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A peek into the past

Do you keep a diary? Alice MacLachlan did. She was the teacher and wife of the Minister of St Kilda in 1906-9. The National Trust for Scotland are posting weekly episodes of her diaries on their website,  St Kilda Diaries, The Diary of Alice MacLachlan . They are are fascinating, beginning with the MacLachlan’s life near Garve,  then documenting Alice’s initial dismay at her husband’s posting to St Kilda and subsequently their life there.

As the diaries are being released weekly it’s possible to follow life as the seasons turn. At the moment hay is being gathered and there’s great excitement as a whaling ship visits. The steamer service has already finished and soon the islanders will be facing the winter….

Alice probably never imagined her diaries would be read let alone mind published. Her carefully recorded domestic details take us to the past in a way that photographs and artefacts can’t. We share her excitement, moments of boredom, sadness and joy. Today many of us share our lives through blogs, Facebook and Twitter but these tend to be edited to show us at our best. There is still a place for the diary recording those things we may not want to share.  Yet.

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