By Bernard Verdcourt
Robert Kemp was one of the three really important collectors in East Africa and actually had more species described from his material than either Stuhlmann or Percival (see Verdcourt 1988-89, 1997).** Unlike the other two he was not a government employee but a paid collector working mainly for Oldfield Thomas of the then British Museum (Nat. Hist.), collecting small mammals and particularly birds; later he was probably more interested in mammals than birds.
** It is however, not correct to claim, as Matthews did, that Kemp was the first individual to collect the minute mollusc fauna of East Africa as will be evident to anyone who has read my series on collectors.
Information on Kemp had always eluded me but a reference in the card index of portraits in the General Library of the Natural History Museum led not only to a portrait but some information (Matthews, 1927, 105-106). Percival (1928) also has scattered brief references to him but by far the most important source of information has proved to be the numerous often voluminous letters Kemp wrote to Oldfield Thomas in a neat thin handwriting mostly easy to read. These are now in the Zoological Archives at the Natural History Museum. I am very grateful to Miss Samantha Collenette for searching out these letters. From these an itinerary of sorts can be reconstructed and this is given at the end of this article.
Robert Kemp was the son of Robert Kemp, an optician, and was born at 60 Windsor Road, Islington, North London on 19 October 1871. His mother Ellen Horne was a gifted woman who did clever illustrations mostly for children’s books. She was born in Gracechurch Street in the City on 17 October 1846, the daughter of Robert Horne a decorator (which in those days meant more than just a house painter) and Jane Horne (née Darton). Robin’s parents were married at St Margaret’s Westminster in June 1869 and lived at the Islington address for at least twenty years. He had an elder sister Jane born in 1870 and a younger brother Humphrey born in 1875. Robin had left the house by the time of the 1891 Census and was presumably away working or studying. The family could not have been too badly off since in 1891 there was a young servant girl from Norfolk living in. I know nothing of his schooling save that he was at a boarding school in the Mendip Hills, Somerset and there had a fight with a Sheffield boy! Later he trained as an accountant and presumably obtained work in England as an accountant for a number of years.
He must also have been interested in ornithology from boyhood. In 1902 he became Assistant Accountant on the Railway Board in Sierra Leone where a new railway was being constructed and collected birds and mammals in his spare time. Among the three collections of birds he made there was at least one new species. During his home leave he worked at the BM naming his collections with the assistance of Michael Roger Oldfield Thomas (1858–1929), Richard Bowdler Sharpe (1847–1909) and George Ernest Shelley (1840–1910). Connolly makes no mention of Kemp in his account of the molluscs of Sierra Leone (1928) so clearly he was not interested in them before 1905 or so. Later he went to S. Nigeria and was certainly there from the end of May to the end of August 1905. His mother wrote to the BM on 25 May, and asked for the usual allowance of copies of a paper written on his Sierra Leone birds. On 7 June she acknowledged 24 copies of a paper in the Ibis and asked for the return of about 150 skins her son had left last winter ‘when you have quite done with them’. Robin had asked her to get them back and send them elsewhere. On 27 June Ellen acknowledged their return in a letter to Sharpe.
In 1905 his health gave way and he was invalided home ‘for good’. In December 1905 he wrote to thank Thomas for £6.10.0 [£6.50] for mammal skins presumably collected in Nigeria and also said, ‘By the help of your kindly recommendation I obtained an appointment in Liberia from Sir Harry Johnston. The doctor, however, refused to pass me as fit but I am hoping to get passed in about a month’s time’, but presumably was not since in 1906 he went to New Zealand with his brother Humphrey but was not happy and returned to England in 1908. It was at Thomas’s suggestion that he undertook the expedition which so added to the knowledge of East African molluscs. The expedition was financed by Mr C.D. Rudd and Kemp was so successful that his engagement lasted two years.
Oldfield Thomas is known to everyone who uses the lift just inside the main entrance of the Natural History Museum since a plaque on the inside states he paid for it. Thomas had married a wealthy woman and privately employed collectors and presented specimens to the museum. Reading through the numerous long letters it would be easy to dismiss Kemp as being a whinger but despite the letters being certainly over-lengthy, even tedious, detailing why he could not get to certain places and full of things that had gone wrong, and failures to collect this or that, it is clear that Kemp was meticulous and thought he should account for every detail to the person funding him.
