Monday, October 20, 2014

Marcel Camille of Waitrose

Cycles on pavements, doesn't care about small children or dogs. BTW doesn't understand the Highway Code - cyclists with driving licences get points on their licences.


Another Monday Moaning

Because we can all do with a smile on a Monday morning ...

And remember the first five days of the week are the hardest - after that it gets easier.

Friday, October 17, 2014

New Book

Ian Drury at Sheil Land is my worldwide agent, and has the first quarter. Please contact him with bids, not me.

Obscure Roman Emperors: Diadumenian

If you enjoyed this video by Adrian Murdoch, check out his book on The Emperors of Rome; Kindle UK, Kindle US, etc

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ellie ...

... Quickly walking her post dentist. No pain or puffiness from wisdom tooth because Ann at Wallace Bryer is by far the best dentist in London, maybe Europe (seriously cannot recommend her enough). But I might be high as a kite as I rarely drink so the anaesthetic is still ... No more posts today, although news stories auto-post on my Twitter feed.


Obscure Roman Emperors: Gallienus

If you enjoyed this video by Adrian Murdoch, check out his book on The Emperors of Rome; Kindle UK, Kindle US, etc

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness: Siberian Mummy

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the UK. I've blogged about it before, and I wanted to do a follow-up post about ancient women who died of breast cancer. The problem is that with many of them we can't be sure they died of breast cancer, we can only assume.

With this woman, the famous Siberian Princess, we can be sure.

She has long been famous for her tattoos, but new tests show that she died of cancer around the age of 25 ... and that she had been using cannabis, probably like many cancer sufferers for medicinal purposes.

Iconic 2,500 year old Siberian princess 'died from breast cancer', reveals MRI scan:
Her use of drugs to cope with the symptoms of her illnesses evidently gave her 'an altered state of mind', leading her kinsmen to the belief that she could communicate with the spirits, the experts believe.
The MRI, conducted in Novosibirsk by eminent academics Andrey Letyagin and Andrey Savelov, showed  that the 'princess' suffered from osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone or bone marrow, from childhood or adolescence.
There have been numerous claims made that cancer is a 'modern' disease, which the ancients did not suffer from, but new studies are showing that although it was rarer - probably as a result of lifestyle factors such as dying much younger - it was around. Other studies have confirmed cancer in Egyptian mummies.
'When she was a little over 20 years old, she became ill with another serious disease - breast cancer.  It painfully destroyed her' over perhaps five years, said a summary of the medical findings in 'Science First Hand' journal by archeologist Professor Natalia Polosmak, who first found these remarkable human remains in 1993.
'During the imaging of mammary glands, we paid attention to their asymmetric structure and the varying asymmetry of the MR signal,' stated Dr Letyagin in his analysis. 'We are dealing with a primary tumour in the right breast and  right axial lymph nodes with metastases.'
'The three first thoracic vertebrae showed a statistically significant decrease in MR signal and distortion of the contours, which may indicate the metastatic cancer process.'
He concluded: 'I am quite sure of the diagnosis - she had cancer. She was extremely emaciated. Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state. Only cancer could have such an impact.
The press article is fascinating and worth reading in full, and I plan to read the journal article too.

Obviously women should be careful and check every month not just in October.

The Edwin Papyrus now in NY is one of the first ancient descriptions of breast cancer, although the surgical treatise describes it rather than 'naming' it.

For a discussion and identification we have Hippocrates.

The term cancer comes from carcinos - that's Greek for the tumour looking like a crab.

Dear Baker and Spice ...

... Vaguely amused how many anonymous locals are praising you and smearing me ...

Remember: your staff started this, and you as a company are responsible for any libellous claims they make on your web pages.

Honestly, you might want to talk to a PR that understands that people forgive mistakes - they don't forgive lies and smears.

Obviously you're welcome to try to sue me, but you might have some minor issues that include I have witnesses and the facts on my side.

And no, I'm not a 'loyal customer' - I used to have coffee at Baker and Spice most days with a dying friend who couldn't walk any further ... But I prefer to go to any of the other cafes which provide croissants I prefer at far more reasonable prices.

So stop using Sock Puppets.


I Am Not Posting Leaks About Amphipolis

I don't know how many times I can say this.

I am not posting leaks about Amphipolis.

Michaelis Lefantzis has not leaked any information to me, and my only communication with him since early August was reporting someone at the site leaking information - which I did not post here. We have not communicated since.

I am not talking to any journalists about Amphipolis, so any who claim I am are not telling the truth.

If I wanted publicity I could easily do a spread in the Daily Mail about my own work, but I chose back in 2006 not to do publicity. I'm very happy to lead a quiet life, and have never had any TV offer or press offer that I thought was worth sacrificing that for.

I can see from coverage that there are leaks, and there is nothing I can do about it.

There's a lot of crap on the internet.

For example this story about me:

I don't sleep with married men, I don't have a child, I wasn't kidnapped ... well the whole post is complete and utter crap, and the wild imaginings of a paranoid schizophrenic who's also threatened to kill me.

There's one blog that argues I organised 9/11 as part of a Jewish conspiracy to invade Iraq and loot Baghdad Museum - I can't find the link.

Another web site says I'm part of a Catholic conspiracy to conceal the truth about Jesus.

The internet is crap.

Look, the short version is that I don't give a damn about what people think about me.

I do find it upsetting when people make false accusations against good people.

