Uphill struggle: Sheep farmers lose on every fleece

Fleeced by wool: Sheep farmers face Victorian levels of poverty, despite keeping the nation warm and fed

Wool is on a roll. Demand from Chinese consumers for British wool is sending prices skywards, and the sweater business is warming up for a further festive boost this week, when the public is invited to sport its finest Christmas jumpers for charity.

Kale eating: Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z are both known to eat kale

Veganism 2.0: Let them eat kale

The plant-based diet is winning new recruits, from pop stars to restaurateurs. Susie Mesure reports on a green revolution

Bob Dylan's 'going electric' guitar from Newport Folk Festival sells for nearly $1m

For Bob Dylan fans, the moment he plugged in his electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, signalling a departure from his folk roots, has gone down in history. Yesterday, the Fender Stratocaster on which he plucked and strummed his first electrified notes to a live audience sold for $965,000 (£590,000) — the highest price ever paid for a guitar at auction.

Man in black: Nick Cave

The Week in Music: Nick Cave is No 1 with a brooding classic that reaches for the sky

It's that time of year when music magazines and websites report their best of 2013 lists. In its latest issue, NME picks Arctic Monkeys' AM as their No 1 album of the year – expected given their rave 10/10 review on its release.

Andy Burrows tested his songs on his daughter, Chloe

Backstage: Snowman pair get a kid’s view from Chloe’s criticism

Between them, they have recorded number one albums and have won awards for scoring soundtracks for Hollywood films. But when it came to looking for a sounding board for their recent Christmas collaboration, Andy Burrows and Ilan Eshkeri turned to a five-year-old girl.

Avoid online shopping and sales - get to the Christmas markets

In a world dominated by tax avoiding shopping behemoths and faceless super chains, it’s nice to experience some interaction with stall owners

Snooker: Ronnie O'Sullivan dumped out of UK Championship after shock defeat to Stuart Bingham

The 'Rocket' pocketed two centuries but was still lost 6-4

Hot summer boosts AG Barr as sales fizz higher

IRN-Bru maker AG Barr has announced an 8 per cent increase in third quarter sales after the company bounced from its failed merger with Britvic.

Asda gives working mums 'nativity leave' to see children in plays

With tea towels draped precariously over wise men’s heads, fidgeting shepherds and an audience of overanxious, camera-phone-toting parents willing their offspring not to fluff their lines, the annual nativity play has become a deeply loved and emotional Christmas tradition.

Waitrose to sell sweeter 'child-friendly' Brussels sprouts for Christmas

Children often reject the festive staple because of its perceived bitter taste

Reggae singer Junior Murvin dies aged 64

'Police and Thieves' became an anthem in British inner cities of the late Seventies

Iron Maiden will headline next summer's Sonisphere festival alongside Metallica

Sonisphere 2014: Iron Maiden and Metallica to perform their only UK shows next summer

The rock monsters will headline together for the first time in the UK

Liverpool Santa Dash tries to break world record as Christmas charity fun runs take place across country

Organisers in Liverpool called for 10,000 people to attend in a bid to beat their Las Vegas rivals

Video: Scientists create world's first Christmas tree powered by Brussels sprouts

They hope it will inspire children to eat the things - and take up an interest in science and engineering

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine