Urban gardener: Norman conquest

As a lapsed Catholic, I haven't had the urge to light a candle for anyone for quite some time, but I've just made an exception. A couple of weeks in France was made infinitely better by spending time listening to the French-language CDs of Michel Thomas. So impressed was I by the confidence they gave me to have a go (regardless of whether or not it sounded a load of bolleaux), that I was going to send a letter of gratitude to M Thomas, before someone told me that this Second World War veteran and genius of a language teacher had died three years ago. A candle, therefore, in a small seaman's chapel at the picturesque town of St Vaast-la-Hougue, would have to do instead.

Album: Grantura, In Dreams and Other Stories (Ruffa Lane Records)

As if to prove that Lucky Soul's debut album was no fluke, the charmingly independent Ruffa Lane Records now invites us to put pop prejudice to one side and welcome a self-proclaimed Americana group from the wrong side of the Atlantic.

Magners on thin ice as its popular Irish cider becomes a fashion victim

Success story turns sour – profit warning issued and sales slump 10 per cent. By James Thompson

Eat your greens... after you've grown them

What could be better than eating fruit and vegetables grown in your own back garden? It's easy to recreate The Good Life at home, and you'll be joining a growing trend

Bacon chop with Tewkesbury mustard

Serves 4

Higher prices for cheap alcohol

The price of some alcoholic drinks is to be raised as part of the Government's attempts to get to grips with Britain's addiction to binge drinking.

Shops and supermarkets to take strong drink off shelves

Supermarkets and off-licences are joining forces with council officials to tackle street drinking by taking super-strength lager and cider off their shelves.

C&C suffers as taste for Magners ebbs

The Irish beverage maker C&C said that its revenues were down 15 per cent yesterday as an ebb in Britons' taste for cider ate into its bottom line.

The Lady Of Leisure, Playhouse, Livepool<img src="http://www.independent.co.uk/template/ver/gfx/threestar.gif" height="1" width="1"/><img src="http://www.independent.co.uk/template/ver/gfx/threestar.gif" height="10" width="47"/>

"It's amazing the amount of force a mollusc will use to do nothing when it would be so much easier to do something." It's amazing the amount of force a theatre director will use to revive a light summer soufflé, a long-forgotten play originally titled The Mollusc. Now called The Lady of Leisure - for those who can't make the effort to remember what a mollusc is - it brought its Cheshire-born author Hubert Henry Davies considerable success at London's Criterion in 1907.

Spanish farms make good family holidays

Where's a savvy summer choice for a family with young children? Down on the farm in the cooler pastures of Asturias, says Chris Birkett

Preview: Comfort Me With Apples, Hampstead Theatre, London NW3

No more cider for Rosie

Book Group: John Walsh reviews the June book - Dry, by Augusten Burroughs

Self-absorbed, but a brilliant read

Food &amp; Drink notes

It's all going pear shaped; birth of a legend; you herd it here first; meet my mate biscuit

No Pain, No Gain: Excellent performance fails to meet expectations

Merrydown, the little cider and adult soft drink group, this week failed to excite the stock market and, I suspect, left many shareholders a shade disappointed. True, its year's results were excellent. Well up to expectations. But an even better performance had been anticipated by some of us.

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