Wings of Fashion - a Convertible Mode

(Click on the images to see larger versions.)
Source: Modern Beauty Shop, November 1951

For here, or to go?

Most of us know how to prepare for an emergency when we have to stay at home for several days. But what if the opposite happens? In emergency situations like hurricanes, floods or fires, you may have to leave your home at a moment's notice — which means you won't have time to pack.

In situations like these, it is important to have a "go-bag" ready. A go-bag — which can be a bag, a backpack or a box — is an emergency kit that you can quickly grab and go in case of evacuation. It should contain many of the same items as your stockpile, plus a few more items. The most important thing to pack is enough food and water for three days. Be sure to include any prescriptions that might be needed while you are away. A battery-operated radio, flashlight and first aid kit will help ensure you have a safe evacuation.

Since you may be away from home for awhile, pack at least one extra set of clothes and don't forget blankets and pillows. It's important to remember to make a go-bag for every member of your household. This includes Fido, Fluffy and Tweety, so be sure to pack some pet food and basic supplies your pet will need along the way.

Put your go-bag in an easy-to-access area close to the door, such as a front hall closet, and make sure it doesn't end up buried under spare coats or beach blankets (the last thing you want to be do during an emergency is digging for supplies). Check on the go-bag twice a year when you change your clocks for daylight saving time to make sure that nothing has expired or had been borrowed.

Now that you know, you are ready to go!

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Norfolk Nuances

Out across Norfolk to try on some trousers in Holt, and thence to Wells-next-the-Sea to eat fish 'n' chips in that place that gets around VAT by not giving you a plate or cutlery to eat them with. Norfolk is full of surprises, and on a day like yesterday the low bright winter light pinpointed many things for me. Bayfield Hall sits above the River Glaven between Letheringsett and Glandford, an Elizabethan house with an 18th century frontage sharing the landscape with the ruined church of St.Margaret's. The sort of scene that would've got John Piper's paint brushes working overtime. And then I saw the pale brick entrance piers on the driveway, and this rusty fastening on the open gate. That's what I love about the county. Telling detail in the shadow of trees one minute, bleak atmospheric visions the next. The wooden landing stages mark the course of a creek winding through from Brancaster Bay to tiny Thornham. Treacherous marsh intersected by gurgling channels hiding their deep sucking mud from the unwary, and all the time the incessant cry of a curlew settling down for the night. Listen to their haunting cry here; so essential to any unfolding drama on the wireless that's set on these lonely wind-buffeted margins.

Railway Echo No 11

Unmitigated blogs passim have frequently explored the peeling paint impotence of abandoned railway rolling stock. Some are known to have had the indignity of travelling their last miles on the back of a low-loader, and in south east Leicestershire there are enough phantom wagons leaning against hedges to make up a sizeable freight train. Many others, however, don't appear to have strayed very far from where they made their last creeking journeys. The Dungeness Peninsular is famed for old carriages gradually metamorphosing into respectable shacks, many towed here in the 1920's from the Southern Railway (who used the shingle as track ballast all over the south). Others were brought here in the 50s to serve as homes for the constructors of the nuclear power station. But this pale ghost is slightly off piste, within yards of the little branch line that ran from Rye down to Rye Harbour. Opened in 1854 the track was only ever used for freight, mainly for bringing flints from Dungeness to a neighbouring oil firm and chemical works. By 1955 it was almost derelict, but traces of its passage can still be seen. This carriage never became the long-corridored backbone of a larger dwelling, and when I first photographed it there were lacy net curtains at the windows. I must bow to more local knowledge to tell me if it's actually still here.

Vitamin K2 and Cranial Development

One of the things Dr. Weston Price noticed about healthy traditional cultures worldwide is their characteristically broad faces, broad dental arches and wide nostrils. Due to the breadth of their dental arches, they invariably had straight teeth and enough room for wisdom teeth. As soon as these same groups adopted white flour and sugar, the next generation to be born grew up with narrow faces, narrow dental arches, crowded teeth, pinched nostrils and a characteristic underdevelopment of the middle third of the face.

Here's an excerpt from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, about traditional and modernized Swiss groups. Keep in mind these are Europeans we're talking about (although he found the same thing in all the races he studied):

The reader will scarcely believe it possible that such marked differences in facial form, in the shape of the dental arches, and in the health condition of the teeth as are to be noted when passing from the highly modernized lower valleys and plains country in Switzerland to the isolated high valleys can exist. Fig. 3 shows four girls with typically broad dental arches and regular arrangement of the teeth. They have been born and raised in the Loetschental Valley or other isolated valleys of Switzerland which provide the excellent nutrition that we have been reviewing.
Another change that is seen in passing from the isolated groups with their more nearly normal facial developments, to the groups of the lower valleys, is the marked irregularity of the teeth with narrowing of the arches and other facial features... While in the isolated groups not a single case of a typical mouth breather was found, many were seen among the children of the lower-plains group. The children studied were from ten to sixteen years of age.
Price attributed this physical change to a lack of minerals and the fat-soluble vitamins necessary to make good use of them: vitamin A, vitamin D and what he called "activator X"-- now known to be vitamin K2 MK-4. The healthy cultures he studied all had an adequate source of vitamin K2, but many ate very little K1 (which comes mostly from vegetables). Inhabitants of the Loetschental valley ate green vegetables only in summer, due to the valley's harsh climate. The rest of the year, the diet was limited chiefly to whole grain sourdough rye bread and pastured dairy products.

The dietary transitions Price observed were typically from mineral- and vitamin-rich whole foods to refined modern foods, predominantly white flour and sugar. The villagers of the Loetschental valley obtained their fat-soluble vitamins from pastured dairy, which is particularly rich in vitamin K2 MK-4.

In a modern society like the U.S., most people exhibit signs of poor cranial development. How many people do you know with perfectly straight teeth who never required braces? How many people do you know whose wisdom teeth erupted normally?

The archaeological record shows that our hunter-gatherer ancestors generally didn't have crooked teeth. Humans evolved to have dental arches in proportion to their tooth size, like all animals. Take a look at these chompers. That skull is from an archaeological site in the Sahara desert that predates agriculture in the region. Those beautiful teeth are typical of paleolithic humans and modern hunter-gatherers. Crooked teeth and impacted wisdom teeth are only as old as agriculture. However, Price found that with care, certain traditional cultures were able to build well-formed skulls on an agricultural diet.

So was Price on to something, or was he just cherry picking individuals that supported his hypothesis? It turns out there's a developmental syndrome in the literature that might shed some light on this. It's called Binder's syndrome. Here's a description from a review paper about Binder's syndrome (emphasis mine):

The essential features of maxillo-nasal dysplasia were initially described by Noyes in 1939, although it was Binder who first defined it as a distinct clinical syndrome. He reported on three cases and recorded six specific characteristics:5
  • Arhinoid face.
  • Abnormal position of nasal bones.
  • Inter-maxillary hypoplasia with associated malocclusion.
  • Reduced or absent anterior nasal spine.
  • Atrophy of nasal mucosa.
  • Absence of frontal sinus (not obligatory).
Individuals with Binder's syndrome have a characteristic appearance that is easily recognizable.6 The mid-face profile is hypoplastic, the nose is flattened, the upper lip is convex with a broad philtrum, the nostrils are typically crescent or semi-lunar in shape due to the short collumela, and a deep fold or fossa occurs between the upper lip and the nose, resulting in an acute nasolabial angle.
Allow me to translate: in Binder's patients, the middle third of the face is underdeveloped, they have narrow dental arches and crowded teeth, small nostrils and abnormally small sinuses (sometimes resulting in mouth breathing). Sound familiar? So what causes Binder's syndrome? I'll give you a hint: it can be caused by prenatal exposure to warfarin (coumadin).

Warfarin is rat poison. It kills rats by causing them to lose their ability to form blood clots, resulting in massive hemmorhage. It does this by depleting vitamin K, which is necessary for the proper functioning of blood clotting factors. It's used (in small doses) in humans to thin the blood as a treatment for abnormal blood clots. As it turns out, Binder's syndrome can be caused by
a number of things that interfere with vitamin K metabolism. The sensitive period for humans is the first trimester. I think we're getting warmer...

Another name for Binder's syndrome is "warfarin embryopathy". There happens to be
a rat model of it. Dr. Bill Webster's group at the University of Sydney injected rats daily with warfarin for up to 12 weeks, beginning on the day they were born (rats have a different developmental timeline than humans). They also administered large doses of vitamin K1 along with it. This is to ensure the rats continue to clot normally, rather than hemorrhaging. Another notable property of warfarin that I've mentioned before is its ability to inhibit the conversion of vitamin K1 to vitamin K2 MK-4. Here's what they had to say about the rats:

The warfarin-treated rats developed a marked maxillonasal hypoplasia associated with a 11-13% reduction in the length of the nasal bones compared with controls... It is proposed that (1) the facial features of the human warfarin embryopathy are caused by reduced growth of the embryonic nasal septum, and (2) the septal growth retardation occurs because the warfarin-induced extrahepatic vitamin K deficiency prevents the normal formation of the vitamin K-dependent matrix gla protein in the embryo.
"Maxillonasal hypoplasia" means underdevelopment of the jaws and nasal region. Proper development of this region requires fully active matrix gla protein (MGP), which I've written about before in the context of vascular calcification. MGP requires vitamin K to activate it, and it seems to prefer K2 MK-4 to K1, at least in the vasculature. Administering K2 MK-4 along with warfarin prevents warfarin's ability to cause arterial calcification (thought to be an MGP-dependent mechanism), whereas administering K1 does not.
Here are a few quotes from a review paper by Dr. Webster's group. I have to post the whole abstract because it's a gem:

The normal vitamin K status of the human embryo appears to be close to deficiency [I would argue in most cases the embryo is actually deficient, as are most adults in industrial societies]. Maternal dietary deficiency or use of a number of therapeutic drugs during pregnancy, may result in frank vitamin K deficiency in the embryo. First trimester deficiency results in maxillonasal hypoplasia in the neonate with subsequent facial and orthodontic implications. A rat model of the vitamin K deficiency embryopathy shows that the facial dysmorphology is preceded by uncontrolled calcification in the normally uncalcified nasal septal cartilage, and decreased longitudinal growth of the cartilage, resulting in maxillonasal hypoplasia. The developing septal cartilage is normally rich in the vitamin K-dependent protein matrix gla protein (MGP). It is proposed that functional MGP is necessary to maintain growing cartilage in a non-calcified state. Developing teeth contain both MGP and a second vitamin K-dependent protein, bone gla protein (BGP). It has been postulated that these proteins have a functional role in tooth mineralization. As yet this function has not been established and abnormalities in tooth formation have not been observed under conditions where BGP and MGP should be formed in a non-functional form.
Could vitamin K insufficiency be related to underdeveloped facial structure in industrialized cultures?  Price felt that to ensure the proper development of their children, mothers should eat a diet rich in fat-soluble vitamins both before and during pregnancy. This makes sense in light of what we now know. There is a pool of vitamin K2 MK-4 in the organs that turns over very slowly, in addition to a pool in the blood that turns over rapidly. Entering pregnancy with a full store means a greater chance of having enough of the vitamin for the growing fetus. Healthy traditional cultures often fed special foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins to women of childbearing age and expectant mothers, thus ensuring beautiful and robust progeny.

The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: The Final Word

Over the course of the last month, I've outlined some of the major findings of the Tokelau Island Migrant study. It's one of the most comprehensive studies I've found of a traditional culture transitioning to a modern diet and lifestyle. It traces the health of the inhabitants of the Pacific island Tokelau over time, as well as the health of Tokelauan migrants to New Zealand.

Unfortunately, the study began after the introduction of modern foods. We will never know for sure what Tokelauan health was like when their diet was completely traditional. To get some idea, we have to look at other traditional Pacific islanders such as the Kitavans.

What we can say is that an increase in the consumption of modern foods on Tokelau, chiefly white wheat flour and refined sugar, correlated with an increase in several non-communicable disorders, including overweight, diabetes and severe tooth decay. Further modernization as Tokelauans migrated to New Zealand corresponded with an increase in nearly every disorder measured, including heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, asthma and gout. These are all "diseases of civilization", which are not observed in hunter-gatherers and certain non-industrial populations throughout the world.

One of the most interesting things about Tokelauans is their extreme saturated fat intake, 40- 50% of calories. That's more than any other population I'm aware of. Yet Tokelauans appear to have a low incidence of heart attacks, lower than their New Zealand- dwelling relatives who eat half as much saturated fat. This should not be buried in the scientific literature; it should be common knowledge.

