Travel Hannah and Chico take the long way round Wales

How one travel-writer's innovative journey round the Welsh coast led to a starring role for her four-legged companion

CHRISTMAS TV: drama The Hour of the Pig

The Hour of the Pig

Letter: How we managed to fail

DAVID Bowen's article "Terminal Failures" (Business, 3 December) presents a dismal catalogue of errors in Britain's attempts to grapple with information technology.

Elbows off

As I think back, it strikes me that much of the time I have spent at table with my family has been spent not on high-minded conversations such as, what is the capital of Bolivia? (when they were young), or, why hasn't one of you got the guts to rid us of the Wilsons, the Greenaways, the Charauds of this world? but on such mundanities as: Will you please get your elbows off the table? Don't speak with your mouth full (darling). Cut your meat properly. The napkin is made to sit on your lap. And (most frequent), What would your grandmother say if she saw you eating like a pig? The grandmothers have shifted, but not the message. And oddly enough, autocrat of the dinner table that I may be, it is not my voice I hear wearily mouthing these imprecations, but that of their mothers: begging, cajoling, insisting; furious, resigned, despondent. So I take it that mothers feel that part of their nurturing duty is that of imposing something called "manners".

word of mouth jaw jaw

So our Tony wants to have a yack with Paddy about policies. Well, he certainly needs to chat to someone, but do they speak the same language? Tony's empty shtick pick'n'mix of the words agenda, community, sensible and forwards - has earned him the epithet "gobshite" in many quarters, while Paddy continues to utter homely words such as "poppycock" (from the Dutch pappekak, meaning soft shit), while staring into the middle distance like Lords Raglan and Cardigan at Balaclava, surely the only military debacle to be commemorated in knitting patterns.

Overdosing on sleaze

Clever or conventional? Paul Pickering explores the sick sentimentality of Gordon Burn's second novel; Fullalove, by Gordon Burn, Secker & Warburg, pounds 14.99

city slicker Whitby

The 30th Whitby Folk Week takes place this week (until 25 Aug), boasting more than 1,000 hours of folk events. Here's how to get the best out of an all-singing, all-dancing week by the sea

The mystery of Apollo's hexameters

THE DOUBLE TONGUE by William Golding, Faber pounds 12.99

In Here: The holiday help

The first thing I do is locate the accommodation comments book - guaranteed to make me feel young and cool and groovily un-English

Taking the donkey-work out of recovery

`It really is coming on well and we've had very few people laugh at us'

Gallipoli Murphy the Anzac donkey

Jan Morris and her cat explore the animal kingdom in search of tigers, bears, foxes and the tuskless Indian elephant

Tuvalu flags torn ... Ken's video nuptials ... royal dieting: DIARY: CAPTAIN MOONLIGHT

A BAD week, you will agree. The Government reeling from disaster to defeat like a drunk in charge of a loaded Purdey. The Queen digging for oil. The RAF carrying out mock bombing raids on a village telephone box. And then Tuvalu and this business with the flag, which has gone rather unnoticed.

Captain Moonlight: You great big donkey, you

EXCLUSIVE: Railtrack junior executive Eric Witherington (on right) demonstrates the company's latest plan to beat the signalmen's strike. These giant donkeys, each with liveried driver, are capable of carrying up to six commuters in comfort for distances of up to 60 miles. 'Once they're up and moving they can get a real crack-on,' said Eric, of Horsham. 'But we do advise bringing sandwiches.' Convinced? Actually, this is a Poitou ass, hailing from that region of France, which is used to cross with the local breed of horse to produce hybrid mules. Matched only in size by the Andalusian ass, the Poitou became almost extinct in the 1980s and is currently the subject of an urgent conservation programme.

Theatre / Dreaming colour: Rhoda Koenig reviews A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford

There is the gossamer and dewdrop sort of Dream, there is the defiantly ugly kind, and sometimes there is the coldly elegant type, the last of which Adrian Noble has mounted in a generally stunning production.

Food & Drink: Eating a Matisse for lunch

The art of presenting (or disguising) food is as old as cooking, though in its most spectacular forms it survives mainly in the monumental (generally tasteless), many-tiered wedding cake, one of which I recall as having been an exact reproduction of the bride's father's turreted and crenellated chateau. (To this day, I add, Number One daughter makes her children's birthday cakes in the shape and colour of a London bus, Victoria Station, the Roman Forum . . .)
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
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
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape