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The rise of fathers' playgroups

Men can feel out of place at mother-and-toddler groups. But male-only parenting events are proving hugely popular. By Heather Bateman

Design: That's so last century

It's the style statement that's an investment, too – Kate Watson-Smyth on the lure of original modern furniture

The Weasel: History ain’t what it used to be

"Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young the very heaven." From Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited to In A Silent Way by Miles Davis, I recall my teens as aurally amazing. Dozing in the back of my parents' car, I was thunderstruck when I first heard "Strawberry Fields". "Eight Miles High" by the Byrds was so intoxicating – it still is – that you couldn't believe it was legal. The same applied to "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane and, in a home-grown way, "Itchycoo Park" by the Small Faces. One day, someone brought into school Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix. On the following day, someone else arrived with Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd. Or it might have been 5,000 Spirits by the Incredible String Band or We're Only in it for the Money by the Mothers of Invention or Sgt. Pepper ...

Urban gardener, Cleve West: Acers high

A garden writer called recently, researching an article she was writing on acers. She wanted to know what varieties I like to use and was looking for a suitable quote. For a moment I was stumped. I couldn't think of the last time I'd planted an acer - until I remembered Acer campestre which featured in our show garden at Chelsea last year and more recently at the Clore Learning Centre at Wisley where we've planted a hedge of this British native. While acers are, without doubt, beautiful trees, I've had to ask myself why I don't use them more often.