Month: April 2014

What do Children Have to do with Care?

By 2030,  there will be more elders to care for in England than there are people to care for them, says a recent Institute for Public Policy Research  study.  The main problem, the study surmises, has to do with no children living nearby.

I ask what about when there are no children, at all, or children that don’t see caring for their elders as their responsibility.

Check out my latest  Huffington Post blog: Who is Going to Take Care of You in Old Age?

Big question. What is your answer. Comment here on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or on the Huff Post directly.

Comedy of Errors over for Easter

What a chock-a-block week! English please, some of you might be asking. I’m afraid it is and for all I know it could be American English, too. These days I am bilingual, but I do occasionally lose the plot where separation of the two languages is concerned.

The point is that this week has been crammed with all sorts for me, especially blunders. Actually, it’s been a bit of a comedy of errors.

Starting out on Monday, I arrived early for a weekly appointment in Knightsbridge that I might go to the local Waitrose beforehand. For some reason, I stopped by Ottolenghi first to get breakfast. Normally, it is the other way around.

At Waitrose, I found myself juggling coffee, a shopping basket, a bag for life, and my handbag. No wonder while deciding on spinach, I somehow leaned the basket against the broccoli. The comedy began.

The little vegetable guy, whom I have never seen, albeit it I know a few staff in this store, grabbed my basket, and told me I was damaging the broccoli! What could I say, I was guilty as charged, but so taken a back at his forwardness,  I went into a tug of war with him over my basket and finally shouted:

“Let go of my basket!”

A gasp of silence followed and I got my spinach and fled, but not before paying for it.

Then on Tuesday, the comedy continued with train travel. Though I left plenty of time to make an 11.00 meeting in Covenant Garden, I was late because as I stood on the platform, my train arrived on another without any warning or explanation from the staff. In the first instance, I sort of knew it had to be the Waterloo train. Trains to other destinations travel in the opposite direction.

And after checking the board, I deduced that the Waterloo train had come and gone. But it was likely a fluke, right. Wrong, because in five minutes or so another train arrived at the wrong platform, though crowds of us waited on the usual platform.

Quick thinking led to a few of us running down the stairs and up the stairs to just miss the train. Then the platform closed, according to the notice board. Back to the other platform I went along with several others.

After seven minutes or so, another train came to wrong platform, but this one was rolling fast and didn’t stop. Whew! Still, about three minutes later, another train approached the wrong platform with obvious intent to stop. Cleverly this time, I struck out early and made it in the nick of time. Off towards Waterloo we went without a word from anyone.

As comedic as it gets, right. Not really because on Wednesday, I drove to Hertfordshire for the day. Though I have been a passenger on this route several times, I didn’t pull it off as smoothly as I would have thought, as a driver. Let’s say I missed a critical turn in London, giving my satellite navigation system an opportunity to send me on a tour of local London and Hertfordshire, too.

Thank goodness for the Easter break or I would have surely been more than fifteen minutes late, caught up in rush hour traffic.

Speaking of Easter, the break starts tomorrow for me with Good Friday. And as the business day comes to a close, I’m thrilled that the comedy of errors is behind me. And if it isn’t, the work most certainly is, at least until next week.

Happy Easter!

Missoni Checks out of Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a cool city —pretty cobblestoned streets, majestic hills, sweeping valleys, and a smashing choice of fine restaurants.  We loved The Honours. Not much in choice for cafes and bistros, if you ask me, unless you like pizza, pizza and pizza.

I thought we were in Scotland. Still, I love going there, if for no other reason than to stay at the Hotel Missoni, described by the summery dressed Scottish woman, whom I sat next to on the plane, as very American.

Have I got  news for her?  It’s Italian, not to mention that the weather is not summer yet, not even spring.

Never mind. In any case, the Hotel Missoni is leaving Edinburgh, not the hotel per se, but the design house is taking its name off the five-star hotel sometime in June this year.

Previously, having bagged two great buys at a quietly closing Missoni store in Westfield Shopping Centre in West London, a month or so ago, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that Missoni must have been on the decline. My heart ached, as I have so enjoyed the brand over the years and feel as if I am just warming up. Not now, please!

On the contrary, the massage therapist, explained as she caressed the stress out of my back.

While the fate of the Missoni empire does seem a bit hush hush—closing shops and only trading in department stores, at least in London, and taking their name off of a remarkable hotel—it’s well known in the industry that co-founder, Rosita Missoni, is likely to retire in her early eighties.

Daughter Angela has been creative director for years now while her mother headed up a new home collection and opened a few luxury hotels, the flagship one in Edinburgh, a few years ago. Somewhere along the way, Rosita might just have loss her soul, understandingly, having lost her son and his wife prematurely in a plane crash in 2013 and then her beloved husband and longtime business partner a few months later.

Though the epitome of modern design in one of the world’s most traditional cities (aside from the onslaught of pizza places) Hotel Missoni will be missed, if only by me.

I’ll just have to find another hang out in Edinburgh. I do like the city.  While strolling around the Old Town you can easily slip back into time while climbing a mountain of stairs to Edinburgh Castle or making your way back to lower ground, where there are gorgeous cathedrals such as St Giles, the old government buildings, and several narrow historical buildings that have become museums of sorts or fine restaurants. And the entire time, your ears ring to the sound of bagpipes.

But if you’re not much into that sort of old thing and you prefer the new scene, Edinburgh has much to offer there, too, even if a festival isn’t going on.  Last time, we went to the new Scottish Parliament, and this time, visited the Museum of Scotland. Impressive!

And no trip to any city would be complete, not for me, without a bit of shopping, though I find the scene in E-burgh lacking. While Harvey Nichols doesn’t have a patch on their flagship store in London, I managed to find a really cool local designer and walked away with some gorgeous knitwear. Got some for my BFF, too!

Enchanting is the word that springs to mind. Speaking of spring, it was spring when we arrived–so there, the florally dressed Scottish woman on the plane actually had news for me—but sadly for her, it was winter when we left.

That’s old news, right. Still, we had a great time.

Dust from Sahara blows into London

I went to the gym this morning. So what, right? Working out is the big thing nowadays. Beats lying in, that is if you wear a Nike Fuel Band like I do. That’s why I take to the Thames Path three times per week and spend one hour weekly training with an expert.

Of course, racking up fuel points is not the only reason for exercising, but it sure is a good motivator for it.

Admittedly though, after hearing on BBC Breakfast this morning that the UK air might not be the best place about now for anyone, let alone asthma sufferers, I stalled.

For the last several days, high winds have brought dust from the Sahara Dessert to England and Wales. A haze, for instance, hangs over Birmingham today. Yesterday, many Londoners found their cars lightly coated with red dust.

No wonder I couldn’t see the Thames for the smog yesterday and I was a stone’s throw away from it.

Umm… with low-grade asthma and sore muscles that hadn’t recovered from yesterday’s intense work out, I pulled on my kit, warmed up, and begrudgingly headed for the gym instead of the Thames Path.

Wrong answer, I thought as I laboured for thirty-minutes on the treadmill. As soon as I was done, I rushed outside to the nearest bench and went into an extensive stretching regime, using any breathing techniques I remotely knew of.

As I took in the seemingly fresh air, it got me thinking about the environment.

How is it that dust from the Sahara could settle in the UK? What, if anything, does this have to do with climate change? And is running in a haze of dust actually worst than toiling and sweating in a stuffy gym.

While I don’t have the answers to the former two questions, I have my opinion about the latter one. I’d much rather run outside any day than in a sweatbox, no matter how swish and roomy it is. But if the air is polluted, I have to be realistic, don’t I.

Fortunately for me, the air is expected to clear by Friday. Even so, environmental issues won’t flee.

While the Sahara’s dust will soon pass over the UK, it will sweep into another country and other issues will crop up or flow in here—something for us all to think about wherever we are. What does it all mean and what can we do about it? No soapbox or scare tactics here, just plain on realistic questions.

In the meantime, I am lagging in fuel points; I need to get going, perhaps for a short walk, even if it is hazy outside.