Category Archives: Scotland

Where Have all the Flowers Gone

Jack with the Wednesday guest post – –

I’m very slow to anger (as Wendy will testify) but I am angry today.

The school shooting in Texas is just the latest of many here in the US that always take me back to 1996 and the Dunblane event in Scotland where 16 small children were killed plus their teacher. Following this the UK government introduced a ban on private ownership of guns except in very regulated circumstances. This law passed easily despite an objection from now Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said then “nanny confiscating toys”!

I was a teacher at the time, in a local community college, and had no fear that anyone with a gun would come in and threaten my students, even as the tragedy of the day unfolded.

But the Governor of Texas says the answer is to arm the teachers!! Of course he is heavily financially backed, like many others, by the gun makers in the guise of the NRA. Their marketing ploy is to appeal to the ‘frontier spirit’ and the 2nd amendment as well as pushing any conspiracy theory that helps.

In the words of Pete Seeger – “when will we ever learn?”


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

A things (may) Come tae an End – –

Jack gets to do the Monday book and his usual Wednesday guest post while Wendy’s at a conference –

Two things are sadly coming to an end –

  1. After nearly fifteen years our annual small group tours of Scotland and Ireland are coming to a finish. The last one, of the highlands and islands should have taken place in 2020 but Covid got in the way. In addition, my friend, co-host and driver Colin died suddenly and unexpectedly. The pressures of organizing the tours had also already begun to take its toll on me so it was time.

But we have many great memories and have made many friends along the way.

  • When Wendy came to Scotland and we married, one of the friends she inherited was Pete Heywood, who had started a very high quality folk music magazine called The Living Tradition. It has been going for over thirty years and is recognized as one of the best covering the traditional music of the British Isles. Wendy helped Pete with grant applications and for a few years was the education editor for the magazine. More recently Pete’s daughter Fiona took over control and we started writing a regular series of articles called Transatlantic Connections. That’s been great fun. But this morning I received an email telling me that the next edition will be the last one. The pressures of producing and publishing a print magazine are enormous compared to organizing a tour!

As I was writing this my phone rang and it seems that my radio show may be picked up by other stations – there’s always light at the end of the tunnel!


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