Overall, I believe the Tokelau Island Migrant study (among others) shows us that partially replacing nourishing traditional foods with modern foods such as processed wheat and sugar, is enough to cause a broad range of disorders not seen in hunter-gatherers but typical of modern societies. Changes in lifestyle between Tokelau and New Zealand may have also played a role.
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Background and Overview
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Dental Health
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Weight Gain
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Diabetes
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Asthma

Hollywood's New Shortie... "The Beau Bob"

(Click on image to enlarge.)
Source: Modern Beauty Shop, July 1946

One of the photo captions reads: "Ann Sheridan, right, speculates on the possibilities of the short 'Beau Bob' "

Sunday Wobble

I don't think I've had much to do with jelly making since my mother waved a dark green box of Rowntree's at me, the one with the picture of a big pile of fruit on it, and allowed me to separate out the gorgeously malleable cubes of jelly and stir in the boiling water. Equally it could have been Melba's Jelly, Viota Jelly Crystals (with the empty box designed to be an alphabet cube afterwards) and of course Chivers, the same as on my Dinky Trojan Van. But Rowntree's was the one I remember, another much-loved classic name now slowly disappearing from our pantry shelves. I don't know what prompted the bout of jelly making this morning- someone eating it on television I expect or more probably an airbrushed ad. in a 1950's Good Housekeeping magazine. Of course I've hung about for weeks trying to buy a metal mould, copper preferably, but could only find plastic, and none in the traditional almost architectural and archetypal shape so necessary for the Unmitigated Dessert. Then the Mother of My Children took pity and said "Oh for goodness sake" and brought round a carrier bag full of metal moulds. Youngest Son separated the Hartley's Jelly cubes (not sure if a raspberry had actually taken part in their manufacture) and stirred in the boiling water, gently carrying his own little rabbit mould to the 'fridge. What should also be heartening for Hartley's is just how quickly their bright pink box was incorporated into the castle being built in the living room.

The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Gout

Gout is a disorder in which uric acid crystals form in the joints, causing intense pain. The body forms uric acid as a by-product of purine metabolism. Purines are a building block of DNA, among other things. Uric acid is normally excreted into the urine, hence the name.

On Tokelau between 1971 and 1982, gout prevalence fell slightly. In migrants to New Zealand, gout prevalence began at the same level as on Tokelau but increased rapidly over the same time period. Here are the prevalence data for men, from Migration and Health in a Small Society: the Case of Tokelau (I don't have data for women):

This paper found that the age-standardized risk of developing gout was 9 times higher in New Zealand than on Tokelau for men, and 2.7 times higher for women.

The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Background and Overview
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Dental Health
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Weight Gain
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Diabetes
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Asthma

Get Ready Mailbag: Can I catch the flu from my pets?

Welcome to another installment of the Get Ready Mailbag, when we take time to answer questions sent our way by readers like you. Have a question you want answered? Send an e-mail to

Q. I love animals. I count a dog and two cats among my family. If I get the flu this winter, can my animals catch it from me? How about vice versa?

A. In almost all situations, the answer is no. The virus that causes the flu in humans is species-specific, which means you can't spread it to your dog or cat, nor can you get it from them.

The only exception is avian influenza, also known as bird flu. The H5N1 "bird flu" virus is believed to have originated in wild birds and moved into domestic ducks and chickens in Asia. In the process, mutations occurred that allowed the virus to "jump" from birds to humans living in close proximity with their chickens and ducks. However there have been no reports of the bird flu being transmitted from dogs or cats to people and this is not a concern.

But thinking beyond the flu, there are diseases that we can catch from our pets and that they can catch from us. For more info, check out this Q&A on animal disease from an expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Note: The photo with this blog entry is an homage to LOLcats. (Not sure what that is? Visit the LOLcats site, or read about it on Wikipedia)

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Creature Feature No 4

I woke up at four this morning. Very dark, very cold. So I made coffee and scurried back to bed with Notes from Walnut Tree Farm, the wonderful book by the late Roger Deakin that is now the third book of a superb trilogy that includes Waterlog and Wildwood. And I read:
The naturalness of an unnatural product. The great chrome Jaguar over the entrance to Marshall's garage showroom opposite the airfield at Cambridge. The early motor car names were all about grace and speed: Swallow, Jaguar, Alvis Silver Eagle, Singer Gazelle, Humber Super Snipe (Reliant Robin or Reliant Scimitar, you take your choice).
I exclaimed "I know that Jaguar! I've got a photograph of the very one!" (It's amazing what'll get you going in the cold, dark, early hours.) So obviously feeling very smug and self satisfied I fell asleep immediately.

