Author Archives: wendywelch

Hope Springs – –

Jack’s Wednesday guest post is on Thursday again – – –

I was thinking about this blog post yesterday and going to do it about various hopeful small building projects we had planned on doing until Covid 19 hit. We had planned to have the bathroom remodeled and create a small laundry room and even had thoughts of an added room. But all that has had to wait!

Now that Wendy and I have had our two vaccine shots we can look forward to being less nervous about socializing and that means we can call on more expert friends to help, as they did when we erected the pergola on our back deck. They can also sit under the pergola now!

Two of them were able to visit yesterday and, socially distanced, added their knowledge and brain cells to our general thinking going forward. The idea of the extra room was dumped when they pointed out that our log cabin jail in the back yard IS our extra room. So what would have been the laundry room will be built, but to house the freezers that are currently in the jail. That will create room there where we can also house a wood burning stove in case it’s needed in winter. Once the freezers have moved out we can put a bed in there and it can become again Wendy’s writing studio combined with an extra guest room. The washing machine can stay where it is in the corner of the kitchen and we got rid of the dryer a while ago. We even have a composting toilet waiting to be installed in the jail too – en suite!

But in the process of composing this a certain phrase crossed my mind – one of the reasons for delay was ‘a shortage of lumber’. Now, for Scotsmen of my age that has a completely different meaning than here in the US. On a Saturday night, back in the 1950s and 60s young men would go to the local dance hall in hopes of ‘getting a lumber’ – engaging with a young woman in hopes of finding a secluded corner for some ‘slap and tickle’. There was rarely much tickle and a great many slaps.

I’m continually finding yet more differences between British English, Scots English and American English!

But, back to the subject – although I was head of the construction trades department at a college in Scotland for a number of years, my own specialty is painting and decorating. So I’m not comfortable with anything else, and particularly with plumbing or electrical. The area where the freezer room is going already has a double electrical outlet and they won’t need water or a drain, so easy. The first job I tackled when we had our bookstore was to convert a carport into an enclosed garage, and this is similar but smaller. An area with an existing concrete floor and a small deck above supported by pillars. Make the deck into a roof, create insulated walls and add a door. What could possibly go wrong – – –

Shift the freezers then get the wood burning stove and install it. What could possibly go wrong – – –

Create a toilet suite in the jail. What could possibly go wrong – – –

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Filed under between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

The Monday Book

The Folk River – Fraser Bruce

Previewed by Jack Beck

I’m married to an author, so it’s hardly surprising that I’ve seen many books as they have gestated.

This one is different, though, because it’s by an old friend who isn’t my wife – –

It is a book that is still in the making, although I (along with many others) have had some input. Fraser wanted to write about a particular period of history in which I played a part – the early days of the emergence of folk song clubs in Scotland in the 1960s.

He started researching and found that many of the accepted stories about those days weren’t really true. Time had played tricks with folks’ memories and an alternative history was beginning to emerge. So he took on the important, but enormous task of writing the real one, by talking directly to the people who had been there and were still around. I was honored to be one.

As I write this the manuscript is being proofed and tidied by another old friend and the finished book should be published later this year.

My contribution has been mostly providing information about the early days of the local folk club in my home town of Dunfermline which started in 1961 and has continued right up to the present.

Many people have supplied Fraser with firsthand accounts of other clubs that sprang up all over Scotland in the early 1960s. It’s clear that the work he has done on this over the last year has been very time consuming but he tells us that he is pleased with the outcome.

The emergence of these Scottish clubs mirrored what was happening in the US and England around the same time, but there was a particular ‘flavor’ to the scene in Scotland.

While my contribution and communication with Fraser has been entirely electronic, I know that earlier last year he traveled all over the country gathering insights from dozens of people.

In addition to the proofing of the text, Pete Heywood of Living Tradition magazine is assembling and scanning a large number of photos which will augment the book.

The book will be welcomed not only by the folk who were part of the story, but also those who have emerged since and kept the folk river flowing. In the words of Hamish Henderson “the carrying stream”.

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Filed under between books, book reviews, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, publishing, reading, Scotland, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch