Watching a storm brew from my balcony…my house was hit by lightning 30 min later!
Greek summer has always been a challenge for me, even though most of my friends and relatives think I’m insane. People from all over the world spend small fortunes on heading to the land which created the first Olympic Games and has countless beaches, monuments and fascinating historical sites to visit. So when I confess that Greek summer is usually a nightmare for me they are shocked.
My main issue is the overwhelming heat. The temperature is usually between 35°C and 42°C (around 95 and 108°F). That’s just too much for me to handle during the day and it means that at night the house is uncomfortably hot. It’s so difficult to sleep and at least one of us can usually be found prowling around in the early hours of the morning trying to find a cool spot. Unfortunately, the best of these spots is directly in front of the fridge…that means that my family nearly always gains weight during the summer period! September always heralds the arrival of requests for gym membership and low fat meals.
Another issue that most parents have in Greece is the incredibly long school break. High school finishes the regular curriculum in the middle of May and resumes again around the 10th of September. When the teaching programme finishes in May the students go to school for a couple of hours in the morning several days a week to do their end of year exams. The exam period lasts five weeks. That means that parents of children in Greece have the pleasure of seeing their offspring for four whole months. There are no regular lessons, unless the parents can afford to send their child to summer school or pay for private tuition. My children went to a private school this year so I thank the Lord that they were busy until the middle of July! Having time to drink a leisurely coffee in the morning and catch up on e-mails without being hounded by your permanently hungry teen, should NEVER be taken for granted!
Private schools and tuition brings me on to my next summer difficulty: being able to save enough money during the eight months I work a year to cover the extra expenses we have during the long vacation. My teens have virtually all day free apart from a couple of hours they spend studying, revising and training for judo. Not a day passes without them asking, pleading or sometimes blackmailing me to give them money to go to the town and meet their friends! That means that I rarely go out, as I simply can’t afford it.
Most of my summer is spent at home trying to escape the gruelling temperatures. Thank heavens I have many online friends to ‘hang out’ with, otherwise the four months would never end! My teens also want to go to summer camp with their friends, so that’s another expense which makes it difficult to make ends meet. I really celebrate when September arrives and my kids only have time to go out on Saturdays! I also start working again at this time of year so things tend to get better in the fall.
So that’s the heat, the long school break, and the expense of a summer in Greece covered, but then there is also the weather…
Summer storms in the mainland area of Greece where I live are frequent and unpredictable. Last summer as I was gathering clothes from the washing line, a sheep was struck dead by lightening very close to where I was standing! It was a terrifying experience, for us both I imagine, and as a result I am very stressed this year every time I hear a thunderclap.
Our house was hit AGAIN this year and on another occasion shortly after that the electricity column next to my house was also ‘attacked’ during one of our frequent summer storms. The whole area was left without power for several days which meant cooking and cooling systems had to be abandoned. I gave away a lot of frozen food to friends in the town as the lack of fridge/freezer was the biggest nightmare. No cool spot at all during the blackout! My modem was also blown to smithereens and I don’t even want to recall the pain of being offline for several days!
Ok, so now that I told you how I really feel about summer in Greece, I will end it on some positives. Here’s goes…I can say that I enjoy having lots of time to catch up with my online friends and reading as many books as I like. This year I have also spent real quality time with my two sons who actually want to hang out with me. My 15-year old decided to stay at home while his brother went camping with friends. This was a total surprise as he just wanted to spend time reading books and chilling out with me. He hasn’t wanted to do that for several years! My 16 year old formally invited me to watch judo during the Olympic Games and actually insisted on me being with him so that we could bet on who we thought would win each match…I’m not sure whether I should be flattered by the invitation or worried that I have produced a gambler!
At least this year my two teens think I’m cool enough to hang out with in public (on the front balcony) and to participate in underage gambling (watching judo) in the privacy of our home….
How do you deal with a long summer vacation? What activities are your children involved in?
This is an original post for World Moms Network written by Ann Maria in Greece.
The last photo of the author and her brother with their mom.
There once was a little girl who lost her mother. She was too young to fully understand the concept of never. She had a secret belief that people were making a silly mistake when they gently explained that her mommy would never be coming home again.
The little girl secretly believed her mommy had just taken a long vacation. Her Daddy told her that Mommy was in a special type of hospital for people who were sick and needed to rest.
Since the little girl was smart and precocious, she imagined her mother had taken a much needed rest and gone on holiday with the traveling circus, which recently had been in town. Hadn’t Mommy admired the clowns and acrobats SO much? Wouldn’t this be a great way to get better after all the medicine the little girl had secretly seen her mommy take when she thought nobody was watching…
As the months and then years dragged on and Mommy didn’t come back, the girl started to realise that the traveling circus probably wasn’t the reason her mother had left.
Instead, she started to suspect that her parents had gotten a divorce and her father had custody of the 2 children since his wife was sick. This had happened to a boy in the little girl’s class at school.
She still couldn’t accept the fact her mother was gone for good.
Things began to get difficult at home and at school too. At first the other children were sympathetic because their teacher had told them that the little girl was going through difficult times at home and needed help and understanding from her classmates.
Eventually though, when the girl started coming to school with untidy hair and wearing grubby, mismatched socks, most of the kids started calling her names and telling her she was a freak.
She DID look and act weird, she knew. The sad truth was that she FELT like a freak, and that was even worse.
When other girls went on sleepovers and to birthday parties, on shopping trips and visits to the local swimming pool with their moms, the little girl wasn’t invited. The mothers felt awkward and embarrassed trying to organise these things with the girl’s father. The father said he needed his daughter to stay home and look after her little brother and he couldn’t spare her as he had to work. After a few kind attempts, the invitations dried up.
Although help was offered to the father at first, his depressed and confused mental health gradually repelled those who were trying to help him support his 2 young children. After losing all of his teeth and most of his hair due to extreme stress, he realised he couldn’t cope alone anymore. He suffered a nervous breakdown and was forced to go back to his country of origin to seek help from estranged relatives.
This is the traumatic beginning of my early life and the reason I lived in a fantasy world following the death of my mother, when I was just six years old.
My family had left England a few years earlier and gone to live in Australia for a better life. We really did have a perfect lifestyle for a couple of years until my beloved mother became sick and died of cancer before the age of 30.
I remember with utmost shock how I refused to believe my mother was actually dead. I’m staggered now at how I stubbornly clung to elaborate fantasies about her REAL whereabouts and my utter refusal to grasp reality.
The other thing I remember with clarity is the nastiness of some and the true kindness of others.
Although virtually everyone was supportive and helpful at first, this really didn’t last long. After a relatively short period of time, I became an object of ridicule and target for bullies. My father was going through his own catastrophic demise and I basically had to fend for myself as well as bring up my younger brother.
It’s not easy for a 6-and-a-half-year-old to cook, clean and look after herself and her 4-year-old brother as well.
I went to school looking unkempt and bedraggled most of the time and the fantasies I told about my mother must have scared my schoolmates, who knew she had passed on. I was called names and kids threw stones at me because I was so different from them. In my class I was the only one from a single-parent home at that time.
Nowadays, of course, single-parent families are commonplace. Back then it wasn’t the norm and other kids made me feel that somehow it was my fault; I was stigmatized.
Coming from another country and speaking with a different accent didn’t help either. I was unacceptably different on so many levels.
When I first met my Greek husband decades later, one of his relatives praised him for being such a good Christian, offering to marry not only a foreigner but an orphan too!!!
It seems that in many cultures the child is responsible and pays for the parents “crimes.”
I remember a limited amount of kindness during my formative years and so try my best to instill a sense of compassion and respect for ALL living things in my children. I tell them that it really doesn’t matter how many possessions a person has that gives them value but how they treat others that counts. The way they interact with others is the true measure of their worth.
As a result of my childhood, I know that the kindness and compassion we show to a person can shape their whole future, for better or worse.
If we could all impart this wisdom in our children, wouldn’t the world be such a better place?
Have you had any childhood traumas that have made you passionate about something in adulthood? How do you encourage your kids to show kindness to others?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our contributor in Greece and mum to two, Ann Marie Wright.
The image used in this post is attributed to the author.
Lately, my life seems to be a blustery gale of unexpected mishaps and then, just when the sun dares to peek through the clouds, an unseasonal hailstorm unleashes its wrath to put me back in my place.
I mean this both metaphorically and literally.
The weather has been unusually freaky in my part of Greece with storms that would put parts of Asia to shame. We’ve had our house, outdoor furniture and internet connection damaged as well as being scared out of our wits due to a few close calls with Mother Nature. A neighbour’s sheep was struck dead by lightning – yes, DEAD – about 10 metres from where I was standing!!!
What was I doing hanging out in the middle of a thunderstorm with a sheep? I’d rushed outside to gather clothes off the washing line before they were blown all the way to India or someplace where such meteorological phenomenon are more common. The only positive result from this close encounter is that all my body hair has a rather lovely demi-wave and swishes beautifully when caught in a breeze. Must be a result from the static electricity when the lightning struck so close. It’s a shame the poor sheep wasn’t so lucky.
Apart from trying to dodge lightning strikes and hurricane winds, health problems and work-related issues have also plagued my family for a while. Thank goodness the health issues aren’t life threatening, but they are constant and irritating. No sooner does one of my family get over one thing, than another member gets something completely different. A few days ago I finally recovered from a particularly vicious case of gastroenteritis. On the same day my sons got sick with flu…! Hubby is now complaining of stomach cramps. HELP.
We only have one bathroom and it’s seen rather a lot of action recently!
Most adults go through such phases in life and especially moms with kids, of course.
Mothers are used to all the childhood maladies that life tends to throw at us.
If you’re lucky, you may have a partner who can help take care of your sick offspring while you try to nap or catch up on all the backlog of chores threatening to overwhelm. However, at least one of you, if not both, will have to go to work to earn extra money for the medical bills and medication as such situations put a strain on the family income. So, traditionally, it’s mom who stays home and tries to cope with the patients hoping that she doesn’t get ill herself.
I’m lucky that my mother-in-law lives so close as there have been times when the four of us have been really ill, and we needed a care taker to make us a hot drink and bring us medicine. I don’t know how people living in isolated areas cope. What about families who live far away from friends and loved ones? Perhaps they have just moved and haven’t had time to build up a support network. What happens when most or all of their family have been struck with some nasty little bug or mischievous virus?
These questions have been troubling me a great deal lately.
These insecurities are worming themselves into my psyche and sqeezing out every bit of creativity and imagination. I’m not the positive person I used to be, but feel I’m moving sluggishly in a black cloud.
So many predominantly negative things have been thrust randomly in my life recently that I’m starting to wonder if someone has put a curse or the ‘evil eye’ on me.
Greeks, of course, take such things pretty seriously, and many people wear jewellery in the form of a blue eye around their wrist or neck. This is supposed to help protect from negative vibes and illness.
Next time I’m shopping I’ll have to remember to buy a few dozen.
On the work front, I have been almost stressed to death with the uncertainty of our family income. Most Greeks are in the same boat though, and especially civil servants who don’t know if they will receive a pay cheque next month or not due to the country’s recent financial crisis. Several of our friends have either left Greece or are planning to abandon ship in the near future.
We are giving our two teenage sons the tools and skills to be able to study and work abroad if they choose, as life and survival in the country of their birth is so precarious.
The only way that I can deal with this stormy ride and find some moments of peace is to spend time in my OWN SPECIAL PLACE.
I have my ‘private’ sofa and TV/radio which is connected to the kitchen. It’s very cosy and convenient as I can keep an eye on the oven and read, sew or watch TV at the same time. The other three members of my family have their own larger living room and hardly ever sit in mine. I rarely go out socially because of my family obligations, so it’s the place I can be to chill out and unload. It’s my personal little area to try to make sense of the messy time we’re going through. I can ramble and ponder at my leisure. Should we try to sit out the storm and remain in Greece? Start somewhere else without a social network or support group? Dig up the roots we have taken a couple of decades to grow?
It’s no wonder we’re constantly ill-ish.
And it’s no wonder that the Gods have echoed the political/social climate and tossed cataclysmic rocks at us.
What are your stresses/worries at the present time? Do you have a special place you like to be to try to chill out and work things out?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ann Marie Wraight of Greece. Photo credit to the author.
Recently, I was talking to my two teenage sons about the characters from books they loved most when they were in primary school. I was confused when they told me one of their favorites was One Legged Little Jak who lived in OUR tree house just behind the stable…
What book was that? Someone had written a book about a special needs child living on our property?
The void in my mind must have been reflected on my blank face because Peter patiently reminded me that I used to tell them a bedtime story every night for months when they were about 6 and 7 years old.
The hero of our nightly tale was One Legged Jak, the ghost of a little Turkish boy who had passed away on our land hundreds of years earlier during a famine.
Some of you may find this rather macabre and inappropriate for small children to hear as a bedtime story. But as memories of Jak and his adventures started flashing like fireworks in my head, I remembered what a wonderful teaching/learning tool Jak and his adventures had been when my boys were little. During their adventures with Jak, my kids dealt with bullies, thieves and mad goats, battled with over demanding parents and survived gale force winds and floods! As it all came back to me, I recalled that Jak had been a specific creation with a threefold purpose.
The first goal was for my boys to overcome their childhood fear of night time ghosts and ghouls by providing them with their own personal spirit-buddy. They loved Jak from the very first chapter! Within 2 weeks of “meeting” Jak they could sleep without the light on as they believed nothing spooky or scary would mess with their spirit friend! They felt as if Jak would look out for them and protect them from anything bad. I’d explain to my boys that just because something was different from them, that certainly didn’t mean it was negative. Quite the contrary! Just look at Jak!
The second goal was to show that accidents and physical deformity can happen at any time and to anyone.
I didn’t want my kids growing up with a biased attitude towards people with special needs but to be as kind and considerate as they were with their own family members.
My children’s Greek gran and grandpa both have serious disabilities. Grandpa had lost one of his eyes and partial sight from the other in a childhood accident. Grandma was born with malformed legs and can walk only with the aid of crutches. Jak had only one leg and used crutches, too. When my boys were on their “adventures” with Jak, part of our story time included an interactive discussion when they had to find creative ways to use Jak’s wooden leg to their advantage. Some suggestions included using his crutches to cross a flooded stream and unscrewing his wooden leg to fight off an attack from a deranged goat! Well, my point was that you should always try to make something positive out of something bad. Even now, Matthew (my 13 year old) often borrows his grandmas crutches to help herd the flock of sheep on our family farm!
The third goal was to encourage my boys to “hang out” with a buddy from a different culture who spoke and behaved differently from them. I chose a Turkish background for several reasons. Firstly, only 1 generation ago our village was known as Turkish Bratva. In recent decades it’s been given the Greek name of Harokopi. Secondly, there is still a lot of tension between the Greeks and Turkish in this part of Greece, especially among the older generations. I definitely did not want my children to believe the racist ideas of some so-called educated Greeks.
Just before I started the saga of Jak and his adventures, one of my German friends told me one of the most shocking things I’d heard about a Greek educator. Her daughter’s 1st grade teacher would tell her pupils that Turkish people were bad and ate children at the drop of a hat! She was horrified when her daughter started having night terrors, convinced that one of their Turkish friends would sneak into the house at night and gobble her up! When the parents discovered that the teacher had told the whole class this terrible thing, they invited her to their home for a friendly confrontation. They didn’t want to go to school and involve the headmistress straight away as this teacher in all other areas seemed to be doing a commendable job. There was also the possibility that their daughter had gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick and confused a fairy tale with part of a history lesson.
My friend told me later that the teacher was a descendant of Greeks who had lived in Asia Minor but had been violently expelled from Smyrna by Turks several generations earlier. Her great grandparents and their surviving relatives had barely escaped the bloodbath alive. As a result, the stories of her grandparents had been told to each generation and she had been brought up hating Turkish people.
There was a big possibility that my children would also have this teacher or have contact at some point in their lives with someone from a similar background. There was no question that Jak HAD to be a loveable Turkish rogue who would protect Peter and Matthew from all evil!!!
So that’s how and why Jak was born. How could I have filed him away and misplaced him the last few years when he was a nightly visitor for so long? In retrospect, I think that as my husband was in a special needs school around that time and often took our boys with him on visits, I believed that real interaction with unique personalities was even more beneficial than with the imaginary Jak. That doesn’t mean that Jak will be forgotten, though.
Do you tell your children stories to help them cope with childhood fears?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ann Marie Wraight of Greece. Photo credit to the author.
How many of you are experiencing a golden period in your lives with little or no stress? Who is feeling satisfied with their national education and health systems? Well, I hope you are more fortunate than we are in Greece where we have unemployment rates in some demographics of up to 40%! The education system is going from bad to worse and forget going to the state run hospital and expecting satisfactory health care.
Due to all this nationwide negativity and disappointment, I decided to take a humorous look at some Greek customs and habits which have caused smiles and even hilarity over the years. Hey, most of us who live in Greece are in serious need of laughter therapy! So, let me share with you some little gems that I’ve experienced over the last 2 decades and hope some will bring a smile to your face!
I have driven all over Europe and have seen many odd things but I have to take my hat off to a large proportion of Greek drivers. These people seem to have an amazing ability to multitask. I was astounded when I first arrived here to see whole families mounted on little motorbikes, something like the Dalton brothers all in a row! Apart from being stunned at a bunch of road safety regulations which were being broken, I was amazed at how such a small vehicle could be powerful enough to transport a whole clan from point A to B. Thank heavens that such sights have become rare in towns and cities over the past few years since enforcement of safety regulations has become much stricter! I only see such things from time to time in villages and on islands where the traffic police tend to be more tolerant and turn a blind eye. Going back to the point I made about multitasking, imagine that to pull off such an acrobatic feat you need to combine an incredible sense of balance, total concentration on the road and on rainy days the ability to steer holding an umbrella!
I’m British and nobody would dare do such a thing in the UK unless they were an acrobat in a circus!
Another thing which I found a little difficult to get used to is the reduced personal space that most N. Europeans are used to. There is definitely a tendency to be within touching distance of the person you are chatting to. Most Greeks are a passionate bunch, full of the Mediterranean joy of life. When engaging in conversation, even with perfect strangers, there’s a lot of back slapping and arm waving to punctuate every sentence.
I was once almost hugged into a coma by a charming taxi driver who was a total stranger.
The reason why? He asked me what my favourite Greek food was and when I replied (in Greek) that I loved spinach pie made by my mother-in-law, he went into a passionate frenzy! He thought that a foreigner speaking Greek was really quaint, but it seems that using the words “mama” and “pie” in the same sentence triggers a deeply rooted Greek male reaction! So be warned, if you should ever travel to lovely Greece, stay at least three paces back from men if you are intending on broaching the subject of mothers and their skills…
I should also warn you about one specific hand gesture which you should avoid at all costs should you ever engage in conversation with a Greek. Let me share a very humiliating story with you.
When I first arrived in Greece over two decades ago, most correspondence was still done using snail mail. After my first week here, I visited the post office in Ioannina to buy stamps and waited patiently in the huge queue. When it finally got to my turn, I politely asked in English for 5 stamps. The woman behind the counter just looked at me blankly so I tried again. This time she started talking loudly but it was all just Greek to me then and I didn’t have a clue what she was saying. She seemed to be really agitated, though. At this point everyone in the crowded post office stopped their private conversations and pinned me with their eyes. I gulped, went bright red and made one final embarrassed effort. This time I tried to help her by using a hand gesture. As I said the word five, I put up my right hand with my palm facing outwards. I repeated several times that I wanted five stamps, whilst waving my outstretched palm in front of her. There were gasps from all around the post office and the office employee went crazy!
A young girl who was standing a few places behind me came up and told me in English that I had just told the woman to go to the devil!
This hand gesture is very rude and apparently if you put your hand up it should be with the palm facing yourself. Well, nobody had warned me about that!
I’ve had many funny and embarrassing experiences in Greece and seen things which you wouldn’t ever see in the UK. I have learnt that before I travel abroad it’s imperative to learn about the do’s and don’ts of the culture and people I will be visiting BEFORE I get there.
Have you ever said or done anything in another country which has caused you to cringe with embarrassment in retrospect? What about things you have seen which would never happen in your own country?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ann Marie Wraight of Greece. Photo credit to the author.
Who hasn’t heard of the name Pythagoras before? Or, for that matter Archimedes, Aristotle, Plato or Hypatia? Even if you don’t know exactly what these people believed or taught, those ancient names probably ‘ring a bell.’ For those of you fortunate enough to have had a good level of education you will probably be familiar with the Pythagorean Theorem. Remember those maths lessons back then when we were teens? Most of you will recognise the above names as originating from Ancient Greece. Pythagoras, for instance, is best known as a mathematician who lived in the 500’s BC and also pursued knowledge in the fields of music and philosophy.
Well, I’m really proud to live in a country which has such a history of academic and cultural excellence. In addition to the world of academia, remember that the first Olympic Games took place in Olympia in 776 BC! Can you imagine that? Most people think of the Games as being a much more recent creation. However, the concept of combining physical excellence and political and social benefits had its inception in Greece many centuries prior to the modern day games that we are currently familiar with.
So, with such an impressive and honourable history in sport, teaching and education, how does Greece’s glorious past influence its present generation of scholars?
Tragically, the politicians and educators who are responsible for the education system in modern Greece seem to have forgotten ancient past glories.
Pupils who want to continue to tertiary education really have to suffer years of hell in order to get the grades they need for university or colleges. The state education system has been a disappointment to teachers, parents and pupils for decades, REGARDLESS of which political party has been in power. Teachers are ridiculously underpaid considering the years of hard work and expense they’ve invested in getting their degree. Parents are forced to pay for private tuition and students miss out on many areas of their childhood due to running nonstop from day school to evening tuition.
There was a lot of publicity this summer when a bright 16 year old girl wrote a letter to parliament complaining that she was a human being and not a robot! She also expressed her fury that the new system implemented this year was EVEN WORSE than the previous one. Now students grades are counted in the last THREE years before finishing secondary school. That means if you mess up in one or two lessons when you’re 15/16, those grades will haunt you through school till you’re 17/18 and lower your whole grade average. You don’t have the option to rewrite the lesson either! Too much pressure for too many children. This both saddens and amazes me! Those who are responsible for the national curriculum are highly educated and experienced in their fields. So why has there been such a public outcry this year at the new “improved” system?
Well, quite frankly, it’s dreadful!
Virtually all Greek children who want to get good grades follow a similar programme. They go to their state run schools till around 2o’clock. As state secondary schools don’t have dining halls or refectories, the children then go home to eat lunch or take their own packed lunch to school. In the afternoon the lessons continue as most tuition in the day school isn’t adequate to prepare students for national exams. This means parents are obliged to hire private tutors, if the family budget can afford them, or children have to go back to “Frontisteria” or private tutoring schools. The second option is usually a little cheaper than the first. I know many families who have 2 children and the monthly tuition fees are at least ONE of the parents salaries. Imagine other families I know who have 3 or 4 children!!! It’s pretty common for parents to get bank loans or sell property for their offsprings education BEFORE they go to uni/college. The Greek State has prided itself for decades on its free education system. In practical and realistic terms, I don’t know any child who has entered university without doing private lessons, going to a private day school or following courses at the evening “Frontisteria.”
So the idea of a free Greek education system is a farce in reality. The tragic thing is that with a crushed economy, in some demographics we have an unemployment rate of 40-50%. Many families now have only one breadwinner and its not uncommon to have families with both parents out of work.
So how can these families afford education? Basically, they can’t. They have to rely on the goodwill of state school teachers to give extra homework or work through breaks to cover the material which comes up in state exams.
Their kids also have to make super human efforts on their own if they want any kind of realistic job prospects.
I’m a private tutor myself and some years ago I worked in the UK doing language summer schools. I had teens from all over the world but I remember that some of my shiniest stars were from Greece and Japan. The Greek kids were very knowledgeable in many areas and I assumed the Greek education curriculum must rock! That was just before I came to live here when I realised that those students usually came from middle class homes and could afford all the extra tuition not included in the state system.
So what’s happening internationally about our right to free education and knowledge until at least the age of 17/18? I’m British so I take it for granted that compulsory education should be till 16 and all levels of education should be free until the end of secondary school. Acquaintances from around the world have told me similar stories about education in their countries. The general consensus is that state curriculums are getting worse and trying to guarantee your child’s entry to tertiary education means forking out an awful lot of money! Friends in the USA, UK and Germany have put their children into private day schools or boarding schools. Colleagues who live in Denmark praise their system but this is only one that I know of personally which gets a glowing report!
I hope that your system isn’t like our Greek system.
As my ambitious 14 year old son says:”Going to school here is like being sent to PURGATORY!”
I’d be really interested to know about the education system in your part of the world. Do you have to pay fees or is everything provided by the government?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Ann Marie Wraight of Greece. Photo credit: Tom Brown. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.