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Old 09-22-2019, 06:20 PM   #76
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I think Cumbria is a very long way from London! I mean culturally rather than in terms of actual distance.

I see what you mean issybird about the setting feeling like an earlier time. I do think though that despite the tourism (which would only happen in the short summer) that the locals would have led a fairly isolated life in the time before the internet.

Assuming the school was consistently bad, and if, say, dyslexia was in the mix, I can well believe that people not interested in reading would be barely literate.

The grandfather was presumably the right age to be sent to the war, but could have been ruled out either because farming was an essential service, or perhaps because of some physical thing following his illness.

All guesswork on my part of course. But I suppose I’m saying I find it believable that an area like that would be at least a generation behind other parts of England in the whole way of life.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:25 PM   #77
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Thanks Bookworm_Girl for the additional background. I wondered if Rebanks was an economist. It’s very interesting to hear his later reflections on the book, and how it was, in part, his gift to his father.

Thanks too for the great websites. I love how the Lake District refers to ‘cultural visitors’ rather than ‘tourists’. It emphasizes the importance of world heritage sites, and at the same time, is very respectful to the people who visit them. I know there are good reasons to be wary of tourists, but many travellers are conscious and thoughtful about the impact they make. And I must say, the photos are stunning!

issybird I felt I was reading about another era too. I think Bookpossum has it right when she talks about the cultural distance from London. You can feel it in his brief descriptions of being at Oxford and in the city.

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Old 09-22-2019, 09:44 PM   #78
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Here are a few photos that I took from my visit to Matterdale with my friend who grew up there. My photos are taken from Little Mell Fell. Rebanks farms on Great Mell Fell. She reckons her farm is about 3 miles from his farm. The water is Ullswater Lake, the second largest lake in the Lakes District, which he mentions in the book.
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:52 PM   #79
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It was May, and there were sheep everywhere throughout Northern England. Here they are hanging out at the forts along Hadrian's Wall which is just a little further north of the Lake District. No big deal. The walls are ancient history. The sheep are ancient history. Time moves on.
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Old 09-22-2019, 11:12 PM   #80
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Thanks Bookworm_Girl - lovely to see, and you had good weather, which of course isn't always the case up there!

I have had a feeling that much of our discussion about farming communities, education and so on, was reminding me of something. I have realised that it was a French documentary made in about 2002 called Etre et Avoir (To Be and To Have) filmed over the course of a year in a one teacher primary school in rural France. It's a delightful film and showed the pupils both at school and in their homes.

In one case, there was a boy who was struggling with his school work and he was shown with his family at home in the farmhouse where several adults were as puzzled as he was over his homework - mathematics from memory. But we also saw him working on the farm, handling a tractor with consumate ease as well as carrying out other activities.

So this was a small farming community, a one teacher school covering all ages from about 5 to 12, and a family of adults who didn't understand the 12 year old's homework. Let's say it was filmed in 2000-01, and we have something comparable to Rebanks' scenario almost 20 years after his childhood in Cumbria.
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Old 09-29-2019, 12:29 PM   #81
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Thanks Bookworm_Girl Great photos. I have to agree with Rebanks - there is something wonderful about stonewalls - so evocative.
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:40 PM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victoria View Post
Thanks Bookworm_Girl Great photos. I have to agree with Rebanks - there is something wonderful about stonewalls - so evocative.
Rebanks talks in the book about jobs that people did to earn more money. My friend's father used to repair walls in the area.
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Old 09-30-2019, 09:45 AM   #83
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Where I live, which was first settled by Europeans nearly 400 years ago, there are many extent stone walls snaking all over, even through second-growth woods. The lore is that the soil is so rocky that the walls were a disposal method, in effect; something had to be down with all the rocks removed from the earth to make it suitable for farming, so why not build a wall?
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Old 09-30-2019, 12:23 PM   #84
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Here there are both dry and mortared stone walls everywhere. And yet, we still grow more stones every year. I think they're breeding! Even my raised beds have started having stones in them every spring. Sheesh!
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