Over the Ears! ... that's the Glamour Shortie!

(Click on the images to view the large versions.) 
Source: Modern Beauty Shop, June 1942

The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Asthma

Asthma may be another "disease of civilization", uncommon in non-industrial cultures. Between 1980 and 2001, its prevalence more than doubled in American children 17 years and younger. The trend is showing no sign of slowing down (CDC NHANES surveys).

The age-standardized asthma prevalence in Tokelauan migrants to New Zealand age 15 and older, was 2 - 6 times higher than in non-migrants from 1976 to 1982, depending on gender and year. The highest prevalence was in New Zealand migrant women in 1976, at 6.8%. The lowest was in Tokelauan men in 1976 at 1.1%.

A skeptic might suggest it's because these adults grew up around certain types of pollen or other antigens, and were exposed to new ones later in life. However, even migrant children in the 0-4 age group, who were most likely born in NZ, had more asthma than on Tokelau.

What could contribute to the increased asthma prevalence upon modernization? I'm not particularly knowledgeable about the mechanisms of asthma, but it seems likely to involve a chronic over-activation of the immune system ("inflammation").

The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Background and Overview
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Dental Health
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Weight Gain
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Diabetes

The Tokelau Island Migrant Study data in this post come from the book Migration and Health in a Small Society: The Case of Tokelau.

Thanks to the EPA and Wikipedia for the graph image (public domain).

Apocalyptic Golden Syrup

I have to be very careful about this one. If I start recommending Wolf Solent (1929) by John Cowper Powys, I run the risk of people pushing its burnt ashes through my letterbox. I've never known such divided opinion over reading matter. One girlfriend said she didn't want it to end, another threw her copy at me and told me never to waste her time with him again. But she still persevered to the end, and has subsequently told me she thinks it's a Bloke Book. The Penguin blurb on my Modern Classics copy (with its wonderfully appropriate John Nash painting on the cover) says that Wolf Solent has been 'described as one of the few great apocalyptic novels of our time' and the Spectator said it was 'A stupendous and rather glorious beautiful and strange as an electric storm'.. What's it all about? Well, a young man returns to Dorset after ten years in London and works as a literary assistant not far from the school where his father had been the History Master. Its narrative is sometimes overwhelming, but underneath it all is a sense of unease that starts you thinking 'I've seen / heard / felt / experienced that somewhere'. And he mentions a Lyle's Golden Syrup can. But although it was written in the USA, it is a very, very English novel. An Unmitigated English novel in fact. Here's just a little taste:

He loved the muslin curtains over the parlour-windows, and the ferns and flower-pots on the window-sills. He loved the quaint names of these little toy houses- names like Rosecot, Woodbine, Bankside, Primrose Villa. He tried to fancy what it would be like to sit in the bow-window of any one of these, drinking tea and eating bread-and-honey, while the spring afternoon slowly darkened towards twilight.

The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Diabetes

This post will be short and sweet. Diabetes is a disease of civilization. As Tokelauans adopted Western industrial foods, their diabetes prevalence increased. At any given time point, age-standardized diabetes prevalence was higher in migrants to New Zealand than those who remained on Tokelau:

This is not a difference in diagnosis. Tokelauans were examined for diabetes by the same group of physicians, using the same criteria. It's also not a difference in average age, sice the numbers are age-standardized. On Tokelau, diabetes prevalence doubled in a decade. Migrants to New Zealand in 1981 had roughly three times the prevalence of diabetes that Tokelauans did in 1971. I can only imagine the prevalence is even higher in 2008.

We don't know what the prevalence was in Tokelauans when their diet was completely traditional, but I would expect it to be low like other traditional Pacific island societies. I'm looking at a table right now of age-standardized diabetes prevalence on 11 different Pacific islands. There is quite a bit of variation, but the pattern is clear: the more modernized, the higher the diabetes rate. In several cases, the table has placed two values side-by-side: one value for rural inhabitants of an island, and another for urban inhabitants of the same island. In every case, the prevalence of diabetes is higher in the urban group. In some cases, the difference is as large as four-fold.

The lowest value goes to the New Caledonians of Touho, who are also considered the least modernized on the table (although even their diet is not completely traditional). Men have an age-standardized diabetes prevalence of 1.8%, women 1.4%. At the other extreme are the Micronesians of Nauru, affluent due to phosphate resources, who have a prevalence of 33.4% for men and 32.1% for women. They subsist mostly on imported food and are extremely obese.

The same patterns can be seen in Africa, the Arctic and probably everywhere that has adopted processed Western foods. White rice alone (compared with the combination of wheat flour and sugar) does not seem to have this effect.

The data in this post are from the book Migration and Health in a Small Society: the Case of Tokelau.

The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Background and Overview

The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Dental Health
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health
The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: Weight Gain

Sirens, Deightons & Mustard Gas

Sometimes I amuse myself by making notes for a book comprised of photographs of all the buildings I've lived, learnt and worked in. And then I stop because so many are uninteresting and there are obvious gaps where stuff has been pulled down. Like one of my C of E schools, even though it was designed by the Goddards of Leicester. But the location of my very first job is still remarkably as when I cycled nervously up to it in the mid 1960's. This is the Southfields Library in Leicester, known affectionately as the Pork Pie Library. It sits on a road junction between two vast housing estates and was designed in 1939 by Symington, Prince & Pike. Looking like a London Underground station, the plans could very well have been influenced by Charles Holden's design for Arnos Grove. I like it so much I photograph it nearly every time I go by, if the light's as good as it was yesterday. So many memories are locked behind the brick and glass. Here I not only rubber-stamped books, but also discovered playwright Joe Orton's old library ticket (with 'default' stamped on it), Len Deighton books and an old man coughing his lungs up in the reading room because he'd been gassed in the First World War. I also got to work the wartime siren on the roof for practice alerts (there was a nuclear attack warning device in the cellar), ate a bar of Bournville Chocolate with my morning coffee and read the very first copy of The Sun newspaper. All this for £7 a week and the chance to chat up the girl assistants on the evening shift.

Dining Rooms Decorating ideas

Oriental-style dining room
A low table with floor cushions in vibrant prints creates a relaxed dining area. Used on a small scale, different fabric patters can be mixed to great effect.

Relaxed dining
Choose natural materials where possible for a more relaxed mood. Refectory-style dining tables and a mix of seating, including a bench and dining chairs, are ideal.

Modern oriental
A chinoiserie-inspired wallpaper is the starting point for this vibrant scheme. Benches in turquoise linen and a sleek table act as a foil to the flamboyant pattern and encapsulate this modern take on a classic style.

Sophisticated shades
Keep the look elegant by choosing accessories in shades of moss green, lime and deep purple. This harmonious palette brings a sense of intimacy to the table, which is reinforce by the detail in the place settings. Here, cutlery has been decorated with berry sprigs and tied with ribbon, while beautifully scripted place cards add a welcoming touch.

Nordic elegance
Sleek, light-reflecting mirrored furniture, combined with warming berry hues, gives this Swedish-style scheme a contemporary feel. Delicate floral wallpaper adds further interest and helps soften the look.

Smart dining
Lacquer has a rich, indulgent feel and sets off elaborately patterned damask perfectly.

Afternoon tea
Choose favourite pieces of tableware and linen in a palette inspired by the soft pastels of sugar candy. Mix old and new styles of china to give afternoon tea a more informal and relaxed feel. To compliment the tablecloth design, use small-scale ginghams in matching colours for the seat cushions.

Fresh and functional
Keep the dining and study zones together to create additional workspace. For a cohesive look, use one accent colour.

Grey stripes
Panels of wallpaper in contrasting tones create a strikingly graphic effect in this contemporary dining room. The mixture of subtle stripes adds definition to the room and can be seen in the simple upholstery of the dining chairs and the colourful tableware. An elegant pendant light completes the look.

Seaside colours
Seaside coloursNautical stripes in blues and greens give this Suffolk dining room a suitably coastal look

Light and bright
Here, tablecloths from Greece and vintage crockery create an inviting dining area. An adjustable rise-and-fall lamp

Perfect symmetry
Use architectural details, such as the strong lines of these windows, to accentuate a vertical symmetrical theme, mirroring the scale with a chunky table. Pretty glassware and lighting softens the effect. Lundy table and benches, The Conran Shop. Jeanette chandelier, Laura Ashley. Vases, Carden Cunietti. Paint on window frames, Down Pipe by Farrow & BallMARCH 2005

Plain and simple
Soft tailoring and understated accessories combine to create a chic, easy feel. Experiment with different weights of linen for a more textured, layered look and choose muted colours for a contemporary feel.

