Time marched on. Suzanne looked up into the blue sky and saw a bird up high. But the bird was blowing a line of smoke from its back and its wings did not flap. What was it?
She remembered her childhood, when the Great death came. Each of her grandparents, and her mother were gone in a week. Her father tried to raise her, but he had to work and earn money. So he was always away in the woods, cutting and sawing for people who could not gather firewood. They lived in an old house. Central heating did not work, no one knew how to fix it, and there was no longer a gas supply.
She looked up again, the bird, or whatever it was, had flown over the horizon, and the smoke was disappearing into the beauty of the blue sky.
Over in Omereca, a man stood by a screen, his hand hovering over the red button. Yes or no? He had the choice. The clock was running down. Would he press and destroy everything?
His aide ran in as the clocked ticked to 11.55pm.
Sir, he said quietly, the plane, its come back! They have images, there are people there, they saw woodsmoke.
The Restidebt took his hand away slowly from the button. Now we start to rebuild he said as they left the room together.
We went to see a production of Almost a Sacred Duty tonight. A play and presentation at the New Vic theatre. The start was a brief history of what had happened in 1918 by a local historian. This was followed by a play with people from the present and three characters from one hundred years ago. It was about the Minnie pit disaster in 1918, the 18 months it took to find the 156 bodies of men and boys working in the mine who died in the disaster and about 80 miners who survived.
The inquest was held in 1919 after the last body was found. After the hearing, which took weeks, the conclusion was that dust in the mine had contributed to the explosion although nobody was found accountable.
The people acting were playing present day residents who were commemorating the disaster and also played people from 1919 who were at the inquest. The whole thing was only about 45 minutes long but it was really good.
Jim Worgan is a mining historian who gave a short presentation.
Sue Moffat wrote the play and it was directed by Anna Poole. There were three professional actors plus a community cast and the play was supported by the Minnie pit centenary commemoration group, the heritage fund, and New Vic borderlines.
The play used information from William Cooke, a local historian and writer who had given permission to use his book ‘The Minnie pit : Disaster and Controversy”.