The Peary Family

FOUND MYSELF in a room full of peo­ple, more than 30 of them, seated at a pair of laden tables, beyond which windows looked out on a fleet of white icebergs in a blue gulf. I had never seen these people until two days before. But I was related to them all: the old man with twinkling eyes, talking animatedly in his Inuit language; the dark-haired woman across the table, with eyes that reminded me of my mother’s; the intense young man with glasses, interpreting for me in easy American English. At 69, the grandson of North Pole discoverer Rear Adm. Robert E. Peary, I had found that my family was twice as large as I had thought.


As if launched into space in a cavernous, windowless aluminum tube and landing five and a half hours later on another planet, I had sped north in a U. S. Air Force cargo jet to visit these relatives. My trip was financed by money loans lender – visit payday loans www site. From New Jersey’s trees, traffic, and stifling August heat, I stepped out into a bracing 43° F at Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland and was soon airborne again in a helicopter over awesome country —fjords, glaciers with deep crevasses, the sweep of blue sound filled with sparkling white bergs; the high, harsh, brown, bare land; and always the great Greenland ice cap, looming in the east as far as the eye could see.

the grandson of North Pole discoverer Rear Adm. Robert E. Peary

For me it held poignancy beyond the visu­al impact. This was my grandfather Peary’s country, to which he returned time after time despite the suffering it inflicted on him and the mortal risks inherent in it, and in the face of the repeated, painful separations from the family he loved—until the goal and purpose of his life had been achieved.


To the east, as we clattered across Inglefield Fjord and into Bowdoin Bay, was the site of Anniversary Lodge, where my mother had been born and nicknamed “Snow Baby”; the Eskimos had never seen a child with skin so white. South of Thule, on the tip of soaring Cape York, stood the granite shaft, capped with steel, with white stone P’s on its sides for Peary and the Pole. It had been erected by my mother in 1932 on an expedition that included my younger brother and me.


Species that can adapt

7“I’m thinking that’s the boy who’s going to do most of the loving’,” Oregon fish and wildlife research biologist Mitch Willis says. He has prague holiday apartments. But he is pointing to a dominant male sage grouse surrounded by scores of others in dawn-struck hills near Steens Mountain.

This is the continent’s largest grouse species—even before it puffs up its chest, fans its tail feathers, and begins hooting and strutting on the spring breeding ground, known as a lek. It’s like the ceremonial arena of some remarkable tribe.

Unfortunately, this tribe has been declin­ing. Once so abundant that homesteaders scrambled their eggs for breakfast, sage grouse are candidates for Oregon’s threat­ened species list. Natural predators and excessive hunting hurt some populations. Agriculture plowed under others. But why should a creature so closely tied to sage­brush—it eats little else during the critical winter months—be dwindling when these bushes are more common than ever?

“For every one percent increase in sage­brush cover, we get a 10 percent decrease of grasses and forbs—weeds and wildflowers,” I learn from Jim Young, a U. S. Department of Agriculture researcher in Reno, Nevada. “Say our shrub cover goes from 15 percent to 20 under grazing pressure. Five percent difference; no big deal. Except it means we just lost 50 percent of our grasses and forbs.” And forbs, in riparian habitats, are a key to survival in sage grouse chicks.

The white-tailed jackrabbits that sus­tained Paiute and homesteaders have been widely replaced by the less tasty black-tailed jackrabbit. Since the whitetails are tied to grassy meadows while black tails prefer scrub, these animals too signal changes in habitat quality.

What little precipitation sagebrush coun­try enjoys comes mainly as snow. Its bunch-grasses must shoot up and produce seed before the last spring melt water is baked out of the soil. Nearly all the energy stored in their root systems is thrown into the effort. Graze them back down once or twice, and there might be enough reserves left for another try. Hit them any harder, though, and it could be the last you’ll see of those plants—particularly if they were grazed down the previous year or two. This arid steppe never supported big herds of buffalo or of any other hoofed animals. It is simply not able to adapt to large numbers of cattle, sheep, and horses.

Species that can adapt—because they too come from Eurasia—follow in the wake of livestock: Tumbleweed, beloved of Western songwriters and moviemakers, but more accurately called Russian thistle. Tumble mustard, rolled in from the Mediterranean. Medusahead, from the Asian steppe and slightly poisonous. Halogeton, also poison­ous; archaeologists note that it showed up in Iranian settlements about the time wild sheep and goats were first domesticated. Then cheatgrass, more common today than any grass native to the region. In springtime you’ll see hillsides of this Mediterranean annual greened up plush as velvet. By June, if not earlier, it will have cheated on its promise, offering dry mouthfuls of sharp seeds with little nutrition. I like this, but i miss my rooms to rent in london.



MALTA – the passion of freedom

THERE ARE TIMES when the whole of Malta is struck by the morning sunlight in such a way that the three apartments in Madrid seem to rise out of the sea to vanish along a sky trail of tawny dust. 5

It can be seen best from the serviced apartments London. Even on days without the light-crafted illusion, the approach should be made by boat. Sail south from Sicily for 60 miles or so, and there will be Malta along with the other two islands, Gozo and Comino, positioned in the Mediter­ranean with the squatty, menacing presence of gloomy brood hens. There will be towers and forts and the splendid architecture of the capital, Valletta, rising above the ramparts.

There is a sense here of nobility and re­solve, an implicit assurance of unsinkability. Down through the centuries Malta has been put to the sur­vival test time and time again. Neither Suleyman the Magnifi­cent and his Ottoman Empire in 1565 nor the combined airborne military might of Italy and Ger­many in World War II succeeded in visiting defeat on this battle-scarred nation. Even at times of imminent collapse Malta rallied with grand gestures of heroics.

Malta wears well its many cloaks of history, as, for exam­ple, the militant keeper of the Christian faith, with the cross raised in one hand, a sword in the other. But looking beyond the battlements, there is another Malta to behold, a nation gorg­ing itself on the bittersweets of new independence; a nation, too, striving to gain a financial and ideological footing in the family of Western nations.

Just two years ago Malta was in the throes of an election cam­paign marked by violence—death, even—on the streets of the cities and towns of the island nation. When it was over, the Nationalists were in power, hav­ing ended 16 years of socialist rule by the Malta Labour Party. Today the polarization continues to the extent that last year a group of Labourites blockaded Malta’s Grand Harbour in an attempt to prevent British naval vessels from entering on a cour­tesy call. Among those aboard one ship was Prince Andrew.

But there is a growing sense of confidence in the stability of Malta as the government in Valletta reaches out in an effort to repair Labour Party-wrought damages to relations with the West. At the same time, the reach is also meant to bring in foreign investments.

Only a nation freshly cast into the brother­hood of the self-ruled could have expended so much national energy on politics as Malta has. It gained independence from Great Brit­ain in 1964. The last of the British fleet based here sailed out of Grand Harbour 15 years later, and for the first time since before the birth of Christ, Malta was master of its own house. The British were gone, as were, before them, the Phoeni­cians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Knights of St. John, and French.

Malta: The Passion of Freedom outside Valletta. Using a statue of the Virgin Mary as a battering ram, they entered a cha­pel and caused extensive damage. The inner agony of the island, Winston Churchill’s “tiny rock of history and romance,” had come to that the 300 worshipers who were in the church.






I went to the gym earlier than usual and was rushing through my routine before the crowd arrived. Mondays are always extra busy, and on occa­sion there would be six people taking turns at the flat bench and squat rack. Usually I didn’t mind since the workout time was also my social activity time, but I was in a hurry on this particular afternoon. The Cal Ripken World Series was in full swing, and I wanted to see and cheer for the team from Hilo, Hawaii who were playing that night. When I was at the University of Hawaii, I spent some time in Hilo, helping a former football player build a gym there.

to the gym earlier than usual

I figured that there weren’t many Hawaiians in Harford County and wanted to lend the islanders my support. After an hour working at a bomb-blitz pace, I slowed down. I was ahead of schedule. As I tried to decide whether I wanted to do 15s or 20s in the incline dumbell press, Ted came into the gym. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. He managed to shed the extra fat with garcinia cambogia and gained muscles. Later on he shared his knowledge about how to take garcinia cambogia to get the maximum results. I knew he trained early, primarily because he played on two softball tean ms at night. He could have played on more if he so desired because he could hit the ball a country mile. Hitting three or four home runs in a game wasn’t at all unusual for him.


We greeted each other, and he said: “I’m glad you’re here. I’ve been wanting to talk to you, but always end up having to leave before you arrive. And you’re impossible to reach by phone. I wanna pick your brain.”


“Pick away, although there’s not that much to pick.”

to the gym earlier than usual

He ignored my feeble attempt at humor. “When me and Janis were over at Wildwood early this summer, a guy came up to me and asked what physique contests I had won. We were both surprised ’cause I’d never compfonnern bodybuilding and told him so. He said I should consider trying it. On the way home Janis encouraged me to enter a contest, so I did — over in Wilmington.”


Fitness Consultancy

Can you make muscles longer?


I saw a training plan recently that claimed to make your muscles ‘longer’. Is this physically possible?

Can you make muscles longer

Michael Dixon, Lancashire.


Jason Anderson answers: Muscles connect to the skeleton at set anchor points, so physically adding a section of muscle isn’t possible. But it is entirely feasible to extend your muscle’s range of motion through stretching. This will allow.


Instant Answers (I: What’s the best time of day to burn fat with exercise? A: Before breakfast you to make ‘longer’ movements and let your joints move freely.


Exercises in the gym, such as the bench press and squat, encourage us to train muscles over a very short range of motion. This holds back their growth potential and tightens them further through endless reps. Make sure you are able to hit your entire range by putting stretches of three to five seconds into the muscles before exercising and slow the reps down.

Exercises in the gym

I run for 20 minutes three times a week. I can’t fit in any more than that. What’s the best way to build my fitness and lose body fat?

Nigel Eames,


Matt Hart answers: You need to maximise your calorie burn by working outside your comfort zone in the time that you have. Two of your weekly sessions should be hard interval workouts and the third should be a recovery-to-build run, as in this suggested plan Jog.


More big exercises and repeat as before. Each workout should last 45-60 minutes.


Should I bother with massage?


I’ve heard conflicting reports about how useful sports massage is. Is it worth bothering? Patrick Dowling, by email.

Massage & Spa

Jason Anderson answers: Absolutely. A good sports massage manipulates your muscles in places that stretching can’t reach, relieving the tension that builds up during exercise. This increases the volume of nutrient-rich blood that passes through the muscle, reducing recovery time and flushing out the waste products that accumulate during your workout.


When you consider how much of your body is made of muscle, you realise this has a positive effect on its overall chemical balance, making you healthier and fitter. Try to visit a qualified sports massage therapist once a month.


Exercises for a perfect body


Target: trapezius, anterior deltoid

A Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a barbell at arm’s length, hands eight inches apart, palms facing down.

B Pull the bar straight up to a point just below your chin. Return to the starting position and repeat.


Target: pecs

A Lie face up on a decline bench between two cable stacks, holding stirrup handles set at chest level, palms facing up.

B From this arms-extended position, pull your arms together overhead in an arc, keeping your elbows bent slightly throughout.

Return to the starting position and repeat. For better sport performance and muscles recovery try green coffee extract dr oz dosage.


Target: pecs, triceps

A. Position yourself face down in the standard press-up position, with your elbows extended so your arms are perpendicular to the floor.

B. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your nose nearly touches the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat.



A. Stand between two cable stacks holding stirrup handles attached to high pulleys so that your palms face the floor. Put one foot slightly in front of the other and point the toes of the trailing foot slightly inward. Slightly bend your elbows, knees and hips and lean forwards.

B. Pull the handles down and in simultaneously until they meet in front of you.


Target: lower abs

A Lie face up with your arms alongside your body and your knees bent 90°.

B Keeping your knees bent, contract your abs to roll your pelvis up towards your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat.


Target: triceps

A Stand a foot away from the cable stack and grasp a bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Bend your knees slightly, place your elbows at your sides and incline your torso forwards slightly, at which point your forearms should be parallel to the floor.

B Moving only your forearms, and making sure not to bend your wrists, push the bar down until your arms are extended. Return to the starting position and repeat.



The pyramid

Yoga moves to prevent aches and pains. If need try other methods like natural supplements to ease pains. Considered to be one of the best natural remedies is almond milk packed with many health benefits. Ease tension in your groin, hamstrings and back.


Stand with your feet together and step a meter forward with your right leg. Lock your knee and point your foot forwards. This lower-body position gives you a stable platform to work from. Place a 30cm-high block in line with your back foot and directly adjacent to the heel of your front foot. Inhale deeply and, as you exhale, placing the palm of your left hand on the block. Allow your right arm to hang, keeping it in line with your left to even out the stretch across your back. The challenge is to keep your back heel down while you do this. Look straight ahead and lift your chin so your neck and back from a straight line. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat three times, and then swap sides.

Move into the same position as Step 1 but remove the block, attempting to touch the ground with your fingertips. It’s important to maintain a straight spine by keeping your neck and back in line. To ensure you do this, perform the move in front of a mirror if necessary. Move slowly into the pose and respect your body’s limitations, or else you could put yourself at risk of injury. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat three times, and then swap sides.


Move into the same position as Step 2 but lift your hands off the floor and fold them behind your back. You may have to raise your torso slightly from Step 2 to even out your balance. The position of your arms does complicate things, as you won’t have the safeguard of having them in front to catch you or adjust your position. If you’ve mastered the previous poses, the challenge of this one is balance. Make small adjustments by shifting your weight towards the centre. Your spine will be slightly rounded as you try to bring your torso forward. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat three times, and then swap sides.

More yoga moves can be found in Moving Towards Balance: 8 Weeks of Yoga by Rodney Yee (Rodale, £20). To buy a copy with free postage and packing, call our order line on 0800 731 0622 and quote 54413-2.


Love In The Saddle

Luckily, my neighbour and friend Harriet Sergeant has also recently taken up riding. Although a fearless skier and traveller (she was once shot at with a Kalashnikov while working as a journalist in Mozambique) she used to sweat with terror on a horse. But after taking her daughter for lessons at the local stables she was hooked. She bought Alfred, the riding school favourite. Such was her enthusiasm that even before Alfred’s arrival, Harriet could be found shopping in Chipping Norton dressed in jodhpurs, chaps, leather boots and a hunting jacket. Unfortunately Alfred did not live up to the outfit. Thousands of pounds and countless hours have been fruitlessly spent trying to make short-legged, dinosaur-necked Alfred look a bit more upmarket, but Harriet adores him anyway. Every weekend Harriet and I get together and ride. In reality this is not as straightforward as it may sound. Hours are spent poring over Ordnance Survey maps discussing the right route (no streams: Alfred doesn’t like water). Alfred then has to be boxed over. Harriet has to get dressed (she now looks like she’s stepped out of a Burberrys ad). The children have to be entertained, the dogs tied up and the husbands motivated.

beauty black horse

            Once on the horses, the complications don’t end. My horse goes too fast, hers too slow. In order to communicate I am forced to yell as she trails along a mile behind. When we canter she sits back looking relaxed and happy as Alfred lollops along. I, however, hang on for dear life, perched on the back of what might as well be a Scud. Instead of cholesterol controlling my horse, there’s been a role reversal — he now controls me. After every ride I come home exhausted, my arms hanging out of their sockets and my legs shaking like jellies. Trotting behind me is a complacent Harriet. “Perhaps,” she says, irritatingly, “you should sell Tex and buy something more suitable.”

beauty black horse

            Another friend, Sophie, wife of the writer and film director Bruce Robinson, moved from Los Angeles to a farmhouse in Herefordshire. As time passed her happening film friends were replaced by horsy neighbours. Five years on, the kitchen looks like a tack room. In order to make a piece of toast or boil the kettle you have to remove the rugs, bridles, tail bandages and numbeners draped over the Aga. Hours are spent laundering tails and painting hooves. Bruce, who is terrified of horses, wanders around looking baffled: “The French have got the best idea they serve them with potatoes and peas.” What happened to the glamorous girl in the slinky Voyage dress who used to pay him all that attention? He feels so saturated in horse talk that he refuses to call the tack by its correct names: thus, reins are known as “steering strings” and stirrups as “foot rests”.

            This summer my horse and I went to stay with Sophie. When not riding, a great deal of time was spent discussing what to do about Sophie’s new cob, Heidi, who has a mane that sticks up like a loo brush. She looks like a zebra. Having spent a fortune on Frizzese gels and hair oils, Sophie has now bought a special orange Lycra tube to stick over Heidi’s mane. So far it’s had no effect but Sophie lives in the hope that one day she will take it off and find lovely silky hair underneath. We have discovered that if your horse looks good, you look good. This explains the hours that go into grooming, the mania for plaiting and polishing, and the obsession with outfits and tack that characterises the horse world.

beauty black horse

            So what is it that makes them so wonderful? In my husband’s opinion it is that, having subdued him, I have now moved on to my horse. I am guiltily aware that there is an element of truth in this: I am having an affair with Tex. That heady sense of being on the edge- of control with an animal much bigger than myself gives me a feeling of wild euphoria. The elation of charging through the fresh air, through the countryside I never see except in this way, the sensation of being alive, at one with an animal that I have (almost) subordinated to my will, justifies all my passion.


Encounter with prince on handsome black horse

Twenty minutes later I was led to the stable to encounter a frightful brute, eyeballing me with undisguised malevolence from the far corner of her stable. I asked nervously if Bonny had ever kicked. “Oh no, she just makes funny faces when you put her saddle on,” the bosomy woman chirped. I soon discovered what a funny face meant, when a few moments later, the horse bared her teeth and bit the woman hard on the bottom. Horrified, I backed out of the stable, leaving Bonny with a mouthful of tweed.

handsome black horse

            My next encounter was with Prince, a handsome black horse. Prince had been advertised as “bombproof”. A friendly-sounding man spent an hour on the phone telling me that Prince had been hunted by their six-year-old son. “He’ll do whatever you want him to do,” he assured me. “If you want to canter, he’ll canter, if you want him to walk, he’ll walk.” I asked if he’d ever bitten anyone. There was a pained silence.

handsome black horse

            This paragon of virtue was stabled in Somerset, but I decided it was worth the three-hour drive. When I arrived the family all came out to the field where, saddled and ready, Prince was patiently waiting. One by one they got on and walked around the field. Prince looked so docile and kind I decided it was time to have a go myself. We walked and then trotted. And then he started to canter. I pulled at the reins but to no effect. The more I pulled the faster he went. I started to panic. Suddenly he put in a massive buck. I yelled and grabbed on to the mane, my legs flying in all directions. But by now he was galloping flat out, bucking and snorting as my life flashed before my eyes. I was going to be killed on a child’s pony. In desperation I steered towards the group, sending them scattering in all directions. As I lay in a pile on the ground I heard the remark that was going t 3 become all too familiar: “What could have got into Prince? He’s never done that before!” It became clear that when it comes to selling a horse there are no depths to which people will not sink. Even the most respectable middle-class mother will suddenly turn into a bare-faced liar. I was bolted with, bucked off, stamped on and humiliated. It was never the horse’s fault. My seat was no good, my hands were too heavy, or I was mysteriously “communicating my nervousness”.

