Category Archives: between books

With a Little Help – –

Jack makes it on time again – –

Our bathtub and bathroom sink hadn’t drained for a few weeks (don’t worry, we had alternatives).

When our current problem arose we didn’t want to trouble Leroy , a good friend retired from the plumbing trade who has bailed us out (no pun intended) in the past. So we asked our local friends here in Wytheville if they could recommend someone. Wendy (a different Wendy who lives nearby and enjoys our flowers on her walks) came back very quickly with a suggestion. Within a day the local plumber arrived. He worked hard but eventually had to admit defeat after sending his snake down every orifice in the tub to no avail.

To his credit he never once uttered a swear word, because Wendy (my Wendy, you know, the lives-here one not the sniffs-flowers one) had a Zoom meeting.

He promised to phone a friend, another plumber who worked for a different company. As he was about to leave without charging us, I asked him if he did electrical work too and he duly set to and fixed the two non-working outlets in the kitchen. In essence, he charged us. Get it? Oh, never mind.

A couple of days later the second plumber arrived with a helper and they also got going, but this time with an electrical snake that would brook no denials. They also tried every bathtub orifice and came up empty—although the bathtub came up with several inches of black gunge. I was glad Wendy (mine) was on another Zoom so she couldn’t see what was happening to her beloved bathtub.

They finally had a look at the sink and sent the now frustrated snake down under there. It came back triumphantly bearing gifts – chewed up hair and soap. I am pretty sure it was singing Eye of the Tiger beneath its load.

The message of this is how friends can help in various ways and plumbers and their snakes can actually be friends too!

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

Where Have all the Flowers Gone

Jack with the Wednesday guest post – –

I’m very slow to anger (as Wendy will testify) but I am angry today.

The school shooting in Texas is just the latest of many here in the US that always take me back to 1996 and the Dunblane event in Scotland where 16 small children were killed plus their teacher. Following this the UK government introduced a ban on private ownership of guns except in very regulated circumstances. This law passed easily despite an objection from now Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said then “nanny confiscating toys”!

I was a teacher at the time, in a local community college, and had no fear that anyone with a gun would come in and threaten my students, even as the tragedy of the day unfolded.

But the Governor of Texas says the answer is to arm the teachers!! Of course he is heavily financially backed, like many others, by the gun makers in the guise of the NRA. Their marketing ploy is to appeal to the ‘frontier spirit’ and the 2nd amendment as well as pushing any conspiracy theory that helps.

In the words of Pete Seeger – “when will we ever learn?”


Filed under between books, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch