News Getting the hump: camels do battle in front of tens of thousands of spectators

On Sunday, more than 20,000 people will gather in Turkey to watch camels do battle in a spectacle that dates back thousands of years. It is, depending on your attachment to the ungainly beasts, a historic cultural institution to be celebrated – or a throwback to an era before animal-rights campaigns when it was OK to starve an animal for three months to make it cross.

I was too weedy for the evil weed

There was an anti-smoking advertisement which showed an alluring woman puffing away while a horrified male voiceover whined: "It's like kissing an old ashtray." As sexual aversion therapy, this seemed curiously crude. Without wishing to go as far as James Dean, whose rough-trade soubriquet was apparently "The Human Ashtray", I have to confess that the taint of smoke can be positively erotic.

Don't say it's only a spider

It's time arachnophobics got a little more sympathy, reports Annalisa Barbieri


It's very refreshing to have something summery and romantic to punctuate the endless "very in" but very dull chocolate fashions that are currently being rammed down our throats. Rose prints are, surprisingly, also very "dans" this autumn (well, I do get sick of constantly saying "in"). This is because influential designers such as Anna Molinari and Dolce e Gabbana (rumoured to have made the most sought-after dress of the season in, yes, rose print) showed lots of it in their current collections. And you know how it is: where expensive designers lead, high streets stores follow. But, boring though it is to harp on about second-hand shops, they really are the places to look, because there you will find original and, let's be honest, far nicer examples of jolly nice rose prints. And with the money you save you can send your mum a bunch of the real things.

John Hillaby, walker supreme, dies at 79

The writer and walker John Hillaby, whose classic Journey Through Britain inspired countless other romantics to tread the nation's paths, has died at the aged of 79, writes Gerald Isaaman.

Olf factory ... Rolf's lunchbox ... vote for Di

There you are. Let's talk about science which, as you know, I have a mission to popularise, to strip away preconceptions about dullness and jacket breast pockets full of different-coloured pens. All last week, my science correspondent, Prof A Wright Britequark, was in Birmingham, for the Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, from where he sent this exclusive assessment of the session's most fascinating facts: 1) The unit of evaluation of the quality of building ventilation is the olf. One olf is defined as the amount of aroma, subjectively measured by a panel, given off by a single person at rest. 2) Nearly all the camels in parts of Africa are infested with the camel nasal botfly. Its Latin name is cephalopina titillator. 3) Einstein (see below) once said: "The most inexplicable thing about the universe is that it is explicable." Professor Thomas McLeish of Leeds University said: "I'm always impressed by that quote." 5) Sabanthine mosquitoes bite you exclu- sively on the nose. 6) Sandflies drink blood at a rate equivalent to a human drinking 100 pints in 10 minutes. 7) Fans of heavy metal rock music are significantly more likely than fans of other sorts of music to have a positive attitude towards premarital sex, drug and alcohol abuse, and Satanism. 8) Australia is moving north at a rate of 10 centimetres a year. 9) Tests by Nasa have found that chrysanthemums are the most effective plant for clearing the smell of formaldehyde from the air. Thank you, Prof!


For the man who hates sartorial conformity but doesn't want to stand out too much from the herd, these simple clothes are worth a closer look: a single-breasted four-button suit, a slim-fitting black shirt, knitwear in tones of aubergine and camel, and the quintessential coat, inspired by the Crombie

Rhapsody between the sheets

A HISTORY OF READING by Alberto Manguel HarperCollins pounds 25

The Kings wanted peace and a good view, so they moved to Cornwall. But are they seen as locals or holidaymakers?

Under cloudless blue skies, we looked down over the sparkling Camel estuary. Boats and the odd cyclist were the only signs of movement; the only sounds those of birds and sheep. This is Betjeman country, and the kind of scene Graham and Elaine King had only dared to imagine when they decided to move from Surrey to Cornwall. Now they have found it, they cannot imagine living anywhere else. "A good day for us is to get some work done, then sit in the peace of the garden. We never get tired of the view because it constantly changes with the tides and the seasons," says Mrs King from the sitting room of their early Victorian farmhouse near Padstow.

Camels in the Cotswolds

Anthony Scrivener QC, leading lawyer, on the perils of a townie in the country

Obituary: Brian Hartley

"Masai" Hartley, as Brian Hartley was sometimes known, fell in love with Africa in 1929 when, as a 22-year-old junior agricultural officer in the Colonial Service, he was posted to Mwanza in what was then western Tanganyika. Over the years, he was decorated MBE, OBE and CMG for his services to agriculture, and he spent most of his pension on a project that successfully introduced camels to the Masai along the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in the dusty north of Tanzania.


What is it like to live and travel with an alien people - and their animals? Hester Lacey talks to Robyn Davidson, no ordinary traveller

She boldly went. But not for long...

Robyn Davidson had trekked solo across Australia's outback. But her latest adventure, living with India's nomads, was a far tougher ride. She talks to Rosalind Sharpe

Unkind cut brings victory after Korea change

Sport on TV

six of the best knee-length coats

1 Warehouse, pounds 120 A brilliant shape that looks quite luxurious. The wide collar and deep pockets give it a Seventies feel. Can be worn belted or unbelted. Those dedicated followers of fashion will know that camel is still a hot colour in many stores so a wide variety of styles are available. From branches of Warehouse nationwide. Enquiries: 0181-910 1400

TRAVEL : Drover's return

Kim Hartley is a man with an ecological mission. Since 1984 he has been herding camels from Kenya to the arid Masai lands of Tanzania. Jeremy James explains why
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture