Alhambra Palace in Granada


“And yet I am not alone to be wondered at, for I overlook in astonishment a garden, the like of which no human eyes ever saw.”

It would be difficult to find a more appropriate introduction to a visit to the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, than those eloquent words of an Arabian poet of the thirteenth century in honour of a building which appears to have been the glory of his age, as the Crystal Palace may become of our own.

Courtyard –  Alhambra Palace

Like the Moorish palace, it contains many wonders which require but the attentive examination of minds willing to “estimate them,” in order that the benefits of many “commentaries may be reaped.” All those who have been engaged in perfecting this glorious enterprise have daily learned more than they could attempt to teach.

History of the Alhambra Palace

At the Great Exhibition of 1851, of which this is the worthy offspring, it was the especial honour of this country to collect together, for the instruction of the present age, and the benefit and progress of the future, a treasury of knowledge from which each, in his own sphere—the mechanic, the manufacturer, the merchant, the philosopher, and the artist—had much to acquire, much to receive in exchange for the little he was himself able to contribute. Under one roof were gathered collections which the life of one man would have been insufficient to discover and to visit.

The Alhambra Palace at night

Of the many advantages which resulted from this gathering, the greatest was that which taught us wherein we are deficient; and it is now freely acknowledged that the Great Exhibition showed us to be far behind other nations in the Practice of the Arts.

When the Exhibition building disappeared from the long cherished spot, the Government like an unnatural parent abandoning it to the more considerate stranger, it fortunately fell into the hands of men animated by the most noble desire of rendering it subservient to the education of all classes, “whilst providing also for their innocent recreation. The defects, which the Exhibition of 1851 proved to exist, may be remedied through the resources provided by the Exhibition of 1854.

When the British public shall have had time to study and profit by the marvellous art-collections here gathered under one roof, with the history of the civilisation of the world before them, with an opportunity of examining side by side portions of buildings of every age, they will more fully recognise the good and the evil which pervade each form of art; they will more readily be convinced of the folly of attempting to adapt to new wants styles of architecture which have ever been the expression of the wants, faculties, and sentiments of the age in which they were produced, instead of seeking in every style for those general principles which survive from generation to generation to become stepping-stones for future progress. They will more clearly discern the absolute necessity of rejecting that which is local or temporary, holding fast only to that which is eternal. They will anxiously look around them for an art more in harmony with the wants, sentiments, and faculties of their own time.

The architecture of Alhambra Palace

The several styles of architecture have uniformly been the result of the religion, habits, and modes of thought of the nations which produced them, and may be said to be the material expression of their wants, faculties, and sentiments, under the influence of climate and of materials at command. They have each undergone a process of gradual decline in proportion to the changes which each nation has been subjected to in the course of ages.

As in the colours of nature we have the primary colours, and the secondary and tertiary colours of every variety of tone and shade arising from the admixture of their primaries, so in architecture we shall find several well marked primary styles, which become more or less broken in hue or removed from the primary source as the local influences affected them, or as successive changes took place in the institutions of the countries which gave them birth.

Artwork on the wall of the Alhambra Palace

Thus in Egypt, under the Pharaohs, we have a well marked primary style, which by admixture with Greek elements became secondary under the Ptolemies, and tertiary and still further reduced under the Romans.

We find in Greece another well marked primary style, which, transplanted to Rome, even with the additional elements added by the Romans, never reached beyond a secondary, but withered and died; transplanted to Byzantium, from its ashes sprang on the one hand, by slow progression, Gothic architecture, and on the other the Arabian, each in its turn to give birth to its secondaries and tertiaries.

Thus we have the Gothic of France, of Germany, of Italy, of Spain, of England, each bearing relation to a primary, but modified in hue to a secondary by the surrounding local influences.

Arabian art had equally its several phases in Egypt, in Turkey, in Spain, in India.

The revived classical style had in Italy its local developments, in Venice, in Lombardy, in Florence, Bologna, and Rome, as it had also in Spain, in France, and England.

Each of these styles, whether primary, secondary, or tertiary, was constantly in a state of progression—was never stationary for a day; every building of importance, which required time for its construction, exhibits in its complete state the various phases -which art underwent during its progress. This is aa true of the temples of the Pharaohs as of the Gothic cathedrals, the Parthenon, and the Alhambra.

Each primary style arose with the civilization which created it, and was more especially the result of its religious institutions.

Religion was the teacher, the priest, the artist. The splendid works of Egypt show how wonderfully architecture is there the expression of a symbolical mythology. Vast, stupendous, mighty as the system on which it was founded. The most simple ornaments which decorate every corner of these magnificent structures, and which to a careless observer would appear only placed there to please the eye, are found on a more attentive examination to contain historical facts, dates, or religious injunctions to the faithful. The walls are covered internally and externally with bassi-relievi richly coloured, relating to the supposed genealogy and history of their divinities, or representing their religious ceremonies, their offerings and instruments of worship.

Concepts of a Limited Company

What is a limited company?

A limited company is an artificially created legal person. It is an entity that is legally separate from all other persons, including those who own and manage it. It is quite possible for a limited company to take legal action, say for breach of contract, against any other legal persons, including those who own and manage it. Actions between limited companies and their owners or managers do occur from time to time. Obviously, an artificial person can only function through the intervention of human beings. Those who ultimately control the company are the owners who each hold one or more shares in the ownership or equity of it.

Limited liability

One of the results of the peculiar position of the company having its own separate legal identity is that the financial liability of the owners (shareholders) is limited to the amount that they have paid (or have pledged to pay) for their shares. If the company becomes insolvent (financial obligations exceed value of assets), its liability is, like that of any human legal person, limited only by the amount of its assets. It can be forced to pay over all of its assets to try to meet its liabilities, but no more. Since the company and the owners are legally separate, owners cannot be compelled to introduce further finance. A well-known example of the effect of limited liability occurred in 2002 with the collapse of ITV Digital plc. This company was established as a joint venture by Carlton and Granada, two media businesses. ITV Digital failed as a result of the reluctance on the part of the public to subscribe for its broadcasts. When this happened, its shareholders, Carlton and Granada, were able to ignore the claims of those owed money by ITV Digital, principally the English Nationwide Football League clubs (members of the three divisions below the Premiership) with whom ITV Digital had a contract. This was because of the separate entity status of ITV Digital. The position of a shareholder in this regard does not depend upon whether the shares were acquired by taking up an issue from the company or as a result of buying the shares from an existing shareholder.


As a separate legal entity, the company does not depend on the identity of its shareholders for its existence. Transfer of shares by buying and selling or by gift is therefore possible. Thus a part, even all, of the company’s ownership or equity can change hands without it necessarily having any effect on the business activity of the company. As we have seen, many companies arrange for their shares to be ‘listed’ on a recognised stock market (like the LSE or Wall Street). Listing means that the stock market concerned is willing to act as a marketplace for members of the investing public to buy or sell shares in the company concerned. Listing is beneficial to the company because it will find it easier to attract potential shareholders where they are confident that there is a market where they can dispose of their shares, as and when they wish.

Since it can continue irrespective of precisely who the shareholders happen to be at any given moment, the company can in theory have a perpetual lifespan, unlike its human counterparts.

Formation of a limited company

Creating a new company is a very simple operation, which can be carried out cheaply (costing about £100) and with little effort on the part of those wishing to form the company (the promoters). Formation basically requires the promoters to make an application to a UK government official, the Registrar of Companies (Department of Trade and Industry). The application must be accompanied by several documents, the most important of which is a proposed set of rules or constitution for the company defining how it will be administered. These rules are contained in two documents known as the Memorandum of Association and the Articles of Association. All of the documentation becomes public once the company has been formally registered. A file is opened at Companies House in Cardiff, on which are placed the various documents; the file is constantly available for examination by any member of the public who wishes to see it.

Recognition of companies

Limited companies are required to use the words ‘Limited’ (Ltd) or ‘Public Limited Company’ (plc) after their name in all formal documentation to warn those dealing with the company that its members’ liability is limited. ‘Limited’ is used by private limited companies. These are basically the smaller, family-type companies, which have certain rights on the restriction of transfer of their shares. This is to say that holders of the majority of the shares in a private limited company have the power to stop minority shareholders from disposing of their shares in the company, should the majority choose to exercise that power. Public companies are typically the larger companies with more widespread share ownership.

