On Break until Feb. 1

Y’all, I just launched a book (Masks Misinformation and Making Do, about Appalachian healthcare workers during the pandemic) and am busy with two contracted books and two books I’m trying to get through my agent to a publisher. In short, the blog is on a brief hiatus. We will be back February 1. If you have sent a Monday book you’ve written or reviewed, all of these will run, starting in February.

Also, Jack should be putting up a blog today, then give us a couple of weeks to get some design work done and some catch-ups played before we come back. Thanks everyone. Sometimes we just need to give something a little time off in order to rejuvenate it.

A Lad o Pairts – –

Jack is late again – –

I love the Scots language and never miss an opportunity to explain the difference between Scots and English.

There’s one Scots phrase – a lad o pairts – that describes perfectly a particular old friend. It means someone who is excellent at many different skills.

Davy Lockhart was a lad o pairts – an acclaimed artist, fiddle player and poet. He was a central member of my old folk band ‘Heritage’ and traveled all over Europe with us from start to finish and always carried his paints and brushes in an inherited old WW2 kit bag along with his fiddle.

Hanging on our living room wall is my favorite Lockhart painting. It’s his take on the ancient story of Persephone as a Scottish lassie wearing a Kilmarnock bunnet.and with a rather thoughtful Pluto.

Shortly after he finished it he stumbled across a poem by Elspeth Buchanan who had been a student at Edinburgh College of Art at the same time as him. It is in Scots and on the same subject – a perfect match!

Persephone by Elspeth Buchanan

When I was there I gied Hell a richt red up,

Put a spoke in Ixion’s wheel,

Shone up Tantalasus’s tassie,

Telt Orpheus there’s nae lookin back.

I suin pit the peter on Cerberus,

That tyke wis jist needin telt,

Lets me bye noo, baith in an oot,

Wi oot worryin ony o his heeds.

Coorse Hades himself wis fair bumbazoolt,

Never kent that Hell could be that tidy.

Och! Niver mindit the puir brute,

A wee bit houghmagandie an a clean sark eence a week –

He’s weel content.

But ye ken whit mithers are, siccan a tuzie!

Nebody guid eneuch for her dochter.

Sae deilkens, it’s up bye

Tae gie her a haun wi her spring cleanin –

An suffer a hauf year o her flytin,

An I maun board the ferry back tae ma ain guidman,

Whaur he sits fidgin fain –

Neen the waur o sax months taiglement.