Category Archives: Life reflections

Play Misty for Me – – –

Jack’s Wednesday guest post – better late than Thursday –

For over twelve years I’ve been compiling, producing and presenting a radio show called ‘Celtic Clanjamphry’ that now airs on two NPR stations here in the US and a community station in Scotland.

For the last few years, instead of traveling down to the parent station in Tennessee, I was recording these at a good friend’s home studio a couple of hours away. We usually do five at a time and then my colleague and excellent engineer Dirk sends them to the station by DropBox. I usually put together all the music for each program in a file in the order it will play and send these to him, then record all the links etc. in his studio. I use my extensive music collection plus promo CDs and such sent by bands in the Celtic world.

When the pandemic put a stop to our gathering, I set up with a soundproof box in the pre-Civil-War jail behind our house. Wendy didn’t mind sharing her writing studio…..

Using this method, I still send the music to Dirk ahead of time; he checks and lets me know how much time I have for the links, station idents etc. Of course he had to advise me on how to make a recording clean enough to work. All part of the team effort. But we do miss the face to face teamwork.

Dirk and I come to the music from very different directions, so sitting across from each other in his studio while recording the links was a very social thing, with much chatting back and forward. That added a lot to the atmosphere of the show and we both miss that enormously. We’re both hoping that it won’t be too long before we can get back working that way again!

When I was first invited to start the show I had no idea it would still be going after twelve years or that it would end up on multiple stations. But it’s a labor of love for both Dirk and me as we’re both big fans of NPR so we’re happy to provide the show as our contribution of support.

Celtic Clanjamphry can be heard as follows – – Sunday 9pm and on-line – Monday 8pm and Saturday 10am and on-line – Sunday 6pm

The above times are US Eastern Time

Alive Radio 107.3 (Scotland) – Monday 9pm and Thursday 5am and on-line

The above times are UK times (5 hours later than US)

My executive producer at WETS is Wayne Winkler who for some reason continues to have faith in me.

My desk jockey and engineer Dirk Wiley does films as an independent producer; you can see some of them here:

Finally – all these stations need your support so if you listen to them at all please consider supporting them as they need it more and more.

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

Sense and Sensibility – –

Jack fails again – so the Wednesday post is stumbling into Thursday – –

With no sign of the pandemic easing any time soon, I continue to remain mostly housebound with only a two weekly run to the recycling station with our garbage to break the monotony. Although actually it’s not the least bit monotonous! The old saying is that ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ and so I have found that getting our bedraggled vegetable garden into shape and keeping the veggies watered takes up a fair bit of time.

Of course once the crop is in it has to be stored, eaten or canned, and that’s also proved interesting. First were the initial lot of peas (eaten of course), then the onions (hanging up in the garage), while all along I’m picking tomatoes as they ripen (eaten and canned). The potatoes were a no show but we have kale, carrots and beets. Walnuts too of course!

The aim is partly to avoid the need to spend time in shops and partly to become as self-sufficient as possible. We have a limited number of friends that we feel safe interacting with as we’re confident in their understanding of the protocols required to stay safe. Luckily they also have home grown produce so we can barter too.

We have relaxed our strict weekly cleaning of floors and surfaces a bit, but when Wendy comes in from delivering PPE or shopping, her clothes go straight into the washing machine, she has a shower and I bleach mop the floor and wipe her phone and car key.

The hardest thing is not being able to freely socialize with all our friends –

A close one is recovering from cancer surgery right now and in order to spend a day visiting him we will be in quarantine for two weeks beforehand as the last thing he needs is Covid 19 as well.

While we are taking this seriously and adjusting our lives accordingly we constantly see examples of folk doing the exact opposite. The motor cycle gathering in Sturges, the gospel singing event at Breaks Park and shoppers here in Wytheville – none making any attempt to wear masks or socially distance. Colleges and schools are being pressured to reopen so that parents can be levered back to work. Already there are new outbreaks that have resulted in colleges closing again and sending students back home where there will surely be more spikes.

But what probably bothers me most are the poor souls living in inner city apartments with no yards or gardens but who are doing their best to stay healthy.

Meanwhile we discover that Trump has admitted to downplaying the seriousness of this, which no doubt plays well in in this part of America, as the picture above amply demonstrates!

What I guess we’re all praying for now is a vaccine, but even with one, I doubt whether we’ll get back to what used to be ‘normal’!


Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, Life reflections, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch