I can see how my comments yesterday, on the Gap/child labour news, might have seemed insensitive. Of course that was not my intention, but I had also been listening to a programme on Radio 4 about Fair Trade coffee, and how it is produced and sold.
Farmers and many families in Africa, India and South America, are involved and it seems that the children of these families invariably help with the work - to a lesser or greater degree. Many of these families can't afford to send their children to school (of course their work is very poorly paid) so what alternative is there for them? At least they have their children with them, and those children are learning about the world in which they live. Whether we like it or not (and we see these situations from our great height as a 'caring' and uber-civilized society) this is how many people are living, and there are still women giving birth in the fields, or in filthy huts and shelters. These families don't have the benefit of drainage and clean water. Yes, some children are working for unscrupulous profiteers who take advantage of their vulnerability, but these children are not only working in filthy and unhygienic conditions, they are also living, eating and sleeping in these same conditions. Of course it's appalling, but a holier-than-thou attitude to how they have to work to earn money to live will not help them. What can we do? We will, I suppose, continue to give money to charitable appeals and hope against hope that the money, help, food and support reaches the poor people for whom it is intended. Of course we will also continue to buy clothes from Gap, and food that is not necessarily from sustainable and ethical sources. This is the world we live in. This is the way we have made it. It's not perfect.
Yesterday's lunch with my London BF was perfect. It was pouring with rain all day, so a visit to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen was very welcome. We splashed in, dumped our umbrellas, and each had a large glass of rose wine to go with our burgers (just the one). We didn't stop talking for two straight hours and it was only the fact that she had a meeting at 4.30 that stopped us.
I was talking on the phone with another friend this morning, who had what sounded like a worse week than mine last week. She believes that everyone is having a bad time at the moment, because Mercury is retrograde! This may well be the case, as I have heard nothing but bad news from friends generally over the last few weeks. The only exception has been my ex-Arundel BF, who is off to France tomorrow. She has rented a house for six months, and will be starting work on her French house in a month or so. How I would love to be in her shoes...