hospitality awards

Alice of Battenberg, Princess Andrew of Greece


Princess Alice was born the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse at Windsor Castle, which was then the residence of her maternal great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Alice was diagnosed with congenital deafness early in life. But by the time she reached adulthood she was a proficient lip reader and could speak in English, German, and French. 

In 1902 at the coronation of her granduncle Kind Edward VII, Alice met Prince Andrew of Greece. The couple married in 1903 and settled in Greece. They had four daughters in the first twelve years of marriage: Margarita, Theodora, Cecilie, and Sophie. During the Balkan Wars Alice became a nurse and set up field hospitals, and was later awarded the Royal Red Cross. The effects of Greece’s neutrality in WWI caused great unrest and the eventual abdication of the king, forcing Alice and her family into exile. When the Greek monarchy was reinstated in 1920 they returned briefly. Alice gave birth to her fifth child, Philip, on the kitchen table of the family home in Corfu in 1921. Soon after the Revolutionary Committee took over in Greece and sentenced Prince Andrew and his family to banishment.

Alice, Andrew, and their children found refuge in England with her family. Soon, however, Alice began to show signs of mental illness. She became delusional and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Eventually, at the insistence of her mother, Alice was forcibly admitted to a sanatorium in Switzerland. There she was experimented on by several doctors, including Sigmund Freud. At one point Alice’s ovaries were X-rayed in an attempt to kill her libido. These experiments were not consented to by Alice and she tried to leave the sanatorium several times. After two years she was released. By that time her marriage was effectively over, her daughters had married German princes, and her son Philip was shuffled away to English boarding schools. Alice never truly forgave her mother and other relatives for the treatment she endured. She spent several years wandering aimlessly in or around Germany alone.

The next time Alice saw her family was at the funeral of her daughter Cecilie, who died in a plane crash along with her husband and two children, in 1937. She settled in Greece, this time alone, on the eve of war. World War II found Alice in an awkward position. She was living in a country under Axis occupation while her daughters were married to German officers and her son was in the British Royal Navy. The Nazis in Greece assumed Alice to be pro-German and when asked if there was anything they could do for her she replied “Yes, you can get your troops out of my country.” Alice organized charities and soup kitchens for the starving citizens of Athens. She also hid a Jewish family, the Cohens, in her home to save them from being transported to concentration camps. When asked any questions by the Gestapo, Alice feigned total deafness and pretended not to understand them at all.

In 1947 Alice returned to England and attended the wedding of her son Prince Philip to Princess Elizabeth. Two years later she became a nun in the Greek Orthodox church and founded her own order of nurses. In 1952 Alice attended the coronation of her daughter-in-law as Queen Elizabeth II. She spent several more years working and traveling. Eventually her health began failing and Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth invited her to live at Buckingham Palace. Alice went, perhaps a bit unwillingly, back to England. She died in 1969 at the age of 84 with only three dressing gowns in her possessions, having given away her worldly goods to the needy. In 1988 Alice’s remains were re-interred on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, in accordance with her last wish.  

Trailblazing maths genius who was first woman to win Fields Medal dies aged 40

The first woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal prize for mathematics, Maryam Mirzakhani, has died at the age of 40.

A professor at Stanford University in California, she had been fighting a four-year battle against breast cancer which had spread to her bone marrow, according to reports.

Born in Iran, she died in a US hospital, and was awarded the Fields Medal – considered the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel Prize – in 2014.

The award recognised her highly original work in the fields of geometry and dynamical systems, citing “her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces”.

Wisconsin professor Jordan Ellenberg described her research in a blog post at the time: “[Her] work expertly blends dynamics with geometry. Among other things, she studies billiards.

“But now, in a move very characteristic of modern mathematics, it gets kind of meta: She considers not just one billiard table, but the universe of all possible billiard tables.

“This isn’t the kind of thing you do to win at pool, but it’s the kind of thing you do to win a Fields Medal.”

Professor Mirzakhani graduated from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran in 1999.

She went on to complete a PhD on hyperbolic surfaces – theoretical doughnut-like shapes – at Harvard in 2004.

Curtis McMullen, her doctoral adviser, had won the Field Medal himself in 1998.

She later collaborated with American mathematician Alex Eskin on research about the dynamics of abstract surfaces connected to billiard tables.

She doodled three-dimensional shapes constantly while she worked, and was known for her slow, measured approach to mathematical problems.

No other woman has won the prize, which is awarded every four years by the International Congress of Mathematicians to up to four mathematicians under 40, an age at which many women are re-entering the workplace after having children.

She was also the first Iranian to win a Fields Medal.

“The grievous passing of Maryam Mirzakhani, the eminent Iranian and world-renowned mathematician, is very much heartrending,” President Hassan Rouhani.

Growing up in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, Professor Mirzakhani dreamed of becoming a writer and watched biographies of famous women like Marie Curie and Helen Keller.

She entered the Iranian International Mathematical Olympiad team at 17 in 1994, becoming the first girl to win a gold medal in 1994 and a perfect score the following year.

She had first taken an interest in maths when her older brother told her about how German mathematician Gauss discovered the formula for adding numbers from 1 to 100.

“It was the first time I enjoyed a beautiful solution,” she said in an interview given to the Clay Institute where she was a Research Fellow from 2004 to 2008.

“Of course, the most rewarding part is the ‘Aha’ moment, the excitement of discovery and enjoyment of understanding something new – the feeling of being on top of a hill and having a clear view. Most of the time, doing mathematics for me is like being on a long hike with no trail and no end in sight.”

Professor Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, an associate professor at Stanford University, and daughter Anahita.

The Finger Habit

She sometimes did this thing.

The first time I noticed it was in the hospital. We were discussing a patient and waiting for scans to come up on the screen. She was spinning from side to side on a swivelling chair, pulling back and forth against the edge of the desk. I engaged in the conversation about Mr Benson’s large bleed in the left side of his brain and how we could tactically operate around both that and his threatening internal bleeding. I looked from her eyes to her feet pulled up on the chair allowing her to freely swing. It was distracting so I asked her to stop. She smiled in a teasing manner and told me for a trauma surgeon I needed better focus, but firmly put her feet to the ground silently agreeing to my request.

The scans came up on the screen and we finally had a better view of what we were dealing with. She put one elbow on the desk and rested her chin in her palm whilst the other hand lightly started tracing patterns on the smooth surface. It was just her fingernail and I watched it in fascination. She muttered incoherently at the scans, seemingly unaware of what her fingers were doing. Her middle finger was doing most of the sightless drawing but the two neighbouring fingers occasionally joined in. I remember that little pinky finger of hers hovering above, politely waiting for it’s chance that never came. She looked expectantly at me and asked me for opinions. As soon as her mouth had opened to address me, her fingers had stopped and her hand went to her knee. It was over.

The second time I noticed it was during a dinner. Some sort of event was being held for the benefactors of the hospital with an award ceremony. The room was buzzing, people weaving in and out of the large circular tables filling the room. I had been put on a table with her and other heads of departments. There was a lull in the conversation between myself and Maggie and I looked around the table, naturally settling on the beautiful woman I had become infatuated with.

She was looking down to her wine glass, the still clear water gaining more of her attention than Alex next to her. I joined her eyeline and realised her fingernail was following its way around the circular bottom, up the thin stem, over the bulge of the cup and to the rim where it did a lap of the entire glass before heading back down to repeat the pattern. I watched it, enchanted by the simple and delicate movement. On the fourth or fifth cycle of the pattern her fingernail slowed to a stop half way down the stem and I wondered why it had stopped. Looking up, her blue intense stare met my wistful one and I quickly diverted my eyes to Maggie in embarrassment, striking up terrible conversation.

