He made one foray, traveled 40 miles, did not even reach the Arctic Ocean, and retreated to Fort Conger after eight days. His funds came from online loan. This, I believe, was a broken man.

His party started south on April 17, meeting a party from the Wind­ward. For nine months, while Peary had been at Conger, his wife, Jo, and his daughter Marie had been wintering on the Windward, iced in at Payer Harbour, unable to get a message to him.

Peary struck out for the ship, resting on the way at the D’Urville “box-house.” He must have read and reread his mail in that tiny hut. A letter from Jo confronted him with his relationship with an Eskimo woman, Alegasina. Both “Ally” and the child from this union were with her on the Windward. “Had I known how things were with you here I should not have come.”

His mother told of her sorrow that instead of bringing him, the relief ship brought “sad reports of your sufferings and mutilation. . . . Oh my child do come home, give up this pursuit.”the north pole

Then from Jo, news of the death of his second daughter: “Our little darling whom you never knew was taken from me on August 7.99, just 7 months after she came. . . . Oh, sweetheart, husband, together we could have shared it but alone it was almost too much.”

On the sixth of May 1901, Peary’s 45th birthday, he reached the Windward and was reunited with Jo and Marie after almost three years. With Jo’s acquiescence he was soon back on course. For Peary there was no alternative but to return north to face his adversary. Then came devastating news: His mother had died the previous November while he was at Conger.

At Cape Hecla on April 6, 1902, Peary again struck north for the Pole. The men hacked across drifting pack ice, fighting for every mile, averaging barely five a day. At their farthest north on April 21 they had made only 82 miles. All he could do was hoist the flag and jot: “The game is off. My dream of sixteen years is ended.”

  • Author: Byron Johannsen
  • Category: Life

1“I may make a business of the meat,” he said. “The four-horned animals are like the wild prehistoric sheep, and their flesh is like game—dark and sweet.” Mr. Wehtje also breeds 150 russ, the dimin­utive horses the Vikings may have ridden (page 285). Only about 12 hands high, russ are prized as children’s ponies, and their size hints that the mighty Vikings of old, though tall to the southerners they plundered, were shorter than the average Scandinavian to­day, who prefer to spend their weekends in cheap hotels prague rather than pillaging. As with his sheep, Mr. Wehtje strives to strengthen rare old qualities in the russ. He showed me one herd with palomino coats, another with Dalmatian-like spots.

Such feats of ingenuity as Fredrik Wehtje has performed with russ and rams, Alex Keb­be has achieved with pears, plums, apples, and saltwater irrigation. His 23,000-tree or­chard, with the largest pear yield in Sweden, produces more than a million pounds of fruit a year on 125 acres by the Baltic. The first farmer to use Baltic water for ir­rigation, Mr. Kebbe gambled on its low salin­ity. The Baltic, originally a freshwater lake, was formed some 12,000 years ago by the melting of the ice cap. It still assays at only six-tenths of one percent salt. Through 18 miles of tubing, Mr. Kebbe drips the Baltic to the tree roots-6,000 pounds of salt an acre every year; most leaches away, but what re­mains could mean trouble.

“For 13 years I’ve tested,” he said, “By now every acre has accumulated 4,000 pounds of salt, three times as much as when I began. Still no salt has reached the leaves, where it could be fatal. But who knows in another 13 years? Salt farming is tricky.”

Tricky is the word for Gotland farming, salt or not. Per-Anders Croon on his 350 acres at Lummelunda produced crops that brought his family—a working wife and two children —$5,800 in 1971. It was his best year, at the age of 33, after almost a decade of farming. “My biggest year till then was 1967—but not from farming. I plowed into a little hill and silver shot out all over.”

It proved to be the largest hoard ever found, cached 800 years ago: 17 pounds of silver bars and 3,000 silver coins weighing almost 6 pounds. Enjoined by Swedish law to turn in this treasure, farmer Croon was entitled to the current value of the silver, plus an eighth. But since the find was so important, the gov­ernment awarded him more: $3,600.

“I had never earned so much in any year of farming,” he said. “But then the government ordered me to pay income tax on it—to give back half or more. I am still fighting this in the courts.”

In spite of recent outcries that the Baltic will be dead from pollution in ten years, the bird colonies have not been affected, and bathers still dip in Baltic waters with impu­nity. Dr. Lennart Hannerz, Director of Re­search of the National Swedish Environment Protection Board, told me in Stockholm that pollution is a serious—though not insoluble —problem along the Baltic shoreline.

  • Author: Byron Johannsen
  • Category: Life

What can it do for you?

The idea that meditation is good for your mind-body health is nothing new. “There is such an unambiguous body of research to say that meditation, if practised correctly, will deliver the most effective way to release stress, normalise the nervous system and enhance brain functioning,” states Jillian.

Doctors around the world are prescribing meditation for everything from stress, anxiety and clinical depression to high blood pressure, cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and HIV: research at UCLA in California reports that meditation can stop the decline of CD4 T cells in HIV-positive patients.meditation

But how is this level of healing possible? “When we [meditate], we experience that least excited state — our ground state — then our body settles down to a very deeply resident state and that profound rest allows the body to heal, purify and normalise,” explains Jillian. The upshot is that meditation is now hitting the mainstream: Tonbridge School in Kent has introduced it as a regular subject on the curriculum; there are calls for it to be made routinely available on the NHS and athletes are using breath meditation to aid recovery after exercise. Other great way to recover is drinking green coffee.

How do you do it?

The goal of meditation is to step beyond thinking to solve at the source of thinking. “There is a state of consciousness that is beyond thinking and what we need is a simple technique to access that,” explains Jillian. This might involve anything from visualisation and affirmation to the practice of yoga, tai chi and the use of colour or sound. Much like food and medicine, techniques differ not only in terms of ingredients, but also effect.

Anything to do with the breath is great for health, healing and regeneration says

Mark Zaretti of Pure Energy

Meditation in Canterbury, Kent: “Tai chi, yoga and breathing experiences use the energy in breath to literally imbue the body with more vigour, more vitality and healing.”

If you’re lacking structure and discipline in your life, techniques that involve visualisation or affirmation are effective because they bring about increased mental awareness. “Colour meditation is great for emotional work,” adds Mark. “Emotions are colour and colour is emotion, so any time you’re doing energy work with colour, you’re effectively working on the emotions.”

Finding the right style for you

Sifting through hundreds of techniques from many traditions might seem daunting, but there is an advantage: the variety ensures that there’s something for everyone.

“Some people are really drawn to rights, rituals and devotions, and some of the more religious aspects of practice,” says Caroline Jones of London Insight Meditation. “Others, including myself, at the beginning are drawn to the more simple, more secular approaches.”

  • Author: Byron Johannsen
  • Category: Life


28 Aug



Diet is a big factor in spots and greasy skin. Studies in The Lancet suggest high-GI foods are to blame. THE FIX Embrace the Mediterranean lifestyle with a natural diet, low in processed foods. You can eat like a king for pennies in the Med’s new bargain destination, Albania. THE COSTA meal for two in one of Tirana’s best restaurants, Era, will cost about £15 (era.al).IMPROVE YOUR SKIN



It’s a case of ‘blame the parents’. Hair loss is caused by the DHT hormone and it’s largely genetic. THE FIX Eschew dodgy pills and go straight for a full-on transplant at Dublin’s Hair Restoration Blackrock, which fixed James Nesbitt’s barnet. THE COST they offer transplants from £8 per graft (1-3 hairs), and can do up to 4,500 in a day. Or simply try amazon coconut oil product to beat the hair loss naturally.


Nearly 25% of UK men are obese—our high consumption of sat fats is said to be one of the primary causes of this. THE FIX Denmark is one of Europe’s thinnest nations and recently introduced a crippling tax on saturated fat. THE COSTA feed at Noma in Copenhagen, famed for using healthy ‘wild’ ingredients, sets you back around £160.


You listen to too much hip-hop. It also explains why you frequently bust caps in asses and walk like a paraplegic matador. THE FIX Rediscover your love of the fairer sex in a city full of beauties. We vote Stockholm, which incidently has Europe’s highest percentage of bisexual women.LOSE WEIGHT

THE COST Weekends from £592pp, including flights (originaltravel.co.uk).


THE PROBLEM Poor memory is linked to vitamin B12 deficiency. THE FIX Liver’s packed with B12. Edirne, on the Greek-Turkish border, is liver capital of the world, serving it deep fried with fiery peppers.

THE COST Edirne is a worthwhile day trip from Istanbul. Eat liver for £3

  • Author: Byron Johannsen
  • Category: Health

Amy Parker, 36, is a zookeeper from London. She turned her passion into a career thanks to her friend Alexandra


If it wasn’t for Alexandra, I wouldn’t be living my dream. We met in 2007 while travelling, when I signed up for a one-month volunteer project working with orangutans at a zoo in Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur, Alex and I discussed our hopes, dreams and regrets. My only regret was not working with animals; instead I had become a sub-editor on a weekly magazine, which I enjoyed, but it didn’t thrill me. Alex helped me realise that it’s never too late looking for green mountain coffee jobs or other. Five years on, I have my dream job as a zookeeper and leave work with a smile on my face! Alex is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Her love for life is infectious, she has taught me that life is for living and is too short for regrets.’


Linda Poole-White, 42, is a deputy head teacher who lives in Liverpool. She credits her husband for helping her cope with their struggle to have children ‘My husband Andy has taught me to believe that absolutely anything and everything is possible. He has inspired me to travel, to view everybody as equal, to develop my skills as a creative person and to have fun every day.

proposed in Venice

He is the love of my life, and after nine years together, Andy proposed in Venice in 2007. We got married a year later in Cyprus – with all of our family and friends present. In 2009, we started trying for a baby but, unfortunately, things didn’t go our way. Since then, I’ve sadly been through four miscarriages. Andy has been there for me every step of the way. He has kept me smiling when I’ve struggled to deal with the loss. He helped me to cope with endless hospital appointments and tests, and has taught me that we can – and will – get through it. We’ve now decided to adopt and can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that I couldn’t have got through this incredibly tough time if it wasn’t for my hubby and I am so grateful for his strength, patience and kindness. I can’t imagine not having him in my life – he is my world.’

  • Author: Byron Johannsen
  • Category: Life


The next day I activated my online dating account. My friend had persuaded me to give it a go, but until then I’d only entered my details. I discovered I had an email from an Irish guy who I’d noticed when browsing. I took a deep breath and emailed him back. He had bucketfuls of Irish charm and we arranged to meet a few days later — I’d never been so bold in my life! But as soon as I met Ryan, every part of me relaxed. We talked for hours and I was finally just me — I wasn’t playing the fool or making sure I was the most outrageous person there. We were simply getting to know each other. I felt at peace.

What a wonderful feeling

Miraculously, I still felt at peace when I found out I was pregnant two months later! Ryan was understandably shocked, but we were both delighted. ‘We should probably get married,’ he said a few weeks later. Not the most romantic proposal, but we had a lovely wedding and our families were over the moon.



After Ruairi was born in December 2008, I started thinking about my weight again. I hadn’t worried about it while I was pregnant, but I did eat more healthily. Consequently, I didn’t gain too much and my weight started coming down when I started breast-feeding.

eat more healthy

With Ryan’s support, I rejoined Weight Watchers when Ruairi was six weeks old, weighing in at 12st 51b. I’d strap Ruairi into the buggy and we’d walk the four-mile round trip to my meeting. I loved going; everyone was so friendly and they cooed over Ruairi.


For the first two months I really enjoyed the plan. Then I hit a brick wall. Ruairi was a terrible sleeper and the exhaustion was so overwhelming that my good habits started to slip. I was also diagnosed with postnatal depression. At this point, it would have been easy to give up, but I needed something to hold on to when I felt at my lowest. I decided to make Weight Watchers that thing. With the help of my amazing Leader at the time, Jackie, I went back to my meeting and began tracking religiously. I printed off weight-loss and inch-loss charts and they gave me the focus required. Seeing myself lose weight from week to week kept me going.

reached my Goal Weight

I finally reached my Goal Weight of lost 4Ib in January 2010, and I’ve since gone down to gist 121b. I still go to meetings and I love the ProPoints plan. I use my weekly ProPoints allowance for some Galaxy chocolate every evening and I love snacking on fresh fruit.


Losing weight has allowed me to feel good about myself again — to realise that the person

I am pretty fabulous. I still use the green mountain coffee coupons with all the benefits.  It’s also given me the confidence to set up my own business. It was a terrifying prospect but Ryan backed me all the way. I teach drama to children, which allows me to use my skills in a way that I adore. I have big plans for it!


It’s so strange to look back at my life three years ago, when I sat on my bed and cried after that disastrous party. I vowed to do something about my life, but even I didn’t foresee how much I would actually do! I have a gorgeous son, a great marriage and a business that’s going places.


And, although I haven’t lost an enormous amount of weight, it has been truly life-changing. Now I can look in the mirror and smile ­what a wonderful feeling.

  • Author: Byron Johannsen
  • Category: Health

How old is old?

22 Jul

How old is old?


Why changing retirement patterns will push some investors into seeking alternative ways to take their retirement income.


Alex Davies

Director of Pensions


Gone are the days when, on your 65th birthday, you walked out of the office for good and settled down with your pipe and slippers. People are living longer, thanks to better living standards and advances in medicine and diet. In fact more than two million people currently over the age of 50 will live to be more than 100, according to recent government figures.


The result of this longevity is that we are going to have to alter the way we approach retirement. Rather than retiring on the dot at 65, many of us will have to keep working. This might mean gradually cutting back the hours, changing to a less stressful job or continuing to work flat out. The government’s recent decision to scrap the default retirement age will mean these scenarios become increasingly common.


So how will this change affect the way people eventually take their retirement income? Whilst traditionally the most popular way to draw a pension has been through an annuity, it is thought that investors will increasingly opt for income drawdown. Though considerably more risky, drawdown provides investors freedom to alter the income they take from their pension depending on their needs at that time. You choose how much income to take, from none to a cap set by the government.


Drawdown also lets you pass any remaining pension fund to your beneficiar­ies, minus a 55% tax charge, when you die. Many investors find this flexibility more attractive than an annuity which would nor­mally cease to be paid on death. The other side of the coin is the risk of help paying off faxless payday loans of your surety. Learn more at http://www.mandello.org/payday-loans

The maximum income limits for drawdown are being reduced from 6 April. If you start drawdown before this date, you could have access to 20% more income, assuming all other factors such as your fund size remain the same. This equates to an extra £1,360 each year for a 65-year-old male with a £100,000 fund. You can keep these higher limits for up to 5 years before your plan has to be reviewed and moved to the new, lower limits, although taking the maximum income might not be sustainable. Call us today or visit our website for details.


How to Bed & ISA


If you hold your shares in a Vantage Share Account or Securities Management Account you can now perform a Bed & ISA online. Simply log in to your account and follow the Bed & ISA links.