Why Beauty Is Not About the Makeup, But Accepting Yourself….

People can’t discover themselves anymore. Perhaps because we live in a world crazed by physical attraction or because the media has swallowed up our self esteem in whom and what it glorifies. Billions of dollars are spent on cosmetics and beauty products that promise you the prefect body. Narcissism seems to exist everywhere. Between those lines, we try to join the crowd or feel left out. Yet the only way we can truly be happy is when we start accepting who we are rather than defining or carving a different image for ourselves. Although makeup beautifies our outer persona, does it build our character and define who we are? Here is where true beauty lies, in accepting ourselves for how lovely we are.

1. There is nothing wrong with us.

“What other people think of me is none of my business.”

—Wayne Dyer

Truthfully we shouldn’t live our lives according to the wrong perception of others. There is nothing wrong with us. Even if we are suffering an ailment or have a physical deformity, our body is not who we are but only a physical representation of elements of our soul. Trying to look through lenses of purity at what value exists within us makes us love ourselves more and ignore others’ opinions. Who you are moreover is who are meant to be rather than what others see you to be, and the more you understand this, the more you realize that nothing is wrong with you.

2. Accepting yourself means others will learn to accept you

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

—Kurt Cobain

By accepting yourself, you overcome issues regarding self esteem and become unstoppable in making others love you for who you are. By being positive about who you are, you suddenly become a magnetic force and define how others treat you for who you genuinely are.

3. You face the world boldly.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

—Lucille Ball

Somehow nature favors the bold, rather than those who hide their inferiority with grooming or make-up. By facing your weakness with your strength, you find the inner energy to build on who you are and attain your goals. The world accepts your courage and gives you the opportunity you need to grow.

4. You learn who your real friends are.

No one wants to look good for a few friends who are more concerned about your outer appearance rather than who you really are from within. By accepting yourself you learn to filter those who are meant to be with you for the whole nine yards rather than some friends who are more akin with your physical looks.

5. You become more beautiful on the inside.

By accepting yourself for who you are, you can act on who you are on the inside. With all respect to the well groomed people and made-up faces out there, accepting yourself will only give you more time to nourish your inner beauty and become a better person. You can thus focus on priorities and actions that are devoid of feelings like hatred and jealousy and being true and good to yourself.

6. You can face life’s changes.

Whether we want it or not, we won’t remain young and static. We would grow older and have older faces. By accepting yourself you are able to prepare your mindset for whatever changes on your outer world that will come rather than be stunned or petrified by them.

7. You are happier.

Inner beauty defines true happiness. What else do you need to offer you a smile daily except a positive spirit, a good heart and an acceptance of who you are? Self contentment has never betrayed its owners, from Mother Theresa to Mahatma Gandhi. And it won’t betray you also.

10 Reasons Why People Who Care Less About What Others Think Are More Likely to Be Successful….

It is easy to listen others’ opinions and try to tailor our lives to match their standards of us. Yet many have lost their purpose and making their dreams a reality because they thought they were not good enough for those whom they listened to. In history these persons are forgotten, but the truly valiant and successful person is not concerned about what others say about him/her. Rather, they have a passionate interest in meeting with their goals. Take for example Winston Churchill, who was estranged from his political party between 1929 and 1939 because of his ideological differences. He understood what he stood for, and rather than succumb to what others said or thought about him, he stayed resolute. Later he did become the British Prime Minister and steered Britain out of World War II and victory against the German Army.

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”

—Oscar Wilde

1. They have a firm resolve to reach their destination.

Reaching their destination is more important than any current setback they may face. They understand that success takes grit, perseverance and patience. And that comes against obstacles, challenges and being self-motivated rather than riding on the tides of others’ opinions.

2. They know people’s opinions are in a flux.

We all are in a constant state of flux. According to philosophers and theorists, we are constantly changing. What successful people know is that if people’s wrong opinions are thwarted with their success, such opinion and thoughts change.

3. They are the ones with the goals.

The successful are responsible for their actions—this they know. If things go wrong in their lives, they bear the brunt and not every other person. Thus they take charge and make sure that they attain their dreams and desires against what others think of them. Even when Thomas Edison was told he was too stupid to learn anything he still went ahead to hold on to 1,000 patents. It was his responsibility to be successful and not his teachers.

4. They understand that life is too short.

They appreciate the very essence of their being and why it is necessary to make every second of their existence count. Dilly-dallying or being consumed with other people’s opinion becomes a distraction, and so they focus on what should be done.

5. They know what is best for them.

What applies to another person may not apply to you. Successful people do not ride through the sea on another person’s ship but on their own, because they know that only the vessel they are familiar with can take them to the coast of their dreams.

6. They are consistent.

They understand that success takes consistency. To be successful means staying on a track for success rather than going through several routes. People’s opinions could affect this consistency and this they ignore.

7. They know they cannot please everybody.

This is a hard truth. Not everyone will see the world the same way you see it. Living according to another’s expectation of you will only get you burned out and frustrated. Thus, they try to please themselves only.

8. They can deal with the complications of life

Many use their opinions or disapproval to get out of their complicated lives. By speaking against you they find a source to involve you in their complex lives. But successful can deal with the complicated approach life has presented to them by paying less attention to all the distractions before them.

9. They seek freedom.

Successful people are not prisoners. Imagine what must have been said of Walt Disney after being fired by his newspaper editors for “lacking imagination.” Even when his businesses failed before finally premiering “Snow White” he continued to seek freedom. According to Lao Tzu, “caring about what others think will only make you their prisoner.”

10. They don’t need anyone’s approval.

Whatever successful people do shouldn’t be validated by others because it really doesn’t matter. Success is success and it speaks for itself. People can think whatever they want but the responsibility of attaining success will always be your business, and you do not need anyone’s approval to go after your dreams.

8 Reasons Why People Who Spend Money On Experiences Are Happier….

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”

—Paulo Coelho

There are a multitude of things you can spend money on nowadays. You live in a society that is obsessed with consumption. Houses, cars, technology, etc. are all items you are pressured into purchasing. You can’t go anywhere, including on your personal laptops, without encountering advertisements for the latest fad or technological advancement.

Why do companies and corporations push their wares on you, the consumer? What is the purpose? How do they bait their hooks so well, reel you in, and catch your attention and willingness to purchase their products?
They offer you happiness when you consume their products. While buying a new house, car, iPhone, or hamburger and soft drink from a fast food restaurant might satisfy you momentarily, it will not last. Experiences on the other hand, live on forever. If you spend money on experiences, as opposed to material or quantifiable items, you are going to experience much more joy and contentment in your life.

1. Experiences can’t be quantified.

I already delved into this but the importance of this point can’t be overstated. Experiences are priceless while material items always have an expiration date. The house and car you buy are wonderful purchases but over time the satisfaction you receive from them is most likely going to diminish. The initial buyer’s high you get is not going to last forever.

Contrastingly, experiences will never lose their luster. Sure you spent $100 on the Mumford and Sons concert tickets, but that is an experience you will never forget. You can always go back to that moment and conjure up pleasant feelings. Perhaps you will never forget a night out you had with friends-dinner, movies, and dancing. You will never forget when you went to the Super Bowl or backpacked through Europe or Southeast Asia. These are life experiences that will never be replaced no matter how many cars or gadgets you buy.

Continue to purchase the things you need in life. You need a place to live and a car to drive. You need certain amounts of technology. Before you acquire your next material item ask yourself if there is an experience you could be spending your money on instead.

2. Experiences help define your purpose and passions.

Failure to spend money on experiences means failure to discover your purpose and passions. Your purpose and your passions should serve as your compass through life. They should guide you and influence your daily activities.

Your experiences don’t need to be expensive or grandiose, and neither do your purposes and passions. However, you should align experiences in your life that are in tune with them. If you enjoy sports, for example, and perhaps you believe your purpose in life is sports-centric, then it makes sense for you to spend money on attending sporting events. Learn as much you can about the sports industry if you are certain it is your calling. This goes for any other passion you have in life.

Don’t miss out on opportunities to pursue your purpose and passion. These are the experiences that matter to you, and ultimately they will help shape your life. Take advantage of them because they are always great investments!

3. Experiences introduce you to different worldly perspectives.

Perhaps there is no better way to learn about worldly perspectives than traveling. Traveling is undeniably one of the greatest ways to experience various cultures and social norms. It is an education that you will never experience in a classroom no matter how many places you study. And you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to witness the benefits of travel. Simply taking a road trip for a weekend offers you a new and fresh experience.

You don’t have to travel to appreciate a new worldly outlook. Spending time in nature can be extremely meditative and healing. Some of my fondest experiential memories are those times I was in nature, absorbing all its beauty and wonder. Experiences like this won’t cost you a dime, but they have the opportunity of being life-changing.