The third time I noticed it was special because she hadn’t realised I noticed it. It was Meredith’s house-warming and most the guests had left. She sat on the high stool at the island in the middle of the kitchen, alone. I approached her and we started talking, a pointless conversation about finger food at parties. After 10 minutes I decided to sit next to her and as I hoisted myself up to the stool, still talking, I noticed her body language change so she faced me more. One hand stayed on the island top though and the familiar sight of the fingernail tracing patterns in and around the wicker placemat made me smile. I didn’t directly look at it and continued my rant about crab sticks. For the duration of the conversation, the fingernail stroked the texture and I admired it out the corner of my eye.

The fourth time I noticed it was a Sunday morning. She was lying on her back, I was lying on my side facing her and her arms were lazily thrown around my shoulders, hugging me close. As I was sleepily nuzzling into her sweet scent around her exposed neck, her hand had managed to rest somewhere between my shoulder blades. I could feel her tracing circles with her fingernail. At first I thought nothing of it but then the circles grew bigger and the speed started to vary. I looked up to her face and her eyes were narrowed in thought, looking straight up to the ceiling, her lips smiling. She looked reflective and happy.

The last time I noticed it was on smaller hands, just last week. Both mother and son sat on the swing seat overlooking the pond out the back of the house. I leaned against the open door behind them and crossed my arms, silently watching them. She had her eyes closed, soaking in the sounds of nature, her arm hugging her son close to her. Her other elbow rested on the seat’s arm, wrist up and fingers dangling down so her nails could follow the grooves of the wood. Oblivious to her, Christopher was watching and copying with his tiny four-year-old fingers.

She sometimes did this thing and the fact that I had noticed it made me realise I was falling in love with her. An obvious and regular habit is easy to notice and hard to ignore. This habit was tiny, infrequent and made me smile every time I saw or felt it.

Realistically, Adam was aware that he wouldn’t be walking without an aid again but there was nothing particularly realistic about Adam on most days. The dreaded anti-depressants were doing their job giving him the energy he needed to do something especially stupid and the determined look in his eye as he pushed himself up and out of the chair should’ve been a warning sign to all that was around him. 

“Alright,” he announced to no one in particular as he blew air out from his lips. “Time to get this show on the road.”

Medblr Superlatives

I’ve put the ones I came up with on my own near the beginning, and the others I got from another school’s list I saw. I’d come up with more original ones, but exam on Monday gahhh (maybe soon, though!)

  • Nescafe Award for Most Likely to Overdose on Methylxanthines 
  • Dr. Van Helsing Award for Most Likely to go Vampire Hunting and Perform Emergency Tracheotomies Outside of the Hospital (Dracula) [ok, confession, added the tracheotomy part to this award because one of the best buddies was ready to go save a classmate who was supposedly choking, after he got a call from a friend - he was very upset though because she was actually fine haha]
  • Dr. Frankenstein Award for Most Likely to Create a Monster (Frankenstein)
  • Michael Crichton Award for Most Creative (Jurassic Park)
  • Professor X Award for Most Likely to Become a Teacher (X-Men)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson Award for Person You Would Most Want to be Stranded on a Desert Island With (Treasure Island)
  • Dr. McDreamy Award for Best Dressed (Grey’s Anatomy)
  • Carla Espinosa Award for Most Likely to Empathize (Scrubs)
  • Elliot Reid Award for Most Likely To Ask a Question (Scrubs)
  • Dr. Perry Cox Award for Most Sarcastic (Scrubs)
  • Turk/JD Award for Cutest BFFs (Scrubs)
  • Dr. Bob Kelso Award for Most Likely to be a Ruthless Administrator (Scrubs)
  • Dr. Dre Award for Best Musician
  • The Todd Award for Most Confident (Scrubs)
  • Doogie Howser Award for Youngest at Heart (Doogie Howser)
  • Devon Woodcomb “Captain Awesome” Award for Most Likely to be Working Out (Chuck)
  • Patch Adams Award for Most Likely to Make You Smile (Patch Adams)
  • Dr. House Award for Best Clinical Skills (House)
  • Dr. Hibbert Award for Best Laugh (Simpsons)
  • General Hospital Award for Most Dramatic
  • Sanjay Gupta Award for Most Likely to Become Famous (Paging Dr. Gupta)
  • Nip/Tuck Award for Most Likely to Become a Plastic Surgeon
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Award for Most Likely to Practice Alternative Medicine
  • Dr. Phil Award for Most Likely to go into Psychotherapy
  • Dr. Evil Award for Most Likely to Take Over the World
  • Dr. Seuss Award for Most Likely to Write a Children’s Book for a Scholarly Project
DAY 2126

