In Dr Nicole Le Pera The Holistic Psychologists’ recent book ‘How to do the work’ she talks about The Power Of Belief. In 1979 The Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer recruited two groups of elderly men from nursing homes in the Boston area to live for a week in a monastery in new Hampshire and take part in a ground- breaking study on the power of belief and its effect on ageing. The first group of men were told to live as if the clock turned back twenty years overnight, living as a younger version of themselves. The second group would remain in the present time but were urged to reminisce about the past.
Everything in the first group’s area of the monastery, from their clothes, products to the decor had been designed for the study was as it would have been twenty years ago, from the interiors and the furniture midcentury modern, even past issues of Life magazine and Saturday Evening Post were scattered around the living quarters. The men watched Ed Sullivan on a black and white television, listened to vintage radio and screened 1950s movies such as Anatomy of a Murder. They were encouraged to discuss events from the past time: the launch of the US satellite, Fidel Castro’s rise in Cuba, and their fears about escalating Cold War tensions. All mirrors were removed, replaced by photographs of the men twenty years earlier.
Whilst both groups after a week showed vast improvements on every measure from the physical to the cognitive and emotional. All of the men were more flexible , they stooped less, physically, and many of their fingers, riddled with arthritis were more dexterous and even appeared healthier.
Independent onlookers who were unaware of the study, were then asked to compare ‘before’ photos to ‘after’ photos taken a week later, estimated that the ‘after’ photos had been taken at least two years prior to the ‘before’ photos.
The changes ran deeper than the physical and superficial changes and were most profound in for those that had completely embodied their younger selves. 63% of these participants demonstrated measurably higher intelligence scores after just a week, compared to 44% in the other group. Across the board all of the men in the first group reported improvements in all 5 senses, ability to taste more flavours in food to better hearing and vision.
You may ask why we are sharing this study with you? We wanted to show the incredible power of thoughts, which can influence us in many ways. That these remarkable changes happened in an older generation, who are typically more resistant to change, this is evidence for similar transformation in your lives and the lives of your parents and indeed grandparents.
What our delightful 350 year old Boutique hotel does offer our guests is a trip of historic glamour and glitz. Here’s some of our guests from over the years!
See the images below Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton, Jackie Kennedy and Anthony Eden have all stayed at The Great House, Antigua.
The Great House, Antigua has preserved it’s decor and design whilst embracing the modern levels of service and sumptuous stay cuisine and drinks.
“The Great House, Antigua has this magic about it, that is impossible to put into words. We always leave feeling reinvigorated. How a few weeks away can feel like six months worth of rest… I’ll never know. Teresa my wife, thinks this is what keeps me young and it is one of the reasons that we come back every year!”Francis Reavey St Margarets, Richmond, London
Old Fashioned you see it … never really goes out of style
If you’re a history buff, you could draw a straight line connecting this drink to the first recorded definition of the cocktail category in general (circa 1806), which called for spirits, sugar, water and bitters. The Old Fashioned hits all those marks, with whiskey, sugar, water and aromatic bitters. You could also skip the history lesson and simply make the drink. Do the latter if you’re already thirsty.
Put the sugar, bitters and water in a small tumbler. Mix until the sugar dissolves if using granulated. Fill your glass with ice and stir in the whisky. Add a splash of soda water if you like and mix. Garnish with the orange and cherry. (See the vintage recipe below we have served many famous guests over the years)
At The Great House Antigua our historic hotel and restaurant are all about the lines we can draw to learn from our past. Today the history we are re-capping is the roaring 1950s, where parties and cocktails were the focal point of life for those visiting The Great House Antigua. The hotel contains many relics from this period in history, and the stories of those who visited for lunch to go with it.
Greta Garbo was a well known dinner guest, along with Frank Sinatra. GRETA GARBO may never have actually uttered those much quoted words “I want to be alone”, however the constant unwanted attention she received made her visits to The Great House all the more special. Whether the rumours of her romance with Paul Belmondo were true is something neither a gentleman nor this plantation will ever reveal.
What we do know is she enjoyed long dinners and laughter filled evenings with her host the American owner Jack Peacock-Green and visited Antigua for many years after her retirement from Hollywood, safe in the knowledge that her solitude would be safeguarded from the prying eyes of the camera.
A vintage classic that never goes out of style
The Old Fashioned
2 tsp sugar syrup or 1 tsp granulated sugar
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
splash of water
60ml Scotch whisky or bourbon
soda water (optional)
maraschino cherry (optional)