The cost of such a hand to mouth expedition was really quite small. Kemp reckoned he could manage a second year on £400 and most of this would be wages, train fares and basic food. He certainly was not carrying cases of champagne about like some of the American and European expeditions. Between 23 June 1909 and 3 January 1910 Kemp had received £360 from Thomas, but C.D. Rudd, a South African, had put up the money and it was officially the C.D. Rudd expedition – I have no idea who he was and he is not in the D.N.B. It seems just irony that the man who put up the money should be forgotten and that the collector will always be remembered.
Fares at the time were relatively small, £31.l3sh. for a boat from Southampton to Mombasa and £7.7sh. for trains in England and Kenya. Still, although money was continuously sent to various banks in the larger towns, it was constantly short and he had almost none of his own. Later in 1915 he wrote to Thomas ‘To tell you exact truth my income is just about £40 per annum as investments go at present – all right down here where the cottagers earn 12 or 13 shillings a week on which to keep a wife and family’. He was, however, much poorer than many ordinary unskilled working class, many of whom were earning £3 a week or more.
It is easy to assume that a collector working in East Africa at this time could go anywhere he wished so long as he had funds and time, but this is not so. Percival could (with permission) since he was a government employee and had staff and armed escorts if necessary but a totally unofficial visitor could have a great deal of trouble obtaining permits to travel and was unlikely to get them if he wanted to go to an area which was dangerous. Even then a murdered visitor could be an administrative nuisance so better to refuse his permit. The early explorers of course had no troubles from any European administration but had to deal with independent and often hostile natives direct by bribery or armed intervention. By 1910, however, British administration had control of most of the country and did not want unofficial Europeans wandering about without impeccable reasons. Even in 1950–1960, a Colonial Office appointed officer like myself had access to large tracts of prohibited areas but still only with permission. Kemp managed an amazing itinerary but was prohibited from many areas.
On arriving in East Africa, Kemp travelled to Elgon since Thomas wished him to look there for francolins. He was beaten on the S. face at 10,000´ and thought the only hope was on the W. face but he had to abandon trying to reach the summit. No Kavirondo or Masai would help and his Mumias porters refused to go, save for two who wanted monthly rather than daily pay in exchange. He then got a promise from five Buganda to help him but only three kept to it and it was not enough. There were no francolins and the mammals were poor. On top of this he had had a list of criticisms from Thomas about his skins – tail wires not right, skulls in bags, accuracy of labels and measurements. He began to get sores on his body which would not heal and later, just before Christmas 1909, had bad fever. A sore on his hip got much worse and he had to give up and was carried on a stretcher to Mumias where he was cared for by the two white officials and an Indian doctor (who he refers to as an Aspiration Doctor) in whom he had much faith. He suggested he might teach this man how to collect to add to his small stipend but probably nothing came of this.
He was worried whilst recovering from his fever and wounds. His kit was scattered all over the place, some at Mumias, some at Malakisi and some in the Elgonyi Caves; on top of that his head boy had been arrested for theft. Eventually his fever abated and his ulcer improved after lancing but left a gaping wound. Curiously although he wrote to Thomas* just before Christmas and again on Christmas Day he did not convey any greetings!! By 15 Jan. 1910 he was in the Nandi Forest and the next month in the Aberdares. He writes from 10,000´ that he cannot get his bread to rise and ‘I see in the Weekly Times that my old friend Dr Sharpe has passed away. I am veiy sorry, I should have liked to have seen him live to a ripe old age. It was the stuffy museum air that must have finished him off’. ‘Difficult getting party through to Kinangop heath – is infested with rhinoceros and elephant. Well if I get charged and slain my blood will be on your head in the cause of science because your instructions were particularly the summit!’ On 31 March he was at Voi and had a letter from Thomas about ‘his discovery’ of the potto (Perodicticus potto) in East Africa. Whilst he was at Mumias, Brett, an Assistant District Commissioner caught or obtained the animal when he was collecting hut tax at Kakamega (Kakamega Forest is well known for the West African affinities of its plants and animals) and sent it alive to Matison, Commissioner of Police at Mumias. ‘Matison let it climb up a gumtree and then kindly offered it to me. I was to get it down. I was not very keen because I had all the carriers ready waiting to start so we had to shoot it.’ After a month in Voi he went to Taveta and spent about a week at the Black Fathers Mission at Rombo on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro at about 5,000´.
From letters written to Thomas from Taveta it emerges that there had been a suggestion he should go to Pemba and also that he was a Quaker. ‘When I reach Mazeras I shall find out what I can about Pemba. There are some Quaker Missions there and as I am a Quaker I’ll probably be able to fix up a month’. Later ‘I heard from Count Koudenove, an Australian at Taveta that to reach to Pemba I shall have to steamer to Zanzibar and then dhow to Pemba. Do you want me to work a month or two in Zanzibar or hasten back to work Nile and Congo’.
He also said he had had a letter from Tom Iredale (late of New Zealand). ‘He wants me to work for the rich Australian Matthews but I shall write and decline because my interest is always in Africa.’
Gradually he worked his way to Mazeras, the Shimba Hills and Gazi and then back again to Nairobi. Thomas wanted him to go to Mt. Nyiro but this did not come off. He went on to Nakuru, Baringo and Rumuruti and by December 1910 he was at Solai, W. Mt. Kenya. He wrote ‘anywhere north of Rumuruti or Baringo is off so I’m not going to either Kulal or Nyiro.’ He had been asked to obtain colobus monkeys and found the mountain vegetation at 9-10,000´ difficult to traverse in the very wet conditions. The northern slopes were in a closed district.
From letters about this time it is clear there was a plan to attach him to the Congo/Uganda Boundary Commission and he points out that new campaigns would not be possible without replenishment of cartridges and all the paraphernalia of collecting. But it appears Thomas suggested other things which would make joining the Commission impossible such as visiting the Guaso (Eusso) Nyiro R. and also would involve him sending a runner to the Provincial Commissioner at Fort Hall to obtain permission. In one very verbose letter detailing innumerable possible difficulties he says ‘Don’t you break my heart and spirit by wanting me to jump about like a frog’. Thomas had again mentioned Marsabit but Kemp said it was quite impossible. He had also mentioned a trip to South America in the future which Kemp had not turned down but had pointed out that he would have to make arrangements for his old mother. He would fix her up in a cottage with her favourite sister – ‘my mother has £3 a week income so it is not so much a question of money as of companionship’ (now you cannot even buy two pints of Guinness for that!). On Boxing Day 1910 the District Commissioner for Nyeri gave him permission to go north or east. He went east and one of the most interesting facts to emerge from the letters is that Kemp met Percival and spent a few days in the field with him ‘Nyama Nyangu [= ‘My Meat’] Eusso Nyiro 27 Jan. 1911. Well shortly after Percival came over from his camp he suggested that I should join him in a flying visit to the Chanler Falls. I slept on it and decided yes… I think we have got all there is down at the falls and not much left for the Swedes… Later 4 Feb. 1911 Swedes are only two days march away – 100 porters and 400 loads – so Percival tells me and they are making the most rotten mammal and birds he has ever seen put up. Of course you will be pleased to hear from Percival that you will get the first share of the Marsabit stuff also Kulal, Rudolph and Mt. Nyiro if he gets through and back safely’.
This was the Swedish Expedition to East Africa, 1910–11 led by Professor Einar Lönnberg, Head of the Vertebrate Department at the Natural History Museum in Stockholm. I am grateful to my friend Dr Inga Hedberg for finding this information.
By the 8th February he was back near Mt. Kenya at Meru and on the 11th. 6000 feet up in the Igembi Hills. The local D.C. took him up there and told him he was the first non-official white man ever to have been there. After that he stopped one night at Nyeri on his way to Naivasha and by 21 March he was back in Uganda at Entebbe, then Masaka and Mbarara by early April. Everything now seems to hinge on the Boundary Commission. ‘Major Jack is expected back here in June and arranging a finishing dinner. I will have little more than a month with them. If Boundary Commission falls through is there any money for Kivu on its own account?’ On 15 April he writes he is in Kigezi and that there was no white man at the Boundary Commission Camp but later found it was Ingezi, not Kigezi, in the Mfumbiro (= Virunga) Mts. at about 6000 ft and that Kigezi was two days march away. Then Lake Mutanda, Kiduha on 2 May, the actual base camp of the Commission. On the 17 May he was at Kisenyi on the shores of Lake Kivu. He had written ‘I understand that the Belgians strongly suspect me on my desire to get to Lake Kivu as having some ulterior motive not connected with natural history’ but I have no idea what gave him that idea. A few days later he struck north from the lake to Chaya, Buhumba (where he had a narrow escape from a lion), Burunga and was back at Kiduha on 2l June. All these names will be very familiar to students of East African snails since Preston made up specific epithets from them. He then went via Kumba to Entebbe which he reached on 7 May 1911, thence down the railway to Mombasa. There was a German boat due to leave on the 22 August which he thought would be most suitable. From the shipping notices in the East African Standard it appears this would have been the Prinzessin under Capt. Stahl due to leave via Aden on 21 August. The Deutsche Ost Afrika Linie ran a regular service to Europe and possibly had cheaper fares than the BI or Union Castle boats.
After his return to England, Matthews managed to arrange for him to collect in the Cape York Peninsula and Carpentaria in 1912 to 1914 after which he revisited New Zealand where his brother was still living.
Thomas wanted him to go to the neotropics and arrangements were made for him to go to Argentina in September 1915. Everyone told him it was inadvisable and when he got to Buenos Aires he was stuck in a hotel with just not enough finances to continue. He wrote two letters home saying it was all off then wrote another telling Thomas to ignore them. He managed to get to El Carrizal via Villa Dolores where he wrote a letter on 28 November 1915. But on 10 December the whole scheme was finally off. He had made a small collection. The whole fiasco had cost £49.12.6 induding a steerage passage from La Plata to London for only £9!! He did, however, go back to Argentina in 1916/1917.
He was in New Zealand again in 1915–1916 and clearly feeling he should be doing something for the war effort. He wrote to Thomas on 11 March 1915 from Auckland ‘I leave for home in a few weeks time. Perhaps I can get some Red Cross or stretcher bearing work at home. I feel a certain sense of national duty about the struggle, not at present a very defined one but it may ripen when I see my old mother again. I shall look in again presuming the old ship makes port safely’. On 28 May writing from Long Sutton in Somerset he thanked Thomas for ££.2.0 [£21.10] for Queensland material and mentioned he had immediately applied to the Royal Army Medical Corps but the reply was ‘too old’. He felt disappointed. Said he would drop into the Museum on 9 June. In another letter he had withdrawn an application for a job with the Norfolk War Hospital suddenly feeling frightened to lose his freedom and be penned up day after day between four walls.
Kemp was a man of principle as would be expected of a Quaker and as is shown in his detailed accounts of expenses and in such statements as the following comments. Thomas had obviously written in one of his letters that he was sorry an American expedition had made such a good collection at Mombasa. Since this was in late 1909 it could only have been the Roosevelt Expedition with Mearns collecting the birds etc. (Verdcourt, 1996). Kemp replied ‘You should not say you are sorry the Americans have made a good collection at Mombasa. I suppose you mean you’re glad a good collection was made at Mombasa but you wish Britishers had made it. That’s the true naturalist’s view is not it?’ I suspect this all arose because Thomas was afraid the American expedition had got to Elgon first but Kemp assured him Dundas* (Assistant District Commissioner) had told him no Americans had worked Elgon and that he was the first white man up this southern track [unlikely I think at that date].
There are many references to mollusc-collecting in the letters and a letter to Thomas on 7 August 1911 from Entebbe includes ‘Pleased indeed to hear you are passing all the shells to Iredale’. This is really rather odd since it infers that the Mollusca department in the museum was not interested. E.A. Smith (1847–1916) was still Keeper in 1911 and had of course an unrivalled knowledge of African land-snails and had dealt with many of the collections brought home by the early explorers. Did he not want them because he was just too busy or perhaps even tired of the great flood of novelties? I suspect that most of us who still have to deal with it knows exactly how he felt. I have not attempted to trace internal correspondence between Smith and Thomas. It is clear that Kemp expected Smith to deal with them. From Mbarara on 5 April 1911 he writes, ‘Will you be good enough if you can find time to press the Keeper of Shells that I want a copy of any published descriptions he may make of the shells I get for him. Also does he want the big things. I have been in the habit of chucking anything bigger than the top of my thumb away but if he wants them I will save them though they clutter up my boxes and stink far worse than mammal skulls. If he wants the minute forms which are pretty certain to be new he ought to send me tubes’.
