A House or a Home – –

Jack fails again to get his Wednesday post up in time –

Wendy and I have moved house six times so far and it’s always taken us a while to get each one organized to our liking.

Our current abode/house/home

We started out in a small ground floor apartment in Rosyth in Fife and there wasn’t much choice there, with just a sitting room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and guest room. Then we moved to the wee village of New Gilston at the other end of the county and into what had been the schoolhouse. We were there for five years and it took almost all of that time before we finally decided which rooms suited which purpose!

After that to Padiham in Lancashire, England and a gatehouse built in 1790. It had been extended over the years and with lots of nooks and crannies. Once again we had two small spare rooms and once again it took almost until we left before we finalized which room was a home office and which was the guest room.

From there to White Springs in Florida and although the house had an obvious sitting room/dining room/kitchen, there were two bedrooms and again it took us a long time to decide which was which and which could also be a home office.

Continuing to Big Stone Gap Virginia and our bookstore, where we lived for fourteen years. The house was enormous and we started out living in the top story but over time that became part of the bookstore and our sitting room there became the ‘2nd Story Café’. I eventually converted our very dark and dingy basement into our bright and cozy apartment.

Finally here we are in Wytheville Virginia and in a lovely, well cared for, old house again. The lady we bought it from left a great bed and dresser in the main bedroom upstairs (mainly because probably she couldn’t get them out). So for the first couple of years we left things pretty much ‘as is’, including the well cared for back yard. In other words we continued to live in someone else’s house!

But now we’re beginning to make it our home and doing all kinds of changes that the poor previous owner would probably not approve of, although she might like the extended vegetable garden.

I suppose the message for today is that a house can become a home, but it can sometimes take quite a while!

Divided by a Common Language – –

Jack sprints over the line with his Wednesday guest post – –

It may have been when we were traveling all over the country promoting Wendy’s book about our bookstore that we drove up through Ohio and decided to visit her aunt. We knew that we needed to turn left off the main road just after a railroad crossing but didn’t realize that were two of these fairly close. We took the wrong one and got lost!

Shortly after that a police car drew up and Wendy sent me over to talk to him. As soon as he heard my voice he said his name was Livingston and I said that’s a town in Scotland. We got into a conversation about where his folks might have originated. He got on the phone to his office and quickly established where Wendy’s aunt Lelah’s house was. Then he put his flashing lights on and conducted us right to her door.

A couple of years later we were booked for a festival in West Virginia but I didn’t realize as we left early in the morning to head into Kentucky for another gig that the speed limits were different. I was driving and Wendy was dozing as I noticed flashing lights behind. Should I stop, I asked her? We were driving the car we owned and left for us to use when in the US that was legally registered by her parents, but my driver license was British.

At that time a British driver license was a very large piece of pink paper folded up into a small space.

I’m sure you can imagine the conversation that started with – keep your hands on the wheel – –

As I moved from keeping my hands on the wheel to gripping it ever more tightly he was trying to make sense of someone with a British license driving a car with Tennessee plates speeding in Kentucky and with no photo ID! Wendy eventually had to start interpreting and translating. The cop headed back to his car shaking his head.

After quite a long time he came back, carefully folded my license and said this is far too much trouble, but remember it’s 65 in Kentucky!

It can sometimes be helpful to have a Scottish accent and other times not so much.