Jonathan: This morning, over breakfast, Denise and I were talking about the enduring value (or not!) of old TV programmes. “Who on earth”, I said, “would want to watch an old episode of” … “The Black & White Minstrel Show?” Denise butted in. Amazing – exactly what I was going to say! But what I’d wanted to say as an example of the opposite, namely a programme that I would gladly watch again, was the series Look Stranger, made in the early 1970s, which looked at the distinctiveness of life around the UK – especially rural communities. It was a long-running series, though I only got to see it occasionally. I liked what I saw – it left a lasting impression. And a good one.
After breakfast I went up to the office to search for Look Stranger on the internet, and to my great surprise found that there were many references to it, and a number of clips available on the BBC website. And, astonishingly, the first one I clicked on turned out to feature Eriskay! Even more astonishingly, it is of Bun a Mhullin, – and the still picture fronting it is of our croft, showing the old houses!
In this shot from that programe – the title frame, the house in mid distance left is the old house where now the new Carrick – The Blue House stands, and on the far right is the old house – the seann taigh, now in ruins and soon to be demolished completely. For the first time we now see it had three dormers.
In the next clip we get a glimpse of the old byre behind the seann taigh – still with its roof thatched. When we acquired the croft tenancy in 2008, this old byre was nothing more than rectangle of low stone walls – full of waste and huge lumps of coal (possibly rescued from the SS Politician). We cleared it out and built up a timber superstructure with a corrugated steel roof.
I can’t include any video in this post, which is a pity. You’d see many old thatched buildings, and houses that then appeared to be in good repair, but which are now ruinous or all but vanished entirely.