Arts and Entertainment

A window on the real world with Danny and his diamond geezers

Simon marks return with shining success

Hugo Simon made a triumphant return to England, where he last competed a decade ago, to win two contests on the opening day of the Olympia Show Jumping Championships. His second - and more valuable - win came in last night's Christmas Turkey Stakes, when the 53-year-old rider jumped a typically thrusting round on Apricot D to win by 1.68sec.


In the run-up to Christmas we will be presenting the Christmas Turkey Award for the most ridiculous seasonal merchandise.

Peers defend their House


Matthews wins turkey wars


OPINIONS : Do you need to lose some weight?

SIR CYRIL SMITH, retired MP (27 stone): I don't particularly want to lose weight. I did go on a diet some years ago and lost five stone, but put it back on again. It's a question of whether you want to die late in life or whether you want to die h appy. I am 66 and in fairly good health. I didn't overeat this Christmas: I just had 12 mince pies, plenty of turkey, half a dozen fresh-cream cakes, meat pies and sausages, but I didn't have any Christmas cake. It was a light diet for me really.

No indulgences for Denmark

A WORKING CHRISTMAS II: Self-denial and even a portion of hard work are the watchwords for the professional

VITAL SIGNS: Warning: Christmas is a health hazard

The pre-Christmas frenzy can seriously damage your health, according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. Hours spent trudging around departments stores, with shoppers leaving supermarkets loaded down like pack animals, takes its toll on the back and feet, it points out. On the day itself, wrestling with a 20lb turkey can be dangerous while the traditional post-prandial snooze in front of the television can cause stiff necks and indigestion.

EQUESTRIANISM:Big-time first for Bradley

Alison Bradley achieved her first international victory when she rode the stallion, Endeavour, to win last night's Christmas Turkey Stakes at the Olympia Show Jumping Championships.

Sexual politics in the land of the Pilgrim Fathers: Zoe Heller in America

I'VE JUST come back from visiting my brother and sister-in-law and their seven-week-old son on Cape Cod. The Cape is a long quirky curl of peninsula that sticks out like a handwriting flourish from the bottom of Massachusetts. My sister-in-law's family has a house - or rather a collection of converted turkey sheds - at the very tip of the peninsula, in the middle of a forest, on the shore of what is known as Horseleech Pond. (This is misleading: there are no horseleeches and the 'pond' is a bit less than a mile wide.)

Music: In the bleak midwinter: Stephen Johnson spent Christmas chilling out in front of the television

In terms of broadcast classical music, Christmas is not a time of innovation and challenge. Channel 4 may have managed to offend the deserving with its Camp Christmas, but its musical offering remained solidly traditional.

Christmas Charades: Why was Daddy so pleased to see Sue?: At this time of year, people play funny games. We put on an act and go through the motions, but behind the scenes, things may not always be as they seem .

I LIKED Sue, this new 'old friend' of my mother's, although I had met her only once. She was quite a lot younger than my mother and very funny. She would come out with expressions, sort of catch phrases, which we had never heard. She had an infectious, throaty laugh and drank and smoked a lot.

Christmas Charades: And Richard came, too: At this time of year, people play funny games. We put on an act and go through the motions, but behind the scenes, things may not always be as they seem ..

'And you must be Richard,' my father says to my significant other. Planted in the doorway, Dad proffers a sweaty palm and flashes the fixed smile of a chat show host. How strange to witness my father attempting to act normal. That used to be my job.

Survival course offers festive escape

FESTIVE drop-outs anxious to avoid the turkey can spend Christmas chewing stinging nettles and worms underneath a deflated parachute in Hereford.

Pembroke: Bernsteins are losing their grip at Granada

The Bernstein family's grip on Granada continues to loosen. The leisure group's newly published report and accounts devotes a page to a glowing tribute to Sidney Bernstein, the company founder who died earlier this year.

Turkey auction

A satisfied buyer and some of the 350 birds on offer at the Saffron Walden turkey auction, held in the Suffolk town on the Tuesday before Christmas. Thanks to a special dispensation, the tradition continues despite EU directives banning such sales. But it is in decline as more families buy supermarket turkeys. An auctions spokesman said: 'It's dying out now, but a lot of people still like to buy their turkeys this way. It has a nice atmosphere'.
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