Category Archives: between books

Home Economics – –

Jack gets there on time again – woohoo!

Sometimes we can be really stupid!

A couple of days ago Wendy went to re-heat her coffee in the microwave oven. Alas, when she pressed the button she heard a ‘phut’ and it died. We both tried various things including un-plugging it and re-plugging it. Still nothing. Our trusty microwave was dead.

The original one with the dead outlet behind!

So we debated at length about the next strategy, because what American household will last long without its favorite coffee reheater? We checked out models on Amazon and various regional box stores, and eventually decided she should see what the local Walmart had in stock. We could get a cheap one there to keep us going and maybe later get a better one via Amazon.

She hadn’t been out of the house for ten days because of a bad cold, etc. (not Covid, test was negative!) so she was gone for some time enjoying a little retail therapy. I don’t worry too much about Wendy’s retail therapy sessions because they tend to center around cheap stuff we will for the most part use. Mostly.

This time she eventually came home with—along with a half-price pack of underwear for me, a clearance scented candle for her, yarn (I pretended not to notice) and assorted bags of “I am going to can this” reduced produce items—a $60 microwave oven.

We man-handled (actually man-and-woman-handled) the defunct machine off the shelf and I got the new one up and plugged it in. Went to set the clock. Nothing happened. I looked for an on button to no avail then read the instruction booklet, but still no information.

Finally, in desperation I plugged it into a different outlet and it immediately lit up.

Hhhmmm – so I cleaned the original microwave thoroughly and got it up on the shelf and plugged it into the alternative outlet and bingo! It lit up – –

So we now have a cheap oven for Wendy’s upstairs office and I have the task of investigating the outlet – or maybe our good friend Leroy-the-Electrician will have to be called yet again. Wendy says the idea of me taking on electricity during a COVID surge that limits emergency room services and might require running a gauntlet is, to use her word, frightening.

Neither of us is interested in going back to Walmart this month: Wendy because her sniffles have returned, me because, scented candles, clearance underwear, yarn….

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

For Auld Lang Syne – –

Jack’s Wednesday guest post is on time for a change – –

It’s really great to re-connect with an old friend and it’s always interesting how it comes about.

Another old friend Fraser Bruce was researching for a book he’s just published about the early days of the folk music scene in Scotland in the 1950s and 1960s. One of his informants was me and another was Andy Hunter.

Andy was an important early folk revival singer of old ballads he learned from the great Jeannie Robertson when he was attending Aberdeen University. He also wrote many songs in a traditional style.

He eventually moved to live near me in Fife and we became close friends. When he recorded an album of ballads and songs in the 1980s I was honored to be asked to accompany him on guitar on some of the songs. Around that time he was one of the folk who began planning the degree program in Scots music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow (now The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and he invited me to be the external examiner in Scots song.

Also around that time Jeannie’s daughter Lizzie Higgins would stop off at Andy’s house on her way either south or north and he’d invite me over, so another big connection. Lizzie recorded one of Andy’s best known songs – ‘Up and awa wi the Laverock’ on one of her albums. That was a song I accompanied Andy on when he made his.

He was a professor of French at one of the Universities in Edinburgh and eventually moved to France some years ago and I had lost touch which was a great sadness to me.

I’m glad to say that he is active as a folklorist and piper and living in his beloved Brittany.  And we are back in touch.

He played a quiet but important role in the beginnings of the folk music scene of the 1960s in Scotland and continues to do so – –

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