Category Archives: between books

With a Little Help – – –

Jack’s Wednesday guest post makes it on time again – –

Per Ardua Ad Astra (through struggle to the stars)

It may seem strange to be constructing a covered pergola on our back deck when we’re still in lock-down and there’s no end in sight. One reason is that we already had planned to do this and another is that we have the time right now. Finally, it encourages us to look forward to entertaining friends once things eventually settle down.

Many friends make light work

One advantage of the current situation is that most stores are doing home deliveries just now, so I’m very glad that the very heavy large and awkward box was carried by the driver and his helper right to where it was needed.

We got an Allen and Roth 12′ x 10′ gazebo from Lowes – it is well designed and sturdy. The instructions are mostly clear and where they aren’t it’s not hard to work out what to do. I would recommend this if you’re looking for something similar. It took us three days of leisurely work – maybe 8 hours total and needs at least 3 people.

It was delivered last Friday and I began the assembling of the various sections of frame on Saturday. Then on Sunday four neighbors and myself bolted together all those sections including the roof frame. After a break on Monday when I screwed the four corner posts to the deck and made sure all the bolts were tight, some of the friends returned Tuesday and we got the roof fabric and side curtains on.

The most enjoyable part of the whole exercise for me was how friends we’ve made since moving here were so willing to set aside their own priorities to come and help. Not just muscle power but strategizing and instruction interpretation as well!

Et Voila!

With our three tables and chairs there’s room to accommodate a group of six folk while socially distancing, so it may not be so long before we can share our new space

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

Wha Daur Meddle wi ma Lingo – –

Jack’s Wednesday post makes it over the line in time – –

As Wendy continues to deliver masks, hand sanitizer and gloves around this corner of the world as well as trying to hit three publisher deadlines, I’m still holding the fort here on her blog. She is hoping to be back next week!!

I may have posted about this before, but language is something that fascinates me, and particularly my own Scots language. From an early age I have spoken a mixture of standard English and Scots. More recently, my singing of songs and ballads in Scots has probably made me even more aware and more knowledgeable. It didn’t hurt to have a grandfather living with us from my birth until I was fourteen who was a very natural Scots speaker.

Because of the ‘Scotch-Irish’ who were the main settlers here in Appalachia I’m often asked about my language and vocabulary whenever I sing at concerts or festivals. This is what I usually say – Scots and English are two different but related languages. Think of Spanish and Portuguese, or Danish and Norwegian. The same kind of relationship. Scots differs from English in many ways – sentence structure, vocabulary and pronunciation etc. It’s not simply a dialect of English.

The problem is that when the King James Bible was published English became the predominant written language throughout Britain, while Scots continued until very recently as only a spoken one. Over time and following the establishment of The United Kingdom Scots began to be regarded as a ‘sub-language’ and for anyone to succeed in life they had to master English.

So let’s take a look at some examples of Scots language alongside the English translation –

It’s a braw bricht moonlicht nicht the nicht (it’s a lovely bright moonlit night tonight).

Mony a mickle maks a muckle (lots of small things makes a big thing).

Ah kent his faither an clappit his dug (I knew his father and even patted his dog).

Through the historical connections over many centuries with other European countries, Scots has often borrowed words from Germany, France and Scandinavia. Kirk for Church (German), bigging for building (Scandinavian), ashet for large plate (French). There are also some imports from Gaelic such as whisky and loch.

Because Scots became a mainly spoken rather than written tongue various local versions developed over the years, So Aberdonian is quite different from Glaswegian or Fife.

Happily, following the re-convening of the Scottish Parliament there has been a greater effort to encourage a proper appreciation of my language in schools and colleges.

But something that still depresses me is when I see written passages with apostrophes to indicate supposed missing letters – continuing to suggest that Scots is just poorly pronounced English. No, it isnae ava.

If you’d like to find out more this is a great resource –


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