Tag Archives: weather

It’SNOW Fair

Jack’s weekly guest post examines bookstore weather issues –

snow_day_008You would think that, coming from Scotland, I’d be used to wintry weather, but actually I lived in the lowlands, where the sub-zero temperatures made snow fairly rare. (One of the great ironies of winter weather isn’t it? In Scotland it’s too cold to snow!)

It was only when Wendy and I lived near St Andrews, by the sea and pretty high up, that we experienced the ‘February week long village cut-off’ and I thought I’d left even that behind when we moved to Appalachia.

But for the second year in a row we’re down near zero Fahrenheit and this time it’s been accompanied by a blizzard. Our front steps and path had to be dug clear on Tuesday morning and our cordon-bleu chef Kelley has been stuck in her house for three days, unable to get here to open The Second Story Cafe.

All this has put us into emergency mode; it’s days like this we’re glad we live as well as work here!

Yesterday we were able to offer free hot coffee and shortbread to hard-pressed town employees (or anyone else that had to be out and about) and we had a few takers (including a neighbor who very kindly cleared the snow of all the vehicles parked out front). Today I’ve prepared my signature veggie curry in case we have any desperate ‘lunchers’ willing to chance it.snow_day_004

For anyone who’s interested – onions, green and red peppers, carrots, mushrooms and golden raisins in a tomato sauce with Patak’s hot curry paste. Onions fried in olive oil, then everything else in and simmer for a couple of hours!

Among the other businesses close by is the local ABC store (Alcoholic Beverage Control – where you buy your liquor) and it’s been closed as well except for a brief spell yesterday afternoon – when it did a roaring trade. The rest of the time there were lots of disappointed folk – who probably headed to the supermarket for the strongest fortified wine they could find as an alternative.

But right now it’s snowing again – – –

I bought my whiskey Saturday, knowing what was coming. And judging by the brisk business we did Saturday before the blizzard started, a lot of smart people did the same with reading material. :]

Go by, mad snowstorm.DSCN1410


Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Hither and Thither and Whether the Weather

Jack’s weekly guest blog on something all Scots know a great deal about– bad weather

The last few days have seen me driving around a fair bit and, since we’re in the season of changing weather, checking the forecast pretty regularly. About four or five years ago we had a devastating tornado roar through the town taking off roofs and throwing big trees around like matchsticks, so a tornado watch alert has become a bit more of a big scary thing for me. More recently Wendy almost got caught in a very bad one that roared through East Tennessee and up into Virginia killing many people and practically destroying a number of towns and communities.

News reports starting coming in of serious damage and multiple deaths over to the South West of us a few days ago with indications that those tornado bearing storms were heading our way. On Monday the first local warnings began to appear and I went into ‘check the interactive map’ mode. Sure enough – there it was – a big angry looking swatch of red and yellow heading straight for us!

But there’s something odd about the way we sit behind the Cumberland Mountains that seems to regularly affect what happens to storms as they approach us from that direction. This one did what many do and split into two halves just before it got here. All we got was a brief gust of wind, very dark cloudy sky and a short blast of rain and that was it. One half went North of us towards Norton and Wise and the other half went South towards Pennington Gap and Duffield.

Later on Monday I had to go to an event near Pennington Gap and saw downed trees, scattered branches and flooded fields.

In Scotland, where I lived most of my life, although the weather can be unpredictable it’s rarely extreme. It does have storms and frequent high winds but rarely anything that would be life threatening.

It’s tempting to think that we are seeing the effects of climate change but I haven’t lived here long enough to know what the typical weather pattern is in this part of the world so my jury has to be out on that.

There is one Scottish saying that seems appropriate however – Ne’er cast a cloot ’til May be oot (don’t divest yourself of any clothing until after the end of May)


Filed under Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, publishing, Scotland, small town USA, VA, writing