Shareholders and directors

The shareholders (or members, as they are often known) are the owners of the company. Company profits and gains accrue to the shareholders, and losses are borne by them up to a maximum of the amount of their investment in the company. The shareholders, at any particular time, need not be the original shareholders, that is, those who first owned the shares. Transfers by sale or gift (including legacy on death) lead to shares changing hands. For a variety of sound practical reasons, the shareholders delegate the day-to-day management of the company to the directors. The directors may or may not themselves own some shares in the company. Shareholders elect directors in much the same way as citizens elect Members of Parliament in a parliamentary democracy. They also fail to re-elect them if the directors’ performance is judged by shareholders to be unsatisfactory. Usually, one-third of the directors retire from office each year, frequently offering themselves for re-election. Typically, each shareholder has one vote for each share owned.

Recycling of Trash Tire

Growing Number of Trash Tire

It has been estimated there are more than three billion (3,000,000,000) trashed cheap mud tires in the United States. And every year we throw away more than two hundred fifty million more (250,000,000). They go directly to our landfills, or tire dump mountains—where they sit. For years, maybe even hundreds to thousands of years. This is a huge problem. Tires are a plague of landfills. They don’t disintegrate. They don’t stay buried, they float to the top of the dump. We just can’t get rid of them.

Scrap Tires

More and more people are looking for ways to recycle, and reduce our use, and need, of landfills. Tires are re-treaded, are being used in the manufacture of carpets and rug pads. For years, people have made sandals from them. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), a large corporation, has found a way to mix them with coal to produce a clean burning fuel. All of this is important, but we need to continue to do more. We can use them as building blocks for houses. The properties that make them horrific for landfills actually make them good for housing materials.

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Tire House

The basis of this writing is the tire house—dwellings whose structural basis is steel-belted radial tires. We will talk about revolutionary, self-sustaining tire houses, and about more conventional-looking housing made of tires. We talk to people who live in these homes, who are building them themselves.

Discussion will be done about the environment and the choices we all make that affect the environment. People are also interested about the techniques used when repairing, renovating, or building new homes that do little damage to the environment. Experiments done on these topics were the “tried and true”—based on studies and experiments that help to determine which products do least damage to our environment, via cutting, mining, processing, shipping, installing, and using. They are also those that allow use of readily available materials at reasonable cost.

Tire house

Choices on the theme of the discussions remain choices about design, location, orientation, what kind of rooms and life-style. Choices still remain important, but this writing focuses more on sustainability. These homes use more recycled products, more experimental techniques and systems. They utilize thermal mass. This writing recommends techniques and materials that might not appear to be aesthetically pleasing, but ultimately are. It describes a range of options, which once you buy into the sustainability credo, offer revolutionary methods as well as more conventional ones. But it is still a presentation of choices. About you, and me, our life-styles, our needs, our comforts, and our commitments. These houses can be built anywhere. Tires are a locally available “natural” resource in every community. However, be sure to check local codes and regulations. In many areas, permits for tire houses will still be considered experimental.

The issues

This writing also discusses issues of money and the pragmatics of running a profitable construction company. Anyone can build one environmentally responsible home. But, to make a difference long-term, these techniques must be incorporated into the mainstream. The materials must be readily available at reasonable cost and the techniques must be within the standards of the trade. Otherwise, the total impact on the world will remain small. We hope we can bridge effectively the world of evolutionary design and the demands of a successful 20th century business.

Building a home of tires is one choice. One way to go. And if hundreds, and then millions of people made this same choice, we would make a significant impact on reducing garbage and recycling all kinds of products. The future holds even more choices—and more options for sustainability. We hope this gives you ideas for your own life and your own home.

Make it Environment-friendly

To build truly evolutionary housing you must be informed about the environmental building movement and environmentalism in general—from rain forests to dolphins. Decisions must be made with the big picture in mind. Take mahogany, for example. Many people believe we should not use mahogany at all. But if there were a market for mahogany, we could encourage the peoples of the rain forests to manage, i.e. sustain, mahogany trees/forests rather than eliminate the market, and eventually devalue the trees so they are burned or cut and thrown away. It’s another way to make responsible environmental decisions. And yet, tomorrow, our choices might change. What’s appropriate today may not be tomorrow. Using garbage from landfills, whether it’s tires or asphalt, should not lead us to demand these products if we are able to clear our landfills of them. Our choices are not static—they must also evolve.

Shredded tire chips

In terms of housing, choices can be made that do less damage to the environment short term as well as long term and that deliver comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, reasonably priced homes. Cost is a critical issue in environmentalism. If a system, a technique, or particular material costs significantly more than the norm, a choice must be made. Quality comes into play here, too. If the very best product is less environmentally sound than desired, a choice is made. Balance is sought. For example, Styrofoam is still used as rigid insulation on TREE Homes, even though we are actively pursuing other materials. The cost is reasonable and no “green” products come close in terms of performance. But, our evolutionary perspective lets us do this, knowing we balance the equation with other choices and our belief there will be better, greener, products in the future. We call this pragmatic environmentalism

Le Club Des Cinq, PARIS

Le Club Des Cinq, PARIS

Mention themed restaurants and you’ll probably think of waitresses forced to wear silly costumes while the food takes second – if not third –place to the endless office parties. But the owners of Le Club des Cinq, which is done up like a retro school room (the bookshelves are full of Tintin, Enid Blyton and French kids’ classics), have managed to get the balance just right– with vintage décor, a fun menu offering good-quality food and a cool clientele. Babar the elephant greets you at the door, and the food is just as welcoming, with diner style dishes of burger and fries, substantial salads and the like.

Food and Drink Prices

brevillegreenjuicerMains are around £12 and puds are £6, but weekends are all about the set brunch (£20), which includes fresh juice, a main, a dessert and a hot drink. Pick the hot chocolate, which is served in traditional big bowls just like French school children enjoy at breakfast. We don’t remember school dinner sever being this good, but we’re happy to pretend.

Fresh and Healthy Juicing

This bar also serves fresh juices which are blended from some of the freshest fruit money can buy. So for all you health freaks I would heartily recommend you start your day off with a trip to the juice bar and sample one of their special blended raw juices and reap the benefits of  wholesome vegetables and fruit that are blended while you wait. Beware you may leave feeling re-energized and full of vitality!!!

My favourite raw blended cocktail consisted of celery, ginger, protein powder, apple and a touch of cinnamon. The bar man who made it was using a Breville Juicer for the record


57 rue des Batignolles, +33 1 53 04 94 73, leclubdes

Michelle Mone Lingerie Business Star

“Being in business is like being on a roller coaster, except 100 times faster,” says Glasgow-based entrepreneur Michelle Mone, 41, herself talking at speed. “The secret is holding on as tight as you can and never letting go.”It’s good advice – if the lingerie tycoon’s success is anything to go by.

Voted Britain’s most powerful woman in business by Glamour magazine, and awarded an OBE last year, Mone has built her company, MJM International, into a global retail player worth £39m. Annual sale stopped £10.2m last year, with profits in the region of £482,000.

As well as her Ultimo brand becoming a leading light in the lingerie and swimwear market, MJM is making a foray into the mid-market beauty arena with All About U,a new range hitting the high street this spring.“I always had big ambitions for Ultimo,” she says. “The new beauty range will include all the products women lust after – luxurious body creams, natural-looking tanning lotions. Most importantly, it will be affordable and accessible to real women.” A perfume will follow soon after.

Not bad for a girl who left school in Glasgow’s tough East End at 15 due to a family illness. Despite having no qualifications, Mone joined brewer Labatt in an admin post, and her fierce ambition saw her running its Scottish operation at just 20.

Made redundant in the last recession, her eureka moment came when she wore an uncomfortable cleavage-enhancing bra to a dinner-dance. The result – the Ultimo bra – was worn by Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich… and the rest is history.

MJM now has eight different lingerie brands, and Mone has taken her message to the masses with more modestly priced supermarket and high street ranges.

Adore Moi is exclusive to Debenhams and stocked in 148 stores across the country, and the brand also has retail partnerships with Next and Asda. The company’s line for Tesco, previously called Diamond Boutique and now known as Bra Queen, is worth an estimated £60m alone. With price points starting at just £7, it shows quality needn’t always cost the earth, and it’s hardly surprising to learn the company had a particularly prosperous pre-Christmas period, with December 2011 sales up 34 percent on the previous year.

Despite these impressive stats, Mone keeps her feet on the ground at her East Kilbride HQ on the outskirts of Glasgow. “I know what it’s like at the hard end,” she says. “I’ve always been willing to take risks and I’ve put my house up as collateral to the bank several times. Although I’ve passed all that now and have a solid business, I never get too above myself. In fact, I’m always thinking of the next move in order to stay ahead of the competition and strengthen the brand in the toughening economic climate.”