Life and Style

For all the cuddly Thomas the Tank Engine nostalgia that surrounds Britain's railway history, it should never be forgotten that this was the story of capitalism in the raw. In the 19th century, fortunes were made but more typically lost and the winners were only too keen to signal their grand ambitions to the world.

Matthew Norman: Don't pity Gordon – he supped from the devil's hands

Acquiescing in Sarah hosting Brooks at that Chequers pyjama party after she ran the story of Fraser's illness he found 'disgusting'? Going to her wedding?

Matthew Bell: The <i>IoS</i> Diary

We never close

Invisible Ink: No 85 - Libby Gelman-Waxner

Collected film reviews are only fun to read if their author's personality can be glimpsed through them.

Dylan Jones: 'Anyone who&rsquo;s ever got drunk on Pina Coladas never wants sugar in their drink again'

Many an idea begins in jest. Especially when you're abroad, in a bar, the sun is setting, and you've just finished work for the day. There were three of us, in the Los Angeles outpost of Trader Vic's, opposite CAA, one of the biggest talent pools in town.

Punch to hive off managed business

The debt-laden pub operator Punch Taverns has confirmed plans to shunt its Chef & Brewer and Fayre & Square branded pubs into a new managed pub business.

Rita Rudner, Leicester Square Theatre, London

On her last visit to London, 19 years ago, Rita Rudner appeared in the Royal Variety Show at the Dominion Theatre. Tonight, she played the more modest, 420-seater, Leicester Square Theatre. However, the American has not lost her lustre and in-between time has become Las Vegas's most successful comedians.

Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love

City Slicker: Philadelphia - Philadelphia is urban America at its most friendly and relaxed. Sarah Donnelly offers ideas for new and returning visitors

Simon Calder: The importance of being visited by Ernest

The man who pays his way

Conrad Murray claims Jackson self-administered drugs

Michael Jackson's doctor claims he self-administered the drugs that killed him.

The Business On: Stephen Billingham, chairman-elect, Punch Taverns

Can he pull a decent pint?

Encounters of the cosmetics kind: Deborah Ross goes behind the beauty counter

I suppose I could say I have always dreamed of working behind the cosmetics counter in a department store's beauty hall, but it would not be the truth.

Somerset cherry sour

Serves 4

Juicy fruits: Mark Hix gets creative with versatile, delicious cherries

Juicy British cherries are in peak season right now and they offer so many possibilities in the kitchen when used in both sweet and savoury dishes – and, of course, in drinks. Cherries have traditionally been grown in Kent, and at this time of year you will see lots of them for sale on the roadsides. But there are a few other cherry orchards dotted around the country, including the one right next door to Julian Temperley's cider brandy headquarters down in Somerset (for more information see ciderbrandy.co.uk) which supplies us with cherries that we make great use of in the restaurants after Julian has preserved them in his apple eau de vie.

Eat to the beat: The food tents at this year's festivals have a very tasty line up of newcomers

It was the August bank holiday. The rain was going from drizzle to downpour and as I peeped out of my weather-beaten tent to survey the landscape at the Reading Festival, the last thing I wanted was another cereal bar. Or another Babybel, another bag of crisps – or any of the other provisions I'd so frugally packed the Friday before. So half an hour later I found myself sitting opposite an infinitely more appealing plate of grilled halloumi, rocket, aubergine and roast peppers, accompanied by a hefty wedge of focaccia.

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Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
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