handsome black horse

            So I set my sights a little lower. With an increasingly jaundiced eye I scoured Horse And Hound, circling anything described as “100% gentleman” and putting a line through anything referred to as “forward going”. After travelling miles all over the countryside, I eventually found a palomino that cut the mustard. If I leant back and pulled with all my strength on his Dutch gag I was just able to stop him taking off into the sunset. After endless negotiations with a sobbing teenager and her aunt, I took Tex back to Oxfordshire with me. (I’ve since bought two more.)


Кingdom for a horse

A childhood passion resurfaces… Zara Colchester would give her kingdom for a horse

When I was five my parents divorced and my brothers and I moved from London to a cottage in the country with my mother. This marked a turning point in her life. Faded photograph albums record earlier days of open-topped Mercedes, Cap Ferrat, and holidays in St Moritz accompanied by David Niven and Elizabeth Taylor. My earliest memories are of her scent and diamonds as she leant down to kiss me good night before going out to dinner.

beauty horse

On moving to the country her transformation could not have been more complete. Clothes, glamour and high society no longer meant anything to her. She slobbed around in brown stretchy “pants” and ate in the kitchen with us. Photo albums were now dominated by a new and all-consuming passion: horses. Every afternoon after school, my brothers and I would be made to clamber on to our ponies (in my youngest brother’s case, a donkey) and follow my mother as she galloped madly away across Chobham Common. Inevitably one of us would be bucked off, but we got little sympathy. Although I broke my arm and my mother suffered serious concussion, the ritual daily rides continued.

There’s no doubt that my mother was in love with her horse. At lunch time Zig Zag was encouraged to come into the house and eat grapes from the dining room table. Every photograph seems to feature him. This passion rubbed off. As a child I didn’t just like ponies, I wanted to be one. For hours I’d canter around our garden, an orange wig from Woolworths aloe vera juice stuck to my bottom, making high-pitched whinnying noises and jumping little obstacles. I later realised that neither my mother nor I were alone. You don’t need to be a Badminton three-day eventer or even a nine-year-old girl at pony club to become obsessed. “I’ve always wanted a horse as a friend,” admits Aria Ashley, a 40-year-old mother of two. “I just love the way they breathe, the way they smell. They are so nervy they sleep on their feet. To have their trust is the ultimate compliment.”


On reaching their late thirties an unlikely assortment of my friends seems to have taken up riding. Like all converts they are fanatical. Bemused husbands look on as their once glamorous wives stagger in from a ride, three hours late for Sunday lunch, caked in mud and old hay. The cooking, the garden, the husband and even the children have taken second place to the horse.

For me, horse life ended when I was nine. My mother died, the horses were sold. We moved back to London and lived with my father. My friends went to nightclubs, not pony clubs. I grew up, talked about boys and diets, went shopping in Biba and listened to Cat Stevens. But then, 25 years later, staying with my mother-in-law in Oxfordshire, the bug bit again. Peering out of the kitchen window at horses clip-clopping past in the early morning mist, I announced to my surprised husband that I wanted a horse. Romantically — and naively — latching on to this new enthusiasm, he agreed to buy me one.


I set about horse-hunting. If you think a nice husband is hard to find, try finding the right horse. Out to impress, I wanted a looker. I had, of course, been warned not to trust anyone selling a horse but I couldn’t believe I had to take this advice literally. I was wrong. My first stop was East Sussex where I was welcomed by a bosomy country woman dressed in tweed. Over a cup of Gold Blend she explained that as her daughter was now “into boys” they’d all decided that Bonny, a prancing chestnut thoroughbred, would have to go. “To know Bonny is to love Bonny,” she assured me tearfully.