Travel
 

This millennium, Britain’s dragonfly contingent has been in the throes of revolution. Several sparkling species have crossed the sea to start colonising the UK. In this ambitious itinerary, you might see up to seven magnificent dragonflies unknown in Britain two decades previously.

Wildlife under aerial attack

The US aviation industry has taken extreme measures against birds in the name of safety. But in Britain, the approach is more humane. Alice-Azania Jarvis reports

Tanztheater Wuppertal, Barbican Theatre, London

Age on parade lacks the levity of youth

Geese tagged to examine threat posed by wind farms

Barnacle geese heading to the Arctic for the summer were tagged with satellite trackers to find out more about their migration amid concern planned wind farms could get in their way.

The Music Room, By William Fiennes

It was for his observation of the pattern of migratory birds in the award-winning The Snow Geese (2002), and for its insight into the theme of human belonging as well as the titular birds, that William Fiennes gained his reputation. Conversely, his latest memoir, concerned this time with humans (specifically, Fiennes's elder brother Rich's struggle with epilepsy), is rich in descriptions of nature. He strikes upon truth when he reaches it obliquely.

Fly by Wire, By William Langewiesche

"Have you any ideas?" asked Captain Sullenberger. "Actually not," replied co-pilot Skiles. So their Airbus A320 crash-landed on the Hudson River in the shadow of Manhattan's skyscrapers. "The fluency they exhibited at such a critical moment," writes Langewiesche, "helps to explain why their passengers survived."

London Assurance, NT: Olivier, London

Simon Russell Beale made his reputation, over 20 years ago, playing egregious Restoration fops at the RSC. He now returns, in a blaze of comic glory, to this effeminate breed in Nicholas Hytner's deliriously funny revival of Dion Boucicault's 1841 play London Assurance.

Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, By Peter Manseau

Itsik Malpesh, a Jew born in turn-of-the-century Russia, is four years old when the butcher's daughter saves his life during a pogrom. (Or so he's told. Much later in the story, we hear the butcher's daughter's side of things.) As a child, he works in a goose-down factory, until he's press-ganged into the Russian army. Escaping, he finds refuge in Odessa, where he enjoys a couple of peaceful years before being smuggled to the US in a trunk, where he becomes a poet, writing in Yiddish. After that, the hectic pace of Peter Manseau's novel slows a little, but still to come are love affairs, unexpected reunions and a murder.

Flock of geese missing en route to feeding ground

The hunt is on for a missing flock of one of the world's rarest birds.

Restaurant loses its Michelin star for third time as chef walks out

Row as owner plans to turn award-winning eatery into a pub

Simon Calder: An open door for a Cuban stowaway

Travel is all to do with doors: exploring what lies beyond them. For journeys in Latin America, though, the Spanish word puerta is a better term: it covers a multitude of openings, from the creaky old door of the Hotel Caribbean in the Cuban capital, to the Gate of the Sun that invites weary hikers on the Inca Trail to marvel at, then descend to, Machu Picchu.

Toulon can cook Saracens' goose by battering Castres

The French side can end Saracen's Challenge Cup bid with a bonus-point victory

Qing Dynasty: Art of stone

An exhibition of naturally sculpted rocks from China's Qing Dynasty makes for the most mysterious show in Britain, says Tom Lubbock

Album: Belshazzar's Feast, Frost Bites (Wild Goose)

A member of Bellowhead (oboe, cor anglais, violin, vox) and another bloke (accordion) tackle a mummer's dozen (eight) songs that pertain in some way or other to the frigid season. Jigs, reels, ballads, carols: that sort of thing.

You Ask The Christmas Food And Drink Questions

Michel Roux Jr answers your Christmas Food and Drink questions including: What can I do with a surfeit of goose fat? Where do you stand on sausages in bacon? And what’s a ‘coherent plate of food’?

Jack and the Beanstalk, Lyric Hammersmith, London

It's been 30 years since a traditional pantomime was put on at the Lyric Hammersmith, and the theatre has marked the occasion by commissioning four playwrights: Richard Bean and Che Walker, both alumni of the National and the Royal Court, along with Joel Horwood and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, who have written for the Edinburgh Fringe.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?