This film is about Gesto house, a ruin on the Isle of Skye.
This film explores ageing, passing time and the fragility of narrative
Gesto house has been recorded as the oldest house that survives on Skye. It was apparently the first Skye house to have a slated roof with the slates tied on by heather. The house has long since lost its slates. It is listed on the ‘Buildings at risk’ register.
One of the last of the Macleod’s of Gesto, Kenneth Macleod of Gregornish, when he died in 1869 left £18000 to build a hospital. That hospital – Gesto hospital – is now also empty of life.
The title of this film “Is the old so ruined? You find you’re in a flock” comes from a poem by Robert Browning as included by A. S. Byatt in ‘Possession. A romance.’
I have included other quotes from ‘Possession”.
I have also included quotes from:
(1) ‘When they lay bare’ by Andrew Greig
(2) ‘The narrow road to the deep North” by Richard Flanagan
(3) ‘The black mirror’ by Raymond Tallis
(4) ‘J’ by Howard Jacobson
(5) ‘Living to tell the tale’ by Gabriel García Márquez
(6) ‘Sea room” by Adam Nicolson
Many thanks to Scott Naismith scottnaismith.com/ for allowing me to include a short extract of him painting Gesto with the Cullins behind. Please do have a look at Scott Naismith’s work as I reckon that it is exceptional: scottnaismith.com/
The film begins with audio of an old interview with the poet Iain Crichton Smith. In this excerpt Crichton Smith responds to the criticism he had from Edwin Morgan, later Machar. Morgan described Crichton Smith as a “narrow poet”. I am with Crichton Smith that such a charge is wrong.