WW100 part two
For the story so far see my blips for 29 April and 4 May.
There was a public exhibition of artefacts and information connected with the events being commemorated in Port Ellen today. The children of Islay had made 1010 clay figures, representing the men who died from the Tuscania and Otranto plus those from Jura and Islay killed in WWI. It was a breathtaking moment to walk into the hall to be confronted with this display.
Elsewhere, extra 1 shows some of the fifty seven flags made by Islay's quilting and sewing group. One flag for each US state, and one for each European nation represented amongst the dead.
Extra 2 is the original flag, made by the women of Islay, to honour the American dead at the funerals in 1918. I had previously misunderstood this part of the story. It appears that on the day before the first funeral it was discovered that the island did not possess an American flag to drape over the coffins. So the women worked through the night to make a flag, which was used and re-used as each coffin was carried to its place of rest. The flag was take to America afterwards, and kept in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. It has been returned to Islay at considerable expense, for the WW100 event, and is on display in the Museum of Island Life in Port Charlotte. I have deliberately tried to keep the colours as they are in this photo, to show how little it has faded in 100 years, having been kept away from the light.
Extra 3: Did I mention there was a harp in our cottage? No, Roy, I don't think you did. Oh, right, well there's a harp in our cottage. It is called Fairy Cottage (the cottage, not the harp), and is adjacent to Fairy Hill. It appears the cottage owners are regarded as rather eccentric, and are said to believe in fairies. They have built a tiny door in the drystone wall surrounding the cottage to allow the fairies access to the garden. Which doesn't explain the harp, but gives context. The lady of the house plays violin and harp, and takes both instruments to the shore to play to the seals. Quite what the seals think of this I couldn't say, but I have been told the story enough times to have a good idea of what the islanders think. I assume they keep the harp in the cottage to absorb fairy magic to transmit to the seals.
- Sony ILCE-7M2