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Columbus’ log

Posted by Edward McDermott in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Furthermore, Morison had sailed the Bahamas route in Mary Otis in 1940 and identified to his satis­faction the locales of the log. The question was closed, and it remained so for 40 years.

But Morison was wrong on three counts: The question would not go away; the track he sailed and proposed will not bear scruti­ny; and the landfall was not Watling. Of that, I had no doubt. Other dissenters, such as Edwin and Marion Link and Pieter Verhoog and Robert Fuson and Robert Power and Arne Molander, found great fault with the Watling route—but I found their alternatives flawed in other ways. There is something to be said for Sherlock Holmes’s dictum that “when you have elimi­nated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

When, in 1980, the Society for the History of Discoveries took a bold step and reopened the landfall question with a reading of Ver­hoog’s 1954 paper recommending East Cai­cos, and papers followed advocating Grand Turk and other islands, I knew that at last “the game is afoot.” It was time to sic the hounds after Sherlock’s grand improbable. My thought was to sic the computer. The log is filled with quantifiable data—bear­ings and distances influenced by wind and current and sailing speed. A computer could run the variables out thousands of times.

Our first need was for a new partial trans­lation of the diario. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC commissioned an expert in old Spanish documents, Dr. Eugene Lyon, to provide a literal, line-by-line translation from photo­copies of the Las Casas manuscript. It was the first in English in many years, it was su­perb, and it became our bible.

Then I turned to another old friend and colleague, Luis Marden, who had twice sailed the southern route across the Atlantic in his ketch, Bounty, with his wife, Ethel, a first-class mathematician. They agreed to tackle the task of rendering the transatlantic log in terms of day-by-day actual position. The Mardens quickly made two astonish­ing, and crucial, discoveries. The story of how their corrected daily plots lead to Sa­mana Cay begins in the next column.

In 1984 a major computer firm, Control Data Corporation, joined the Columbus team in the figure of Vice President Robert Lillestrand, an Arctic-navigation expert who became intrigued with the Columbusmystery. He assigned Carla Ryti and Scott Devitt to create the Columbus Research Tool (CRT)—an interactive program marrying a Control Data Cyber 170/865 computer with a color display in which the geography of the Bahamas had been digitized, and in which it was possible to sail courses electronically and instantaneously from any point to any point. An early run through using the CRT quickly discounted tracks from Grand Turk as not consonant with the Columbus log.

So—how does one go about discovering where the best accommodation in barcelona is? And how can you prove it once you have found it? Long ago Morison proposed three com-monsense tests. First, the transatlantic track ends there. Second, a track drawn backward from an undisputed point in Cuba ends there. Third, the island must fit the description in the log.

Master Class

Posted by Edward McDermott in Health - (Comments Off)

Fill a large pan with water, bring to the boil and add a good pinch of salt. Have a large bowl with some iced water ready to refresh the vegetables after cooking.

Blanch all the vegetables in batches until just cooked and tender but not too soft, Scoop out with a slotted spoon and transfer to the iced water straight away, dry off all the vegetables and toss in a bowl with the shallots, chilli and lemon zest and blood orange pieces.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced mackerel, apple, cucumber; a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of vinegar. Season to taste.

Meanwhile, in a medium pan, cook the celeriac in the milk and stock with a little seasoning for 20 minutes until it is soft, Drain (reserving the cooking liquid), then blend, using about half the liquid (discard the remainder), to make a smooth, thick puree, Check the seasoning, Leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan I 60 C, Cut off the tops of the baby peppers and remove the seeds and white pith inside, a frying pan and add the olive or coconut oil, aubergine and courgette until soft, Add theapers and season. The coconut products are extremely healthy – check out the info at

Spoon the mixture into the peppers, replace the tops (or just leave open if using halved peppers) and bake for 10-15 minutes until the peppers have softened. Meanwhile, for the tapenade, mix all the ingredients together to form a thick paste. Finish the baked peppers with a spoonful of lapenade and serve. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish and add the pork. Leave to marinate for 2-3 hours, turning occasionally. Or maybe take a quick nap in the bedroom of your holiday apartments in barcelona.

Remove the hard outer layers from the artichokes, Using a peeler; remove the hard skin of the stalk. Cut off the top portion of the leaves, Place in a pan of cold water with a pinch of salt and I halved squeezed lemon (add the juice to the water too) and bring to the boil, Turn the heat down and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes until the artichokes are soft.

Meanwhile, place the carrots in a pan of boiling salted water. Cook for 3 minutes then place in cold water to refresh. For the dressing, finely chop all the herbs (you can do this in a processor if you like), Mix the herbs with the chilli and add the vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil while mixing, then season to taste.

Living smart

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Men who are unaffected by infertility can usually keep on knocking out the slugs until their mid-fifties with ease. But premature testicular failure occurs in men in their forties or younger. “Often, these are men who have had children when they were younger, but because of booze or smoking, they’re sitting in a fertility clinic in their forties,” says Dr Sammy Lee. Lee estimates that testicular failure occurs in two to three per cent of men in their twenties, six to ten per cent of men in their thirties and by the time they’re 40, at least 25 per cent of men are suffering from a low number or grade of sperm. “It’s likely that 50 per cent of men in their fifties are being let down by their balls,” says Lee. ‘Testicular failure usually occurs over a period of about five years, with the sperm deteriorating between visits.” Fertility clinics will often freeze good sperm while men are still producing it so that they can opt for artificial insemination after their ailing testes have been put out to graze.



Though a long-time favourite of drunks, northerners and skinflints, corned beef has been trumpeted by food manufacturer Princes as “high in zinc and Vitamin B3 that positively affects your sperm”. Changes in dietary and farming techniques have made zinc the biggest dietary deficiency the nutritionists can link to infertility, and while oysters – and seafood in general – are richer sources of zinc, corned beef and roast beef aren’t far behind. That said, you’re going to have to scoff an awful lot of the stuff to have a significant effect on your nuts. No-one knows why zinc is beneficial for your sperm, but experts have observed that it features in the seminal fluid.



The psychological pressures can be incredibly painful for men struggling to have children: no

man wants to stand up in a pub and proclaim, “I am a Jaffa!” Dr Lee says: “These patients would die to have children. Someone tells a man he can’t and it’s the biggest blow to self-respect you can take.” But of course, duff sperm don’t necessarily spell doom: “I see men who are so unhappy,” says Dr Lee, “and when I explain to them what can be done, it’s like a cloud lifts and they’re up and shaking my hand. Unfortunately, many a GP will say, ‘Sorry, you’re firing blanks,’ and that’s that. And that man will go and crawl under a rock somewhere. But very few men have no usable sperm at all. These days there’s a chance for most people.”



High caffeine drinks such as coffee and energy drinks are hazardous to your procreative health. If you are addictive coffee drinker, you’d better try pure green coffee beans instead. Green coffee is a very healthy drink and it has many benefits. Your sperm get revved up on caffeine while still in the sack, and then the poor little blighters have no energy left when duty calls. Users of hard drugs such as cocaine and athletes who take steroids are also doing themselves “really lasting damage – far worse than alcohol and cigarettes”, according to Dr Lee. These substances have a direct toxic effect on the sperm, and long-term abuse can permanently impair the sperm-producing cells.



The local doc has never been renowned for his depth of knowledge in anything other than minor aches and dealing with German measles, and the tricky subject of male fertility is almost certain to leave the GP stumped – even though he’s the first point of call for struggling couples. The standard procedure is to try the woman out first with a course of fertility drugs; if the drugs don’t work, the next step is IVF – in-vitro fertilization, the test tube baby method.


Developed in the Seventies, IVF involves mixing sperm with egg in a test tube and then injecting it into the female’s womb. Today, a phenomenal one in 80 children born in Britain are IVF babies. IVF carries a 15 per cent success rate and costs on average £2,500 in a private clinic, plus an additional £500 for fertility drugs. As yet, there are no fertility drugs for men, and male infertility is rarely tested for in the NHS. Because drug treatments for women can take place over several years, experts now recommend that couples should go to a private clinic if there hasn’t been any progress after six months, to see if the problem in fact lies with the man. Some 80 per cent of infertility treatment in the UK is now performed privately.


The muscles and the feet

Posted by Edward McDermott in Health | Life - (Comments Off)


Why exercise can affect them

The overload principle states that placing extra demands on the body improves fitness, but the downside is that your muscles are going to feel fatigued – and possibly stiff – immediately after a workout.


What you can do about it

‘If you’re a regular exerciser, think about investing in a professional massage to prevent the toxin build up in muscles that causes pain,’ says Penford. Massage has also been proven to reduce the intensity of pain in Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS). If you’re looking for a bit of DIY help, however, muscle soaks, rubs and oils can be used in the comfort of your own home. ‘Most contain aromatherapy oils which absorb straight into the body system,’ says Penford. Try Maxwell’s Supersport Heat Muscle Rub, £15 (; Ole Henriksen Muscle Comfort Soak, £35 (; E’spa Fitness Body Oil, £24 (01252 741600). Other great natural oil that you can use at home is coconut oil. It has many health benefits such as hair growth and skin care. Check out how to use coconut oil for hair growth.



Why exercise can affect them

Feet have 250,000 sweat glands, excreting up to half a pint of sweat a day. ‘Heavy sweating as a result of a good workout means that moisture is lost and this can leave skin dry,’ explains Christy skincare specialist Mark Tarantino-Hind. Lastly, let’s not forget fungal infections. ‘Fungus likes to breed in a moist environment,’ says Penford, making hot, sweaty feet and socks ideal.

fitness exercise

What you can do about it

‘The most important thing you can do for your feet is to keep them as clean and fresh as possible,’ says Tarantino-Hind. Dry the feet after a shower, especially in between the toes and wear aerated socks, clean-on for every single work out (bacteria can breed in socks). Infections such as athlete’s foot are contagious, so consider flip flops in communal gym showers. ‘Even use an anti-bacterial wash on your feet in the shower,’ says Penford. Try this… For dry areas: Kiehl’s Intensive Treatment For Dry Or Callused Areas, £21.50 (020 7734 1234). For fresh feet, Christy Sole Mates Peppermint and Marine Extracts Cooling Deodorant Spritz, £2.99 (available from Boots and Superdrug).

Trouble in paradise

Posted by Edward McDermott in Life - (Comments Off)

Marathon training amid the tropical temperatures of sunny Samoa? Bad idea sympathy was never on the cards. No matter how clearly I spelled out the on sequences of my two-week work trip to the South Pacific (I’m a travel write ), not a soul I spoke to was able to grasp the it was going to be an obstacle, a trial, perhaps even a disaster.

OK, yes, squeezed between professional duties there might be palm trees, white sand and cocktails with little umbrellas. But, really, how was I supposed to keep training for marathon number two – for the stunning PB! – amid 1 that bloody paradise? At least I was not going to gain any extra weight, as I took my cla supplements with me. Find out what dr. oz says about cla for weight loss purposes. But I was definitely going to interrupt my training regime. I had to stay resolute, grab training runs where I could: in airports, on beaches, across 12 ti e zones. I thought I’d try some uphill intervals on my transit through Los Angeles Airport, but the prominent side arms of the airport police suggested a sudden da h up an escalator might result in a permanent loss of breath. So Day One passed with a run.


On Day I was determined. Having arrived on the island of Samoa, which was like being slopped by a wet electric blanket with its 90 percent humidity and volcanic temperature, I was elated to find my hotel had an air-conditioned gym. Only it was less gym, more what they call thereabouts an umu. Like a pig cooked in one of these traditional ones, I was being baked in a subterrane box, my running machine beyond the r- ach of the whispering fan.

The tread ill, struggling with the heat as much as I was, conked out before the end of the workout I’d programmed. But as I’d already s eated out the weight of a Samoan pro p forward, I’d no inclination to get it going again. I thought escaping England’s snow and freezing winds would be a boon to y training, but it was so extremely hot. Also, I was concerned about getting my le: out. The women here wear sarongs but could barely walk in mine, let alone break it to a jog. It was like being trapped in Tubigrip.


But any cultural confusion was trumped when the cyclone came to town. It scuppered my plans to run around the entire island (OK, it was a small island). To avoid being marooned, we had to evacuate on the first boat out. And the cyclone wrote off my GPS watch: the damned thing goes doolally in a light drizzle – God knows what this biblical storm did to its insides. But I reached the point when I could delay no longer: it was time to run, Mother Nature be damned!