French-style kitchen-diner
Create a relaxed French-style kitchen with open shelving and freestanding furniture. Wirework chairs and overhead lamps for the dining table are authentic French touches.

Kingston's Newest Barrier

I am so frustrated with another new barrier to equal access in Kingston. The No Frills grocery store that was just around the corner and is owned by Loblaws has moved to the north end of town. A non-accessible bus has been chartered by the store to provide free shuttle service to take people from the old store to the new one twice a week to assist seniors, the poor, and those who don't own a car to drive to the new location, but they are forgetting one group, the disabled who use wheelchairs.

I work full-time so I have not had the time to contact the store owner to ask if he will charter an accessible bus to provide equal accommodation. This frustrates me. There are not enough hours in the day to write letters or approach an individual to ask them for accommodation that is required by law, but has been overlooked and is allowed to happen. We need more oversight to ensure the laws are not overlooked leaving the person with Human Rights as the only alternative form of protection. I have no interest in using that venue to enforce issues that are currently law.

I wrote to the Downtown Renewal Project group and members of city council to express my concern. I also plan to speak to Grant, the owner of No Frills, but so far it hasn’t been done. It’s too bad the phone number for the store is unlisted.

One of the concerns raised by the lobbyists about the store closing was the added expense of taking a bus now that a grocery store is no longer within walking distance, but when I expressed the concern about the disabled, I was told that we don't need the accommodation as much as the others, because we qualify for door-to-door service on Kingston Access Bus.

Well, did anyone stop and think about how much those buses cost? Those buses are costly if you take them on a regular basis. Access Bus does not offer the choice of buying a bus pass or getting a discounts for buying books of tickets. I pay over $160.00 a month for the permanent bookings to things like work and 2 social outings. I then pay for6 to 8 additional buses to travel to things like medical appointments, shopping (in the accessible stores which are becoming few and far between), and a few other things. Believe me, it is not cheap. Contrast this to the cost of buying an adult bus pass on Kingston transit for $65, a corporate discounted pass for $58.50, a seniors bus pass for $45, or the cost of owning a car, and believe me, adding an average of $19.35 per month for bus to buy groceries, will not be easy.

The bus is the only option though because I work full-time during the day. This means I can't even use some of the services that exist such as a delivery service, meals-on-wheels, the free school buses that take people shopping in a few other grocery stores, etc. Instead, I get to pack as many things as possible into my one and only weekday off work. This day gets filled with medical appointments, trips to 3 or 4 ends of Kingston to go shopping, attendant care services, the nurse, phone calls to agencies, businesses, and services that work 9 - 5 and who, in some cases, rarely call back, etc.

Needless to say, it is a life-saver to be high energy, able to act spontaneously, and to have learned how to cope with very little social life, entertainment, and in some cases, healthy or affordable food. It is the only way I can survive.

And what is the point of this blog? To raise awareness and to ask that you look underneath the bluster of a person who is asking for barrier removal, or the funding for a service that can help us with everyday things that many people can take for granted.

So, who has the greatest need? You be the judge.

Please read my other blogs:
Health Care:

Reply from City about Store Closing

I got a reply from a city councillor who basically said there was nothing council could do to stop a business decision. I saw red. Of course they can't legally PREVENT them from making a business decision, but the City Council can still DO something.

The councillor also said that the city was hoping to [reverse the trend that you are noting in your message]. So... here is my reply:

I just have one question about reversing the trend. When? I am losing my independence because of statements like this.

The city is not helpless. You have some control over bullies like Loblaws. The city council can publically cite the AODA, ask questions when they submit a site plan, ask Kingston Transit to add a bus stop at the new location, cite the Human Rights code when they talk about hiring a non-accessible bus to provide free service to everyone else. The media publishes the hot button topics in Kingston so if council regularily and consistently asks questions out loud about the accessibility of what they're approving, and sending them back to the drawing board if it does not meet the test, accessibility will start to become part of every day parlance and be included in the checklist for things to consider when creating a plan. Reliance on it being written in a report won't help because not everyone will be reading the documents that go before council.

As it stands now,disability is related to the financial hit for the taxpayer. City pressure on No Frills hiring an accessible bus could have potentially saved the city the cost of subsidizing an Access Bus fare.

The same goes for the taxi commission and the lack of accessible taxi's. Instead of upping the ante from $10,000 to $35,000 for the taxi commission, when one has already been done by a summer student a few years ago, push them a little. Offer to give them a percentage of KAB passengers and subsidize the cost. Passengers using manual wheelchairs, are ambulatory, use small power wheelchairs, or walkers, can get into a taxi. If the subsidy for our bus fare goes to the taxi company instead of to servicing and fueling those big buses, it might accomplish a lot. It is not ideal, but it got the accessible taxi cabs onto the road in many other communities.

As for No Frills moving and a free Non-accessible bus being added, it upsets me that the public seems to feel that the disabled don't need to be accommodated on that free bus. I pay over $160 a month in bus fares between the 2 services now. I also waste 3 or 4 hours to get to and from a store in the west end of Kingston only to, at times, come home empty handed because a store is sold out or the aisle was too crowded for me to pass through.

The city could fix the crowded aisle problem real quick by just enforcing the fire code in the stores that are so crowded. The fire code numbers are wide enough for a wheelchair so, if it was done, it would allow us to return to being able to shop independently.

For now I will pay the additional $18 per month to go shopping once a week because I have no other choice.

Please read my other blogs:
Health Care:

Show Your Political Preference: Wear a Hoover Bob or a Roosevelt Bob

Hoover Bob or Roosevelt Bob? (Presidential Candidate Hairstyles 1932)

Ways to Make Fine Hair More Stylable

(Click on the images for larger versions.)
Source: Modern Beauty Shop, February 1968

Dining Rooms Decorating Gallery

Though this kitchen is fairly neutral, the banquette makes a color statement in a mix of blue vinyl (for kid-friendly clean up) and a coordinating fabric on the backrest. The view is dominant so window treatments were eliminated and the chandelier was kept out of the way.

Turn the tables in a dining room by blending designer goods with items from discount stores. In this splashy dining room, a flea market table teams with pricey Louis XVI-inspired armchairs. Bargain-priced accessories justify a few splurges, including a focal-point rug.

This room is a fiesta of color! The blending of styles includes retro, modern, country, and even a little tropical (notice the hint of a pineapple motif in the chandelier), based on the look of Fiesta pottery.

In a small room, space planning is the key to success. To make the most of this diminutive dining room, which shares some of its 200 square feet with the front entryway, an efficient butler's pantry with a glass counter hugs the wall adjoining the kitchen.

Bare wood floors gleam under the 1940s Heywood-Wakefield table and modern designer chairs. Overhead, a trio of pendant lights serves to illuminate the length of the table and supplies a touch of tailored and striped pattern to the otherwise plain scheme.

In this vibrant dining room, a curvy valance adds height and impact to the arched windows. Instead of an expensive arched rod or curved board, the valance is secured directly to the wall by hooks. The fabric is pulled into casual pleats and "horns," then tied with a rope trim that runs the length of the treatment.

A formal dining room is all about entertaining. This dining table seats six for an intimate affair or can expand to accommodate a party of 12. French doors around the room allow dinner parties to spill out onto an adjoining patio. A traditional sideboard, which stores extra linens and dinnerware, can serve as a buffet.

A simple banquet is the perfect solution for a small space dining room. To add a bit of cottage flair, this room pairs a mix of antique inspired chairs with an oak table.

Choose casual fabric like this simple stripe to add to the cottage feel.
Mix and match wood types in the room for a more rustic approach.
Search flea markets for antique chandeliers like this one or your local home improvement stores for a replica.

Drenched in red and gold, this dining room looks like a million bucks. Tinted plaster mixed with marble dust coats the walls, buffed to produce a soft sheen. Dining chairs upholstered in gold damask are a soft touch against the wood table. A large area rug brings color underfoot and gold drapes tie the palette together.

A blue Asian-style rug contributes fresh color to an otherwise neutral dining room. Though all of the room's woodwork was painted white, none of its linear quality or substance has been lost.

Family-friendly wicker chairs surround this homeowner-crafted farmhouse-style dining room table. Nearby sits a 400-year-old carved chest with hand-forged hardware.

The neutral floor and area rug duplicate tones of the wood and wicker.
Loosely fitted chair cushions can be cleaned or updated as needed.
Touches of iron are repeated in the wall sconces and chandelier.

A dramatic painting gives this sunny dining room its punch. The other elements in the room are kept clean-lined and neutral to balance the powerful focal point. Chairs covered in washable white duck surround the simple farm table. The light-tone wood floors are left bare.