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Robber needed money for polio-stricken cousin's surgery

Property: The hammered house of horror

Buying a wreck to do it up may seem a good idea, says Gwenda Joyce- Brophy. But expensive and hazardous surprises may be lurking...

Tourist unburdens herself of castle curse

A New Zealand tourist who stole a stone from a Welsh castle has air-mailed it back because she believes she had been cursed.

Doctor on the house: So you had a rounded education at school? Think again, says Jeff Howell

Buildings are such simple things to construct and maintain - it's amazing that people find them so bewildering. I mean, be fair, when you get some "builders" round to work on your home, they're not usually your actual white-coated scientist types are they? They're not often what you'd describe as intellectuals.They're just ordinary blokes. In some cases a bit too ordinary - tattoos, fags, beer bellies hanging out of their trousers, racist and misogynist attitudes by the shovelful. Some of these guys have problems reading the Sun. So how come you defer to them, and assume they are possessed of secret skills and knowledge that you yourself could not hope to attain?

Persimmon sees sustainable homes growth

Persimmon, one of the UK's biggest housebuilding groups, forecast no return to the unsustainable boom of the 1980s as the strong housing market in the South-east ripples out across the UK.

DOCTOR ON THE HOUSE

The kind of walls you have matters, writes Jeff Howell. But finding out can be tricky

McAlpine's Fusiliers march back to Dublin as a building boom sends wages soaring

British construction firms face shortage of skilled workers

The last gang in town ...

The Tindersticks considered splitting for a while. But after much band-analysis, the six decided that sticking together made perfect sense. Nick Hasted asked lead singer Stuart Staples to explain

Strikes threat as construction workers reject pay offer

The recovery in the construction industry could be under threat from nation-wide strikes after union negotiators yesterday rejected a 45 per cent increase in basic pay over four years.

Letter: Driven out of the building trade

Driven out of the building trade

Skills shortage hits builders

Building employers yesterday called on the Government to provide more funding for youth training amid fears that worsening skills shortages could throw the industry's recovery off track.

Sweet dreams are made of Kim Basinger

No 172: PEUGEOT 406; PETER YORK ON ADS

When it starts falling down before the paint's dry

What should you do if your brand new house develops cracks? Richard Phillips explains

Masons pressed to declare allegiances

Labour would introduce a requirement for all participants in court cases to reveal membership of the Freemasonry, according to Jack Straw, the shadow Home Secretary.

Masons told to reveal themselves

The days of freemasonry as a secret organisation may be numbered. Freemasons in the police force and the judiciary should be forced to disclose their membership of the organisation, an all-party group of MPs will recommend in a report to be published next week.

Three of the best apartments

Bar Lodge, a late-Victorian house divided into three apartments, is perched above the Bar at the entrance to Salcombe Harbour in Devon. The property has spectacular views of the open sea and across National Trust coastline. The upper apartment has four bedrooms, with two balconies and a sun terrace. Residents have access to a private beach. pounds 275,000 through Marchand Petit (01548 857588).
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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 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine