The Queen's Breakfast

Not getting out much this week, as you can see. Last night I sat staring into the middle distance pondering my sins and I started to look in detail at this label. So what's a marmalade jar doing in my living room? Well, I've been using an unopened giant 907g jar as a paper weight (best before date June 1999), but in any case I've always loved this label since I first saw it on childhood breakfast tables. Robertson's have been using a very similar design since at least Edwardian times when the label was pasted onto stone jars. All that's really changed since then are the number of oranges- far more in 1905- which may tell us something. Reading it as a six year old I think it was the first time I'd heard of a place called Paisley, nowadays it may be the first time a child sees the name Manchester. Her Majesty obviously likes it, I think it's a design classic and should be in the pantheon of such things that obviously includes the inviolate Lyle's Golden Syrup tin. Having said all that I'm now feeling guilty that my marmalade of choice is in fact Wilkin's Tiptree Orange & Tangerine. Mind you the way it's going round here I'll soon be twisting the cap off the Golden Shred. I had some year old Shredded Wheat the other night.

Swine Hunt

Unmitigated England doesn't normally get involved in current affairs, usually restricting itself to wanting to know why the 8.30 to Evercreech Junction is late. But I've wanted to use this cover in a blog for ages and hey presto! 'Pigs, Swine, Atishoo!'. And a recurring thought that however long the incubation period is of this latest flu bug, it's certainly moving faster than the samples that haven't turned-up in that white-coated lab. in North London yet. Susan Watts stood in a white coat amongst all the dodgy eggs on Newsnight on Monday and said they'd be in tomorrow (Tuesday). Last night she said tomorrow again, meaning Wednesday. Just now on the wireless (tuned-in to receive half-hour bulletins on the crisis so that we can prepare the bunker in the melon pit) some health official / scientist / passer-by said they might come today or tomorrow. So where are they? Still stuffed behind the pilot's seat on a 747? Still in a vacuum flask like in Billion Dollar Brain down at the shoe shop? Sorry, got to go, a Foden has just turned-up in the yard with the gas masks. You may laugh, this is a very nasty business.

La importancia de tener las vacunas al día

Today's blog entry is an article by Diego Chaves-Gnecco MD, MPH, SALUD PARA NIÑOS Program Director & Founder in honor of National Infant Immunization Week.To read the article in English, you can use an online translator.

Es extremamente importante que todo adulto o niño tenga todas sus vacunas recomendadas al día. Sin embargo, desafortunadamente esta afirmación no se cumple. Dependiendo de la edad, grupo de la comunidad a la que pertenece la persona o el niño y la vacuna de la que se esté hablando, sólo 7 u 8 de cada 10 personas o niños tienen sus vacunas al día. Aunque el número parecería ser bueno y alto, no es ideal. El ideal sería que 10 de cada 10 niños o adultos tuvieran todas sus vacunas al día.

El hecho de que esto no se cumpla afecta no solamente a la persona o niño que no tiene todas sus vacunas en orden, sino que también afecta a toda la comunidad donde este niño o adulto vive. En la medida que cada vez más personas no tengan sus vacunas al día, corremos el riesgo de pronto volver a ver enfermedades de las cuales no oíamos hace ya muchos años.

El mundo de hoy se hace más pequeño ya que la gente viaja más y con esto hay más riesgo de contraer enfermedades. Algunos ejemplos incluyen el coqueluche, tosferina o enfermedad por Bordetella pertussis, el sarampión, la varicela, el polio, la Hepatitis A y B, y la epiglotitis u obstrucción de la vía aérea por la bacteria Haemophilus influenza. Estas enfermedades crean gravísimas secuelas como la parálisis, largas y complicadas hospitalizaciones o incluso la muerte.

¿Por qué las personas no tienen sus vacunas al día?

Son muchas las razones por las cuales esto sucede. Algunas personas y padres de familia tienen temores sin fundamento respecto a los efectos secundarios de las vacunas. Otros cuestionan su eficacia. En cualquiera de estos dos casos, estudios científicos a escala mundial y años de utilización de muchas de estas vacunas (en el caso de la vacuna del polio, por ejemplo, que viene siendo administrada por más de 50 años) desvirtúan estas preocupaciones. Las vacunas que administramos en el presente son seguras y sus beneficios sobrepasan cualquier tipo de riesgo.

Otra razón se debe al desconocimiento de las vacunas que corresponden. Es importante recordar que los esquemas de vacunación son diferentes en cada país y que algunas vacunas que se recomiendan en un país no lo son en otro. Cuando las familias viajan de un país a otro es importante asegurarse que se tienen todas las vacunas recomendadas.

Finalmente, otra razón para no tener todas las vacunas al día se debe a la dificultad de mantener registros adecuados de vacunación (pasaportes, carnets, tarjetas, etc.).

¿Qué hacer para asegurarse de estar al día?

Anualmente, el Centro de Control y Prevención de Enfermedades de los Estados Unidos (CDC por sus siglas en inglés) y la Academia Americana de Pediatría, publican un calendario actualizado con todas las vacunas recomendadas para cada grupo de edad. Una forma de saber si usted y su hijo tienen todas las vacunas al día es asegurándose que tiene todas las vacunas recomendadas para su edad según el calendario. Estos calendarios pueden ser confusos, por lo que es importante que hable con su doctor. Llévele todos los registros de vacunación que tenga, tanto domésticos como internacionales.

Actualmente existen registros electrónicos médicos que facilitan documentar todas las vacunas recibidas en un mismo registro, al cual se puede tener acceso con mayor facilidad. Pregúntele a su médico si utiliza este tipo de registro electrónico. Pregúntele también si otros médicos y proveedores de salud pueden tener acceso a este registro. Pídale que se asegure que estén incluidas todas las vacunas que usted y su hijo han recibido, no sólo las que su médico les ha administrado, sino también las que han recibido en otros lugares o países.

Los hispanos y las vacunas

Desafortunadamente, la población hispana en los Estados Unidos tiende a presentar porcentajes de vacunación más bajos que la población no-hispana, y con esto el riesgo de tener enfermedades contagiosas es mayor.

Algunos de los ejemplos de las disparidades existentes respecto a enfermedades que se pueden prevenir con las vacunas son los siguientes: En el año 2000, 17 niños menores de un año murieron en Estados Unidos debido al coqueluche, tosferina o enfermedad por Bordetella pertussis. Los 17 niños nacieron en los Estados Unidos; 41 % de ellos eran hispanos. Estos desenlaces fatales, y muchas enfermedades más, hubieran podido prevenirse si hubiesen tenido al día sus vacunas de DtaP o Tdap (Difteria, Tétanos y Tosferina/pertussis). Por la misma razón, entre 1990 y 1999, un número excesivamente alto de infantes hispanos (35%) murieron a causa del coqueluche, tosferina o enfermedad por Bordetella pertussis.

Entre 1989 y 1990 hubo una epidemia de sarampión en el estado de California; 40% de todos los casos presentados de sarampión durante esta epidemia fueron de niños latinos o hispanos. Durante esta epidemia, los niños hispanos o latinos tuvieron un riesgo mayor 9.6 veces de contraer esta enfermedad más que los niños no-hispanos.

Para mayor información acerca de las vacunas y de los calendarios de vacunación, hable con su médico o visite, o llame al CDC al 1-(800) 232-4636.

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Find The Fault No 10

I don't know anything about polar bears either really. It's all hearsay, like they can smell you from five hundred miles away and then bound across icy wastes in order to tear you apart and eat you. That's it really. But I can tell you about the polar bear on the Fox's Glacier Mints logo. His name is Peppy and he arrived on his mint in 1922, four years after Eric Fox founded the company in Leicester where they still are. I remember seeing a big neon sign on a gable end in the city and on asking my brother why it had a polar bear on it rather than a fox he just said "The bear's eaten it".

Alexanders The Great

Every time I drive into Norfolk at this time of the year I see these plants rearing up in great clumps of efflorescence on the verges as I near the coast. I first saw it crowding the dirt track that leads up to the Happisburgh lighthouse, but only tonight do I reach for my well-thumbed copy of Flora Britannica and discover they are Alexanders (Smyrnium olustratum). At first glance I thought they looked like the first sproutings of cow parsley, but of course the flower heads are far too thick, and in any case the yellowy green tops are the final colour. They are, however, in the same grouping that includes not only the parsley but pignut and coriander- the Carrot family. Richard Mabey reckons they were a Roman import, put to use 'as an all-purpose spring vegetable and tonic', but I wouldn't fancy it in a gin. You can eat the stalks- go for the green thick bits of stem and cook it like celery. Mabey also tells us that Alexanders are often found growing in the disturbed soil around monastic buildings, where it must have been put to both culinary and medicinal purpose, notably on Steepholm in the Bristol Channel. The name probably comes from 'the parsley of Alexandria', which explains its Mediterranean origins and maritime locations. Although it has been found in such diverse places as Bedfordshire and Dartmoor. So now I know, and of course will point it out to fellow travellers and go on about it as if I'd known about it all my life.

Drene Presents Gracious Lady

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Source: American Hairdresser, June 1946

Popular Hairstyles for Young Girls

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Source: Practice and Science of Standard Barbering, ⓒ 1938-1958

Basic Short Cut for Fine Textures

(As usual, click on the images to open larger versions in new windows.)
Source: Modern Beauty Shop, July 1949

Nutrition and Infectious Disease

Dr. Edward Mellanby's book Nutrition and Disease contains a chapter titled "Nutrition and Infection". It begins:
There is general agreement among medical men that the susceptibility of mankind to many types of infection is closely related to the state of nutrition. The difficulty arises, when closer examination is given to this general proposition, as to what constitutes good and bad nutrition, and the problem is not rendered easier by recent advances in nutritional science.
Dr. Mellanby was primarily concerned with the effect of fat-soluble vitamins on infectious disease, particularly vitamins A and D. One of his earliest observations was that butter protected against pneumonia in his laboratory dogs. He eventually identified vitamin A as the primary protective factor. He found that by placing rats on a diet deficient in vitamin A, they developed numerous infectious lesions, most often in the urogenital tract, the eyes, the intestine, the middle ear and the lungs. This was prevented by adding vitamin A or cabbage (a source of beta-carotene, which the rats converted to vitamin A) to the diet. Mellanby and his colleagues subsequently dubbed vitamin A the "anti-infective vitamin".

Dr. Mellanby was unsure whether the animal results would apply to humans, due to "the difficulty in believing that diets even of poor people were as deficient in vitamin A and carotene as the experimental diets." However, their colleagues had previously noted marked differences in the infection rate of largely vegetarian African tribes versus their carnivorous counterparts. The following quote from
Nutrition and Disease refers to two tribes which, by coincidence, Dr. Weston Price also described in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration:
The high incidence of bronchitis, pneumonia, tropical ulcers and phthisis among the Kikuyu tribe who live on a diet mainly of cereals as compared with the low incidence of these diseases among their neighbours the Masai who live on meat, milk and raw blood (Orr and Gilks), probably has a similar or related nutritional explanation. The differences in distribution of infective disease found by these workers in the two tribes are most impressive. Thus in the cereal-eating tribe, bronchitis and pneumonia accounted for 31 per cent of all cases of sickness, tropical ulcers for 33 per cent, and phthisis for 6 per cent. The corresponding figures for the meat, milk and raw blood tribe were 4 per cent, 3 per cent and 1 per cent.
So they set out to test the theory under controlled conditions. Their first target: puerperal sepsis. This is an infection of the uterus that occurs after childbirth. They divided 550 women into two groups: one received vitamins A and D during the last month of pregnancy, and the other received nothing. Neither group was given instructions to change diet, and neither group was given vitamins during their hospital stay. The result, quoted from Nutrition and Disease:
The morbidity rate in the puerperium using the [British Medical Association] standard was 1.1 per cent in the vitamin group and 4.7 in the control group, a difference of 3.6 per cent which is twice the standard error (1.4), and therefore statistically significant.
This experiment didn't differentiate between the effects of vitamin A and D, but it did establish that fat-soluble vitamins are important for resistance to bacterial infection. The next experiment Dr. Mellanby undertook was a more difficult one. This time, he targeted puerperal septicemia. This is a more advanced stage of puerperal sepsis, in which the infection spreads into the bloodstream. In this experiment, he treated women who had already contracted the infection. This trial was not as tightly controlled as the previous one. Here's a description of the intervention, from Nutrition and Disease:
...all patients received when possible a diet rich not only in vitamin A but also of high biological quality. This diet included much milk, eggs, green vegetables, etc., as well as the vitamin A supplement. For controls we had to use the cases treated in previous years by the same obstetricians and gynecologists as the test cases.
In the two years prior to this investigation, the mortality rate for puerperal septicemia in 18 patients was 92%. In 1929, Dr. Mellanby fed 18 patients in the same hospital his special diet, and the mortality rate was 22%. This is a remarkable treatment for an infection that was almost invariably fatal at the time.

Dr. Mellanby was a man with a lot of perspective. He was not a reductionist; he knew that a good diet is more than the sum of its parts. Here's another quote from
Nutrition and Disease:
It is probable that, as in the case of vitamin D and rickets, the question is not simple and that it will ultimately be found that vitamin A works in harmony with some dietetic factors, such as milk proteins and other proteins of high biological value, to promote resistance of mucous membranes and epithelial cells to invasion by micro-organisms, while other factors such as cereals, antagonise its influence. The effect of increasing the green vegetable and reducing the cereal intake on the resistance of herbivorous animals to infection is undoubted (Glenny and Allen, Boock and Trevan) and may well indicate a reaction in which the increased carotene of the vegetable plays only a part, but an important part.

P.S.- I have to apologize, I forgot to copy down the primary literature references for this post before returning the book to the library. So for the skeptics out there, you'll either have to take my word for it, or find a copy of the book yourself.

The latest on swine flu

If you've been following recent news you may have heard about something called swine flu. Swine influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Occasionally humans are infected with swine flu viruses and, in some instances, they can spread the virus person-to-person. Unfortunately, this is what's happening now.

Since late March, eight confirmed human cases of swine flu have occurred in California and Texas. All of the patients recovered completely, but there is concern over the fact that each of the patients was infected with a strain of swine influenza A that has never been seen before. Additionally, the CDC reports that it appears that the same new strain of swine flu is responsible for a wave of illness and a number of deaths in Mexico.

CDC is working closely with state and local officials in California and Texas and other health and animal officials on investigations into these cases. For updated information, visit

Don't forget that there are basic precautions you can take to help protect yourself from influenza and keep from spreading it to others. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, wash your hands frequently, and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.

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Get Ready Mailbag: Should I stay home if I have the flu?

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. How long should I stay home from school or work when I have the flu? I don’t get many days off of work and I don't like my kids to miss more school than necessary, but I also don't want to get other people sick.

A. Although it may be difficult to take off time from work or school when you're sick with the flu, it is the best thing you can do to do keep others safe.

However, there's no hard and fast rule about how long you should stay home. The duration of the flu varies and so does the infectious period. But as a rule of thumb, you should probably stay home if you are exhibiting flu symptoms such as fever, severe headaches, muscle aches and pain, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose. Ideally, you want to stay home until you're symptom free.

If you have no other option and must return to school or work before it is safe, take precautions to avoid making others sick. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently and avoid touching shared objects. Also avoid shaking hands and do your best to stay out the personal space of others.

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Lost by Design 1

Wall's Ice Cream. It's what we had to go with our cling peaches for Sunday tea. A treat in the shape of a cardboard box bought from the van on a hot afternoon. The cream and blue vanilla packaging, the tricolour Neapolitan, the bountiful lettering. All were what we now call feelgood factors. And outside the post office in the village street and on wooden shacks behind the sand dunes there would be a sign. Shield-shaped and with a row of vertical blue stripes at the top that were like a shop sunblind on a sunny day. I tried to find an example to show you, but I'm sure you know what I mean. And then I saw the Wall's sign near the beach at Brancaster. The shed it's on is ok (it has to be, being next to the snooty Royal West Norfolk Golf Club). But what's happened? Every single ounce of pleasure has been rung out of the identity. This isn't a sign for ice cream, it's a sign for a heart foundation. And that's it isn't it? You can hear the presentation: "You see Mr.Wall we can make an ice-creamy sort of swirl look like a heart you see. Which means love, you know, like in 'I (heart shape) NY. And the bonus is it means healthy. And while we're at it we'll get rid of the old lettering in case punters think they're buying sausages". Nostalgia again? Not being what it used to be? I don't think so. Brand values, as I'm sure they say a lot, go further than the Powerpoint presentation. They end up on Norfolk sheds and country brick walls yes, but also as stickers on city fridges and corner shop windows. A truly great brand deserves better than this. Something more long lasting than a here-today-melted-tomorrow marketing document.

Classic Room Wallpapers 2011 design

Thibaut(pronounced Tee-Bo) is a wallpaper design firm in USA established in 1886 (yep!). We had a chance to browse their collection of some really nice classic themed wallpapers which they have put up on their website. Images follow:

Classic Room Wallpapers

Classic Room Wallpapers

Reading Nooks - Set

Reading nooks are those nice little nooks in your home where you don’t mind spending a whole day buried up reading a novel or catching up on magazines. The design of these places can be tricky, as usually, focus on comfort overrides aesthetics when you create these spaces. But that doesn’t mean these reading nooks need to be untidy or unappealing to look at.

This is not from a home, but you got to love the atmosphere here. Courtesy:Barbara Slavin

If reading means more of the virtual thing for you, this setup would suit you:

Bookshelves As Room Focus

we lay more emphasis on how shelves can effectively become the focus of the room. The collections shown below are from two Italian makers: Mobilieffe & Mazzali