Life and Style

Modern London is a city in turbulence, a cosmopolitan cauldron in which more things change than stay the same, where all the world comes to throw a tantrum, get rich through property and complain about schools. Its restaurant scene has generally kept up.

The point of ... loneliness

BEING lonely is frequently judged an extremely bad idea. Yet we should perhaps learn to appreciate the benefits that indirectly flow from this uncomfortable emotion. There would be no relationships without it. There are no greater romantics than those who don't have anyone to be romantic with. It is when we are in the depths of loneliness, without the distraction of work or friends, that we are in a position to grasp the nature and necessity of love. It is after a weekend in which the phone has not stirred, in which every meal was prised from a can and consumed in the unconsoling presence of a gravel-voiced BBC narrator - outlining the mating habits of the Kenyan antelope - that we can appreciate why Plato should have declared (The Symposium, 416BC) that a person without love is like a creature with only half its limbs.

Country & Garden: A tree is not just for life... ...

...but for several lifetimes. Or it should be, if it isn't murdered in the meantime.

John Walsh on Monday: Lost in the menacing streets of Ledbury

SATURDAY NIGHT in Ledbury, Herefordshire. The handsome old market town has gone all frisky for its annual poetry jamboree. Though established only three years ago, the Ledbury Poetry Festival has grown like a bolted Parnassian cauliflower until it has taken over the town where John Masefield was born. It has, to vary the metaphor, carved such a distinct niche for itself in the huge wall of seasonal literary events that, if you ever think of the words "poetry festival", it is the word "Ledbury" you think of next. And it reaches beyond the ambit of verse readings and versifying workshops to become a celebration of international cultural jollity.

Letters: Ron Davies' courage

Sir: Your report of the resignation of Ron Davies from his Welsh Assembly post again trots out the old chestnut of his alleged "moment of madness" on Clapham Common.

Why a salmon, a horse chestnut and a little old lady in Surrey are the difference between... ...a bank holiday weekend like this, or like that

For the past 50 years or so Jean, a spinster in her seventies who lives in Surrey, has documented a few simple facts about the countryside around her. In particular, she records the dates when four species of tree - oak, ash, horse-chestnut and lime - come into leaf. It's the sort of trivial task that machines aren't much good at, but which humans enjoy. She started doing it as part of a diary. Then she kept on doing it. For decades.

Shopping: Six Of The Best - Incense and incense burners

Aluminium stand, pounds 1.50, and cedarwood sticks, pounds 1.95, Muji (0171- 323 2208)

Gardening: Cuttings

News From The Gardeners' World

Travel for mind, body and spirit: Nose The smells of Italy

There are many reasons to choose Florence in the autumn: the city is cooler, it's less crowded and the hills around are blazing red and gold. But the most irresistible reason of all is truffles. Or rather, the smell of them.

Midweek Money: The Trader - I wouldn't recommend mango with the sprouts

CHESTNUTS ROASTING on an open fire, Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas" on the gramophone, smiling friends and family coming round to wish us good cheer - no, our Christmases aren't like that either. Perhaps you can only have them like that in black and white. Anyway, this year I can guarantee it'll be more like a Bruce Willis film, with snipers and shouting and the occasional explosion. The reason? We're spending the weekend with Uncle Edward and Aunt Julia.

Eating out: Taste of things to come- Hot, happening and opening soon

Belgo, the Belgian-themed group specialising in moules, frites and 101 different beers, has opened its first branch outside the capital. Belgo Bristol (0117 905 8000) is in a 19th-century granary in the old docks area, but inside the design is futuristic, with metal stairs and loos, spot-lighting, communal tables and benches. And the waiters are dressed as Trappist monks, as usual. It may sound off-the-wall, but the London branches are packed nightly.

Gardening: Prickly Characters

As holly comes inside for Christmas, Nigel Colborn traces the dark, pagan roots of this festive symbol, and selects the plants with the brightest berries

Right of Reply: Jeremy Isaacs

A campaigner for a monument to Oscar Wilde replies to Tom Lubbock's criticism of the new sculpture

Travel: Walks - The lane in Spain

Edward Blincoe steps out in pioneering spirit along the unmarked farm tracks and smugglers' trails of Andalucia, returning at night to a feast...and an electric blanket

Racing: Stravinsky's talents in demand

THE BOOKMAKERS were unimpressed yesterday following Raise A Grand's victory in the Solario Stakes at Sandown. Like the thoroughbred racehorse who forms the centrepiece of the action, the modern bookmaker was taking no chances with a prospective predator in in the form of Stravinsky, winner of a York maiden on Thursday and now the 4-1 favourite for the 2000 Guineas next May.

Ringo gets a little help from friends

FIRST NIGHT Ringo and his Pedigree Chums Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution