Category Archives: crafting

Timing is Everything – – –

Jack just gets over the line this time with the Wednesday blog post –

Wendy has always wanted a grandfather clock and we were gifted one by a local friend a few days ago. It now stands proudly in our library room.

But it got me thinking about time, both in general and in more specific ways.

I’ve always been interested in the way we experience time. When I was ten, then ten years was my whole life, but when I was twenty it was half my life. Now that I’m approaching eighty it’s an eighth of my life and the last ten years have gone in a blink.

All of this also brings to mind particular moments in time too – we have paintings and photos displayed around the house that are like time machines and instantly transport me back.

Up until recently our lives have been ordered by the days of the week but now, during lock-down I have real trouble deciding which day of the week it is. Mostly each day has the same shape to it and we go to some lengths to introduce some variety, but still – – –

We have a Zoom meeting every Sunday with friends here in the US and others in Scotland – here it’s at 9 am but in Scotland it’s 2 pm. Our good friend Liz Weir in Ireland hosts a massive on-line session every Saturday night with folk all over the world, but for many participants it isn’t Saturday night – for some not even Saturday at all!

Finally – we picked our first garden peas yesterday and I was instantly transformed to the ten year old walking home with my grandad from his allotment (victory garden) and eating peas from a freshly picked pod.

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, crafting, folklore and ethnography, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

Revolutionary Thoughts – – –

Jack easily makes it in time again – –

I really don’t want to write anything about Covid 19 so last week I wrote about my wee parlor guitar. This week it’s about a different and equally beloved piece of musical equipment –


Many years ago I had a hankering for a wind-up gramophone (phonograph over here). So Wendy announced before one Christmas that we were going on a trip. She had done some research and found a gentleman who collected and sold ‘old technology’. He lived in a big old mansion house south of Edinburgh and he welcomed us graciously when we arrived.

The basement area was a warren of passages and side rooms that were probably originally cold storage for food etc. Each room had a different kind of ‘stuff’ – radios, TVs (including mechanical Baird Televisors), Medical equipment, telephones, scientific instruments – and on and on!

Eventually we reached the room with gramophones. Everything from old cylinder machines to 1960s Dancettes.

I had already gathered a fair collection of old 78 rpm records, everything from old Scottish traditional performers to Glenn Miller. But I wanted the kind of machine they were intended to be played on.

We chose a lovely old HMV machine and agreed a price. The gentleman then insisted on giving us a free box of needles too (I still have most of them).

For any readers not familiar with these machines – the turntable is driven by a powerful spring which is wound tight by the handle on the side. The needle picks up the sound vibrations and a diaphragm makes them audible, then feeds the sound to a horn. In my gramophone the horn is built in and opens behind two doors on the front. The doors are, effectively, the volume control. There are two levers beside the turntable, one controls the speed of rotation and the other is a brake which turns the rotation off or on. There’s no electricity involved at all.

The great thing is that my old 78s sound exactly as they should.

I often wonder about the previous owners, what they played on it and whether it had pride of place in their houses – I like to think it did, just like here!


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