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Face maks that didn't hurt those who made them

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In New Zealand we're now required to wear face coverings on public transport, and they're also recommended in many other contexts.  Many people are turning to reusable masks in an effort to reduce their waste footprint, but cotton fabric often has a pretty hideous human cruelty footprint.  Which masks are most likely to be good for the workers?  I'm after masks that:
have supply chains free of child and slave labour;are made by folk earning a living wage, working in safe conditions etc.;didn't involve polluting the local environment where they were made.Handily, every year Tearfund puts out the Ethical Fashion Guide, which ranks common clothing brands on these kinds of ethical issues.  This year's guide isn't out yet, but many brands that ranked highly in 2019 are making masks.
Before I go to them, a quick note on hand-made masks.  Many of the worker rights and environmental issues associated with clothing occur long before clothes are made.  Forced labour is com…

A fun day in lockdown

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After a string of pretty tired days, today has been lovely :-)It started with sourdough biscuits and gravy for breakfast (biscuits in the American sense, and the sourdough made using the pulp left over from making soy milk).
Then I went back to bed for a few hours' rest, before getting into swimming clothes, borrowing Sarah's electric bike and heading to Blockhouse Bay beach.

The electric bike was so easy!  I whizzed up the hills - vastly less work than the regular bike, and less hassle than the bus.  I won't be making this my standard way to get to Blockhouse Bay, but it's nice to have it as an option for tireder days like today :-)Here's a diagram I did earlier of roughly where I swim.  This time I took the bike all the way down to the start rather than leaving the bike at the top of the hill (which I do to avoid having to bike up a super-steep hill straight after swimming), so today was mostly just a swim, rather than the usual bike/walk/swim triathlon.
t A very ha…

Abiding in God

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As I said earlier, I've been lower in energy since our holiday in mid-June - although the reduced energy is carrying on so long it may be simply because of winter, rather than the holiday.  The last 2-3 weeks, though, I've been much less frustrated about it all - I've been mostly content, albeit punctuated with the odd patches of extreme panic!

One thing that has made a huge difference is a 'breath prayer' I've been praying.  If I wake in the middle of the night and can't sleep, I start saying "You are the true vine, help me to rest in You."  If I find myself fretting during the day, I do the same.  God has used this to really transform my attitude :-)

Holiday in Te Aroha and Auckland

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A few weeks back, Martin had two weeks off.  We spent the first week staying with his Aunty and Uncle in Te Aroha.  They borrowed bikes for us to use down there and, on Martin's birthday, we rode from Waikino to Paeroa (through the Karangahake Gorge) on the Hauraki Rail Trail.  It was about 14km, broadly downhill, and we meandered through it over about 2.5 hours.












Back in Te Aroha, I made Martin a cake for his birthday (although not on his actual birthday - I wasn't up for extra activities after the long bike ride!).  A German 'black and white cake':



Mike and Elspeth have a lovely house.  This time I was particularly enjoying these succulents growing by the steps in their back garden.


Moving to Level 2

I have found the transition to Covid-19 alert level 2 surprisingly difficult.  At least, I think that's what it is!  Today and yesterday I seem to have been getting upset uncommonly easy.

I found the move to having an alert system and rapidly moving through levels 2, 3 and into 4 not too bad.  It took adjustment to have Martin and Sarah at home all the time.  I'm used to being on my own a lot and found that quite overwhelming initially.  But we have a large house where all three of us can easily be fairly separate, and after a week or so that became much less of an issue.

Survival strategies

Over the course of the last six months or so, I've put into place a number of survival strategies that have helped me cope with the big change in my life.  I wrote earlier about Sabbath-keeping and care-casting.  Since then I've added two other practises that have also been super-helpful.

Lockdown adventures

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Like everyone else, over the past 6 weeks or so that we've been in lockdown I've had very few face to face interactions with other people and none, other than with Martin and Sarah, at a close distance.  It's a very curious time.

I've been thinking about many things over this time - and have been coping more and less well at different points in time! - but here I want to write about  the non-work things we've been able to do even though many options have been taken away.