an INDEPENDENT week

It will be dry until Wednesday, then frost, with rain in the North- east and the South-west on Tuesday. Whatever, here's an eclectic look at what you could possibly do, see, or buy this week ...

SO

Break from the GARDEN and visit the Royal Horticultural Society at Vincent Square, London SW1 (0171 828 1744), where nursery workers prove November can be as full of delight as June.

OR

Try the BBC Cooking & Kitchen Show at the NEC in Birmingham (Wed- Sun). GOURMET tips from Raymond Blanc and Gary Rhodes, wine and cheese tastings and foodie demonstrations.

OR

read Faye Dunaway's life STORY, Looking for Gatsby (HarperCollins pounds 16.99). Apparently, her life has been a search for a father-figure since her own left home when she was a girl. Hence the many passionate liaisons.

OR

SHOP ... after the Barbour for dogs, Burberry's (0171 930 3343), the wax and check people, having introduced sleeping bags for the BABY. Two little armholes and a zip up the front - pounds 42.50.

OR

WATCH ... and retch as Reeves and Mortimer's A Nose Through Nature on Sunday (BBC1 4.20pm) gives viewers a history of smell. It works in conjunction with a Children In Need Smellovision book from WH Smith and Tesco.

OR

FLOAT to France and back for under pounds 1. The travel agency Going Places, which has 700 branches, is selling round-trips to Calais, Dieppe, or Cherbourg for 99p, for trips between now and the end of the year.

They can't work it out

The Irish go to the polls on Friday for their referendum on divorce, which has been banned since the 1930s. Not new. Pre-Christian Brehon Laws allowed women to dump unsatisfactory hubbies, paying them alimony in cattle. Catholic clergy, using more stick than carrot, are warning that divorced people who remarry won't receive sacraments. Their threats might just push voters into the reform camp.

They can hype it up

You'll be sick of the hype by now, but that won't stop you buying The Beatles Anthology (Parlophone CD: pounds 19.99. Tape:pounds 12.99) a collection of out-takes and rarities which includes Free As A Bird, magically featuring the voice of John Lennon combined with the music of McCartney, Harrison and Starr. The musical talking-point, if not the album, of the year.

They can talk it up

Who has shone in the Commons this past year? However poor the choice, someone has to be honoured at the Spectator's Parliamentarian of the Year bash at the Savoy. Could it be Alan Howarth, whose defection from Tory to Labour means he is the only member to have spoken from both sides of the House? Or maybe John Redwood, who gave up a Cabinet seat for the backbenches in order to challenge for the Tory leadership.

TODAY

Orange alert

MPs alarmed that it took police officers almost half an hour to reach College Green, Westminster, after the Tory party chairman, Brian Mawhinney, was spattered with orange paint last week, will have an opportunity to take it out on Sir Paul Condon, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, when he appears before the Commons Public Accounts Committee. The subject? Responding to Emergencies.

Dancing cheers

Rudolf Nureyev's costume of maroon velvet, which he wore for the role of Prince Florimond in The Sleeping Beauty, is to be auctioned at Christie's, which is selling the contents of 23, Quai Voltaire, his principal Parisian home. It could be yours for anywhere between pounds 5,000 and pounds 8,000 (Christie's, 8 King Street, London SW1, 0171 839 9060).

Deadly legacy

Chernobyl 10 years on ... the World Health Organisation (WHO) is to host a four-day conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on the consequences of the nuclear catastrophe. Dr John Harrisson, of the National Radiological Protection Board, says that it is too early to tell what the long-term effects will be, and that more money and support needs to be given to hospitals and field research, especially in the area of thyroid diseases.

TOMORROW

Top Grade

Michael Grade presents the 1995 Royal Television Society Design Awards. Nominations include Rory Bremner, Bramwell, Cardiac Arrest and the BBC2 channel idents. Martin Chuzzlewit is nominated for two awards, Production Design and Make up - particularly those amazing hair fashions inspired by the original Fiz drawings.

Cup runs

Ah, the romance of the Cup. All eyes - those with a tendency to mist anyway - will be turned towards the likes of Farnborough, Wigan, Woking, Altrincham and Ashford tonight and tomorrow as non-league football clubs whose greatest ambition is to be labelled minnows try to get through their FA Cup first round replays. Reserve your biggest cheers for Canvey Island at Brighton.

Speaking out

On the eve of his captivating adaptation of The Wind in the Willows (Old Vic, London, from Sat), Living National Treasure, Alan Bennet, reads from his witty bestseller Writing Home which deserved to sell by the lorryload and continues to do so. (Olivier, National Theatre, 6pm, 0171 928 2252).

WEDNESDAY 22

Going for a bird song

Paintings by Charles Tunnicliffe, who painted Christmas cards and magazine covers for the RSPB, are to be auctioned by Sotheby's. (2pm. Contact: 0171 493 8080). pounds 150,000 could be raised. Julian Pettifer, RSPB president, said: "Tunnicliffe would have approved."

Al's honorarium

Harrods boss Mohammed al-Fayed and his wife become honorary members of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Some can literally "buy" themselves a membership. The college wouldn't share the secret of the Fayeds' advancement. There is a room in the college's Queen's building called The Harrods Room.

An eye on Bond

Bond is back with Goldeneye. Will the Bond Bimbo survive?. An Ursula Andress clone undulating in a skimpy bikini may never be seen again, thanks to the transformation of stars Famke Janssen and Izabella Scorupco from sex slaves to elegant 90s women.

THURSDAY 23

Trash bash

Last year he tried to steal the show by turning up in a mini-skirt and PVC stiletto heels. Jean-Paul Gaultier, presenter of C4's Eurotrash, is hosting the MTV Europe Music Awards. Nominees include Bjork, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Neil Young, Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones, Dog Eat Dog ... almost everyone, actually. If your favourite isn't among that lot, they are bound to be among the presenters. Don't worry, Kylie will be there.

Take one

Christie's is holding an auction of hardware to commemorate 100 years of cinema. Star turn is le lapipeoscope, a 35mm walnut-body projection mechanism with hand-crank, brass top-plate. Made in France, it is "a zoetropic camera applicable also for optical projection". It could go for pounds 2,500. (Christie's, Old Brompton Road, London. 2pm. 0171 581 7611).

Yes, her again

Britain's most successful PR person takes a jaunt to the land of Fray Bentos and the Falklands. New panoramas for her to view. New PR stunts to pull.

FRIDAY 24

Psycho soccer

The Scottish branch of the British Psychological Society begins its annual conference in Crieff, Perthshire. The theme: Addiction - Sick individuals or a sick society? The speakers will cover all aspects of dependency, such as student cheating, slot machines, alcoholism and drug use. Other fixtures: Footballers in Scotland - does psychological stress make them sick? Something for Gazza here?

Cliff tops

Birmingham is, of course, a thoroughly worthy place, but a more unlikely setting for a round of the World Climbing Cup it is hard to imagine. Still, for three days - the finals are on Sunday - some 160 climbers from 20 countries will be scampering up and down artificial cliffs in the National Indoor Arena.

Try Freedom

Last year M People's album Elegant Slumming won the Mercury Music Prize, pipping flavours-of-the-year Blur to the post. Blur's upcoming Arena tour, which starts today, is sold out. M People's isn't. So what? There can't be many other British bands who are so effectively putting Madonna's mantra - Only When I'm Dancing Can I Feel This Free - into glorious practice.(Albert Hall, London, until Sun).

THE WEEKEND 25 / 26

Whodrunkit?

Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap is 44 years old. 66,000 gallons of soft drinks have washed 306 tons of ice cream down 11million throats as they have watched 274 actors and 123 understudies exam the evidence. Dapper actors at that. Wardrobe assistants have ironed over 80 miles of shirts to earn their cut of pounds 26m box-office takings.

Internosh

Buy your food on the Internet with the Food and Drink Index. It aims to provide info on everything from livestock prices to chocolate cake at Sainsbury's. Phone: 0345 220000.

Better safe ...

The Big Snog is a one-off show on the eve of Aids Awareness Week. Steve Coogan, Eddie Izzard and Suggs are among those taking part. A highlight of the evening will be a safer-sex quiz, unambiguously entitled A Question of Spurt. (Tickets: Astoria, 0171 434 0403. Screened Channel 4, Saturday, 10.45).

Vigil protest

Thousands of women will be demonstrating and holding vigils as part of World Protest Against Violence Towards Women Day, which has been held annually since 1981 to commemorate the murder of the Mirabal sisters, who were active in opposition to the Dominican dictator, Trujillo. Womankind Worldwide: 0181 563 8607.

IN

The Independent this week:

PIERCE BROSNAN: Is he man enough to be Bond?

MICHAEL ANTONIONI: In town and talking about film

PLUS: Garth Brooks, Rob Reiner.

WIN

pounds 35,000 TVR Griffith 500. See Page 5 for token one.

Research: Ben Summers, Rutger Hollants

EDITED BY RICHARD HOLLEDGE . FAX 0171 293 2051

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