I waited for a break in the rain to hit the coast road. It was 6.30 am and already clammier than a shot putter’s armpit. Then a dog barked, which was a worry. I’d been warned about the island’s feral canines and their tendency to chase moving objects (runners, for example). I nervously grabbed a nearby rock and plodded on, waterbottle in one hand, anti-dog missile in the other. After five minutes I wondered exactly why I’d waited for the rain to stop. I was sweating buckets (yes, the theory that “ladies only perspire” is poppycock), and craved a drizzle to cool me down. But be careful what you wish for: because when the heavens opened, I was blinded by rain, battered by rain; it seemed I was actually becoming rain. Locals sheltering in thatched huts laughed. Funnily enough, no one else was pounding/wading across the sopping Tarmac. I’m not sure I ever dried off after that. The rest of my trip was spent in a state of damp. Likewise my trainers, whose footbed turned to bog, and whose mouldy tang entered rooms before me, and lingered after I’d left.

My last day in Samoa was a Sunday. The training plan dictated 20 miles; I ran a big fat zero. But for once I felt justified in my sloth. The Sabbath here is strictly obeyed, even trimming your lawn is frowned upon. I felt liberated by divine exoneration. And I just hope that, in the absence of actual training (final stats: 10,263 miles travelled, a paltry 11 miles run) Him Upstairs will help me with that PB. 12)


The West Indian Federation

Posted by Edward McDermott in Life - (Comments Off)

Talks on the independence of the British West Spanish place-names and family-names remind Indies seem to have been in the news for a very us that the Latin influence still lingers. The long time. Broad principles of federation were English took Jamaica from the Spaniards in 1655, laid down at the Closer Union Conference at but Trinidad was not finally captured until 1797. Montego Bay in 1947, and since 1953 the many One of the terms of surrender guaranteed free­problems have been under constant discussion. dom of worship, and the number of Roman At Lancaster House this June some seventy Catholics in Trinidad today bears witness that delegates reached a compromise on many of the the British honoured the treaty. Throughout the difficulties and the Colonial Office has announced British West Indies the language is English, but that the West Indian Federation will achieve in the Windward Isles the local patois is based

British West Spanish

independence at the end of May 1962 on Old French and many laws in St Lucia are workable union of ten territories comprising. The main racial streams, however, came during more than twenty islands? The Federation of the great days of sugar when thousands of slaves Australia hung fire for over fifty years before were shipped from Africa to work on the plan­the six quarrelling States became united. Ad­ tations. After the emancipation in 1834, the mittedly Australia is vast compared with the slaves left the estates to scrape together a bare Caribbean islands, but when Queen Victoria livelihood on tiny patches of unwanted land or in signed the proclamation in 1900 its population the towns. So the planters recruited indentured was under two million.  Labour from India and later from Portugal and Today there are just over three million people Madeira. The Indians, locally called East Indians in the British West Indies, of many races and to differentiate them from indigenous American widely differing cultures.


Indians, came from both Hindu and Muslim When Columbus discovered the islands in stock; though they are relatively few elsewhere, 1492 the gentle Arawaks were in the process of in Trinidad they form about a third of the popu­being worsted by the more aggressive Caribs, lation. Scattered throughout the islands are who, it is believed, made their way up the islands several thousand Portuguese and Chinese; a from the South American mainland. During the few Syrian families; and, of course, the progeny next three centuries four empires, Spanish, of the white `plantocracy’ of English, Scottish, French, Dutch and English, fought over the French and Spanish descent.

Windward Island

West Indies for gold, for trade, for power. An West Indians are less sensitive about colour incident of the white man’s struggle, with the prejudice than almost any other people. There cross in one hand and the sword in the other, is a well-loved Trinidad calypso which says, was the virtual extermination of the indigenes. `Small island boy go back where you belong’, but Now a tiny pocket of Caribs live in a reserve on feeling between large islands and smaller ones Dominica, a Windward Island not to be con­ can be equated to a Londoner’s attitude to fused with the Dominican Republic; their `provincials’, and local jokes about colour hold debilitated stock has persisted only through little more rancour than those between Scots and intermarriage, and nowadays one is hard put to Sassenachs. At recent talks in Tobago a junior find a pure-blood Carib, member of a big island delegation remarked to Old tales of long-dead heroes incline us to Paul Southwell, First Minister of St Kitts: a romantic view of the rainbow arc of islands, `Before I came here small islanders were “hurry­but it would be more realistic to admit that come-up men” to me; now I have met you and Caribbean history is a chaos of lust, greed, heard you speak, I shall support you against all treachery, conquistadors, buccaneers, priests, outsiders. We are all West Indians, we talk the pirates, missionaries, slavers, sugar and rum.


Posted by Edward McDermott in Life - (Comments Off)

Dedication, discipline and meticulous planning have helped Jez Bragg to the top of the ultra-running game.

Bragg on a training run in sunny South Africa


Ultra running requires a special breed of athlete, according to one of the sport’s most successful proponents. “Not everyone can be an ultra runner,” says Jez Bragg. “There’s an element of natural ability and biomechanics involved, which means it’s not just a case of increasing your mileage accordingly. You need luck, good alignment, strong joints, mental strength and a tough spirit. Most people don’t have that combination of factors going for them:’ Twenty-eight-year-old Bragg is, as he puts it, “one of the lucky ones.” He is one of the most accomplished performers on the ultra-running circuit, having finished on the podium in the majority of the races he has competed in since his debut in 2004, and last year alone won the Osmotherley Phoenix (33 miles), the Fellsman (62 miles) the Highland Fling (53 miles), the Commonwealth lookm Championships and became the first Briton in seven years to run sub-seven hours in winning the Celtic 100 (62 miles). He also finished third in the Western States 100 in California, and says this podium place in one of the world’s oldest and most brutal off-road races is his greatest achievement so far.


In order to compete at this level, Bragg puts in training weeks of up to 120 miles, mixing speedwork on the track, interval training on the road, long runs on the trails and raspberry ketone diet regime, and fits it all in around his job as a chartered surveyor working in construction. Part of what keeps him pounding out the miles is knowing that he is doing something that few could ever manage – something he’s been aware of since his astonishing debut six years ago.


“I didn’t get into this expecting to be any good,” he says. “I’d never run properly until I did the London Marathon in 2002. I trained really hard for that, finished in 3:17 and, though that wasn’t particularly quick, felt that I had run it as fast as I possibly could. I heard about the Marathon of Britain (175 miles in six days) and thought that sounded an epic challenge.

Marathon of Britain

“My goal was simply to complete that race, but by day three I discovered that I was actually getting stronger while others were fading, and I moved steadily up the leader board. By day five I was top and I managed to hold on and win it.


“I learnt from this that I wasn’t quick but had the ability to keep going at a steady pace for a long time – and that I loved that feeling.” An obsession was born and Bragg has been a full-time part-time athlete ever since.

The Lost Race

Posted by Edward McDermott in Life - (Comments Off)

The idea that modern man may have descended from Neanderthals outraged the Victorians. Today, we know much more about our distant ancestors — though one puzzle remains. Why, asks RON HYAMS, did the Neanderthals vanish so quickly from the face of the Earth?

NEANDERTHAL MAN came into the world of the Victorians like a naked savage into a ladies’ sewing circle. Even the scientific community regarded him as a monstrous intrusion, half-man, half-ape, and a shame­ful blotch on the fair name of mankind.


The Neanderthals acquired a poor repu­tation because they were grievously mis­judged by the experts. From the discovery of their bones in 1856 to just 3o years ago almost all palaeontologists regarded them as an insignificant — and distant — branch of the human family tree, rejecting them as candi­dates for man’s ancestry because they were thought to be too aberrant, too specialised, too brutishly primitive.


Only now is this misjudgement being remedied. New research and a critical look at old research — most of it badly done by today’s standards — have forced scientists to upgrade their picture of Neanderthal man. Neanderthal skulls found in western Europe actually held brains larger than some belong‑ ing to modern men — 1400-1450 cubic cen­timetres compared to our 1200-1800 cubic centimetres. Some anthropologists now regard Neanderthals not as dull-witted louts but as men with potentially sophisticated brains who happened to live in primitive societies. But the most remarkable about-turn in scientific thinking comes from evi­dence suggesting that some Neanderthals ­and perhaps all of them— were our immediate ancestors.


Why did the experts misjudge the Nean­derthals? Our knowledge of the events that occurred in the remote past will always be incomplete, and proof for any of the hypo­theses can never be conclusive. But in the case of the Neanderthals, more important than evidence were the prejudices and pre­conceptions that helped to shape the intel­lectual climate of the time. The old ideas could not explain the Neanderthals; new ones were welcome but they were often poorly understood.