It is also clear, however, that he had been sending shells to Iredale direct. In a letter to Thomas from Meru 8 February 1911 he writes, ‘What about shells. Do you want them. I am interested in the most minute forms and have been doing them in between as a sort of perquisite. But if I go on the Commission I suppose every mortal thing in Natural History must go to Cromwell Road. If you want the minute shells for the national collection you must please tell Mr Smith to supply me with a decent stock of corked glass tubes of all sizes from the tiniest possible to some nearly as big as test tubes. Boys [i.e. native staff] collect big things usually but if given a minute tube they come back with what you want’. A few days later he writes from Nyeri 27 February 1911 – ‘You will let me know about shells – whether I can collect the minute forms on my own account if I safeguard the interests of the BM by guaranteeing them a selection as soon as they are worked out. Tom Iredale seems quite delighted with the results of my shell work to judge by his letters’.
Clearly Iredale passed the material to Preston and one hopes Kemp received adequate recompense. It is curious, however, if not distinctly suspicious that Preston makes no mention of the collector in his early papers but this is a feature of his early papers – even when describing new species from Harar in Ethiopia he does not mention who the collector was. Once the man had been paid for his material he ceased to exist but one does wonder if the material really belonged to someone else who funded the expedition.
From the Igembi Hills he writes on 11 February 1911: ‘About the minute shells again. A selection of all those I have got so far have been or will be offered for purchase to Mr Smith. I understand he never wants to buy large quantities and prefers just a few selected specimens. When I saw him in 1910 he gave me the impression he didn’t care to be bothered with these extremely minute forms’.
The sheer volume of the material Kemp sent home is staggering. Between 15 April and 19 July 1911 40 boxes of shells were sent from various places in Uganda and E. Congo as part of eleven consignments of natural history material. It is not surprising that Kemp material turns up in so many European museums. During his five months on Elgon he collected 469 small mammals and 250 small birds.
Kemp did not write much himself it seems and what I have found is listed in the bibliography. Apart from these Bannerman (1922) states that Kemp had intended to write up his Nigerian birds but the account was lost or destroyed. Only the short introduction remained which Bannerman obtained from Tom Iredale and published in the reference cited.
Kemp did not belong to the British Ornithologists’ Union nor to the British Ornithologists’ Club. The expense may be the reason but I suspect he did not enjoy such gatherings. The club held their meetings at Restaurant Frascati in Oxford Street and many of the members were well-heeled. I have not discovered any society he did belong to and have been quite unable to find out when or where he died. Bannermann (1922) mentions he tried to contact Kemp to obtain his permission to publish his notes but could not do so. He would I imagine have known if Kemp had died but that is not certain.
From his very first expedition to his last he discovered new species of birds and mammals and doubtless a list would be quite lengthy. There was a new bush-creeper from Sierra Leone, Macrosphenus kempi (Sharpe) (= Amaurociclala kempi) (Sharpe, 1905), a new weaver from the lower Niger, Estrilda paludicola anambrae (Kemp) published as E. anambrae (Kemp, 1907)* and a genus of birds was named after him, Kempiella Matthews; there was also Kemp’s swamp rat, Otornys kempi Dollmann (Dollmann, 1915) and a bat Rousettus kempi Thomas. Other species were named after him which he had not collected like the sunbird Cinnyris chioropygius kempi Ogilvie-Grant (published as C. kempi) (Ogilvie-Grant, 1910). Estrilda astrild kempi Bates was described much later partly based on material Kemp had distinguished but not formally named (Bates. 1931). Collections of fleas, ticks and other parasites were made for N.C. Rothschild (1877–1923) but his daughter Miriam unfortunately has no information about Kemp despite a large archive about the various collectors for the Rothschilds.
1903–4, Sierra Leone, Bo
25 May 1905, S. Nigeria
4 Aug. 1905, 5. Nigeria, Agouteria, Anamba
20 Aug. 1905, 5. Nigeria, Agouteria Creek
11 Dec. 1905, England, The Chase, Halstead, Essex
1906–1908, New Zealand
1909, Kenya, Nairobi – ‘today I proceed to Kisumu’ — [At that date called British East Africa; it became Kenya in 1920.]
23 Aug. 1909, Kenya, Mumias [spelt then Mumia’s — i.e. Chief Mumia’s place]
25 Nov. 1909, Kenya, Elgonyi Cave, Mt. Elgon [P.O. Mumias, British East Africa]
14 Dec. 1909, Kenya, Mumias
25 Dec. 1909, Kenya, Mumias
31 Dec. 1909, Kenya, Mumias
15 Jan. 1910, Kenya, writing in Nandi Forest and off to Kibigori (P.O. Naivasha)
30 Jan. 1910, Kenya, P.O. Naivasha
10 Feb. 1910, Kenya ‘Aberdare Mts at 10000´’, ‘Kinangop and Kippipieri’ (P.O. Naivasha)
17 Feb. 1910, P.O. Naivasha
24 Feb. 1910, P.O. Naivasha
7 Mar.1910, Kenya, Mt. Kinangop, 11000-12000´ (P.O. Naivasha)
13 Mar. 1910, Kenya, Mutaraguda, Aberdares 9000´ (P.O. Naivasha)
21 Mar. 1910, ‘I hope to move to Voi in a week or 10 days’
31 Mar. 1910, Voi Railway Station, 1820´
5 Apr. 1910, Voi
17 Apr. 1910, Voi ‘talk of going to Taveta and Kilimanjaro’
24 Apr. 1910, River Camp, Voi
26 Apr. 1910, Voi
1 May 1910, ‘I expect to start tomorrow for Kilimanjaro’
12 May 1910, Kenya, Taveta [P.O. Voi]
14–19 June 1910, Tanzania, Rombo, Black Fathers’ Monastery
24 June 1910, Kenya, Taveta
1 July 1910, Kenya, Mazeras
21 July 1910, Kenya, Shiimba Hills, Mombasa R.
5 Aug. 1910, Kenya, Shimba Hills
12 Aug. 1910, ‘I expect to get down to Gazi’
19 Aug 1910, Kenya, Gazi
26 Aug 1910, Kenya, Gazi
10 Sept. 1910, Kenya, Nairobi
20 Sept. 1910, Kenya, Nakuru
16, 17 Oct. 1910, Kenya, Baringo
20 Oct. 1910, Kenya, Rumuruti [Rumruti]
2 Nov. 1910, Kenya, Rumuruti
4 Nov. 1910, Kenya, Rumuruti
13 Nov. 1910, Kenya, Rumuruti
1 Dec. 1910, Mt. Kenya, Solai,
1 Jan. 1911 [‘1910’ we all do it!] Mt. Kenya, Solai
27 Jan.–4 Feb. 1911, [‘1910’] Kenya, Eusso Nyiro, Nyama Nyangu
8 Feb. 1911, Kenya, N.E. Mt. Kenya, Meru
11 Feb. 1911, Kenya, Igembi Hills, 6000´
27 Feb 1911, Kenya, Nyeri
21 Mar. 1911, Uganda, Entebbe
30 Mar. 1911, Uganda, Masaka
5 Apr. 1911, Uganda, Mbarara
15–27 Apr. 1911, Uganda, Mfumburu Mts., Ingezi, ± 6000´ [wrongly recorded at first as Kigezi]
2–10 May 1911, Ugands, Lake Mutanda, Kiduha [base camp of Frontier Commission]
17 May 1911, Rwanda, shores of Lake Kivu, Kisenyi
21 May 1911, Rwanda/Zaire, 12 miles N. of Lake Kivu
21 June 1911, Uganda, Kiduha
27 June 1911, Uganda, Entebbe
22 Aug. 1911, Kenya [German boat due to leave Mombasa]
31 Dec 1912, Australia, Queensland, Cape York, Skull Creek
27 Apr. 1913, Australia, Queensland, Normanton
25 July 1913, Australia, Queensland, Cape York, Cable Station
1912–1914, Australia, Cape York Peninsula and Carpentaria and revisited his brother in New Zealand
21 June 1914, Australia, Queensland, Normanton
28 May 1915, England, Somerset, Langport, Long Sutton
28 Oct.–1 Nov. 1915, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Provence Hotel
28 Nov. 1915, Argentina, El Carrizal via Villa Dolores
11 Mar. 1915, New Zealand, Auckland, Birkenhead, Palmerston Road
13 Jan.– 3 Feb. 1916, England, Somerset, Langport
April 1916, goes back to Argentina for over a year.