The South Loch Ness Heritage Group for their summer event held an exhibition, titled ‘Things we used to use’ which was staged in Stratherrick Hall on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd June 2018. Quite literally hundreds of utensils, tools and artefacts from the past were on show, filling the hall, but leaving plenty room to circulate and chat as well. All the exhibits were labelled, with photographs to show many of them in use, and committee members and friends of the Heritage Group were on hand to explain things and help everyone to wallow in nostalgia.
On the Friday, we had visits from those too young to experience nostalgia – the pupils of Foyers, Aldourie and Stratherrick Primary Schools. they particularly enjoyed demonstrations of musical instruments, a wind-up gramophone, a stirrup-pump (great chance to get wet!) dairy utensils and laundry equipment. Some of these items were outside, joining an old Ferguson tractor.
In the hall were exhibits relating to traditional activities of the area – such as farming, forestry and gamekeeping; cobblers’ and blacksmiths’ tools were on show too. Home and school were also well represented, with dozens of once-familiar (and quite a few still familiar) domestic items, plus school books, part of a desk (with inkwell) and the inevitable tawse! A popular feature was the mystery table, displaying twenty strange-looking objects! Most older visitors identified some of them, but only the most knowledgeable recognised the lot!
Joining our school visitors on Friday morning, and then in the afternoon and evening too, as well as on Saturday, was a steady stream of members of the public, some old friends and neighbours, but many visitors to the area too. Reactions were invariably most enthusiastic, and it is clear that, after a breather of a year or two, there will be demand for another similar event. We now have lists of the fascinating exhibits that many locals have in their homes, sheds and barns!
It’s always risky naming people who helped, either by contributing items or in storing, displaying or demonstrating them, because someone always gets left out. Suffice to say that this was a wonderful team effort, preparations for which started a couple of months before the exhibition itself. You all know who you are, so give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back!