Michaelis Lefantzis has not leaked a single piece of information to me about Amphipolis.

I very much doubt that he has leaked any information about the site to anyone else, and people have stopped sending me leaks since I reported them.

Having said that, I can see from the press coverage and various other places that many of his ideas have been leaked elsewhere by other people on the excavation - I don't know by whom, and if I did I would happily report them.

Do I think the Ministry of Culture should release the information already presented at conferences? Yes, because this is a ridiculous situation where a lot of the information was put out there, and is now not available.

I was quite happy to discuss the excavations, making it clear that this is only my opinion, and that the archaeologists know what they are doing.

I am also quite clear that the accusations being made about Michaelis Lefantzis are political nonsense because of my book on the Parthenon Sculptures. Similarly Greece is the only country apart from Albania that has refused to provide Lootbusters with photographs of stolen archaeological material - although Albania refuses to admit anything is stolen, the Greek Ministry of Culture prefer to make political capital by playing 'gotcha' to embarrass dealers and collectors.

I have now removed all posts about Amphipolis.

I would rather do that than allow people to claim a good and decent man is behaving badly, and smear him because they don't like me.

I will not be blogging any more about Amphipolis.

I have to be honest, I had thought things had changed in Greece, but clearly they have not. The Ministry of Culture is as ridiculous as ever.

Opinionated About Dining: 2015 Restaurant Survey

Opinionated About Dining: 2015 Restaurant Survey

Damn, I'm barely scraping into the Top 50 after a very quiet year of mourning - more restaurant reviews will be coming, but if you love food I highly recommend taking part.

Routledge Kindle Freebies

Routledge have put quite a few books on Kindle down to free - this is the link to them on Kindle UK; and this is the link to them on Kindle US.

Free Kindle books are often worth nothing, but these are worth grabbing.

Routledge: Negotiating Bioethics: The Governance of UNESCO's Bioethics Programme

It's normally £85, but currently free ...

Baker and Spice Comes Clean ... Kinda

To be fair to Baker and Spice, I am going to include their full statement, available here:

Following an environmental health visit, we agreed to take the decision to close the cafe in order to urgently address all issues raised.

We were re-inspected and re-opened on Tuesday 14th October once work had been completed, with officers noting that the required improvements had been made, and praising the speed and thoroughness with which we dealt with the problem.
We have never experienced an issue of this nature within our business and treated this with the utmost seriousness.

All Food Businesses in Central London located in buildings in excess of 50 years old share similar challenges, and we are continually working to maintain our sites to the highest standards.

Obviously this is "interesting" and is it nice that they finally admitted the truth about why they were closed ... sort of.

The Westminster Notice was only posted in the window of the branch late on the 13th, so the statement clarifies why Baker and Spice finally stopped hiding it - the Council inspector was coming.

Agreeing to close down is a little bit like saying Fred West agreed to be put on trial for murder. 

Westminster Council is more than aware of what 'normal' issues are - for example they warned the Chiltern Firehouse, but did not close it down. My cousin owns restaurants, as did an ex boyfriend, so I am more than aware how bad things have to be for Westminster to close a business down. 

Every building on that part of Elizabeth Street is well over 50 years old, but no other business has had similar issues. This is not a 'recent' problem because staff been complaining for well over a year now.

Please note the statement does not explain why the branch of Baker and Spice failed to display the notice, except immediately before the inspection. The statement also fails to mention what they plan to do about the manager putting a different explanation on a notice in the window, and lying to customers. 

Many businesses have issues, and most of us accept problems as normal. Lying and covering up the problem is not acceptable.

UPDATED Photos: Jobar and Jewish Damascus, Syria

A recent visitor to Syria very kindly sent these photos, as he too felt that it was important to share and remember the Jewish heritage there.

I will post more when I have removed identifying information. Although the Assad government preserved synagogues and the rebels at Jobar are going out of their way to care for the synagogue there, I believe it is better not to post faces in case the situation changes. None of these houses contain Jews any more.

UPDATE - please not I should have made it clear that the bottom photos are of Aleppo.

Avoid: Baker and Spice, SW1

Baker and Spice on Elizabeth Street SW1 opened again yesterday. Today the tables outside are busy again, but not with the regulars ... Tourists have taken their spot.
The reason? We may be used to having our cake and eating it - but we'd rather eat cake from elsewhere.

This is not the first time Baker and Spice has closed down. Like the last time, we were told this closure was due to a gas leak and technical issues. I did point out that they should have called the gas board, but despite walking past several times a day there was no sign of them.

I also, despite keeping an eye out for their signs, never saw this notice from the council displayed - except very briefly the night before last (the joys of dog walking!).

The natives are restless, and furious with Baker and Spice. The issues - mice, drains, etc - are not new. We accept that businesses can have problems, but we supported it as a local business.

Yes we were aware that Baker and Spice was a faux independent bakery and that it is owned by Patisserie Holdings which also owns Patisserie Valerie. Obviously if you like a side of mouse droppings with your "kosher" Challah, do feel free to continue buying from them.

Patisserie Holdings also owns Duckers Vienna Patisserie, Philpotts and Flour Power City Bakery whose bread I will no longer be buying at the Farmers' Market.

Risk Capital Partners have current investments in Gail's Artisan Bakery and the wholesale artisan The Bread Factory, but these are completely seperate structures and should not be affected.

Patisserie Holdings is traded on AIM.