Butler did it!

For the story so far click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues:

“Where’s Luke?” asked Dad.

“Must be out with Dudley,” said Mum, “I expect he’ll be back soon.”

“Right, well as soon as he gets in, I want to give him his present.”

“You’ve finished it?”

“Yes,” said Dad with a big grin.

“Can I see it?” asked Mum excitedly, starting for the door.

“Not ’til Luke gets here,” Dad laughed and stepped in front of her.

“It’s not his birthday ’til Sunday,” said Jared.

“I know but I’ve got to work on Sunday.”

“Oh no!” said Mum, “didn’t you tell them you had plans?”

“Yeah but they’re desperate.  A lot of people off with stomach flu.”

“Again?!  Lucky for them you never get it.”

“What if you did?” suggested Jared, “tell ’em you caught it and then you won’t have to work.”

Dad frowned disapproval at that idea.

Mum pouted.  “Oh, I don’t want you to miss Luke’s birthday.”

“I don’t want to miss it either.  That’s why I thought we could do it now.  While we’re all here.”

“Luke and Dudley are home,” said Jared, looking out the dining room window, “and they’re not alone.”

Luke greeted his family with a fierce scowl.  “Butler let Curly an’ Squirt out and now they’re not allowed on the allotment!” he told them angrily.

“What?” asked everybody at once.

“Curly an’ Squirt got out and they messed up some o’ the plots and ate some o’ the plants but it wasn’t their fault. An’ I told Mr Tipton it wasn’t my fault either but he said I must’ve forgot but I didn’t an’ I told him I didn’t but he wun’t believe me!  He said there was a new rule and no animals could live on the allotments so I had to bring ’em home!”

“Luke slow down.  What exactly did Fred say?” asked Dad.

“I told you!  He said he wasn’t gonna let animals on the allotments any more coz he couldn’t risk it happenin’ again!”

“The sheep got onto other people’s plots?”

“Yes!”  Luke was exasperated.

“Oh no,” said Mum, “did they do much damage?”

“It’s not their fault,” Luke reiterated, “they were just eatin’.  They didn’t know they weren’t s’posed to.  They didn’t mean to spoil anything.”

“How did they get out?” asked Dad, “did you forget to bolt the gate this morning?”

“No!  I told you!  Butler did it!”

“Simon Butler?  Why d’you think that?”

“I saw him just now – laughin’ with his stupid friends about it!  He shouted at me that I shun’t have left the gate open.  How would he know that if he din’t do it?”

Mum and Dad exchanged serious glances.

“I’ll speak to Fred,” said Dad, “don’t worry.  I’m sure we can work something out.”

“We could put a padlock on the gate,” suggested Mum.

“Good idea ….”

“Won’t work,” interrupted Luke dejectedly, “I already offered to do that.  He said no.”

Dad ruffled his hair.  “Don’t worry, I’ll talk to him,” and he reached for the phone.

“No!” said Luke firmly, “they’re not safe there.  I want them to stay here!”

“They can’t stay here Luke, I’m sorry.”

“Why not?  The garden’s big enough.”

“I’m sorry Luke, no,” Dad insisted, “I’ve worked hard on this garden and I don’t want it ruined.”  He looked out the dining room window.  “Look – they’ve already eaten half my purple mallow!”

“Well they’ve had a rough day!  Give ’em a break!”

“I’ll go next door and speak to Anne,” said Mum, “maybe she can keep her slimy son in check.”

“Okay,” said Dad. “Luke, put the sheep in the damson patch.  I’ll phone Fred.”

“No!  We’re not sendin’ ’em back!  A padlock won’t keep ’em safe!  Anyone could climb over the fence an’ hurt ’em!  I want them here where I can see them all the time!”

Dad spoke low and calm but there was no mistaking his hostility.  “Let me make one thing clear: I am not giving up my garden.  I tolerated the loss of my vegetable patch to your rabbits and you’re lucky I didn’t put my foot down then.  I’m putting it down now.  The sheep are going back to the allotments.”

Luke was infuriated.  “Aren’t Curly an’ Squirt more important than a few flowers?  It’s dangerous for ’em there!  It’s cruel to make ’em go back!  Cruel and selfish!”  He paused for a response that didn’t come.  “If you make ’em leave, I’m goin’ with them!”

Mum put her hand on his shoulder in an effort to calm him down but he pulled away angrily and stormed back out into the garden.

Mr Walker slammed his garage keys down on the table.  “So glad I worked every spare minute to make that child’s birthday present!” he growled.

“He didn’t mean it,” said Mum sympathetically, “he’s just upset.  If he knew what you’d done …”

“He shouldn’t speak to me like that whether he knew or not!”

“I know but …”

“I think I deserve a little bit of respect!”

Mrs Walker reached out to hug him but he walked away.  She sighed.  “I wonder what it would have been like to have daughters,” she thought.

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegan children, veggie kids, animals, animal rights, juvenile fiction, chickens, sheep, vegan children’s story

Unarguable

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

Story continues from yesterday:

When they found the stall, which was always in town on Saturdays, only one person stood behind it and it wasn’t Kris.

“Hello you lot,” said Andy, “long time no see.”

“Hello,” said Tania.

“Hello,” said Isabel.

“Hello,” said Joe.

“Have you got any stickers?” asked Luke.

“No,” said Andy.

“Is Kris here?”

Andy looked under the table.  “Erm, no, I’m afraid she isn’t.”  He stood back up, “anything I can help you with?”

“Can I have one of these?” asked Joe, reaching for the red and green charities lists.  Andy nodded.

“Oh, get one for me as well,” said Tania.

“And me,” said Luke.

“Anything else?” asked Andy.

They all shook their heads.

“No thanks,” said Isabel, “see ya.”

They hadn’t expected Andy to have what they were looking for but, still, they were disappointed.

“Maybe there’s a website we could order some from,” wondered Joe.

Luke’s eyes lit up.  “Or,” he said, “we could do it with a marker pen!”

Joe wasn’t opposed to that idea but Tania and Isabel were.

“It’d take too long to write on every poster – much greater chance of being seen,” said Tania.

“Hang on a minute,” said Isabel, looking across the street at something. “I’ve got an idea!”

Tania knew what she was thinking and the two of them grabbed the boys’ arms and dragged them into WHSmith’s. They walked towards the back of the shop until they reached the stationery section and, more specifically, the printer paper.

“We don’t need ready-made stickers,” said Isabel, “we can make our own!”

****

Tania switched on her laptop, clicked Google Chrome and searched for how to print labels with OpenOffice.  Isabel sat at her laptop which was connected to Tania’s dad’s printer.  The boys stood behind her and watched.

“Open OpenOffice Writer,” Tania told her.

Isabel opened OpenOffice Writer.

“Click FILE, point to NEW and then select LABELS from the drop-down menu,” said Tania.

“Done,” said Isabel after a couple of seconds.

“Click the LABELS tab.”

“Okay.”

“Now you need to choose the labels’ brand from the drop-down list where it says BRAND.”

“Okay.”

“And then choose the label code from the list marked TYPE.”

“What’s our label code?”

“erm,” Joe pulled a sheet of sticky labels from the printer, “it says software code – is that it?”

“Let’s see,” said Isabel and she searched the list for the code he read to her.

“Got it.”

“Okay.  Under OPTIONS select ENTIRE PAGE.”

“Done.”

“Now click NEW DOCUMENT.”

As soon as Isabel did that, a page of blank labels appeared on the screen.  Everyone smiled.

“That was easy,” said Luke.

“So far so good,” said Isabel.  “Now, what do we want to put on them?”

“British Heart Foundation experiments on animals,” said Tania.

“And Cancer Research UK experiments on animals,” said Luke.

“Okay,” said Isabel, “let’s go down the red list and do a sheet for each charity that’s got a shop in town.”

“Right,” said Tania, picking up the list.

“Why don’t we just do one for all?” asked Joe.

“What d’you mean?”

“Well it’s not just shops we need ’em for.  You never know when you’re gonna see a poster or an ad for any of these charities, so we need to always be prepared.  We should have one sticker that’ll work for all of them.”

“Good idea,” said Tania, “something like ‘WE ARE VIVISECTORS’.”

“Yes!” said Luke.

Isabel shook her head.  “We don’t want it to sound like name-calling.  It’s got to be unarguable.  An unemotional statement of fact.”

Everyone nodded.

“WE FUND EXPERIMENTS ON ANIMALS,” said Joe.

Everyone nodded again and Isabel typed.

“Centre it,” said Tania, “and enlarge it to fill the label.  Good.  Now copy and paste it onto all of them.”

Isabel clicked SAVE and PRINT. “They can’t argue with that!”Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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Luke Walker Chapter 22 starts here!

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 22:  Trust

“We should do it with the lights off,” Luke suggested, “have you got any candles?”

“Dinner’s ready!” said Joe happily.  It was the first time he’d cooked dinner for anyone else and he was quite pleased with how it had turned out.  He put two plates on the coffee table.  “Jacket potato with beans and salad,” he announced.

“Thanks,” said Luke, “is there any beetroot?”

“er, yeah,” said Joe and went to fetch it.

“Have you got any?”

“Yes, I’m getting it.”

“Candles?”

“What?”  Joe handed Luke the beetroot.

“Candles – thanks – have you got any?”

“erm, I don’t think so,” said Joe, “what d’you want candles for?”

“It says here they’re good for meditatin’,” said Luke, referring to his library book, “but we’ll just have to do it in the dark.”

“What if we mute the telly and leave it on?  With the rest of the lights off, that’d probably be like candle light,” suggested Joe.

“Good idea!”

Joe picked up the remote and pressed play.

“I love this bit,” said Luke, waiting for Kathy Bates to say ‘yes, this is our planet’ before replying, in sync with Keanu Reeves and Joe, “No, it is not.”

By the time Keanu had left the building, both diners were ready for dessert.  Joe emptied a tin of Fruit Medley into two bowls and brought them to the table.

“Thanks,” said Luke, “have you got any cake?”

“Mmm,” mumbled Joe through a mouthful of peach, pear and pineapple chunks, “there might be some doughnuts in the bread bin.”

“I don’t like pears,” said Luke, scraping the white chunks into Joe’s bowl.

“They taste different in grape juice,” said Joe, “I like ’em.”

“Good,” said Luke, “can I have your pineapple?”

“No.”

“I gave you my pears.”

“Because you didn’t want them.”

“I still gave ’em to you.”

“You’re not getting my pineapple!”

Luke gave up and went in search of doughnuts.

“There’s nothin’ but bread in here,” he called.

Joe put his head round the door.  “No, not that bread bin, that bread bin.”  He pointed to a large plastic box with a tea towel over it.  “That’s my bread bin.”

“You’ve got your own bread bin?”

Joe nodded.

Luke found the paper bag which had once contained ten jam doughnuts.  There was one left.  “Shall I cut it in half?” he asked.

“No, you can have it,” said Joe, giving the hoped-for response, “I’m full.”

“I’m not surprised if you’ve eaten the other nine.”  Luke laughed.

“I didn’t eat ’em today,” said Joe, “they’ve lasted me over a week.”

Luke sucked on the edge of the doughnut until it was soft enough to bite.  “Why have you got your own bread bin?” he asked eventually.

“To keep my food separate,” said Joe, “from theirs.”

“You’ve got your own food?”

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“I just want to.”

“Why?”

Joe changed the subject.  “We’d better get on with the meditation before Janet gets home.”

Luke muted the television.

“It says here we should do it outside,” said Joe, “in nature.”

“It’s raining,” said Luke.

“erm, well, I suppose it’ll work inside … yeah, it says you have to be comfortable so you don’t get distracted.”  They sat on the floor facing each other and closed their eyes.  “We have to empty our minds,” whispered Joe.

Luke jumped up.  “Wait! I forgot to turn the lights off!”  He switched them off and sat back down.  “So what are we supposed to be thinking about?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“Nothing.  Empty your mind.”

Luke was silent for almost fifty seven seconds.  “Shouldn’t we be thinkin’ about aliens?” he whispered, “I mean, shouldn’t we be callin’ them with our minds?”

“Not yet, we’re just learning to meditate.  When we get good at it, then we might be able to.”

“How long will that take?” asked Luke, opening his eyes.

“The more questions you ask, the longer it’ll take!” hissed Joe, exasperated.  “Close your eyes and empty your mind!”

Luke closed his eyes.  The room was silent.  Apart from the occasional passing car there was absolutely no noise.  Except that trickling sound.  What was that?  Luke opened one eye but it was too dark to see much.  The trickling stopped and he told himself to concentrate on nothing.

“Why have you got your own food?”

Joe tutted and got up to switch on the light.  “Do you want to contact the aliens or not?”

“You’re keepin’ somethin’ from me,” said Luke, “you can’t properly meditate when you’re keepin’ secrets.  It won’t work if we don’t trust each other.”

“We do trust each other.”

“Well you obviously don’t trust me coz you won’t tell me your secret.  An’ if you’re keepin’ secrets from me then maybe I shun’t trust you.”  Luke looked gravely at his friend and waited.

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Story continues tomorrow, but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegetarian, short story,

Mufti Day

Story continues from yesterday.  For the story so far, click here 😀

The following morning everyone arrived at school in clothes of their own choosing.  Some had clearly taken ages with hair and make-up; some wore ridiculously impractical shoes; some wore the latest High Street fashions; most wore jeans and T-shirt.  Nine wore school uniform.  Joe Currant, Luke Walker, Isabel Jessop and Tania Spriggs, all in year seven, wore school uniform because they were not afraid to stand up for what they believed in.  Kristin West in year eleven, Jake Guest and George Broughton in year ten, and Ellie Baxter in year nine, wore school uniform because they’d read Isabel’s email.  Nigel Salter in year eight wore school uniform because he’d forgotten it was Mufti Day.  None of them paid £2 to their form tutors.  Between them they collected £21 for Animal Free Research.

PLEASE DON’T GIVE DONATIONS TO CANCER RESEARCH UK BECAUSE THE CHARITY WASTES SUPPORTERS’ MONEY ON CRUEL AND POINTLESS EXPERIMENTS ON ANIMALS WHICH DON’T HELP HUMAN CANCER SUFFERERS.

The following are just a couple of examples of the horrible things CRUK has done:

Researchers funded by CRUK conducted experiments on nude mice in order to give them bone cancer [nude mice are bred in laboratories with a genetic mutation which causes a deteriorated or absent thymus, resulting in an inhibited immune system and no body hair].

The baby mice had cancer cells injected into their hearts. The male mice received prostate cancer cells and the female mice received breast cancer cells. These cells were made to glow so that tumour growth could be identified while the animals were alive. This was also confirmed after their deaths. Over several weeks the animals developed tumours in their bones and some, who had been injected wrongly, developed tumours in their hearts. The animals were killed at various times after the injection into their hearts.

Relevance to humans:

  • Researchers admit that as the animals had no thymus, they could not determine the role of the immune system in regulating the bone cancer spread.
  • Researchers admit that their method of creating cancer in these animals is very different to how humans develop cancer. In these experiments, the males were injected with approximately 100,000 cancer cells and the females with approximately 75,000 cells in one injection.

CRUK co-funded a complex study on rats and mice designed to investigate whether disrupting a particular network of proteins could help treat bile duct cancer.

Three different types of animals were used:
Nude mice were injected under the skin with tumour cells from people with bile duct cancer. After three weeks some of them were given treatments to reduce the severity of the tumours.
A second group of genetically modified mice were chemically poisoned for around six months so that they would develop cancer.
Rats were subjected to the same chemical poisoning regime as the mice. After about five months, some of them were given substances designed to target the tumours. One of these was the treatment that depleted levels of some white blood cells (macrophages) and therefore damaged their immune system.

Relevance to humans:

  • Researchers are unclear as to the exact cause of bile duct cancer but contributing factors can include a rare type of liver disease, abnormalities of the bile duct and parasitic infections. Being forced to ingest an industrial chemical for six months, therefore, does not provide an accurate ‘model’ of how the disease develops in humans.
  • Genetically modifying mice to develop cancer is no more reliable than injecting them with human cancer cells. It is an over-simplistic approach, since human cancers are usually caused by multiple mutations in co-existent cells, and depend on a highly individualised cellular environment.
  • The researchers admit that only a small proportion of bile duct cancer patients have the mutation inflicted on the GM mice they used.

While being very secretive about the specific details of the animal research they fund, CRUK states:

“At the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, we only use mice.  We breed some strains ourselves and obtain others from suppliers who are licensed to supply animals for research.  Most of the mice we use have altered genetics”

When considering this one should be aware that the creation of GM mice generally involves several painful and invasive procedures, including major surgery and mutilation.  Creating just one ‘founder’ mouse with the required genetic alteration can entail the deaths of hundreds of others. These unwanted mice are often killed by being gassed or having their necks broken.

It is incomprehensible that CRUK continues to waste its supporters’ money on animal research despite the fact that pharmaceutical companies acknowledge the failure of animal-based research in their drug development process and write about this openly and often in the scientific literature.

A leading oncologist, voted one of America’s Top Doctors, Dr Azra Raza, made the absolute failure of mice models of cancer the focus of her
TED-x talk: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=17&v=07rgtBzN4Qo

She said:
“The fact of the matter is, that we cured acute myeloid leukemia in mice back in 1977 and today, in humans, we are using exactly the same drugs with absolutely dreadful results.  We have to stop studying mice because it’s essentially pointless and we have to start studying freshly obtained human cells.”

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
SEND THE SCHOOL’S DONATIONS TO AN ETHICAL CHARITY SUCH AS
ANIMAL FREE RESEARCH UK
(animalfreeresearchuk.org)
WHICH IS DOING SCIENTIFICALLY VALID, HUMAN RELEVANT RESEARCH THAT WILL HELP HUMAN SUFFERERS.

SOURCES:

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Celia scoffed

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

Story continues from yesterday:

A couple of people laughed at his apparent ignorance and Luke scowled at them.

“Enclosure,” Mrs Abbot repeated patiently.

“Well,” said Luke, who was perfectly capable of listening while he stared out the window.  “I agree with Nicky.”

“Do you?” said Mrs Abbot, “and what specifically do you agree with?”

“I agree with what he said about no one should own land, it belongs to everybody.”

“Okay, and you don’t think this young man had a point?” she asked, pointing to Andrew.

“No,” said Luke.  “There wun’t be any farm animal diseases if they din’t farm animals.  And farmin’ more animals didn’t make farmin’ more efficient coz you can get a lot more food out of land if you just grow crops on it.”

“So, in conclusion – your opinion is that Enclosure was – ?”

“Bad.”  The brief pause that followed, though due to Mrs Abbot searching her sleeve for a tissue, led Luke to assume that further explanation was required.  “If there were no fences,” he went on, “an’ everybody could have a strip to grow their own food like they used to, then everybody would have enough to eat an’ there’d be enough land left over to grow forests and have places where the wild animals could live.”

Celia Brook snorted.

“Something to add?” asked Mrs Abbot.

“Well he’s living in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks that would work!” said Celia.  “If you had no fences then some people would do all the work and other people would steal their food.  Or the wild animals would eat what they’d grown because they don’t have fences to keep them out.”

“It worked then so why wouldn’t it work now?” argued Lucy.  “When people all have the same they don’t get jealous of each other’s stuff.  Everyone would be able to use as much land as they needed to feed their own family and there’d be no need for money so no one would sell their food, they could trade it for other people’s food if they wanted to and everyone would co-operate so that they all had enough.”

Celia scoffed.  “That’s never gonna happen!  People only look after number one!  That’s what capitalism is!”

“I’m not a capitalist, I’m an anarchist!” said Nicky.

“Okay, okay,” said Mrs Abbot, “I think we might be going off on a tangent here.  Let’s look back at the diagram on the first page of your …” She was interrupted by a knock at the door.  “Come in.”

A teenager entered and gave a note to Mrs Abbot.  She thanked him and he left.  After reading the note she stood silently for a moment before clearing her throat and telling everyone that their lesson had been cut short because they had been called to assembly.  They should take their bags and coats with them because they would go straight to lunch afterwards.

Luke and Joe followed everyone else back out into the corridor to join the rest of the school heading down to the assembly hall.  There was lots of speculation regarding what might be the cause of their summons.

“I heard the school’s closin’ down,” Kenny told anyone who cared to listen.

“Says who?” asked George sceptically.

“My sister – she’s in the sixth form and she said Mr Davies said it might be merging with Bishop’s.”

“Bishop’s?” asked Christopher with some concern, “that’s way over the other side of town.  If they make us go there I’ll have leave home even earlier.”

“We won’t be merging with Bishop’s,” Celia told them confidently, “it’s not big enough.”

“They’re addin’ new buildings,” said Kenny, “there’s builders there now.  That’s where all them lorries were going.”

Luke and Joe were a little concerned, like Christopher, that a move to Bishop’s would mean an even earlier start to the day, but they needn’t have worried.

The hall was rarely this full of people.  Years Seven and Eight had their assemblies on Mondays and Wednesdays; Years Nine and Ten on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and Year Eleven had just one per week, on Fridays.  It was only on special occasions that the whole school attended assembly together.  Everyone waited for Mr Strang, the Headmaster, to finish talking to the Head of Year Seven, Mrs Oakley.  She looked like she’d been crying.  When she left the stage, Mr Strang cleared his throat and talked into the microphone.

“I’m sorry to – “ his words stuck in his throat.  He coughed and gestured to one of the other teachers for a glass of water.  After swallowing a mouthful he tried again.  “Excuse me, erm, …”

A Year Eleven boy pulled back the chair of the girl in front of him and it slid forward on two legs.  She shrieked and was left hanging at a 45 degree angle with her shoulders against his knees and her feet kicking the back of the person in front of her.  The commotion caused some laughter along two rows of seats and inspired the rest of the assembled to turn and see what was going on.

“You two!  Out!  Leave this room NOW!”  Mr Strang’s voice boomed over the P.A. System and the laughter was immediately curtailed.  One of the P.E. teachers dragged the boy and girl from their seats and marched them out of the hall.  Everyone else turned to face the front and waited silently for Mr Strang to resume.

“I’m sorry to tell you that Mrs King passed away at 6.42 this morning,” Mr Strang’s voice was quivering, “she has worked here for eleven years and was a valued colleague and friend.  I’m sure you’ll all agree that she was an excellent teacher who was devoted to her students and always had time for anyone who needed extra help.”

The atmosphere in the room changed instantly from one of curiosity and impatience to one of melancholy.  Luke and Joe hadn’t known Mrs King for long but they’d liked her and were sad she was gone.  No one said anything.  Mr Strang continued.

“As some of you may know, Mrs King battled with cancer for years.  She was brave, uncomplaining and always cheerful.  She was an inspiration to us all.  We have decided, therefore, as a tribute to Mrs King, to organise two fund raising activities in support of an organisation which has for many years funded life-saving research into the causes, prevention and treatment of cancer – Cancer Research UK.

“The school Swing Band – which Mrs King loved – will play a concert at The Tower Theatre, at the end of March. Volunteers can go home today with tickets to sell in aid of the charity and there will be a prize for the person who sells the most.  Secondly, there will be a Mufti Day on Friday for the whole school.  Every pupil who wishes to take part must pay £2 to their form tutor for the privilege of not having to wear school uniform that day.  If everyone takes part, the mufti day alone will raise £2000 for the charity.”  Mr Strang cleared his throat, took another swig of water and turned to say something to Mrs MacGregor who sat behind the piano.  He then left the stage and Mrs MacGregor led the school in Mrs King’s favourite hymn.

****

At the end of the day Isabel and Tania pushed through the crowd to find Luke and Joe in the bus queue.

“What are you doing here?” asked Luke.

“Can’t stop,” said Isabel, a little out of breath, “but did you get some of those concert tickets to sell?”

“Yeah,” said Luke, “Mr Flanagan gave everybody ten.”

“Don’t sell them!” said Tania, grabbing Isabel by the elbow and pulling her away.

“Why?” Luke asked the retreating pair.

“Meet us tomorrow lunchtime,” Isabel called across the noisy crowd, “usual place.”  And they hurried to their rendezvous with Tania’s mum at the back of the school.

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Story continues on Monday, but if you don’t want to wait you can read it now 😀

Have a great weekend 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, vegan children’s story, creative writing, juvenile fiction

Luke Walker chapter 21 starts here!

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 2:  Mufti Day

The Enclosure Acts:

A series of Acts of Parliament that empowered enclosure [eg with fences] of open fields and common land in England and Wales, creating legal property rights to land that was previously held in common. Between 1604 and 1914, over 5,200 individual enclosure Acts were passed, covering 6.8 million acres.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclosure_Acts

When the bell went there followed the usual noisy, chaotic movement of pupils through the corridors as everyone relocated to a different classroom for their next lesson.  Luke and Joe rushed into Mrs King’s room ahead of the rest of their class to get the best seats – at the back desk by the window.  They’d heard from their form tutor at registration that Mrs King was off sick again and when Mrs King was away it was imperative they got a window seat.

History was one of the few subjects at school that Luke was interested in.  He wouldn’t go as far as to say he looked forward to the lessons, because things that required him to sit still, be quiet and do as he was told were never going to be a preferred use of his time, but he didn’t mind them.  That was probably because he liked Mrs King.

Mrs King absolutely loved history.  She made everything interesting because she talked about it with such energy and enthusiasm.  Unfortunately she’d been off sick a lot lately and that meant a substitute.  Substitute teachers weren’t bad people, Luke had nothing against them personally.  But a teacher who doesn’t know anybody; who has no idea where the class is up to in their lessons; and who didn’t even know they’d be teaching at that school until half an hour before school started, is probably going to just give them printouts.

“Good morning,” said the woman behind Mrs King’s desk, “I’m Mrs Abbot and I’ll be taking you for History today.”  A few people started rummaging in their bags for their text books and pencil cases.  “Hold your horses,” Mrs Abbot said, “you won’t need those today, we’ve got some printouts.”

Luke looked knowingly at Joe.

“See,” he whispered.

“I know,” whispered Joe, a little irritated, “I knew as well as you did.”

“When the pile gets to you, please take one and then pass them to the next person.”  Mrs Abbot gave a stack of photocopies to Caroline at the front and everybody waited for it to arrive at their desks.  Nobody was impatient to see what was on it.

“Okay,” Mrs Abbot went on, “as you’ll see from your sheets, we’re going to be thinking about the Enclosure Acts which changed the way land was used in this country.  I want you to read the information I’ve given you and then consider whether you think Enclosure was a good thing or a bad thing.

“Many scholars have discussed it over the years and have come to very different conclusions.  I want you to read their opinions and then decide what you think.”  When she stopped talking everyone looked down at their sheets and began to read.  Before most of them had got to the second paragraph she added, “Read both sides.”

After ten minutes – the time by which Mrs Abbot expected everyone to have read the texts, she began the discussion.

“So, what do we think – was Enclosure a good thing or a bad thing?”

Andrew Bennett put up his hand.

“Yes, blonde boy at the front – what do you think?”

“I think it was all necessary for progress.  We had a growing population that needed to be fed so farming needed to be more efficient and less wasteful.”

“Okay, and what would you say if I told you that, according to Dr Michael Turner, a History lecturer at Hull University, in the second quarter of the eighteenth century there was actually plenty of cheap food for a population that was only slowly increasing.  Why would Enclosure be needed then, if the existing farming practices were providing everything everybody needed?”

“Some people wanted more – the land owners wanted more,” called out Nicky Witticomb.

“Indeed they did young man,” said Mrs Abbot, “yes, in fact cheap food at the market meant farmers’ incomes weren’t increasing as they would have liked so, in an effort to get more money from their land, they moved away from the broadly fixed incomes of arable farming, and into the expanding area of pastoral farming.  Then, as demand for meat and dairy products increased, farmers were able to earn more from their land by substituting grass for crops.”  She looked around the room for more contributors.  “Anyone else?  Was Enclosure a good thing or a bad thing?”

“Both,” said Lucy Evans.  “It was good for the land owners because they could use all their land without wasting strips in between … strips.  But it was bad for the people who didn’t own land because they couldn’t farm those common strips any more.  They used to be able to grow their own food and be self sufficient, but after enclosure they had to go to the cities to earn a wage.”

“Good, good, okay well …”

“All property is theft!”  interrupted Nicky, “those land owners didn’t have any right to own the land – they just took it, or their ancestors did.  The land belongs to everybody.  Everybody should have the right to build their little log cabin wherever they like, and collect their fuel from the woods and grow their own food.”  He concluded with a quote.  “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

Mrs Abbot smiled.  “Okay, we’ve got some strong opinions here.  Good.  Anybody want to take issue with this young man … what’s your name?”

“Nicky.”

“Does anyone want to take issue with Nicky’s opinion?”

“Enclosure made farming more efficient,” said Andrew, “less labour was needed to produce more food.  It stopped farm animal diseases spreading to all the animals in the village, and they could do more selective breeding to get better animals which produce more milk or meat.”

“Hmm, okay, anyone else?  Young man at the back, would you like to venture an opinion or are you more interested in how many red lorries are travelling west?”

Luke, who had no interest in lorries but was gazing out of the window anyway, didn’t realise at first that the teacher was addressing him.  A nudge from Joe got his attention.

“What do you think?”  Mrs Abbot asked again, “good thing or bad thing?”

“What?” asked Luke, “is what a good thing?”

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The story continues tomorrow 😀

But if you don’t want to wait, you can read it all here now 😀

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Luke Walker chapter twenty starts here!

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 20:  The Letter

When the envelope dropped onto the mat it looked ominous.  Mum was nervous about opening it.  Why the police would be writing to her she couldn’t imagine.  Well, actually, she could imagine but she didn’t want to.  She reassured herself that it wasn’t to inform her that someone close to her had been in an accident, they wouldn’t do that by second class post.  So what could it be?  Jury duty?  No, that doesn’t come from the police.  The quickest way to find out, of course, would be to just open it, but before doing that she really wanted to think of something not horrible that it might be about.  Sadly, Luke’s mother found it impossible to do that.  She took a deep breath and ripped it open.

****

“I’m in.”

“Bio-dampers are workin’ at optium.  They can’t detect you.”

“Good.”

“Work fast.  Dampers are fluttuatin’, I don’t know how much longer I can keep you hidden.”

“Just placing the. Last. One …. Done!  One to beam up.”

“Can’t get a lock.  The Borg shields are too thick.  Get to the cargo bay – I should be able to beam you out from there.”

“’scuse me Captain Janeway, Mum wants you.”

“Jared!” Luke scowled at his brother.

“Ha ha ha ha, oh, I stand corrected.  Sorry Commander Chakotay.  Nice tattoo.”  Jared walked away laughing.

Joe climbed down from the top bunk and picked up his doodle pad. “I’ll wait here.”

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Story continues on Monday, but if you don’t want to wait you can click here now 😀 

Have a great weekend! ❤ 

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