(excerpt from book)
‘My Aunt Rena was born into a crofting community at Durnamuck in Wester Ross in 1927. Her parents were Mary and Kenny MacGregor. Kenny was from Durnamuck but Mary (née MacSwan) came from Waternish in Skye.
At the end of 1942, [her sister] Ella gave Rena a 1943 diary as a present…[which gives us] a fascinating insight into the everyday life on a Highland croft during the middle of the Second World War.
During this documented year, Rena stayed mainly at home apart from seasonal work over the summer at Gruinard House, just south of Durnamuck, fulfilling the duties of a general maid. In 1943, [her brother] Sonny worked at Balnagore and Balnagown farms, near Tain in Easter Ross, producing food supplies for the war effort. Ella too had seasonal jobs but would travel south to join up with Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).
This diary provides a glimpse through a porthole of Rena’s life at that time. However, the diary’s incomplete; it starts and ends abruptly. Because it doesn’t provide the full picture, I have added annotations in the diary chapter to make it more complete. I don’t purport to being a historian, but I have tried my utmost to give as accurate an account as possible on the information available. I felt that if I didn’t document Rena’s words, this period of life in Little Loch Broom would have dispersed into the ether.’