Jalsa, Mumbai              Feb 9/10,  2014              Sun/Mon 1:08 am

·         Salma Elsherbiny 
·         Sarojnie Gariba 

A very happy birthday to both of you for the 8th of Feb … it is belated I know but it is not forgotten .. love and wishes as always ..

The Russian Red prevails today .. it is also the recommended colour for the year … I do not and have not ever believed in all this, but there it is … RED all over … kind of revolutionary and battle ready … but with whom know not !!

But … surely the event in the morning was simply overwhelming ! I opened a hospital, that has all possible needs for a paediatric department. And later then after touring all the facilities of the Hospital, an award function on the premises, where … hold your breath … the little kids that survived this horrible prematurity, were given an award ..

It has been the best ceremony that I have ever attended .. may God Almighty bless these little children, and may those that worked tirelessly in saving their lives, be equally blessed, for they were the ones that performed the decisions ..

Still living in the visuals of the little ones, smiles and confidence in their demeanour and how much they had gone through before achieving this gift of life .. !!

May God continue to give his bountiful blessings on these tiny tots ..


Amitabh Bachchan 

Scotland’s Top Hotel Named At AA Awards

The transformation of one of Scotland’s finest golf resorts has been recognised at the hospitality industry’s national awards ceremony. Following an extensive four-year renovation programme, Meldrum House Country Hotel was named AA Hotel of the Year for Scotland at the glittering AA Hospitality Awards held in London.

The resort, which has an 18-hole championship course and world-class golf academy, has already recorded an impressive year with a four-fold increase in year-on-year golf bookings as well as a string of local awards to its name, including the restaurant and hotel of the year titles at the AberdeenCity and Shire Tourism Awards. Andy Burgess, chief executive at Meldrum House, has overseen the transformation of the hotel into one of Scotland’s premier golfing venues.

“To receive recognition from such a prestigious national award is a huge testament to both our hotel owners, who have provided the foresight, vision and financial support to make our success possible; and to general manager Peter Walker and his team on the ground whose energy, dedication and enthusiasm for delivering our vision has been outstanding,” he said. ”Meldrum house is a very special place made all the more special by the team that makes it happen. This award recognises the remarkable efforts of everyone involved at Meldrum House.”

The work carried out at the hotel includes the development of a stylish wing of contemporary bedrooms and a multi-purpose conference facility. The resort has also invested in a state-of-the-art green-keeping centre and improvements to drainage and conditioning on the Knight’s Course. “The renovation work is part of a long-term project to establish Meldrum House as a premier golf resort in the heart of the Aberdeenshire countryside,” Burgess continued. “While many of the changes have taken place in the hotel, we equally recognise the importance of making improvements to the golf course and the facilities that surround it. For that reason, this award recognises the work done so far. There is still plenty to do as we continue to raise standards across the board.”

With its hand-cut greens and cross-cut fairways, the Knight’s Course at Meldrum House is one of only a few resort courses in Scotland measuring more than 7,000 yards. Ongoing course improvements are echoed in plans for the hotel which include extending the property with 40 new rooms, a new restaurant and an impressive ballroom.

Winners of the AA Hospitality Awards are selected in recognition of excellence and success within their chosen category, having shown a significant improvement in the preceding 12-18 months and proving their dedication to raising industry standards. From top hotels and restaurants to the best of British pubs, the AA Hospitality Awards celebrate everything that is great in British hospitality. All the winners will appear in the latest edition of the 2015 AA Hotel, Restaurant and Pub Guides which were launched at the event.


JULIAN: I don’t make threats. Just promises.
AVA: Listen to you. Playing the big mob boss. I can’t wait to hear what’s gonna come out of your mouth next.