A Greek Temple

Learning Greek


Returning to Education When I am Really Rather Old:

Starting to Learn Greek

You might remember that a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I plan to learn the languages that the Bible was originally written in—ancient Hebrew and Greek. I enrolled in a course at Spurgeon’s College, was accepted, and the term is now about to begin. It is a long time since I attended a college. It has all been very scary! These are the most terrifying points to date:

I was sent a message, which said I should email my course lecturer, Pieter Lalleman. I did so, and received a bemused reply saying he had no idea why I had been told to contact him, but hello anyway. I noticed in his reply that I had made the rooky error of addressing him as ‘Mr’ when he is actually a ‘Revd Dr.’ Augh! First mistake. He sounded friendly on email, so that was reassuring, though I am perturbed by his possible ethnicity—will I be learning Greek with a Dutch accent? I guess as it’s an ancient, and therefore ‘dead’ language, my accent won’t matter wherever Dr. Lalleman hails from.

I later received another email, saying we need to rearrange the timetable as one member of the class works on Thursdays. Wednesday was suggested, but I have my Mandarin lesson on Wednesdays—should I admit that I am learning another language or will that be seen as a conflict? I decided to say I was busy that day but not give a reason.

After much pondering, when a form arrived asking if I have any special needs, I indicated that I do (one of the diffy students, as my family put it). Since my brain surgery, there are a few things I cannot manage—like concentrating for more than about two hours without a break. But how to communicate that in a way that showed I was still an intelligent human, I simply need a ‘brain break’ to recharge? I therefore ticked the ‘special needs’ box, explained that this simply meant I might need to go and sit in my car for 20 minutes to recharge (I sounded like a synth in Humans!) and waited to see what would happen. A very nice email came back, saying they had made a note of my potential need, and I should let them know if I need anything. Very kind.

The college have their own website thing: Moodle and I was told how to log-on. This was extremely scary, as it is full of acronyms which I didn’t understand, and a complex array of colours and links. I looked at it, then shut it down again quickly.

The following day, I forced myself to log-on again and try to make sense of some of it. I managed to find the timetable for my course and printed it off (it is comforting to have something written on paper when you’re my age). This then directed me to some pre-course preparation that I was meant to complete.

I went back to Moodle, and watched the Principle giving a short speech (he has a very Christian voice, even directions about using the IT sounded like a sermon!) Logged off.

Returned when I had recovered, and found a short test that I needed to complete. It is a long, long time since I have done an exam. It was all done online, and it had to be completed within an hour, so there was a little clock ticking away in the corner of the screen to add a further element of stress. I didn’t know whether I could return to pages once they were complete, or if it would wipe my answers, so I tried to completely finish and proof-read each question before going to the next page. The time whizzed past. Husband was especially noisy, so I yelled at him to shut his door. A telephone rang. My pulse was racing, I forgot to breathe. But the questions were fine. Some were very quick (put the correct word into the space) and some took longer (add punctuation to an essay). It was all very churchy, but I guess that’s to be expected at a Bible college, even though it was an English test. I finished, within the hour, and sent it off. Went for a cup of tea.

Learning Greek

Greek Text Book

The next excitement was a parcel. I have been sent a ‘Teach Yourself New Testament Greek’ book (doesn’t show much faith in the tutor, but maybe they’re covering their backs!) It looks fabulous, and I am dying to dive in. The first chapter is called Read This First so of course I ignored that and flicked straight to the alphabet page. What fun! I am chanting every time I go upstairs now, it’s like teaching the children the alphabet when they were small, but without the annoying tune: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta…

When I did go back and read the first chapter, it was brilliant. As you know, when I was too ill to be able to do anything else, I learnt Mandarin. I was never able to learn languages at school, so I tried to teach myself differently, surrounding myself with the language and not worrying too much about making progress or understanding everything as I went. I now speak very bad, but pretty fluent, Mandarin (it’s good enough for me to have coffee with a friend who speaks no English and we manage pretty well to discuss our children and mothers-in-law). Anyway, this book suggested all the things I had discovered as a way to learn a language—like not trying to completely understand everything before moving on to the next thing (the opposite of how you would learn maths) and attempting to read things that are ‘too difficult’ so your brain can work them out, and not studying for too long because the brain assimilates information when you are ‘resting’ rather than studying. I was very excited! I went and bubbled about it to Husband. He has now set a time limit on how long I am allowed to tell him about my Greek lessons. But that doesn’t matter, because I can tell you instead.

I will let you know in a future blog how my Orientation Week and first lectures go. It’s all being done virtually this semester, so I’m planning to wear my killer heels and a pink wig.

Hope you have some excitement this week too. Thanks for reading.

Take care.

Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson

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cockerel and hen

A Confused Cockerel and other complaints. . .


He Fancied His Mother, So We Named Him Pharaoh

cockerel and hen

Hello, how are you getting on with this very strange year of 2020? I keep thinking I am used to it—I  have come to terms with the fact that every book-signing and fair has been cancelled this year and I really am not going to be selling many books—and then something else is cancelled, and all the frustration returns. I am obviously not alone, because our town is planning to have an ‘open day’ on 3rd October. It was planned through our town Facebook group (usually the place for people to rant about potholes and inconsiderate parking). Lots of people make crafts, or are artists, and we are all discouraged by the lack of places to sell our work. So, on the 3rd October, we are all going to place stalls at the end of our gardens, and people can walk or drive around town, looking at what’s on offer. To be honest, I doubt if I will actually sell any books, but it’s rather nice to have something in the diary, isn’t it?

Of course, all my animals are completely unperturbed by Covid-19. The ducklings are now on the pond, and—wonders!—they are all female. (You might remember that last spring, all my females flew away in the search of mates, and I was left with a pond full of obviously unattractive drakes.)

The chicks I hatched are a cross between the white Leghorn chickens and my grey Legbar. I am really hoping that the females will lay blue eggs, but they are still too little to lay at the moment. The Legbar cockerels are no more, as they started to get vicious. I only have one full-grown cockerel at the moment, and he is very beautiful but rather sad, as his mate died last week. He keeps running to all the places she used to go and calling for her—so my garden is very noisy at the moment. The relationship was a confused one, as she was also his mother, so I named him Pharaoh, because marrying siblings and fathering children with daughters seems to have been quite a thing in ancient Egypt. I was very confused when I was studying the lineage of the Pharaohs, as there are so many weird couplings—they have a very narrow family tree—it’s probably just as well many of them were sterile and the line died out.

We went to the beach last week. I was feeling depressed with life, so Husband rearranged his schedule, and we zoomed off to Camber with the dog. Kia loved it, and it ‘did my soul good’ as my granny would say, to see her running through the waves. When she had her twisted stomach at the start of the year (really—what an awful year this has been!) my fear was that after such a big operation, she would never enjoy life again. But I can report, that whilst she is beginning to feel her 13 years, Kia is still tremendously excited by sea and sand and seagulls.

On the way home, we had lunch in a pub (The King’s Head in Playdon). There was hand-santiser strategically placed, and the staff wore masks, and the tables were well spaced, and every customer had to leave their contact details. It all felt very safe, and encouraged me to think that eating out doesn’t have to be risky.

But then we went to Ashdown Park Hotel for lunch on Sunday, and that was entirely different! The staff did nothing at all to guard against Covid. They didn’t wear masks, we were given the same menu folders as other tables, they placed the food and drink directly on the table, and I wasn’t aware of any extra wiping or washing or screening at all. Such a shame, especially when they must be struggling to cover their costs and need customers to return. It was a lovely venue, but annoying they aren’t doing more to stop another peak.

My fears for society are reflected in the vocabulary in Mandarin I am learning so that I can chat with my friends:

Jingji weiji shi hen dou gongsi daobi, ye shi hen dou ren shiqu le gongzuo.

经济危机使很多公司倒闭,也使很多人失去了工作。

Which reminds me to tell you: I have decided to study ancient Greek and Hebrew. I often feel frustrated when I discover that something I thought I understood in the Bible has a completely different meaning when you look at the original language it was written in. I realise that if I don’t start to study the things I want to study now, then suddenly I will wake up and I’ll be too old. I have signed up for a course that begins at the end of September, and I am very excited about it. I shall tell you all about it when I start.

On another brighter note, the plum trees have loved the weather this year and my freezer is now full of plum crumble. When I walk, the hedgerows are teeming with blackberries and fat acorns are dropping from the trees. weird fungus There are also a whole new lot of weird fungus growing on my lawn. We might have had a rubbish year so far, but nature remains beautifully abundant.

I hope you have a positive week. Thank you for reading.

Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson

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The book by Olaudah Equiano.

Memoir of a Slave


Learning About the Slave Trade

The Life of a Slave

The Life of Olaudah Equino or Gustavus Vassa, The African
The book by Olaudah Equiano.

The book by Olaudah Equiano.

a square in Savannah.

Beautiful Savannah, with echoes of the slave trade whispering in every lovely square.

Way back when the world was normal, I went to Savannah in Georgia, US. You cannot visit the southern states without hearing the echoes of the slave trade, and I wrote about it in my blogs at the time: Blog about trip to Savannah here!

 I also found some books, written during the time of the slave trade, and I tried to learn why and how it had happened—what made people treat others like commodities? How did it ever become acceptable to own another human being?

One of the most enlightening books I discovered was written by one of the slaves. Olaudah Equiano was born a prince—the son of a chief—in the land of Eboe, which is now (I think) Eastern Nigeria. He was kidnapped when young, and sold as a slave and taken to the West Indies (the Caribbean) and then to the US. He managed to earn some money, and eventually bought his freedom and came to England. He learnt to read and write, married an English woman and wrote a book. This is the book I read, and it was illuminating.

The first copy I bought was a Kindle copy, and it read as if written in a different language and put through Google-translate. The language was difficult to understand, and I needed to read slowly and concentrate on extracting the meaning. But although it was slow, it also conveyed a sense of who Olaudah was, how he spoke, what he thought was important. It was hugely interesting to see how the language of 1789 has changed; for example, he spoke of making bricks that were “difficult” (meaning “hard”) enough to use for building.

I wanted to reread sections and make notes, so I later bought a paperback copy of the book. This didn’t have the charm of the ancient language, and when I read the small print, it said it was an “unabridged and slightly corrected republication” of the original. I much preferred the uncorrected version (so read the small print before you buy!)

So, what did I learn? Well, my first surprise was that in Eboe, while Olaudah was free, his family owned slaves. Slavery was common, it was how they punished people for things like adultery (though mainly only the women, as men were expected to have more than one sexual partner). This was shocking! Owning slaves was a normal part of African society.

Now, Olaudah justifies this, saying that the slaves were not mistreated, they were sometimes treated as part of the family and even, on occasion, married one of their master’s children. However, the fact is that they owned people, the slaves were not free to leave, they were forced to obey and had very few rights. It was used as a form of punishment, I guess the equivalent of today putting criminals in prison. The slaves could be sold, and although they mostly seem to have been treated well, they don’t seem to have had any rights. They were possessions.

The book describes other aspects of life in Eboe. They were very clean, they had strict hygiene rules, an organised society. When I compare this to the arguments used by slavers at the time, about removing ‘savages’ from an unstructured environment, it simply wasn’t true. These people were different, but their traditions and lifestyle were organised.

Olaudah and his sister were captured by slave-traders (Africans) and sold into slavery. It wasn’t unusual for young people to be kidnapped and sold as slaves, and it was something they feared even before it happened. For a while, he was owned by people in Africa, and although he longed to be free, he was not mistreated (if owning someone and making them do unpaid work and keeping them captive can be described as ‘not mistreated’!) Then he was sold again, to international traders, and put onto a slave ship. The things he described on the ship were barbaric, we would not allow animals to be transported in such awful conditions, and it’s not surprising that many of the slaves died before they even reached their destination. Olaudah describes his fears, especially of the white men, who at first he thought might eat him.

Gradually, even the abuses of the slave-traders became ‘normal’ and Olaudah stopped being terrified every time he sees a white person. He learns to speak English, and persuades someone to teach him to read.

Olaudah was sold several times, and he describes how slaves were often mistreated by their owners, their lack of rights, their complete lack of worth as humans. He describes a dispute with another owner (because sometimes he was hired out by his master, like we might let someone hire our lawnmower for a fee) and how the man said: “he would shoot me and pay for me afterwards.” The owners who hired him were less likely to treat him well, and sometimes he wasn’t fed or allowed to rest (they wanted their money’s worth!) There’s a section in the middle of the book when he describes some of the abuses, things that made difficult reading, like the owner who cut off a slave’s leg because he tried to run away. The law provided no protection, especially if the abuse was done as a means of ‘punishment’. In fact sometimes, the abused slave was expected to thank his master afterwards, to actually say thank you for teaching him to behave better. Even when a slave was abused for no reason, the law only stated: “…if any man shall out of wantonness or only out of bloody-mindedness, or cruel intention, wilfully kill a negro, or other slave, he shall pay into the public treasury £15 sterling.”

Married couples sometimes tried to hide their marriage, as an owner could force the husband to beat his wife ‘if she needed punishment’. Many children were born who were the off-spring of the owner, and they joined the slaves and were possessions, even though they were the children of the owner. Olaudah calls them “mulattoes” and they were shunned by the slaves as being “not properly black.” I have heard similar insults today, and it reminds me of the Jews, who have derogatory names for off-spring of Jew and non-Jew liaisons. Even the oppressed will oppress other people it seems. No race is above abusing another, everyone likes to think they are superior, every culture defends their own wrong practices.

All the time, Olaudah is planning to buy his freedom. He was a good sailor, and often went from island to island, and he used this to trade simple possessions like fruit or drink and gradually to build savings. He visited Philadelphia for a while, and saw Rev. George Whitfield preach. He writes:

“When I got into the church I saw this pious man exhorting the people with the greatest fervour and earnestness, and sweating as much as I ever did while in slavery on Montserrat-beach. I was very much struck and impressed with this; I thought it strange I had never seen divines exert themselves in this manner before.” Olaudah buys a Bible, and converts to Christianity.

Olaudah Equiano

An educated man, Olaudah bought his freedom.

When he had enough money, and after persuading his owner to sign the papers, he was free. He travelled to England, because the anti-slavery lobby there was gaining momentum, and he knew that a free black man in England had more rights than one in the US.

In England, he continues to work as a sailor, though he worries that hearing the crew swear all day will encourage him to swear too, and that this will mean he goes to hell. (The sermons preached in the 1700’s were slightly more ‘hell-fire-and-damnation’ than those preached today!) He describes working as a sailor, often alongside slaves even though he was a free man. When he was in Spain, some of the sailors were bitten by poisonous snakes, and were cured by the doctor who made them drink strong rum with a lot of cayenne pepper in it. (Might be a useful tip if ever bitten by poisonous snake—don’t blame me if it doesn’t work!)

After Olaudah had written his book (and become relatively well-known) he married Susannah Cullen, a woman who lived in Soham, Cambridgeshire. He added this detail to all subsequent printings of his book. The marriage certificate is in his other name: Gustavus Vassa (slaves were renamed by their owners, though he was beaten for refusing to accept new names as he grew older).

Throughout the book, Olaudah longs for the abolition of the slave trade. His dream is that instead, Britain will trade fairly with Africa, sharing wealth in exchange for resources. How sad is it, that today, in 2020, Britain still does not trade fairly with Africa. We are still unwilling to pay a fair price for our food, and clothing, we still prefer to use slaves—and we don’t feel guilty because we can’t see them—in return for ‘bargain’ prices. Blog about modern day slavery here.

I like to think the world is better, a fairer place, than it was in 1745. I like to think that all people are protected by laws, and that our complex society has moved away from making profit from other people’s abuse. But sometimes I wonder. . .

I hope no one abuses you today. Be kind.

Thanks for reading.

Love, Anne x

Next week, I will write about some more slaves I have been researching–those these lived centuries before Olaudah. They have been the subject of many stories and films and historical debate, and next week I’ll tell you what I have discovered.

Thank you for reading.
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Is It Worth Reading Reviews?


How to Get Book Reviews

Who Writes Book Reviews?

And are they worth it?

Do you check Trip Advisor before you choose a restaurant? Flick through the reviews on Amazon before you buy a book? Check out the comments before you buy that new kettle online? I do too. But we might not be reading what we think we are. And the flip-side, of course, is how does a lowly author persuade people to review their own books?

I recently saw a conversation on Twitter, where one author (well-known on Twitter, if not in bookshops) was laughing at authors who only have a handful of reviews. I kept very quiet, and hung my head in shame—I am one of those authors. It’s not that I don’t manage to sell books, I do. But however many people ‘promise’ to write a review, in actual fact it is about 1% of people who actually do. Therefore, when I see that Miss Twitter Author has 204 reviews, mostly 5* (and this is something often posted on Twitter by people advertising their books) well; why do I bother? It makes me want to curl up under the stairs with a Mars bar (which is not an uncommon feeling at the moment).

I belong to some Facebook groups for writers, and the people there are sometimes willing to read and review a new book. But even those people don’t always write a review when it actually comes to it! (Some do, and I am hugely grateful for the people who kindly gave their time to read my work and then review it.) But compared with 204 reviews? I am a worm.

However, all is not lost. I recently learnt that all these reviews might not be what they seem. It is possible that 204 reviews is not 1% of a LOT of sales, or that Miss Twitter’s books stimulate more reviews than mine, because it is possible to pay for reviews. I have been approached twice now, by different organisations, asking if I would like to pay to have my book reviewed. Maybe some of the books with a lot of reviews have paid for them!

It works like this: You agree to pay a fixed price (there are several packages to choose from) and then you send a digital copy of your book to a reader. The reader then posts a review, on either Goodreads, or Amazon, or both. They say they will be honest reviews, but I somehow doubt that an author will return to buy more from a site that has left them 1* reviews.

Is this fair? Well, I guess there’s nothing wrong with paying to advertise your work, and I suppose that reviews are sort of advertising. But I think most people assume the reviews are honest, written by unrelated readers who are giving honest feedback about a book. If someone has paid money, it feels less authentic.

 

This buying of reviews is not just limited to books. I know of businesses who pay professionals to manage their online image. This basically means that people are paid to write good reviews for restaurants they have never visited, and products they have never bought. I understand why it happens. If a restaurant has a bad review, it can influence whether new customers will visit. It is therefore part of good management to watch out for nasty reviews from competitors, or unfair reviews from Mrs Moan-a-Lot. Many sites do not allow you to remove an unfair review, so the only solution is to flood the site with good feedback, so the bad review is buried, which is time-consuming, so they pay someone else to do that for them. There is no way for us, the consumer, to see whether a review is legitimate or paid for. Which makes trusting reviews bit of a gamble.

I don’t like the practice of buying reviews, and prefer to stick with my handful of genuine ones. They really matter to an author, so if you haven’t ever written one, please spend a couple of minutes scribbling one on Amazon. It doesn’t need to be long. Even the negative ones are useful—they show people have read the book, and sometimes I will still buy a book after reading a negative review.

Do reviews make a difference? Hard to say. I am influenced by them, and will scan them before buying a book on Amazon. However, I think they only count for a tiny proportion of the overall advertising push, and it depends where they are. My books have been reviewed in newspapers, and on the radio, and by magazines. I would say they have made no discernible difference to my sales. The reviews on Amazon have helped persuade people to buy (plus they are very precious to the author!) as do reviews on some social media—though my books have been reviewed on other people’s blogs, and I have not noticed any increase in sales.

The absolute best reviews are the casual, word of mouth, ones. If a woman at the bus-stop talks about a book she has loved, or if your friend mentions a book worth reading, then you are more likely to buy it.

I flicked open my Amazon page this week, to glance at the reviews of Sowing Promises. I planned to launch this book in the spring, but then lockdown happened, and hardly anyone has bought it. And yet, to my surprise, there were a couple of reviews, and they warmed my heart. I don’t know who wrote them (it wasn’t my mum!) and they cheered my day and made me smile. Which for me, is the most important thing about reviews.

Thanks for reading. If you have any tips for encouraging people to write reviews, do add them to the comments below.

Have a good week. Stay safe.

Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson

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Amazon reviews

A lovely surprise! Some encouraging feedback from readers on Amazon.

Next week, I will be reviewing a book written by a slave in 1745. There were some surprising facts!

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Would You Buy Clothes Made By Slaves?


Who Made The Clothes You’re Wearing?

Do Boots, M&S, Primark, John Lewis or Morrisons Use Slave Labour?

You need to buy some new pyjamas, but you’re short of cash—is it okay to buy some from the cheapest shop in the high street?

It’s daft to pay more than you have to for clothes, there’s no reason not to buy jeans from the cheapest shop available—do you agree?

It’s wrong to waste money, you have a duty to spend your cash wisely—do you agree?

All people are equal, no matter what their skin colour—do you agree?

The lives of all people matter, not just people in America or Europe, but all lives in the world: no one should be forced to work in terrible conditions, slavery is wrong—do you agree?

Please answer the quick quiz above.

If you answered “yes” to all of the questions, you might have a problem. Most of us would agree that child labour is wrong, that people who are forced into debt and then not able to leave an abusive employer is wrong, that people working excessive hours, not allowed to use the washroom, not paid enough to cover their rent, is wrong. And yet, if we don’t actually see those things, they can be ignored. It is all too easy for us to benefit from those situations, and by doing so, to perpetuate their existence.

I doubt you would go to a dirty shack, and see children being forced to work long hours, and feel comfortable buying your clothes there because they are cheap. But if we never look at where the clothes in our shops come from, this is exactly what we are doing.

So, what we can we do to ensure we don’t keep the slave trade profitable? Well, it’s not easy! The shop you enter may have an excellent record as an employer, the people who work in their overseas factory may be treated fairly, but the farm where the cotton is produced might use child labour or debt-bound workers. It’s not simply the shop, the whole supply chain matters, and discovering what happens further up the chain is a challenge.

But there are a few things that help. For example, did you know that in 2015 the Modern Slavery Act was passed in the UK Parliament? This means that every business that has a turnover of £36 million has to have a public slavery policy. The policies are there, you will find them for every high street shop, sitting on their website, waiting for you to read them. They do not make for very exciting reading, so I thought I would read a few, and give you the highlights. I am not a lawyer, I may have misinterpreted what some of them say, but this is my understanding of how a few shops deal with slavery. I looked at Boots, M&S, H&M, Primark, John Lewis (which includes Waitrose) and Morrisons. Take a deep breath, and wade through some policies with me:

Boots

This is what got me started on the topic! There I was, paying for an online order, when I happened to notice they had a slavery policy sitting on their home page. I clicked it open, and started to read. They talked about checking their supply chain, having “zero tolerance” for slave labour. I was impressed. Their policy states they do regular audits, which I assume means someone actually goes and checks how their raw ingredients are produced. It seemed clear and encouraging. Well done Boots.

M&S

I wanted to know how one of my favourite shops fared (I am of that age). Could I comfortably still buy gifts of baby clothes, a blouse for my mum, a delicious sandwich? Again, it all looked fine. It was easy enough to find their slavery policy, and they used clear language, it was easy to understand what they’re doing. They check their supply chain, and take responsibility for everyone linked to their stores. This even includes the people who wash cars in their car parks—the shop tried to ensure the car wash bosses weren’t forcing illegal immigrants to work for very low wages, were unable to verify this, and so now will only offer car-washing licences to businesses where they are sure the workers are treated fairly.

I was interested to read they also have their 2019/20 policy in place (some shops seem to only have a 2019 one available—though it’s been a weird year, perhaps it’s understandable).

As part of due diligence, M&S identify which countries are most at risk in terms of unfair working conditions for their supply chain. They audit these in person: a person actually goes and checks what the conditions are. They admit it is challenging, especially as they go further down the supply chain, to find how the cotton they use in their factories is grown, how it is transported. However, they do seem to be trying. They ask for anonymous feedback, in workers’ own dialect, to check standards are being maintained. They are also part of a charity, which seeks to identify and help workers who are being abused.

I feel comfortable to continue shopping in M&S.

H&M

Finding the slavery policy for H&M was more of a challenge. They have various policies, and it was sometimes unclear which one I was reading, as they tended to cross-reference. There were links to other articles, and the links didn’t seem related. They used long sentences with vague language, so sometimes I read to the end of a page and had no idea what it had said. They also wrote in general terms:

“We do recognise that the risk of modern slavery exists, in various ways, in all countries and sectors and across value chains, and therefore it is relevant for any company to understand and address this risk in its supply chain as well as its own operations. See our Sustainability Report 2019 for more information about the risks and impacts identified throughout our value chain, and how we address these, as well as full disclosure on our Salient Human Rights issues and related strategies and actions (see chapters Vision and strategy and How we report).” (sic)

I thought all would be made clear when I followed the links to their other reports—they even in one place directed me to page 10 of the report, but there was nothing specific that I could find. What do H&M actually do to ensure that slaves or child labour are not used in their supply chain? I am not entirely sure.

In one report, they say that all their partners need to comply with their ‘Sustainability Commitment and Code of Ethics’ but I was never clear what exactly this entailed. They also say that “only in exceptional cases do we agree to not have these documents signed.” Which I assume means that sometimes their partners might use slaves?

The Modern Slavery Act has been in place since 2015. I think if a company is still talking in non-specifics, is still identifying risk but not actually making firm commitments to not use abused workers, then something is wrong. I do not think I can shop in H&M with a clear conscience.

Primark

Now, I have seen several claims in social media that Primark uses slave labour, that it does not audit its supply chain, and that it sells cheap products because its workers are maltreated. When I did an online search for ‘Primark, slavery’ I found lots of articles. However, they were all about 10 years old. I found no evidence after 2008 of Primark using slave labour. Have they improved their practices? I read their slavery policy.

Primark’s slavery policy is easy to find, and runs to many pages—one gets the impression they are keen to display what they have achieved. They have stopped using certain suppliers (no more cotton from Uzbekistan) and have unannounced audits to check for trafficked workers. They say they aim to support and educate the communities in their supply chain. There is some confusion over what constitutes ‘child labour.’ If a country deems a 14-year-old to be an adult, then they might be employed as such. This feels different to me than employing a 10-year-old, it seems like a subjective issue, not one easily resolved.

However, some of their actions are not yet in place. If you read the wording carefully, some principles are planned as future targets. For example, the ability for workers to raise grievances directly with Primark is a pilot scheme planned to be started in the UK in 2020. It is more than 5 years since the slavery act was passed, surely the statement of things that need improvement should have moved on? Surely in 5 years these policies should be being practised.

Primark, like some other shops, do not own the factories they buy from. They state:

“We do not insist that our suppliers use nominated fabric and sundry suppliers, which allows suppliers to remain flexible and cost-effective and enables them to use local sources. Using nominated-only suppliers can increase lead times and prices, especially in developing countries such as Bangladesh where it may mean importing these goods (which in turn increases the environmental impact) and can undermine development of local capacity.”

While this is undoubtedly true, it also means they are avoiding all responsibility for the workers in the supply chain beyond their direct suppliers. It feels like a cop-out to me. They do talk about training their suppliers about the risks of modern slavery. In 2019, members of the South East Asia team attended training—ten of them. Ten people in South East Asia. Just ten. This seems like very few people.

My view is that Primark are making an effort to improve. They have taken criticism seriously, and changed their working methods. However, I feel there are a few dodgy areas, a few statements that are a little bland, a bit too hard to fully understand. My feeling is that whilst they want to lose the ‘slave-worker’ label, they still need to make improvements—which means you and I need to keep asking questions.


John Lewis/Waitrose

The John Lewis slavery policy was easy to find and clearly written. They are aware of potential problems, especially with migrant workers who harvest fruit, and they are making some effort to maintain employment standards by establishing own-brand supply chains (sort of the opposite to Primark).

If they find a problem, they give the supplier two years to improve working conditions, and then if there is no improvement, they stop using this supplier. They allocate ‘risk ratings’ depending on what they find, and increase or decrease the frequency of audits accordingly. This all sounds good.

They state they have “taken the decision to restrict sourcing from countries in which there is a high risk of poor labour practices.” While this will help to eliminate slavery, it also curtails income for some of the poorest countries. I feel that regular audits and education would be a better solution. However, to be fair, they have also signed up to support the Wilberforce Institute for Slavery, and are looking to change some of their practices. (Though again, surely they should be beyond this stage now? Should the good practices not already be in place after 5 years?)

I feel that on the whole, shopping in Waitrose and John Lewis is pretty safe as regards slavery. However, I didn’t feel they were are thorough as M&S, which as the prices are comparable, they should be. (Pricing makes a difference—to monitor the supply chain and ensure good practice throughout is expensive.)

Morrisons

It was easy to find their slavery policy (and it’s illustrated with pretty pictures to make it nicer to read!) They claim to be the only British supermarket to buy directly from farmers and fishermen and process the food through their own manufacturing sites—which should make it easier to keep the supply chain ethical. They have ethical trading policies, and make these available to all their suppliers (would someone employing slave labour read this and change their behaviour?)

The more I read of the Morrisons policy, the longer the sentences and the vaguer the wording. They are linked to lots of other agencies, and talk a lot about assessing risk, and due diligence, but they seem to rely on third parties to actually go and look at the supply chain. They seem to favour committees, which meet regularly—but I couldn’t find evidence that anyone actually went to look at what was happening. They have posters, in various languages, asking workers to tell them of any problems. They say that: they are aware of the risk of slavery in Asian fishing operations, but Morrisons buys so little from them that they have no influence to change this. (I’m not sure that I agree with that.)

There were examples of bad behaviour being stopped by Morrisons in the UK, though this seemed to be through the actions of individuals rather than something the company instigated. My feeling is that Morrisons is keen on committees, and they produce regular updated reports and new policies, and their intentions are good. However, it reminds me of school staff meetings and church business meetings—lots of talk about aims and objectives but very little is ever achieved. As most of their supplies come from low risk areas, I will still shop in Morrisons. But I don’t feel they are doing things like checking who runs the car wash services in the car park, so I would worry about using those services, and I wouldn’t buy clothes made in Asian countries.

I have only looked at a few shops, and I am feeling pretty goggle-eyed! The policies are often vague and give links to other documents, and are far from user-friendly. If more people checked what shops are doing to ensure their supply chains are fair, then perhaps they would be clearer and more proactive. It is a legal requirement to have a modern slavery policy, but my understanding is that there is no penalty if a company doesn’t check its supply chain. The only penalty will be if we, the shoppers, stop buying items that could have been produced by slaves. Do you care enough to bother?

Thanks for reading. If you have further information, please add it to the comments below. If I discover anything new, or can bear to look at more policies I will let you know.

Have a good day—and shop wisely.

Take care.

Love, Anne x

Next week, I will be writing about reviews: How to get reviews, and what do they signify?

Anne E. Thompson

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Tips for Blogs


Do You Want to Write a Blog?

Helpful Advice for Word Press Bloggers

When I decided to write seriously, I began by writing a blog (the modern word for a web log!) This was a brilliant way to learn what people like to read, how to express myself concisely, and experiment with different styles. As I grew more experienced, my blog became one of the platforms I used to advertise and sell my books. I consider myself an apprentice, because my IT skills are somewhat raw, but I am improving constantly. In case you are considering starting a blog of your own, or if you are not an expert when it comes to all things computer-related, I thought I would pass on what I have learnt so far.

I use a WordPress blog. I tried using a couple of others, to compare stats, and I trust WordPress to be fairly accurate. When I posted the same blog, at the same time, on a couple of sites, some told me it had been read by 50 people instantly. I felt this was inflated, and the WordPress stats of a handful of readers over time was more accurate. But look online, a different site might suit you better.

When you start writing a blog, you will receive lots of conflicting advice, so you need to make a few decisions. I was told my posts (the pieces of writing that my followers see) should be short—no longer than fit on one side of A4 paper, because readers will only scroll down once. However, I found that some of my direct information posts (like this one, or one about recovering from a craniotomy, or how to train a dog, or how to teach a child to read) were very long and were shared many times. My personal view is that something that is imparting knowledge, can be longer, because people want to know how to hatch an egg, or whatever. But simple newsy, fun posts, should be fairly short.

When to post and how often? You need to try a few variations and check your stats. I find that Monday mornings tend to get most viewings, and very few people seem to read blogs on Fridays. (I have this image of people sitting at their desk Monday morning and looking for something to delay that awful start to the week! Fridays they are already in party mood, so no time for reading.) Time zones are tricky, I try to catch the Sunday late night of one zone and the early morning of the next. But varying the days and times can also attract new readers.

You add a post via the dashboard, which has a menu of options including adding a new post. Initially, I was confused by posts and pages. A page is basically something that sits on your blog in the place you have put it; I use pages on my home page, and they are things people might return to over time (like my ‘How to’ section). Posts are articles that are sent to all your followers, and they are listed in date order, so three months later they are hard to find.

If you write, you need readers, so you need to encourage traffic to your site. Obviously, you can tell all your friends and family (most will ignore you). You can post things on social media; I find Twitter and Facebook a good source of readers. The most popular posts tend to be those directly aimed at a specific group. If I write an article about having a brain tumour, and post it on a Facebook page for people with that condition, it will be read hundreds of times. A recipe needs to go to the relevant page, a religious article to another. This one will, I hope, appeal to writers, so I will find Facebook pages for authors, and use appropriate hashtags for Twitter. You can also hope to be picked up by search engines (like Google). I recently met my internet-marketing-child, and he gave me a few tips:

When you write a post, there are several options that help your work be noticed by other computers. Most obvious is the title box—use this by writing words that are key to your article, as well as attractive when posted on social media. You will also notice the paragraph drop-down box. This gives the option of other headings—use them. Search engines notice these, so use key words to entice readers.

There is also a ‘publicize’ setting. Here you can add automatic links to social media, so everything you post will automatically be posted on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Decide what you want to use—I think too many posts on Facebook mean people stop seeing them, but Twitter seems to have more random readers.

Next you will find Tags. There is a decision to make here. When you post something, the WordPress site notices your tags, and pushes your article towards potential readers. The more tags you use, the further down the WordPress list your article will move. If, for example, you have ‘travel’ as a tag, then WordPress will send your post to anyone who searches for travel. But if you have also added: ‘Cornwall’ ‘seaside’ ‘beach’ then WordPress will decide that ‘travel’ is only a small part of your post, and something that has travel as its only tag will be more visible. However, that is only part of the story. Other search engines (Google) also notice your tags. The tag of ‘travel’ cannot possibly compete with the huge travel companies that also want to be seen by Google, so your little article will appear on page 3,794 of a search for travel. But if you have added a few niche tags, like ‘camping in Scotland with a toddler’ then when someone puts that into the search bar, your article will pop up on the first page of results.

I tested this theory (never completely trust my family). I have a blog for my books (The Cobweb Press) and this blog (Anne E. Thompson). I posted the same articles, at the same time, on both blogs, one with several tags and one with a single one. The post with several tags received more views (and my apologies to the few people who follow both blogs and therefore received two identical emails!)

You will also notice, when you post something, that a Permalink appears. You can edit this too, adding words at the end for a computer to find. Make sure they are key words about your post.

I mentioned followers. Having followers is very exciting! They sign up to follow your blog, and are emailed every time you post something. However, there is a whole world of bloggers out there, and like other social media, some people only ‘follow’ because they want you to follow their own blog—they do not actually intend to read what you post. I know this, because some people will ‘follow’ my blog for a short time, then ‘unfollow’ when it is not reciprocated, only to ‘follow’ again at a later date. If you spend a lot of time on social media, reading and liking and following other blogs, then you will build a long list of followers yourself and each of your posts will end with a string of ‘likes’ from fellow bloggers. However, I think it is more representative of your time on social media, than the quality of your writing; I wanted to learn what people actually wanted to read so I decided not to spend oceans of time on social media. I like to think that most of my followers, whilst they may not read every post, do actually like to dip into my blog from time to time and read what I write.

When people click the ‘like’ button it makes me smile, every time. However, it isn’t always representative of number of readers or appreciation. I have had articles (like: ‘how to have a brain tumour’) which was shared over 100 times (implying people found it helpful) but only received 2 ‘likes.’

When I started to write, my mother begged me to add photographs. I told her no, I am trying to improve my writing, pictures are irrelevant. What I have learnt is that pictures help to break up a post, they make it look nice, and they add rather than detract from the words. Use photos. They also help to attract people to your blog.

Press the ‘Add Media’ tab, and upload your photos. Then add links so search engines find them. You have the option to add ‘Alt Text’. Here you should write where the photo was taken, or key words, the same in the Title space. The ‘Caption’ will actually appear in your post, so fill in words you want your readers to see. The ‘Description’ box is seen by computers set up for people who are visually impaired, and anything you write here will tell the ‘reader’ what the photo shows.

In order to sell my books via my blog, I needed people to be able to contact me. I was warned to not add an email address, as this will be sent oodles of spam. Instead, you can add a contact form. This is self-explanatory when you click the tab, and means people can contact you directly. I do still receive some spam (who are these people and why bother?) but mostly only bona fide readers wanting to buy books contact me.

If you want to add a link to another article, use the little picture that looks like a paperclip. It took me a long time to find this! Follow the instructions on the tab, and you can add nice tidy links.

I hope you find these tips helpful, do add your own tips in the comments.

Enjoy writing, and thank you for reading. Please pass on to anyone who might be interested, and if you click the ‘like’ button you will make my day!

Next week I will be writing about modern-day slavery, and trying to discover which shops use slaves to make the clothes we buy in our high streets. Would you buy a cheap pair of jeans if you knew they were made by a ten-year-old forced to work long hours in a factory? Which shops can we trust to behave responsibly?

Take care.
Love, Anne x

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Dial Square FC Win the FA Cup


Dial Square FC Win the FA Cup

Woolwich Warren and a Rather Famous Football Team

 

The Woolwich Arsenal used to be called the Woolwich Warren, due to being built on a Tudor house which had a warren (as in, a place that rabbits were raised for food). It then became the place gunpowder was made, and is now a swanky place to live. I popped in there for a quick inspection, and decided it was a rather lovely place to be.

Woolwich Warren Tudor tower

Photo: Kleon3
The tower of the Tudor mansion.

The original Tudor house was defined by a tall tower, which feels appropriate now the site has several high-rise buildings which are seen as you approach Woolwich.  The owner of the original mansion was later Lord Mayor of London. There are now several very new, rather exclusive apartment blocks, with balconies and views across London, mingled with some ancient squares and old army buildings. It is one of those places that England does best—modern architecture muddled up with ancient history. I was interested to learn a little of the history, so after wandering through squares with bubbling fountains and past yuppy pubs and wine bars, I stopped to read a few of the signs.

After the mansion was demolished, the Woolwich Warren was built to make armaments. In 1695, an ammunition factory was set up, making gunpowder, shell cases, gun cartridges. One of the original pavilions still exists:

A Pavilion at Woolwich Arsenal

Photo: Barrabus1312
One of the original pavilions.

Woolwich Arsenal guard house.

Photo: Kleon3
One of the guard houses at the entrance from the river.

By 1777, the warren covered 104 acres, conveniently placed next to the River Thames. In the 1700s, convicts were used to build a high wall (8ft high) around the boundary, and later (1814) they dug a canal along the eastern border. There were hexagonal guard rooms either side of the main entrance from the river. We walked past them, but there were no signs, so we had to guess what they were. They look a little like over-sized kiosks that sell newspapers (so I clearly guessed wrong.)

In 1886, the men working in the workshops around Dial Square formed a football team. They were called the Dial Square club, and their first game was against the Isle of Dogs club in December 1886. The club still exists today, is now known as Arsenal FC — even I have heard of that one!

By the time of the First World War, the warren had expanded, and now employed 80,000 people. I love thinking of the secret manufacture of cannons and gunpowder, all guarded by the military. Did the people living nearby have any idea how explosive the area was? After the war, most factories closed, and they produced steam engines for the railway instead.

The arsenal no longer produced gunpowder in the second world war, which is probably good as it was a target during the Blitz, and lots of buildings were destroyed. It was still involved in the manufacture of weapons, but mainly guns and bomb cases. After the war, the machines were modified to manufacture the knitting frames for silk stockings (bit of a change then!)

Gradually, the arsenal ceased to be an arsenal. The wall was dismantled, the buildings sold to the council—one was even used by the British Library to store books. (Note: I rather resent these books stores, as if you publish a book, you are required, by law, to send a copy to the library, so it can be placed into a store and never seen again. Rant over.)

Today, as you wander around the area, you can still see many of the historical buildings, and many have signs, explaining what they were. It’s a nice place to visit, you wander through squares, and walk next to the Thames, staring at the muddy banks looking for treasure (and finding washed-up shopping carts!) The other side of the main road, is the bustle of real life, with small shops and tiny markets and people from every corner of the world. Not a bad place to visit on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Thanks for reading.

Counting Stars continues on Wednesday.

Coniston Water-gsd-lake district

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Walking to Stanley Ghyll Waterfall


Family Walk in the Lake District

More sheep, bogs and views

lake district fellsThe weather was dry (not to be assumed in the Lake District) so we went for another walk. Bea and Gee (The Bee Gees) weren’t working today, so there more of us, which meant it took even longer than usual to leave the cottage.

We decided to drive back to fell we walked on the day before, and walk in the opposite direction, towards Stanley Ghyll waterfall. We parked on Austhwaite Brow, found a footpath, and set off across the empty space. All the sheep on this side of the road were white, and they looked like they’d been washed because we’re used to seeing grey sheep and black lambs. Everyone wore boots or wellies this time, so bogs were less of an issue.

As we approached the waterfall, there were lots of warning signs, and I wondered whether Anne-who-hates-heights would actually manage to see anything. Am not keen on walking along rock edges with sheer slopes and long drops.

We rounded a corner, and there was a tightrope, and a group of people practising. I’ve never seen a ‘real’ tightrope walker before, so we watched for a few minutes. This is a skill I could never, ever, learn. They were so co-ordinated, so perfectly balanced. Even when they fell, they pulled themselves back onto the rope and sat there, feet crossed in front, arms outstretched. Very impressive.

tightrope walking, stanley waterfall, lake district,

We followed a path down some steep rock steps, to the bottom of the waterfall. It wasn’t scary, as there was a rail for support in the most difficult places, and there were so many plants that if it was a sheer drop, you were never aware of it. The bottom of the steps was wonderful—like being dropped into a rainforest. It was very sheltered, and the spray from the waterfall made the air moist. The cliff edges were covered in rhododendrons, which must be beautiful when they’re in flower.

There were bridges over the river, but the walkway the other side had been destroyed by a rockfall, and was no longer safe. (I think this means that if you plan to walk to the fall from the town, the signs say the path is closed).

Spent the evening eating and playing games and packing. I took Kia for a last walk up the hill behind the cottage. I stood, looking over the valley, with The Old Man of Coniston looming behind me. There are sheep, and rivers, moss-covered rocks, ferns and trees standing like deformed old men as they struggle to grow against the wind—all so beautiful. I don’t want to go home.

I hope you have a good day. Thanks for reading.
Take care.
Love, Anne x

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The paperback book makes a great gift for someone you love.
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Anne E. Thompson-Lake District-The Old Man of Coniston-Little Arrow

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Hills of the Lake District

Walking in The Lake District


Seat How

Apparently Someone Counted All The Hills

We had a lazy morning. I took Kia to Coniston Water, which is about half an hour from the cottage. It’s very strange having an old dog—if you remember, until earlier this year she behaved as if she was still young, but then an operation for a twisted stomach added all her 13 years, and she can now only enjoy fairly short strolls. I miss walking with a dog when we go on long hikes, so it was lovely to walk through fields of sheep, under the gaze of mountains, to the lake.

This was our first properly warm day—I suspect the Lake District perpetually has autumn or winter temperatures. The walk was very typical, with lots of grey sheep, each one with a black lamb, and stone walls covered in moss with ferns growing next to rivers. It is such a pretty place. Kia collected sticks next to the river, and we watched a man trying to launch a canoe (and I was really glad we don’t own one, and Husband said how much he’d have liked to own a boat).

toadstools, Lake District,

Each dollop of poop had a toadstool growing in it. It was a feature of the walk.
They are possibly Coprophilous fungi, which have spores that can survive being eaten by herbivores and then grow after being expelled.

After lunch we drove back to the fells we drove through yesterday on our way home from Wast Water. We parked next to the road, and walked towards one of the large rocks. I later read that it was Seat How, which is hill number 3710—apparently someone counted all the hills. It’s in Thornthwaite (good luck with pronouncing that after a glass of wine!) which is basically a big empty space with boggy patches and mounds of moss and sheep trails through the grass. Husband and Jay climbed the rock, of course, because they are blokes and it was there.

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I decided I didn’t fancy scrabbling up another hill, so walked round it. I walked over the grass, trying to avoid boggy patches, disturbing sheep who were sunbathing on the stones. Then, as I rounded Seat How, a valley stretched out in front of me, with a lovely view of Devoke Water, and if I squinted at the horizon, I could just about see the glint of the sea. I stood for a few minutes, soaking up the smell of heather, listening to the bleat of lambs (and the shouts from above Seat How—my family are not known for being quiet). A little patch of peace.

Seat How, Devoke Water, Lake District,

View of Devoke Water.

We met up again, and set off in the direction of the car (which we couldn’t see). Husband used his ‘Jack Reacher skills’ and strode off in one direction. I was pretty sure he was wrong, and marched off in a slightly different direction. Jay walked somewhere between us, muttering: “Story of my life, both parents completely certain they are right, striding off in different directions. . .” But then, he had left his wellies at home, and was hopping over the boggy bits, so we don’t need to listen to him!

We found the car (one of us was right) drove home and ate apple pie.

Dinner was fish and chips from ‘Our Plaice’ in Coniston. It was actually haddock, as they don’t sell plaice. Husband collected them, and talked about the experience all evening. I think the highlight of his trip was the woman who kept pausing in serving the extremely long line of customers so she could answer the phone to tell the caller they were not taking phone orders. Apparently they were exceptionally busy, probably due to people finally venturing on holiday but not wanting to risk eating in pubs/restaurants (especially if their experiences are similar to our ‘not-Covid-safe’ meal in last week’s blog).

We watched a film (Rock n Roller) on Netflix, while Jay dried his shoes on the aga (so much I am not writing here).

Another happy day at the lakes.
I hope your day has a little patch of peace too. Take care.
Love, Anne x

Coniston Water

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Hardknott Pass, steepest road in England,

Hardknott Pass and Wast Water


Family Holiday in the Lake District

Driving Through the Steepest Pass in England

Hardknott Pass, steepest road in England,

Hardknott Pass

We had a lazy start to the day (some family members had a very lazy start to the day).

We set off for a drive through Hardknott Pass, which is the steepest road in England. The pass goes between Eskdale and the Duddon Valley. It was originally built by the Romans, but then, like so much clever stuff built by the Romans, it was left to disintegrate. There was lots of talk about repairing the route and making it a proper road (I am sensing committees) but nothing happened. The pass was suitable for donkeys, and not much more.

Then, during World War Two, the area was used for tank training. The tanks pretty much decimated the pony track. After the war, the damage was repaired, and tarmac laid, and it became a ‘proper’ road.

We set off, excited to drive along a pass the had a camber of 1 in 3, and promised beautiful views. We passed Scafell Pike, which is the tallest mountain in England.

The pass was beautiful, but I was glad to be in a four-wheel drive, and especially glad that I wasn’t driving. The road was single track, with passing places, and it meandered down to the valley, with hair-pin bends and steep, steep slopes. I don’t expect many local people use the pass, and it has become a tourist spot—and you could tell which tourists were more used to wide roads and driving on the right by their terrified faces!

At one point we came down a slope to see a stationary car facing a small herd of cows. The cows were staring at the car with interest, and seemed especially pleased when the driver honked the horn. They were not planning on going anywhere. The cows were beautiful, a mix of ages—some looked only a few weeks old, others were full-grown, including at least one very large bull. They had long shaggy coats, and were clearly interested by the car hooting at them, but looked docile. We arrived on the other side of the herd. They were not moving. I am used to cows (spent two years researching different herds before writing Ploughing Through Rainbows and Sowing Promises) and they didn’t look aggressive, so I got out of the car and sort of swooshed them back onto the verge. The pale-faced man in the other car drove through the gap looking terrified (I wonder how many days he had been waiting there for). We waited until he had passed, and then continued on our way. As we drove, the herd wandered back onto the road, like the Red Sea closing behind the Israelites, waiting for the next driver to sit and honk at them.

Hardknott Roman Fort

Helpful signs at the Roman fort.

We stopped at Hardknott Roman Fort. This is a wonderful location, surrounded by mountains, looking down into the valley. The remains of the walls were still there (some rebuilt, I think) and there were helpful signs explaining what the buildings had been in Roman times. However, the best bit was the view, and the sheep—who wandered over the remains and settled into sheltered corners to sleep. The sheep here are wonderful, they mostly have grey wool, and each ewe has one black lamb with the sweetest white face you have ever seen.

Hardknott Roman Fort

Sheep nestle amongst the remains of the fort.

Wast Water

View of Wast Water

We finished the drive at Wast Water. In the past, this has been voted the prettiest place in England, and it’s not hard to see why. It is perfect. There are mountains of scree (2,000 feet high) on one side, and the opposite bank has little gravel beaches, and tiny islands you can wade to, and sheep-nibbled grass, reeds, marshes, and the standard lumps of granite standing tall. I found a lump of granite to sit and write on, while family members strolled (noisily) round the lake, or waded to an island.

We returned to the car, Jay emptied all the water out of his wellies (so much I am not writing here) and we drove back to the cottage.

Sausage and chips for dinner, then we played games (loudly) until bedtime. Another happy day in the Lake District.

I hope you have a happy day too. Thanks for reading.
Take care.
Love, Anne x

Coniston Water

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