4. Experiences teach you life lessons.

Experiences are worth investing in because they teach you life lessons that you won’t acquire anywhere else. Traveling to new places teaches patience, acceptance, understanding, as well as organizational skills. Purchase tickets to the symphony, theater, opera, or musicals to expose your senses to the performing arts. Spend time at museums and exhibitions to uncover information from past historical time periods. Observe the sacrifice and commitment it takes to be an athlete by attending sporting events.

You are a member of a species that thirsts for experiences that are meaningful and significant. Experiences do more than just merely endow you with facts and figures. They transform your life. They teach you how to be humble, virtuous, and compassionate. These lessons might be subtle at first, but they are a big reason why you spend your money on experiences.

5. Experiences help you express gratitude.

Experiences, which you find worthwhile and meaningful, are prime opportunities for you to express gratitude. If you fill up your life with experiences imagine how grateful you are going to be for your existence. Practicing gratitude for major life-altering experiences allows you to feel grateful for the seemingly minute and mundane ones. Perhaps you will experience a paradigm shift, where all experiences are ones to cherish.

Living gratefully is the best way for you to live happily. Inundate your life with grateful experiences, and notice how better you feel about life. It is not a coincidence. There is a reason you feel euphoric and alive when you attend concerts or go to the movies. You are grateful for these experiences because they are worth the price of admission.

6. Experiences are unforgettable and joyful memories.

For many people the optimal reason for investing in experiences is that they unforgettable and joyous occasions. These memories can be especially useful if you are going through a rough time. It is never ideal to disassociate yourself completely from the present, but having pleasant and fond memories to reminisce on can be quite therapeutic. Perhaps they will serve as a reminder that things aren’t as terrible as they seem.

Happiness is correlated with your ability to relish your moment to moment experiences. Why not make these experiences ones that are beyond minute and mundane? Invest in experiences that you will treasure, not only in the present moment, but for the rest of your life.

7. Experiences are exciting and challenging.

Your experiences will inspire you, and at times, call you to take action. If they didn’t then you probably wouldn’t invest too much time or energy into them. Climbing Mount Everest is an experience you probably would never forget because of the daunting task you are forced to overcome. The mental and physical challenge of ascending the slope is both inspiring to yourself and others, and challenging at the same time. Accepting the challenge of learning a new instrument or language offers a mental challenge that is gratifying for anyone who sticks with it.

Being inspired and overcoming adverse situations are keys to your genuine contentment with life. Whether or not you believe it you need to be motivated to an appropriate degree in order to reach your full potential.

Experiences offer you this platform to reach your maximum limits.

8. Experiences are meaningful for you or you wouldn’t be spending money on them.

In today’s economic climate you probably are looking for ways to cutback spending, rather than increase it. With that being said, you aren’t going to waste money on new experiences that aren’t meaningful to you.
This makes it utterly necessary to get the most bank for your buck from these experiences. Don’t aimlessly throw money away at any opportunity that comes your way; rather, research and decide what experiences are right for you. What experiences are important to your well-being? In most cases you will know immediately, and the money you invest in them will be money well spent.

Go ahead and fill your life up with experiences. Many of them will cost you nothing. Some of them will be reasonably priced, and maybe some will be expensive from a financial standpoint, but rich with rewarding memories and life lessons. Always link these experiences with your passions and purpose if you desire complete satisfaction. You can always spend your money on more “stuff” with a limited authenticity of happiness or you can invest in purposeful experiences that will contribute to a substantive feeling of joy.

London Stansted Airport….

London Stansted Airport (IATA: STNICAO: EGSS) is an international airport located at Stansted Mountfitchet in the local government district of Uttlesford in Essex, 48 km (30 mi) northeast of Central London and 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from the Hertfordshireborder.

Stansted is a base for a number of major European low-cost carriers, being the largest base for low-cost airline Ryanair with over 100 destinations served by the airline. In 2014 it was the fourth busiest airport in the United Kingdom after Heathrow, Gatwick andManchester. Stansted’s runway is also used by private companies such as the Harrods Aviation terminal which is opposite the main terminal building and handles private jets and some state visits.

The airport is owned and operated by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which also owns and operates three other UK airports. MAG agreed to buy the airport from Heathrow Airport Holdings, formerly BAA, on 18 January 2013,[3] and the sale was completed for £1.5 billion on 28 February 2013.[4] BAA had been required to sell the airport following a ruling originally made by the Competition Commission in March 2009.

