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Spain's roadside bulls live to fight another day

SPAIN'S most famous bull has been pardoned. After public outcry, a campaign by intellectuals and a political row, the gigantic black metal bulls that tower over Spanish highways will be allowed to stay put.

Travel: Confiture con

LAST week, a bottle of Albanian brandy, this week a jar of jam (or, to be more precise, confiture). You may not be impressed with the prizes offered in this column, but the confiture is worth about pounds 250.

Visitors' vitriol

ENTRIES for the No Way competition, in which you were invited to nominate the places you would not visit even if you were paid to, have flooded in; given that the only prize is a suspect bottle of brandy, a noble effort indeed.

Obituary: Ian Board

AS PIANIST in Muriel Belcher's Colony Room from 1958 to 1960, I had daily contact with Ian Board, writes Malcolm Williamson (further to the obituary by Christopher Howse, 28 June). While I dispensed Gershwin, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers, he ran the bar.

Racing: Ebony's durability put to test

THE TOUGHEST race at the end of a difficult week is in prospect for several horses engaged in Saturday's Grand National. Ebony Jane and Captain Brandy, the stable-companions who finished third and fourth in Monday's Irish Grand National, look likely to reappear at Aintree. 'Ebony Jane seems well and ate up last night,' her trainer, Francis Flood, said. 'The owners are pretty keen to run her so we'll see how she is and decide on Thursday.'

Food & Drink: One last drink before closing time: In preparation for the Apocalypse, a religious community is making excellent armagnac. Anthony Rose reports

IT WAS Jacques Bertholon, director of de Malliac Armagnac, who warned me that 'armagnac country is full of surprises'. Nevertheless, I was still unprepared for Notre Dame de Fatima.

The Agreeable World Of Wallace Arnold: Ah, rites of passage]

I AM delighted to see that my old friend and quaffing partner Anthony Lejeune has produced a delightful celebration of that very centre and bastion of the civilised world, White's.

BOOK REVIEW / Getting away with murder, or without it: 'Ghosts' - John Banville: Secker, 14.99 pounds

AT THE end of John Banville's previous novel, The Book of Evidence, the murderous narrator says of his victim: 'I killed her because I could kill her, and I could kill her because for me she was not alive. And so my task now is to bring her back to life. I am not sure what that means, but it strikes me with the force of an unavoidable imperative.' Whatever they thought it meant, few readers can have dreamt that Freddie Montgomery's words were to be taken literally, but Ghosts is nothing less than that unlikely, almost impossible sequel.

Equestrianism: Whitaker's precision prevails

JOHN WHITAKER gained his first win of this year's Olympia Show Jumping Championships when he rode Grannusch to victory in last night's Christmas Cracker Stakes in a jump-off round which displayed his remarkable skill and the generosity of his chestnut partner.

Brush seller leaves pounds 10m to charity

A FORMER door-to-door salesman who died trying to put out a fire with brandy left pounds 10m to charity, it was revealed yesterday. Ivan Leech, who died in June aged 84, sold brushes, soap and sponges from his bicycle for 30 years, writes John Arlidge.

Couple are cleared of stealing from Harrods

A JUDGE AT Southwark Crown Court yesterday ordered a jury formally to acquit two people of charges of shoplifting and assault after allegations by defence lawyers over inconsistencies in the accounts by two Harrods store detectives of the incident.

Letter: Cuddled for life

Sir: I read with interest the article on 'kangaroo care' for premature babies ('Kangaroos know that cuddles work best', 18 August).

115th birthday

CHARLOTTE Hughes, Britain's oldest person, celebrated her 115th birthday at a nursing home in Redcar, Cleveland, by tucking into bacon and eggs and having a glass of brandy. Mrs Hughes, thought to be the world's second oldest person, was born on the day Alexander Graham Bell launched his telephone company.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants