Judging by the national mood, I would urge David Cameron to go to the polls now; the mood is good out there

The Irritations of Modern Life; 58. Postcards

IT'S THAT time of year again. As half the country lie unclothed on foreign beaches, turning an interesting shade of magenta, the other half get to share their "wacky" holiday experiences via the postcard.

Books: The man who couldn't go to dinner

The letters of Wilkie Collins have been collected for the first time, and they reveal more about his digestion and his boils than his mysterious love life

Villagers plagued by poison pen mail Poisoned pen mail

CHOCOLATE-BOX cottages lining narrow streets surrounded by green fields make Countes- thorpe in Leicestershire seem the quintessential English village, with a cricket team and traditional pubs. But the idyllic setting harbours the vicious perpetrator of a vile poison pen campaign.

How would we express ourselves without greetings cards?

YESTERDAY I brought you an extract from the trial in which Damien Frontway, who never knew his father, is suing the mighty Birthmark Card empire for issuing Father's Day cards and thus causing him mental and emotional distress by reminding him of his absent parent. Today we hear more of the evidence given on the stand by Mr Roberts, chairman of Birthmark Cards.

Let this card bring joy to you. If it doesn't you may sue

`The greeting card industry demands 100 per cent sincerity. That is very wearing'

Muisc: Rip it up, start again

Remember Big Country? Lush melodies? Raw emotion and home-town pride? Old news. In the fifth part of our major series on devolution, Elisabeth Mahoney applauds the way Scottish pop has reinvented itself

How to make a million without going to Torquay

TODAY WE are continuing our travel-writing master class, in which we claim to tell you how to convert your summer holiday experiences into a best-seller.

Labour in bid to win over women

THE GOVERNMENT is to canvass the views of women on what really matters in their lives by sending out one million bright orange, reply- paid postcards to shops and libraries.

Industrial Breakthroughs: Hot Desking

What is it?

Greeting cards are just a pawn in the banana game

PRODUCERS OF greeting cards yesterday sent an unpleasant message to the US and the European Union, branding them "bananas" for using the industry as a pawn in the latest trade dispute.

Win copies of `The Ice Storm' video

Ang Lee's The Ice Storm is emotional, thought-provoking and has earned

BJP casts a cloud over holiday season

BJP casts a cloud over holiday season


Missed the last posting date for Australia, America, Europe ... Britain? Fear not, you can now redeem yourself right up until the big 25 with a virtual Christmas card to anyone, anywhere who has an e-mail address. Scotland.net's Christmas Pages is at the classier end of this growing new market, with cards divided into Traditional (stained-glass windows from churches such as the Holy Rood in Stirling), Scenic (a wintry Princes Street in Edinburgh, snowy Loch Duich and various other landscapes heavy with the white stuff) and Wildlife (pheasants, robins, stags and more). The method for sending virtual cards is pretty much the same everywhere. In this case, once you have matched the card to the recipient, simply click on it to customise it further from the range of festive borders and seasonal greetings and then fill in your details and those of the person you're sending it to.

Postcards from the proscenium

The Critical Condition; A bad film review means bad box office, but the movie itself remains unaffected . By contrast, a theatre review can change a production. In the fourth part of our week-long series on criticism, we examine the role of the theatre critic. By Paul Taylor

Win Gangsters on CD-Rom

Set in a fictional Chicago-style city called New Temperance during Prohibition in the 1920s, Gangsters: Organised Crime casts you as the Boss in a world of extortion, intimidation and murder. The latest release from Hothouse Creations, the game is published by Eidos Interactive and is available in PC CD-Rom format priced pounds 39.99.
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Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas