MARTINMAS, (November 11), St Martin's feast-day, was one of the two main entry-days for farmers on to farms new to them.

It was the week for hirings of staff, and often known as 'the term'; a holiday. It was thus highly apt for the start of the Armistice.

In medieval England, November was called 'blood-month', as all beasts not being kept over winter were slaughtered and eaten or salted.

Spanish Flu was so called because only in Spain was it openly talked of.

Elsewhere the news of it was censored, a remnant of the war's restrictions. It arose on a farm in Kansas.

Peter Holme thinks Spanish Flu was 'the world's worst pandemic ever' (Nostalgia, November 1). It may be that the Black Death (1348-50) - that is, Bubonic Plague, slew more. This arose in the Far East.

'The (horse-drawn) Whitehaven stagecoach overturned near Ings' (In This Week, 100 years ago, November 1). This was not because the district was backward, but because petrol was still rationed, another wartime restriction.

The Penrith Fire Brigade, for instance, had to mothball its motor fire engine and return to its old horse-drawn one.

Picture from the Past form November 1 shows Friars Crag at Derwentwater, looking east.

The local friars had a cell on St Herbert's Island and shouted for the ferry from the crag.

At its foot, where the swans in the picture are, are drought stones, each dated, laid by the mayor at the lowest water reached.

Jeremy Godwin