Last night about seven when we were just finishing tea Maud’s Mother came to borrow some coal. It seems there is none in town and no peats to be had either… Papa says they have only one day’s supply in school. And to cap it the weather has become bitterly cold with gales from the north bringing snow and hail… The Claymore used to bring some coal but she has gone ashore on Goat Island with 2000 barrels of fresh herrings in her and can’t be got off… Stornoway, 28th February. 1918

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 28th February 1918

In her letter to Jean this week, Mrs Gibson reports on the local shortage of both coal and peat for the fires. This is particularly bad news as the weather seems to have taken a turn for the worse again. She also mentions some recent troubles with the “Claymore” – a steamer that used to distribute goods, including coal, to the islands from the mainland. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Dear Sheann,

Glad you had such a nice week-end; it sounded “a little bit of all right.”  Yes, it is true that the Americans are at Kyle but they are not to be trained there; it is to be used as a port of disembarkation only.  Passengers and mails are still being carried by the railway but no goods.  I suppose the Americans must go somewhere but we would have been glad if they had avoided the Minch.

It is now 9 p.m. and I have just finished my ironing (“running round the neck” etc.).  Papa did not come to tea till six 15.  Then he had to rush back for his drill class and now he is just in again.  He is “having a ’ard time” just now and no mistake.

Last night about seven when we were just finishing tea Maud’s Mother came to borrow some coal.  It seems there is none in town and no peats to be had either.  The N.G. and another girl came down for it later.  Papa says they have only one day’s supply in school.  And to cap it the weather has become bitterly cold with gales from the north bringing snow and hail.  We are fortunate to have the peats as a stand by.  The Claymore used to bring some coal but she has gone ashore on Goat Island with 2000 barrels of fresh herrings in her and can’t be got off.  It is most unfortunate.

Miss Lily Morison leaves today and Miss Lilian Macleod tomorrow.  The latter is going three weeks sooner than she thought as the young man is likely to be sent to sea soon.  Speaking of weddings someone was telling me that Gia’s uncle Mr. Albrow is being married again to some one in Eyemouth, not to Gia’s pleasure I am sure.  This will be his third wedding.

I was over for an hour yesterday seeing Annie Macleod.  She is not well at all just now and is confined to bed.  Mrs. Macleod is on foot again but not looking the better of her accident.

Uncle Alick is out on strike although they were working on the warship.  Isn’t that bad?  It seems they get 4/6 a week too little as compared with the other trades.  He was saying they hadn’t had even one meeting since coming out, and it made him think of the following story.  “What are you striking for Pat?” // “Faith oi don’t know that same but be jabbers we won’t go in till we git it.”

Now good night Sheann and we hope the swot isn’t “too mich” but “a merry heart goes all the way, a sad tires in a mile O”  So cheery does it.

Love to Sheann from us both, your loving Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L34

Transcribed by Barry Shelby, Museum Visitor Assistant

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