The needle not the knife


Aliens in the dark Tracing ancient treasure The healing needle ‘Nessie’ photofile Toad cults

Needles inserted into the skin at certain points on the body can alleviate pain and even cure illnesses. ANTHEA COURTNEY examines the claims of acupuncture and explains its traditions and history

NEEDLES OF flint, bone, bamboo and pot­tery made up the Stone Age acupuncturists’ equipment. Archaeologists in China have found some dating between 4000 and 5000 years ago which makes acupuncture the oldest form of organised healing. Called chen-ts’u — or ‘needle-stab’ — by the Chinese Below: it looks painful, but and acupuncture (from the Latin acus, a the insertion of the needles needle, and punctura which speaks for itself) causes only slight discomfort by Westerners — this is one of the most — and the cures achieved by ancient and respected systems of healing.      this method have been


The earliest written references appear in spectacular. No one knows an ancient work completed between 4500 how acupuncture works; for and 3000 years ago — the Nei ching, ‘The many practitioners it is Yellow Emperor’s classic’ [book] ‘of internal enough to know that it does medicine’. This remarkable collection of 34 books consists of a series of conversations in which the Emperor Huangti asks his minis­ter Ch’i Pai for the causes and treatment of diseases. It is clear from these writings that the practice of acupuncture was already well established as part of a complete system of medicine that included herbalism, massage, diet and exercises, and that medicine was bound up with a complete philosophy of living. An ancient Chinese doctor would have been astonished at our habit of special­isation. In Eastern philosophy mind, body and soul form one unit, and Man is an integral part of the whole Universe, with its cycles of seasons, its ebb and flow of energies.

‘Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the tao — an almost untranslatable term, meaning approximately ‘the path’, or ‘the way of life’. A man who lives in harmony with the tao, according to the laws of nature (and according to what is, rather than what should be), is a healthy man. Flouting natural laws leads to disharmony, imbalance and disease.


King of Diamonds

Posted by Edward McDermott in Life - (Comments Off)

…gifts all women would love to be given…

Cool Diamonds. Beautiful betrothed with a sparkler from cooldiamonds. More for your money and enormous variation when you buy on-line. In-house designers will interpret your ideas. Extensive range of designer earrings, rings and body jewellery. Ten day money back guarantee. £90 to £500,000.

Cool Diamonds

Niessing offers exquisitely crafted jewellery that is contemporary in style, yet timelessly elegant, from the regal splendour of the King and Queen rings to the distinctive grace of the Niessing Ring®. The Niessing store is situated at 25 St. Christopher’s Place, London W1, where you will find a wide range of stylish designs to suit the most discerning tastes.

David Solomon’s Ltd are of the only wholesalers that deal direct with the public thereby saving the customer at least 50% from the retail. They are one of the leading diamond dealers in the U.K and Gnet manufacture all their jewellery to the highest quality. Mr Solomon says he will buy back anything he sells with a full refund if the customer is dissatisfied or needing to change it for something else.


Diamonds are trumps for Valentines! A HOT TIP – go to Electrum Gallery, 21 South Molton Street London W1K 5QZ and choose from a brilliant collection by over 80 inspired artists/Jewellers from all over the world.

Fascination. You’ll be simply fascinated by the Southeast’s newest exclusive lingerie boutique. Offering only the finest quality lingerie, with collections that will take your breath away!

Posh ‘n’ Ginger have a sparkling array of necklaces, earrings and brooches ready to give to your special valentine. Why not add some glitz to your Valentines Day: give Posh ‘n’ Ginger! Available nationwide.


Stunning collection of original necklaces each handmade, using beautiful semi-precious stones: Amethyst, Peridot, Aquamarine, Citrine, Freshwater pearl, with 18ct gold trimmings and clasps (as seen in picture) from £1000.

Perfect Pike For the perfect gift and touch of luxury. Exquisite designer scarves in luxurious silk and angora are available exclusively from Perfect Pike. This fine collection of specially commissioned designs are produced in a traditional mill in the Scottish Borders.

Scottish Borders

Perfect for Valentine’s day, a 18ct gold and diamond pave heart ring, £890; a pair of delicate interlooking white and yellow gold and diamond eternity rings, £490 each; one pave wavy diamond ring £690, and a matching yellow sapphire pave ring: £425. These and much more from Hofmannsthal Masson. If money is an issue, check out the pay day loans online.

Dishya’s cheeky cushions make an ideal Valentine’s gift and Yasmin’s hand embroidery is sure to win anyone’s heart!