Lovely day. Dunie got his hair cut this evening. Finlay Gillies came down for pills for his wife & Annie, both of whom are ill with the “Cratan”. A whole lot of people are ill with it.

Satur. Dec. 7th: Haivng a nice lazy day. Doing odd jobs. Knowsie & Loch Ness trawling round the point. The “Cygnet” (Jack Wright) returned today. I took up the remainder of Communion wine to Roenig and Bess; & went to see the others who were ill with the cold. Finlay Gillies’ wife very ill with it. Made her corn flour and sent her eggs. Miss McDonald threatened with cold also. We are having a nice treat with the cod roes just now.

Sunday Dec. 8th: Very disagreeable day. Three times out at church. Everyone bad with the “cratan”. A boat strange came into the loch. The men say it is Rowbottom - late mate of Knowsie. He whistled but the mend did not go out. Another boat came in. We think it is the Loch Ness. The Loch Ness soon went out, so they must have got food from Rowbottom.

Monday Dec. 9th: Busy mending dunie’s underclothing all mg. - & other odds & ends. The sea is a sight today & is breaking over pier. Very bad showers. Didn’t go up baile. Sent People’s Friend up to all the houses by the children - Dunie & I combing wool all the evening.

Tues. Dec. 10th:
Knowsie & Rowbottom came in at breakfast time with their boats. The men (dunie too) went out and were out some time. It seems the boats got splendid hauls of fish at the point last night of huge cods. The nets were breaking & they had to throw some fish away. The sea was very rough & the old men were down in a wax at the young ones. Got a cod & some delicious flat fish soles, plaice etc. Gave Toromich McQuien papers and piece cod. We went up the baile at night & saw the sick ones. All are recovering. Neil McKinnon was in when we arrived home with a crushed finger & had to dress that. When we were up at Bhen Innes’ - Dunie persuaded her to comb & she did it splendidly.

Wednes. Dec. 11th: Lovely day. The Knowsie left for Aberdeen this morning with a splendid cargo. Rowbottom’s boat working all night; but in bay today. The men out line fishing all day & only got two lings (& a lot of eels which count for nothing). Two liners have come S.Sh. Prayer Meeting late tonight, and then Donald Ferguson came to ceilidh.

Thurs. Dec. 12th: Another lovely day. Rowbottom’s boat in bay all day. At night another boat came in - we think it is the “Rambler”. We hear Finlay Gillies’ Annie ill - Busy combing all evening this weather.

Friday Dec. 13th: Still glorious weather. We hear there are eight boats working out between Boreray and Levinish. Went up evening to see Annie Gillies (Finlay’s) who is still in bed with sore throat. Neil Gillies here to supper.

Satur. Dec. 14th: Such a glorious day. Dunie & I went up Berenahake to see the trawlers working. It was beautiful up there - just like summer and we had such a fine view of the outer islands. On way home Dunie & I called on Annie Gillies & Mary Ann McQuien who is ill with the sore throat. After tea dressed Neil McKinnon’s finger (for third time) also Callum’s foot. Sent cloths & dressings for Catrione’s (Kate’s sister) burnt hand - and milk to Roenig who is sick again. Busy making scarlet blouse for Kate. Beautiful moonlight night.

Sund. Dec. 15th: Stormy day. Weather changed in night. Church three times. No boats in. M. A. McQ. Still poorly.

Mond. Dec. 16th: Very stormy day & so dark in morning. We were all very late. Got seven eggs from the young hens. Dressed Neil McQuein’s finger in morning. Callum’s foot at night. Kept Callum to tea. Meirut here to dinner & Donald òg to supper. So rough we did not go up village. Meirut brt. Down the dyed wool. As we go to bed it is a little calmer. Busy with Kate’s red blouse. Made toffee tonight. The “Knowsie” was expected today; but of course we never could expect her on such a day.

Tues. Dec. 17th: The day was very windy & wet & our friend did not appear. It quietened down during the day & the men went over to the Dùn with lambs (or for lambs). Dunie & I went up the village in the evening & didn’t get back till 10 o’clock. Finlay’s Mary Ann is better & so is little John McDonald. Kate was adding the little there was of the factor’s wool to my little piece but she is now done - and is preparing for my big combing and carding. Not much news. Reading “East Lynne” in my spare moments.

Wednes. Dec. 18th: Another very rought day. No “Knowsie” yet, but of course she may be out at Boreray, and though she were to come in I don’t thik they could go out. Went out to P.M. Am very good just now.

