Money

Homeowners are more inclined to improve their current property rather than move house, research carried out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has found.

Monsoon admits mistakes

MONSOON, the underperforming women's fashion retailer chaired by Peter Simon, reported its first fall in profits for 13 years yesterday alongside a poor Christmas trading statement which showed sales declines accelerating, writes Nigel Cope.

Theatre Mr Puntila and his man Matti

After taking the Edinburgh Festival by storm and enjoying a sell- out run in London in October, Mr Puntila and His Man Matti (right) now looks like one of the shows of 1998. If not the show. Lee Hall's jaunty new version of Brecht's 1940 satire on the class system is directed by theatre de complicite's Kathryn Hunter. The production has further enhanced the glowing reputation of both the Almeida theatre and the right size, whose extraordinary double-act skills provided the impetus for the revival. This time last year, Hamish McColl and Sean Foley hit the West End with their wondrous two-men-in-a-bathroom lark, Do You Come Here Often?. Now these soon-to-be TV stars have again gamely agreed to give up most of their Christmas resuming the lead roles of the drunken landowner Puntila and his put-upon chauffeur Matti for 20 performances. It's physical, it's funny, it's certainly not festive. Get dialing.

Parliament: The Sketch: Redwood hotly denies holding talks with bathroom sponge

WHAT GENIUS of melodrama arranged for the announcement of the law lords' ruling on General Pinochet's appeal? Surely serendipity alone could not have marshalled the occasion so perfectly, first of all ensuring the verdict would arrive on the old villain's birthday, then procuring the perfect sequence for the individual judgments to be read out. In dramatic terms the hearing has been rather like the kind of experimental theatre favoured by German directors of a sadistic bent - a celebration of enigma in which old atrocities mingled surreally with the picking of legal nits. In the early days, though, the subject matter alone guaranteed that it was something of a hot ticket, with various celebrity politicians turning up to listen, staying for just long enough to realise that they had not the faintest idea what any of it meant, and then departing for something a little more vaudeville. Kavanagh QC it wasn't. The main body of the audience, whether they were the claque of Pinochistas in cashmere and silk or the rather more coarsely fibrous group of protesters, were doggedly attentive, but even they couldn't pretend it was easy stuff to sit through.

TIPOF THE WEEK: SPRUCE UP THE BATHROOM OR KITCHEN FOR A FEW QUID

DOES THE silicone seal around your bath or kitchen worktop look tired and mouldy? It's really easy to replace it with a new one.

Blue Circle to sell businesses

BLUE CIRCLE Industries has confirmed it intends to dispose of its bathroom and ceramics businesses, which could be worth up to pounds 250m.

Theatre: Curtain Calls - Do you come here often?

Not since Morecambe and Wise has a double act engendered such hilarious happiness. The night I saw this joyously inspired, supremely silly show, based on the entirely barmy premise of two men trapped in a bathroom, the entire audience gave them a roaring standing ovation. I insist you go.

Taking Liberty

Liberty is always a treasure trove at Christmas and, with purple and silver as this year's key colours, the mock Tudor building is bound to look fabulous. Contemporary designs sit beside traditional Liberty style threoughout the store. Look out for the excellent selection of modern Italian designs in both the kitchen and bathroom department and the eagerly anticipated crystal collection from John Rocha.

The Time: Evening, The Place: Bathroom

The Essentials: Soaking in a long, hot bath has to be the best way to relax after battling home from work on a cold, dark winter's night. So, here we've chosen some must haves to turn your bathtime into pure self-indulgent pleasure.

Life's a vacuum without it

Men, it seems, still escape their fair share of housework. And yet there are those who find joy in scouring the bath and keeping the wife out of the kitchen.

Home-owners do it themselves

Home-owners have been spending an average of pounds 320 a year each on DIY - more than one-fifth of the total amount they splash out for work on their homes, a report shows today.

What makes a des res

The features most likely And those that keep a

Letter: Maths in the bathroom

Sir: Excited by the prospect of possessing my very own piece of practical Penrose tiling ("Kleenex art that ended in tears", 12 April), I purchased the last two-pack of white quilted Kleenex toilet tissue in my local supermarket.

There's a Welshman in the waterworks

I am glad to welcome back once more Dr Rudolf Reinhardt, the expert on bathroom science, who will answer all your questions about the strange scientific phenomena which occur only in bathrooms and nowhere else. All yours, Doctor!

Dirt, death, decay and old fingernails

I want to talk to you today about spring cleaning ...

All work, all play

Slava Polunin is widely acknowledged as the world's greatest clown. But don't ask him to be anything less than serious. By Adrian Turpin
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Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin