Sport David Beckham having his medical at Real Madrid back in 2003

With each prospective signing needing at least a five-hour examination, clubs' physios and local hospitals expect to be busy

Me And My Home: Drinks are on the house

Gwenda Brophy talks to Deborah Nichol about her converted 18th-century pub

Shaky Kent fail to return in triumph

Kent 222-8 Gloucestershire 223-4 Gloucs win by six wickets

Dawes' late double strike thwarts Kent's confident advance

Kent 291-4 v Middlesex

Letter: ITV licence fee

Sir: I have never been able to take seriously those who demand the right to opt out of the BBC licence fee (letters, 28 December) while ignoring the equivalent right to opt out of the proportion of consumer prices represented by TV advertising.

Letter: Millennium talk

Sir: As one gets older, the irritation factor grows at an exponential rate, so might I suggest the following New Millennium resolutions?

Hello there! It's the man who fell to earth

MAYBE YOU didn't know he'd ever been away, but David Bowie has hit the headlines with his decision to return to live in Britain. It seems that the pop star has been away for a quarter of a century. He has not been on Mars or some more distant planetary body, as his artistic output may have led you to expect, but Bermuda, a place more notable for its golf courses than extraterrestrials. Bowie must have a fondness for places beginning with "B" because he started life in Brixton, grew up in Bromley and first came to public attention in Beckenham. If this suburban community is not exactly the first place that springs to mind as a hot-bed of artistic creativity, it is no fault of David's, because he established the Beckenham Arts Lab (after all, it was the Sixties) in a large, dingy pub called the Three Tuns.

Hockey: Banned substance excludes Garcia

RUSSELL GARCIA, the sport's youngest Olympic gold medallist at Seoul in 1988, has been disciplined for allegedly taking a banned substance socially by Great Britain and excluded from their tour party to Australia and New Zealand in January to be announced later this week.

Chelsfield may sue over White City

CHELSFIELD, the property developer, is expected to make a multi- million-pound compensation claim against the Hammersmith & Fulham council if environmentalists scupper its plan to redevelop White City, writes Dan Gledhill.

Letter: Sword attack

Sir: You have added to the stigma carried by mood disorder sufferers by claiming that the man who attacked a south London congregation with a sword "suffered severe depression" (report, 29 November). Do you have a psychiatrist's assessment, or was that just word from local police? I suffer from severe depression, and have worked with fellow sufferers for some years. It is far more common to find guys like us who can't even get out of bed in the morning, because consciousness of living is too awful to contemplate, than to find someone who acts out any form of aggression against anyone else.

Counting sheep

A few years ago, I bought a sheepskin jacket. It cost me a fortune (and my social life for about two months). But it was worth it; not only is sheepskin incredibly warm and luxurious, but this season it's also very much back in fashion.
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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada