Pompeii, By Mary Beard

Traditionally, and understandably, our interest in Pompeii, destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD, has centred on the dead – the dog tethered to his post, the lovers who died in each others' arms – preserved in pumice for 2,000 years. Mary Beard's focus is on the living: what was everyday life like in this provincial Roman town? She is of a sceptical temper and shows that much of what we think we know is guesswork or mythologising.

Andrew Buncombe: 700 Rupees for a fake cheese sandwich at the best hotel in Asia

This weekend, I was in the splendid "pink city" of Jaipur to work on a forthcoming story. It so happened that I needed to try and interview someone who - on the day in question - was due to be at the Rambagh Palace hotel, a remarkable property still owned by the royal family of Jaipur but operated by the prestigious Taj Group.

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Got to the hotel about 4.30am. Topiary, fountains and four-posters, two miles from Glastonbury. It was blissful to sit there in the morning sun, sipping tea and sucking cigarettes. I was quite content, didn't want to do anything, go anywhere, see anyone for once and was slightly annoyed with myself for having arranged to meet a cheesemaker in Shepton Mallet.

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Jobs at risk as dairy firm calls in administrators

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Stinking Bishop was officially voted Britain's most pungent cheese today in the first smell championship.

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