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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 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before