London Stansted Airport.JPG


London Gatwick Airport…

Gatwick Airport[nb 1] (IATA: LGWICAO: EGKK) is 2.7 nautical miles (5.0 km; 3.1 mi) north of the centre of Crawley,[1] West Sussex, and 29.5 miles (47.5 km) south of Central London.[4] Also known as London Gatwick,[1] it is London’s second-largest international airport and the second-busiest (by total passenger traffic) in the United Kingdom (after Heathrow).[5] Gatwick is Europe’s leading airport for point-to-point flights[nb 2][6] and has the world’s busiest single-use runway, with a maximum of 55 aircraft movements per hour.[7] Its two terminals (North and South) cover an area of 98,000 m2 (1,050,000 sq ft) and 160,000 m2 (1,700,000 sq ft), respectively.[8] In 2014, 38.1 million passengers passed through the airport, a 7.5 per cent increase compared with 2013.[2]

From 1978 to 2008, many flights to and from the United States used Gatwick because of restrictions on the use of Heathrow implemented in the Bermuda II agreement between the UK and the US.[9] US Airways, Gatwick’s last remaining US carrier, ended service from Gatwick on 30 March 2013.[10] This leaves Gatwick without a scheduled US airline for the first time in over 35 years.[11]The airport is a base for scheduled airlines Aer Lingus, British Airways (BA), EasyJet, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle andVirgin Atlantic and charter operators such as Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways. Gatwick is unique amongst London’s airports in its representation of the three main airline business models: full service, low-no frills and charter.[12] During Gatwick’s 2011–12 financial year,[nb 3] these accounted for 33 percent, 55 percent and 11 percent of total passenger traffic respectively.[13]

BAA Limited and its predecessors, BAA plc and the British Airports Authority, owned and operated Gatwick from 1 April 1966 to 2 December 2009.[14][15] On 17 September 2008, BAA announced it would sell Gatwick after the Competition Commission published a report about BAA’s market dominance in London and the South East. On 21 October 2009 it was announced that an agreement had been reached to sell Gatwick to a consortium led by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), who also have a controlling interest inLondon City and Edinburgh[nb 4] airports, for £1.51 billion. The sale was completed on 3 December.[16]

Gatwick Airport, 10 Sept. 2008 - Phillip Capper.jpg

Blue-and-grey terminal building and parking lot

London Heatrow Airport…

London Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHRICAO: EGLL) is a major international airport in West London, England, United Kingdom. Heathrow is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic. Heathrow is also thethird busiest airport in the world by total passenger traffic. In 2014, it handled a record 73.4 million passengers, a 1.4 percent increase from 2013.[4]

Heathrow lies 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) west[2] of Central London, and has two parallel east–west runways along with fiveterminals on a site that covers 12.14 square kilometres (4.69 sq mi). The airport is owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings, which itself is owned by FGP TopCo Limited, an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group that includesCaisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.[5] Heathrow is the primary hub forBritish Airways and the primary operating base for Virgin Atlantic.

In September 2012, the British Government established the Airports Commission, an independent commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies to look at various options for increasing capacity at UK airports. The commission shortlisted two options for expanding Heathrow in its interim report in 2013, along with a third option for expanding Gatwick Airport.[6] The final report, recommending which of the three options should go ahead, is due in mid-2015.[7]….


A Qantas Boeing 747-400 on approach to London Heathrow 27L runway.[8]

Heathrow is 14 mi (23 km) west of central London,[2] near the south end of the London Borough of Hillingdon on a parcel of land that is designated part of the Metropolitan Green Belt. The airport is surrounded by the built-up areas of Harlington, Harmondsworth, Longfordand Cranford to the north and by Hounslow and Hatton to the east. To the south lie Bedfont and Stanwell while to the west Heathrow is separated from Colnbrook in Berkshire by the M25 motorway. Heathrow falls entirely under the Hounslow post town of the TW postcode area.

As the airport is west of London and as its runways run east–west, an airliner’s landing approach is usually directly over the conurbation of London when the wind is from the west.

Along with Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Southend and London City, Heathrow is one of six airports with scheduled services serving the London area, although only Heathrow and London City are within Greater London.

Heathrow T5.jpg

General Road Rules Rules and traffic signs in the UK….

Every country has their own rules on the road, written or unwritten. It is important that you know and understand these rules before you go on the road in the UK.


The following general road rules and tips may help you adjust to driving in the UK:

  • Among the many strange habits of the British is that of driving on the left-hand side of the road. If you’re used to driving on the right it may be helpful to have a reminder (e.g. ‘think left!’) on your car’s dashboard. Take extra care when pulling out of junctions, one-way streets and at roundabouts. Remember to look first to the right when crossing the road and drivers of left-hand cars should make sure that headlights are dipped to the left when driving at night.
  • If you’re unused to driving on the left, you should be prepared for some disorientation, although most people have few problems adjusting to it. Some drivers have a real fear of driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. If this applies to you, the International Drivers Service (020-8570 9190) specialises in teaching foreigners how to survive on British roads. The traffic system, density and speed of traffic are all also completely alien to many foreigners, particularly Americans.
  • All motorists are advised to carry a warning triangle, although it isn’t mandatory. If you have an accident or a breakdown, you should signal this by switching on your hazard warning lights. If you have a warning triangle, it must be placed at the edge of the road, at least 50m behind the car on secondary roads and at least 150m on motorways.
  • There’s no priority to the right (or left) on British roads (unlike, for example, the continental priority to the right). At all crossroads and junctions, there’s either an octagonal stop sign with a solid white line on road or a triangular give way sign (dotted white line on road), where a secondary road meets a major road. ‘Stop’ or ‘give way’ may also be painted on the road surface. You must stop completely at a stop sign (all four wheels must come to rest), before pulling out on to a major road, even if you can see that no traffic is approaching. At a give way sign, you aren’t required to stop, but must give priority to traffic already on the major road.
  • The different types of traffic signs can usually be distinguished by their shape and colour as follows: a) Warning signs are mostly triangular with red borders; b) Signs within circles with a red border are mostly prohibitive; c) Signs within blue circles, but no red border give positive instructions; d) Direction signs are mostly rectangular and are distinguished by their background colour; blue for motorway signs, green for primary routes and white for secondary routes. Local direction signs often have blue borders with a white background. Signs with brown backgrounds are used to direct motorists to tourist attractions. All signs are shown in a booklet entitled Know Your Traffic Signs (see below).
  • On roundabouts (traffic circles), vehicles already on the roundabout (coming from your right) have priority over those entering it. There are many roundabouts in the UK, which, although they’re a bit of a free-for-all, speed up traffic considerably and are usually preferable to traffic lights, particularly outside rush hours (although some busy roundabouts also have traffic lights). Some roundabouts have a filter lane, reserved for traffic turning left. Traffic flows clockwise round round­abouts and not anti-clockwise as in countries where traffic drives on the right. You should signal as you approach the exit you wish to take. In addition to large roundabouts, there are also mini-roundabouts, indicated by a round blue sign. Roundabouts are particularly useful for making a U-turn when you discover that you’re travelling in the wrong direction.
  • On country roads, sharp bends are shown by signs and the severity (tightness) of a bend is indicated by white arrows on a black background (or vice versa); the more arrows, the tighter the bend (so slow down).
  • For all adults (14 years and over) the wearing of front and rear seat belts is compulsory and the driver is responsible for ensuring children under 14 use the correct seat belts or child restraints. Seat belts or restraints must be appropriate for the age and weight of a child which the law puts ito the following categories; Children up to 3 years old and Children aged 3 and above, until they reach EITHER their 12th birthday OR 135cm in height who must use the correct child seat. Children over 1.35m (4ft 5in) in height, or who are 12 or 13 years old can use adult seat belts. Child seats are designed for various weights of child. As a general guide: a) Baby seats are for babies weighing up to 13kgs (birth to 9-12 months) or until they can support their own head. They face backwards and are fitted into the front or rear of the car with a seat belt. They should never be used in the front where the front seat is protected with a frontal airbag. b) Child car seats are for children weighing between 20 to 40lb (9 to 18kg), aged nine months to about four years, and have their own straps. They face forwards and are usually fitted in the back seat of a car with a seat belt. c) Booster seats and booster cushions are for children weighing 33 to 80lb (15 to 36 kg), aged around 4 years and upwards. They are designed to raise them so they can use an adult seat belt safely across both their chest and lower abdomen.
  • Special harnesses and belts are also available for the disabled. All belts, seats, harnesses and restraints must be correctly fitted and adjusted, without which they may be useless. Some child car seats have fatal flaws and many cars have seat belt straps that are too short for rear-facing baby seats. It’s estimated that some two-thirds of child seats are wrongly fitted. The RAC (08705-722 722) has a safety video entitled There’s No Excuse! If all available restraints in a car are in use, children may travel unrestrained (although this is extremely unwise).
  • It’s estimated that seat belts would prevent 75 per cent of the deaths and 90 per cent of the injuries to those involved in accidents. Lap belts fitted in the centre rear seat of many cars are dangerous and should be replaced. In addition to the risk of death or injury, you can be fined £50 for ignoring the seat belt laws. It’s the driver’s responsibility to ensure that passengers are properly fastened. If you’re exempt from wearing a seat belt for medical reasons, a safety belt exemption certificate is required from your doctor. The ultimate protection is supposed to be afforded by airbags, although a number of deaths have been blamed on them in recent years.
  • Don’t drive in lanes reserved for buses and taxis, unless neces­sary to avoid a stationary vehicle or obstruction, and give priority to authorised users. Bus lanes are indicated by road markings and signs indicate the period of operation, which is usually during rush hours only (although some lanes are in use 24 hours a day), and which vehicles are permitted to use them. Bus drivers get irate if you illegally drive in their lane and you can be fined for doing so.
  • Headlights must be used at night on all roads except unrestricted roads with street lamps not more than 185m (200 yards) apart and subject to a speed limit of 30mph. You must use your headlamps or front fog lamps at any time when visibility is generally reduced to less than 100m. It’s legal to drive on parking (side) lights on roads with street lighting (although they do little to help you see or be seen). Headlight flashing has a different meaning in different countries. In some, it means “after you”, while in others it means “get out of my way”. In the UK, headlamp flashing has no legal status apart from warning another driver of your presence, although it’s usually used to give priority to another vehicle, e.g. when a car is waiting to exit from a junction. Hazard warning lights (all indicators operating simultaneously) are used to warn other drivers of an obstruction, e.g. an accident or a traffic jam on a motorway (using them when parking illegally has no legal significance unless you’ve broken down).
  • Front fog or spot lights must be fitted in pairs at a regulation height. Rear fog lamps should be used only when visibility is seriously reduced, i.e. to less than 100m, and shouldn’t be used when it’s just dark or raining. Unfortunately, many British drivers don’t know what fog lamps are for and use them when visibility is good, but don’t use them (or any lights) in fog.
  • The sequence of traffic lights is red, red + amber (yellow), green, amber and back to red. Red + amber is a warning to get ready to go, but you mustn’t start moving until the light changes to green. Amber means stop at the stop line. You may proceed only if the amber light appears after you’ve crossed the stop line or when stopping might cause an accident. A green filter light may be shown in addition to the full lamp signals, which means you may drive in the direction shown by the arrow, irrespective of other lights showing. You may notice that many traffic lights have an uncanny habit of changing to green when you approach them, particularly during off-peak hours. This isn’t magic: around half of the UK’s traffic signals are vehicle-activated, where sensors between 40 and 150m from the lights (depending on the speed limit) are set into the road and change the light to green unless other traffic already has priority. Signals stay at green for a minimum of seven seconds, although it can be as long as one minute.
  • At many traffic lights, cameras are installed to detect motorists driving through red lights (you receive notification around one month later and must prove that you weren’t driving to avoid prosecution). Traffic lights are placed on the left side of the road at junctions and may also be duplicated opposite.
  • Always approach pedestrian crossings with caution and don’t park or overtake another vehicle on the approach to a crossing, marked by a double line of studs or zigzag lines. At pelican (pedestrian) crossings, a flashing amber light follows the red light, to warn you to give way to pedestrians before proceeding. Pedestrians have the legal right of way once they’ve stepped on to a crossing without traffic lights and you must stop. Motorists who don’t stop are liable to heavy penalties. Where a road crosses a public footpath, e.g. when entering or emerging from property or a car park bordering a road, you must give way to pedestrians.
  • The UK lacks a rule of the road which compels slow-moving vehicles (such as tractors or cars towing caravans) to pull over to allow other traffic to overtake. The AA states that a driver towing a caravan who sees more than six vehicles following him, should pull over and let them pass, but it isn’t compulsory. Worse still, timid drivers who never overtake anything unless it’s stationary, bunch up behind slow moving vehicles, thus ensuring that nobody can overtake without having to pass a whole stream of traffic (or forcing a gap).
  • Fines can be exacted for a wide range of motoring offences, although on-the-spot fines aren’t imposed. Convictions for most motoring offences means an ‘endorsement’ of your licence, which results in penalty points being imposed. Serious offences, such as dangerous or drunken driving involving injury or death to others, can result in a prison sentence.
  • Many motorists seem to have an aversion to driving in the left-hand lane on a three-lane motor­way, which in effect reduces the motorway to two lanes. It’s illegal to overtake on an inside lane unless traffic is being channelled in a different direction. Motorists must indicate before overtaking and when moving back into an inside lane after overtaking, e.g. on a dual carriageway or motorway. Learner drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and mopeds aren’t permitted on motorways.
  • White lines mark the separation of traffic lanes. A solid single line or two solid lines means no overtaking in either direction. A solid line to the left of the centre line, i.e. on your side of the road, means that overtaking is prohibited in your direction. You may overtake only when there’s a single broken line in the middle of the road or double lines with a broken line on your side of the road. If you drive a left-hand drive car, take extra care when over­taking (the most dangerous manoeuvre in motoring) and when turning right. It’s wise to have a special overtaking mirror fitted to your car.
  • The edges of motorways and A-roads are often marked with a white line with a ribbed surface, which warns you through tyre sound and vibration when you drive too close to the edge of the road.
  • In the UK, there are three main kinds of automatic railway crossings: automatic half-barrier level crossings, automatic open crossings and open level crossings without gates or barriers. Always approach a railway level crossing slowly and stop: a) As soon as the amber light is on and the audible alarm sounds followed by flashing red warning lights (half-barrier level crossings and automatic open crossings); b)As soon as the barrier or half-barrier starts to fall (if applicable) or the gates start to close; c)In any case when a train approaches. Many automatic and manual crossings have a telephone to contact the signalman in an emergency or to ask for advice or information. In remote areas, open level crossings have no gates, barriers, attendant or traffic lights. Some level crossings have gates, but no attendant or red lights. If there’s a telephone, contact the signalman to check that it’s okay to cross; otherwise, provided a train isn’t coming, open the gates wide and cross as quickly as possible. Close the gates after crossing. Crossings without gates must be approached with extreme caution (including pedestrian railway crossings).
  • Be particularly wary of cyclists, moped riders and motorcyclists. It isn’t always easy to see them, particularly when they’re hidden by your car’s blind spots or when cyclists are riding at night without lights. When overtaking, always
    give them a wide berth. If you knock them off their bikes, you may have a difficult time convincing the police that it wasn’t your fault; far better to avoid them (and the police). Drive slowly near schools and be wary of children getting on or off buses.
  • A ‘GB’ nationality plate (sticker) must be affixed to the rear of a British- registered car when motoring abroad. Drivers of foreign-registered cars in the UK must have the appropriate nationality plate affixed to the rear of their car (not an assortment). Yellow headlights, which in the past were fitted to all vehicles in France, are illegal in the UK (except for visitors) and should be converted.
  • If you need spectacles or contact lenses to read a number plate 79.4mm high at a distance of 20.5m (67ft) in good daylight, then you must always wear them when motoring. It’s advisable to carry a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses in your car.
  • A new law was introduced on 1st December 2003 prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving (or even stationary with the engine running), unless it’s a hands-free phone in a cradle (using headphones and a microphone is legal, provided the phone is in a cradle). Using a phone when driving is one of the most common and hazardous driving habits in the UK and has been calculated to increase the risk of an accident by some 400 per cent (even hands-free phones are considered to be unsafe, as they distract the driver’s attention). New legislation to increase the penalty for using a hand-held phone whilst driving came into force in February 2007. The fine increased to £60 and three penalty points on your licence. Penalty points can mean higher insurance costs. If you get six points within two years of passing your test, your licence will be revoked and you will need to re-sit the test. If the case goes to court, you could risk a maximum fine of £1,000, which rises to £2,500 for the driver of a bus, coach, or heavy goods vehicle
  • A booklet published by the Department for Transport entitled The Highway Code (The Stationery Office) contains advice for all road users, including motorists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. It’s available for 99p from bookshops, British motoring organisations and on the internet (www.highwaycode.gov.uk ) and is essential reading. Although The Highway Code shows many commonly used road signs, a comprehensive explanation is given in a booklet entitled Know Your Traffic Signs, available at most bookshops for £3. A free booklet entitled On the Road in Great Britain (in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish) is published by the Department for Transport and is available from British motoring organisations, travel agents and government offices.

Mounted police….

Mounted police are police who patrol on horseback or camelback. They continue to serve in remote areas and in metropolitan areas where their day-to-day function may be picturesque or ceremonial, but they are also employed in crowd control because of their mobile mass and height advantage and increasingly in the UK for crime prevention and high visibility policing roles. The added height and visibility that the horses give their riders allow officers to observe a wider area, but it also allows people in the wider area to see the officers, which helps deter crime and helps people find officers when they need them.[1] Mounted police may be employed for specialized duties ranging from patrol of parks and wilderness areas, where police cars would be impractical or noisy, to riot duty, where the horse serves to intimidate those whom it is desired to disperse through its larger size, or may be sent in to detain trouble makers or offenders from the crowd. For example, in the UK, mounted police are most often seen at football matches, although they are also a common sight on the streets of many towns and cities as a visible police presence and crime deterrent during the day and night. Some mounted police units are trained in search and rescue due to the horse’s ability to travel where vehicles cannot.

A mounted police officer passes Buckingham Palace, London.

History of the horse in Britain…

The known history of the horse in Britain starts with horse remains found in Pakefield, Suffolk, dating from 700,000 BC, and in Boxgrove, West Sussex, dating from 500,000 BC. Early humans were active hunters of horses, and finds from the Ice Age have been recovered from many sites. At that time, land which now forms the British Isles was part of a peninsula attached to continental Europe by a low-lying area now known as “Doggerland,” and land animals could migrate freely between what is now island Britain and continental Europe. The domestication of horses, and their use to pull vehicles, had begun in Britain by 2500 BC; by the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, British tribes could assemble armies which included thousands of chariots.

Horse improvement as a goal, and horse breeding as an enterprise, date to medieval times; King John imported a hundred Flemish stallions, Edward III imported fifty Spanish stallions, and various priories and abbeys owned stud farms. Laws were passed restricting and prohibiting horse exports and for the culling of horses considered undesirable in type. By the 17th century, specific horse breeds were being recorded as suitable for specific purposes, and new horse-drawn agricultural machinery was being designed. Fast coaches pulled by teams of horses with Thoroughbred blood could make use of improved roads, and coaching inn proprietors owned hundreds of horses to support the trade. Steam power took over the role of horses in agriculture from the mid-19th century, but horses continued to be used in warfare for almost another 100 years, as their speed and agility over rough terrain remained unequalled. Working horses had all but disappeared from Britain by the 1980s, and today horses in Britain are kept almost wholly for recreational purposes.


Why is the Thames River a Brown Colour?

The River Thames is changing its reputation from that ‘dirty old river’

River ThamesFar too often when I write about environmental issues where it seems we are highlighting new causes for concern and the negative impact that we are having on our planet. Whilst I feel obliged to share the stories that spotlight new reports and concerns it’s not often enough that I find some truly good news that I feel like shouting about. Today however is an exception to the rule and goes to show what new standards can accomplish in reviving the habitat for some of our fellow species and our overall environment, even in the heart of a huge city.

I grew up in rural England and was lucky enough to be surrounded by fields and streams that were essentially the picture postcard of the English countryside. My grandparents lived in London and every summer I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks with them to explore the city and all that it had to offer including a very large and dirty river, I guess I caught a bug to return to the town and it’s exactly where I headed when old enough to do so. Through the centre of London flows the River Thames, the ancient base for the city which helped it grow so rapidly through the centuries. Growing up the older generation would tell you about how the big brown river was dead and toxic and how any romance of the visible aspects of the river were lost in the fact that it was so heavily polluted. It really was the colour of mud and unless you were many miles up the river towards Oxford the likelihood of finding much wildlife in or on the water wasn’t terribly high. A new report however by the environment agency in the UK shows that the old river has is changing  rapidly and for the good in recent times.

river-thamesPreviously declared biologically dead the water is now once again incredibly supportive tool wide variety of fish, birds and other wildlife. The agency revealed that river water quality in England shows improved results for the 20th consecutive year as a result of tougher EU (European Union) regulations. In fact throughout the country more than two thirds of all rivers were graded as good or very good under the existing guidelines something that was unimaginable in the 1970s. A full report assessing water quality and wildlife statistics will be published toward the end of 2010, the improvements have been the result of stringent regulations and improvements by water companies, far tougher consequences for polluters and significant changes to industry waste and farming practices in the country.

Much of the lower portion of the river is tidal and record numbers of sea trout have recently been found many miles upstream in waters that previously would have killed them. Paul Leinster from the environment agency added that “Rivers are their cleanest for over a century and the environment agency is working hard to ensure this trend continues”

I wish my grandparents were alive to see the gradual transformation of the “dirty old river” into a cleaner and healthier thoroughfare through the heart of the city but needless to say I’m thrilled to read this report and share it with you.