Thurs. Dec. 19th: Great excitement today in afternoon. When we were in school dunie came in, but I ought first to have said that a Hull boat came in whistling at a great rate. The men were loath to go out as the tide was not right. However they brought down the ruadhs which were separated from the sheep yesterday) & out they went. When dunie came into school he was accompanied by the Capt. Of the Mercury. I recognized the Capt. as I had doctored his leg once. (last Aug.). The Engineer was with him. They brought a box off oranges & apples for the kiddies. The two came in & had tea & told us the “Cornelia” had had a huge haul last week & was coming back with another box for the children & one for the old folks.

Frid. Dec. 20th: The bay deserted as it is a very wild day. No boats but we saw the Mercury pass the entrance to bay with the “Cornelia”.

Sat. Dec. 21st: The “Knowsie” much to our delight came in. The excitement was intense. Dunie went out with the men - & while they were out, The Cornelia came in! I meanwhile went up the village with oranges for the people from the kids’ box. Splitting headache. Dunie came in with plenty of stuff. My case of “Scotch”, a leg of pork, presents from Capt. Walckner. The delay was caused by the bursting of Knowsie’s boiler three hours after arrival in Aberdeen. Lots of letters & parcels in bag.

Sund. Dec. 22nd: Church once & Sunday School. Good read. No boats able to go out. Knowsie in bay.

Mond. Dec. 23rd: Fine day with heavy showers. No boats. The men sent down for their oranges at the wrong time & had to be very sharply reprimanded. Donald Ferguson came down to the school after tea & divided them with dunie. 7 rounds. D.F. stayed to tea. Dunie went up the baile & I stayed in. Finlay Gillies came down & cut pair pants (present) for dunie - very amusing, the measuring & marking. Forgot to say D.F. found a hair-pin in his beard!!! I am so busy finishing girls’ blouses.

Tues. Dec. 24th: Xmas Eve. No boats. Very blowy! Kate very busy washing. My little lamb so tame & following me about into the house & all round. Dunie up the village again. I busy sewing. Very bad with neuralgia in addition to T.M.B. No news.

Wednes. Dec. 25th: Xmas day. Nothing ”on” save a bad attack of neuralgia. Gave the children a treat of oranges, apples, nuts & sweets this aft. & let them home early. Neil Ferguson & Ian Bau came to ceilidh & supper. Thus spent Xmas. Had cold pork, hot salt fheoil & plum pudding for dinner. There are 6 trawlers in the Glen. The people were over that way & the boats were all whistling.

Thurs. Dec. 26th: Very rough day like yesterday but worse. Not out at all today as I had such a night & day today with faceache. Finished girls’ work. Had them in to their sewing. Kate finished all ironing today. Busy writing letters.

Firiday, Dec. 27th: Not well enough to be out except little while to school. Gave the girls their blouses and all, oranges (2). Neil Ferguson sent down for the letters as the Knowsie & 6 other trawlers (among them the Princess Melton with Johnnie (William’s brother) are in the bay. John came across to see the relations in the afternoon & Neil took our bag over to the Knowsie. The boiler of the latter is leaking badly and the Capt. and crew say they are all going to leave her. Kate up baile. I made Coburg cakes & cocoanut cakes. Finlay Mor came to ceilidh, also John MacDonald & Donald og. I did up three wounds on Finlay Mor’s foot.

Sat. 28th: No boats in. Very stormy. In all day with “Neuralgia”. Busy sewing. New bag flour?

Sunday 29th Dec: Out to mg. Church & S.S. Wore my big Hirst Coat for first time. Am reading “Aaron the Jew” by Fargeon & it is splendid. Beau Angus at church & here to dinner and tea. First time for weeks.

Mond. Dec. 30th: Lovely day. We have had no rain for a long time & a good deal of front. Cornelia went home today. Knowsie went out yesterday. The “Avon” with the nice Capt. (Bantock of the “General”) is out there. Dunie up baile until 10 o’clock. I made the whole of a slipbodice today with a splendid shape of Weldon’s. Forgot to say on Saturday last Callum came down to give us the news that he had just got engaged to Annie Gillies (Ewan’s sister!!!). I wrote to Flora tonight for a pair of boots for her. Taking a course of quinine just now and it is doing me good. John Gillies (Ian Bau) came down to get his foot done up. All busy just now cutting grass on the Creagan at the back of Connacher. Dunie started smoking a month ago & finished the Craven Mixture that Mr. Clarence left, & has now started the “Bogie Roll”!

Tuesday Dec. 31st 1907:
Simply a perfect day. The men went to Soay today for sheep. We got a sheep for killing and a lamb, which we put with my other pet. Donal Gillies came down & killed it. I was busy making puddings for the children’s treat tomorrow. Annie Gillies & Katrione came down with the big kettle at midnight (for the tea). Gave them little presents. Dunie & I busy getting the children’s presents ready.

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