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.

How the horse chestnut conkered Britain

It is sometimes pointed out to the British that they have wonderful things growing wild which they completely ignore. We read about French chefs combing our woods for rare fungi. We see fishermen catching langoustines and spider crabs to be exported to places where they like eating these things better than we do. The Romans introduced the sweet chestnut tree into Britain 2,000 years ago, and we are still not particularly grateful for its fruit.

Paperbacks: Reviewed by Emma Hagestadt and Christopher Hirst

Blake by Peter Ackroyd (Minerva, pounds 7.99) The assiduous Ackroyd has conjured up a wonderful life of the ''Cockney visionary'', as vivid and eidetic as the work of Blake himself. Biographer and subject are ideally matched, both ardent believers in the ''infinite London...seen within mundane London''. This impassioned portrait of an angry, transcendental genius will send enthralled readers to Blake's vast poetic output - but how many will make it to the end of Vala or the Four Zoas is a matter for conjecture.

A coming-together of ensembles

The way people write menus evolves as fast as the way cooking evolves, perhaps even faster.

Racing: Branston Abby equals record

Branston Abby equalled the post-war British record for the number of wins by an equine female when gaining her 22nd career success in the listed Dallmayr Delikatessenhauses Grosser Sprint Preis at Munich yesterday.

Where have all the woodlands gone?

Britain was once covered in trees. But today natural forests occupy a tiny proportion of our land area.

BOOK REVIEW / Suburbia's lonely hearts club band

Emma Hagestadt enjoys a spooky tale of mating rituals and dating nightm ares; Dance with Me by Lousie Doughty Simon and Schuster, pounds 9.99

Christmas dinner: facing up to the uncomfortable facts

It really is possible to enjoy all the trimmings without succumbing to unhealthy overindulgence. Sarah Edghill explains what not to eat. Right: expert advice on how to deal with a hangover

Solitary joys and crosswords

THE BURNT CHAIR 5 Duke Street, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1HP. Tel: 0181-940 9488. Open for dinner Mon-Sat, 6-11, and for lunch by arrangement. Two-course set menu, pounds 12.50; average a la carte, pounds 18 for three courses. Access and Visa accepted

A waxy crassula isn't just for Christmas

Anna Pavord suggests presents for the green of finger

Escapes

Nuts; It began with the pilgrimage to the sweet chestnut tree...

A little local trouble

A weekly round-up of rural rumpuses

Conkers plonkers

First there was the sprinkler ban, which reduced grown gnomes - sorry, men - to tearful mourning for their raddled lawns. Then the car's weekly wash and polish had to go, turning Saturday morning into an empty wasteland of waiting for the start of Grandstand. Now the long hot summer of '95 has made a final assault on masculine pleasures: the nation's supply of conkers is in crisis.

Harris the guiding light for a revelation named Vindaloo

When he goes into Vindaloo's box, Jimmy Harris can tolerate the gelding nibbling at the tyres of his wheelchair. He has had worse. "I used to have this thing called Pollock Fair," he said. "When I wasn't looking the bugger used to grab hold of a handle and tip me out."

Pennies from heaven: Golden Hand brings Devon townsfolk news of the season's first fruit

Joseph Lake (above, right), the town crier of Honiton, Devon, carrying the Golden Hand through the streets to the start of the Hot Pennies ceremony, in which heated coins are thrown from upper windows of the town's inns (above left) in a tradition dating back to the 13th century.

Portrait of the artist as a young horse

KINGSLEY AMIS: A Biography by Eric Jacobs, Hodder & Stoughton pounds 17.99
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
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 15 May 2015
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border