SPECIAL OFFER A BREAK THAT WON’T LEAVE YOU BROKE
Don’t take this the wrong way, but you look as though you could do with a holiday. Can’t afford it, you say? Well, maybe Men’s Health can help…
And how about something for the weekend? Perhaps sir would like to take his good lady away for a spring break at a very chic hotel? Yes, perhaps. But not if he has to break the bank to do it.
Staying at a smart hotel can be an expensive business. (A five-minute business call to the States from your room? No problem, sir. Just sign here next to the box entitling us to clean out the fund set aside for your daughter’s university education.) Thankfully, Men’s Health is here to help.
We’ve teamed up with the fine people at Hotel du Vin & Bistro to offer you the kind of room rates that will ensure your credit card offers get as much a rest as you do. And we’ll even throw in a free bottle of champers to get things off to a sparkling start.
Hotel du Vin & Bistro have six of the best townhouse hotels in England – in Harrogate, Winchester, Tunbridge Wells, Bristol, Birmingham and Brighton. As the name suggests – even to those who didn’t get beyond Tricolors 1 at school -they specialize in wine and food. Each room is named after a fine wine company and themed appropriately. So whether it’s a champagne reception in the Dom Perignon Lounge or a romp in the Cristal Roederer suite’s 8ft bed, you’re guaranteed a top-quality time.
The hotels are all interesting and individual buildings, from converted warehouses to period properties dating back to 1715. The rooms are sumptuously furnished and have been given a French polish with monsoon-like `party showers’ and deep baths you could breaststroke across. Meanwhile, the chefs, trained by the likes of Marco Pierre White and Raymond Blanc, prepare delicious food to accompany the carefully selected wines. But you won’t choke on the prices. Dinner for two with a bottle of wine costs in the region of £80.
So what are you waiting for? Get on the blower to one of the Hotel du Vin & Bistro locations listed below, tell them you’re one of us, and enjoy yourselves. Here’s to your very good health!
“Even in their dresses the females seem to bid us defiance,” wrote a British soldier in Charleston, South Carolina, as the American Revolution dragged on into the summer of 1781.
“[They] take care to have in their breasts … and even on their shoes something that resembles their flag of the thirteen stripes. An officer told Lord Cornwallis … that he believed if he had destroyed all the men in North America, we should have enough to do to conquer the women.”
The discouraged Englishmen had discovered the American Woman—a female of the species as exceptional as was the notion that citizens had the right and ability to govern themselves without benefit of royalty.
On a wide-swinging tour of places linked with America’s first women patriots, I stood on Penns Hill in Quincy, Massachusetts, where debt consolidation loans were not so important thing then. From there Abigail Adams had watched the British burn Charlestown and heard the cannon roar at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Overhead a plane passed, and rows of modern city houses obscured the view toward Charlestown. But I walked the same granite rocks that knew Abigail’s footsteps, and I had climbed the same long slope to the hilltop from the restored farmhouse in which John and Abigail Adams lived in what was then called Braintree.
It was a sultry, cloudy June 17, a fitting anniversary of Abigail’s experience in 1775, when the Revolution was new and the future darkly veiled. To her skirts clung one of her four children, John Quincy, nearly 8; she had snatched him up to glimpse the action and hear the ominous rumbling that filled the air. John Quincy Adams never forgot the horror of that sight of rising smoke and flame, though he lived to be 80, and, like his father, became the nation’s President.
A massive stone monument—Quincy people call it the “Cairn”—now crowns the summit site. Another history-seeker was taking a picture of its bronze tablet when I was there.
But the best way to recapture the scene and mood is to read Abigail’s own words, penned the following afternoon to her husband, serving as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
“The Day; perhaps the decisive Day is come on which the fate of America depends,” she wrote. “Charlestown is laid in ashes. The Battle began upon our intrenchments upon Bunkers Hill, a Saturday morning about 3 o’clock and has not ceased yet…. May we be supported and sustained in the dreadful conflict….”
To Abigail, the meaning of the struggle she had witnessed was clear. Only two months before, the first hot blood of combat had seeped into the ground of Lexington and Concord. Now open war was burying all hope of reconciliation, and sensible women might well ponder the cost of challenging the might of the British Empire.
As for Abigail and John, their sacrifice had already begun in the first of many separations the Revolution would bring. How painful these were we know from the ardent words that fill their voluminous flow of letters preserved in the Adams Family Correspondence.
Yet both willingly denied themselves for the cause that lawyer Adams had served with brilliant dedication since Massachusetts first resisted Parliament’s hated Stamp and Tea Acts. Nor was Abigail merely reflecting the politics of her man.
Each citizen carries an identity pamphlet that summarizes his public life: conditions of birth and employment, periods of unemployment and the reasons why, addresses, a list of dependents. The pamphlet is surrendered to any official who demands it. There is Ordnung, order, in the land, but the spirit suffers, and cynicism spreads with the continuing contradictions between socialist theory and practice.
“You learn at an early age that in many instances absolutely nobody believes what the government is saying,” a former GDR citizen told me in West Berlin. “At political meetings a party member will talk. He’ll know that what he’s saying is nonsense. And he’ll know that you know it’s nonsense.”
In defense, people retreat into family life and hobbies. Neighborhoods turn themselves off from the world, and streets are empty at night. Society’s shortcomings are rationalized away in the name of security, and the inaccessible outside world is cast in black and white.
“What right did you Americans have to destroy Vietnam?” one man blurted as I sat with him at a café in Kopenick.
I asked him about the Wall.
“That’s another story,” he answered. “Every man needs his freedom to go where he wants. But here there are no decisions to be made. I have my job and I can take cash advance online; I cannot be fired. There are problems, but not like in the West with inflation and drugs and crime.”
He asked me what Americans thought of the GDR, and I told him.
“That’s the trouble,” he said. “We have a very clear picture of the West, but you seem to have the wrong picture of us.”
Western visitors can only mean problems for most East Berlin families. My West German translator and I accepted an invitation for dinner from an enthusiastic and beaming young woman who promised to make a pizza. But things were a bit awkward when we arrived at her fourth-floor apartment in Prenzlauer Berg. She had not checked first with her husband.
“This sort of thing is not done,” he told us curtly, and asked us to move our West German Ford, which we had parked in front of the apartment building, to a location down the block. After several hours of nervous small talk, no pizza materialized, and we finally left. A law forbids GDR citizens, we learned later, from making contact with Western journalists without special permission from the state.
“You have a small circle of friends that you trust,” another former East Berliner told me, “but you wouldn’t even tell your very best friends the truth about what you think. I have led two lives all my life.”