News Isabella Sorley, 23, and John Nimmo, 25, arrive at Westminster Magistrates Court, London

Two people have pleaded guilty to sending "menacing" tweets to a feminist campaigner following her successful campaign to ensure a woman features on British banknotes.

WORDS: Around

A SUSSEX gardener had a nasty experience the other day when the lawn he was mowing developed a gaping hole into which he fell, losing consciousness. "When I came to," he said, "the mower was balanced on the hole above my head and I could see the blades still going around." At least that was how he was reported in the Times, and I'm sure there was no cause to doubt it, except that I wonder whether he could really have said that the blades were "going around". (The Daily Telegraph said simply that they were "still whirring".) Some of us down in Sussex tend to prefer the shorter form - "going round" - when we want to talk about things like rotating lawnmower blades.

Words: quiz, n. and v.

ONLY NOW that I set a weekly quiz in this newspaper's magazine did I wonder about the exact origins of the word. (That way lies madness should any of us linger over every such word in a day.) A reasonable suppostion is that it is Latin. In fact, only indirectly: it is mid-19th-century American, first used by William James with a certain disdain in 1867: it yokes question and inquisitive, and also echoes the dialect quies, but is distinct from the earlier quiz, an eccentric person. It had also been used by Jane Austen of an odd- looking thing.

Wednesday Book: The art of the estate

HUMPHRY REPTON: LANDSCAPE GARDENING AND THE GEOGRAPHY OF GEORGIAN ENGLAND BY STEPHEN DANIELS, YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS, pounds 40

The novel pleasure of a first line

A work can recover from a duff opening, but a duff ending echoes in the mind like a cracked bell

The enigma of our national pin-ups

I'd like a really offensive depiction of the Battle of Waterloo on our last banknotes before the euro

Country: Country Matters - All set for a role in the hay

O pera in a barn? Cosi Fan Tutte in a cowshed? Why not? If you love music, have money and also enjoy baiting the local planning authority, why not convert your outhouse into an opera house?

Digital, Cable and Satellite Television; Pick of the Day

DIRECTOR DAVID FINCHER'S speciality is stylish thrillers with a distinctly nasty edge, such as Seven. In The Game (10pm Sky Premier), Michael Douglas (right) is well-cast as a smooth multi- millionaire whose well-ordered existence is threatened when his brother (Sean Penn) signs him up for a mysterious "game" for his birthday. The most intriguing aspect of this satellite premiere is trying to work out whether it is a game or not.

William is no cause for panic

Another children's classic fell foul of the political correctness vigilantes last week. Just William, who will this summer be celebrated in an 80th anniversary edition, was criticised by the RSPCA for his occasional cruelty to animals (in one of the stories the nasty rotter paints a dog blue). The plaintiffs asked that the stories be revised; a foolish suggestion that could not have provoked more publicity if it had been engineered by the publisher's marketing department. It was greeted with an inevitable blast of outrage from those who assume that "political correctness" is just another word for "spoilsport". Hostile critics claimed that the RSPCA was seeking to turn dear old William into - dread term - a goody-goody.

It was 35 years ago today: Nihilism with a smile

This week in 1964, after nearly a decade of rejection, the 31- year-old Joe Orton finally got publicity for his craft, rather than his craftiness. (The year before, he and his lover Kenneth Halliwell had gained a few column inches - and six-month prison sentences - for defacing library books.)

A good idea from ... James Joyce

WHEN WE ask someone what they are thinking about, unless they reply with the standard (and, for the paranoid, devastating) "nothing", they will usually sum up the contents of their minds in one or two succinct sentences: "Just thinking about the garden," or "What we should do about John." Novelists have traditionally followed suit, offering us intelligible reports of the inner lives of their characters. In Middlemarch, George Eliot explains that Dorothea, the first time she meets her dusty future husband "said to herself that Casaubon was the most interesting man she had ever seen". Jane Austen tells us of Emma: "She was quite convinced of Mr Elton's being in the fairest way of falling in love, if not in love already."

Boys to study ripping yarns

BOYS SHOULD read adventure stories such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped rather than romantic literature by Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, the Government said yesterday.

WORDS; Genteel

POOR JOHN Prescott had a bad half-hour in the House last week when he got his papers mixed as well as his syntax and gave the sketch- writers something to laugh at. Of course I read all their accounts, while feeling rather mean about it - the polite thing to do when someone makes a fool of himself in a public place is to look the other way.

Theatre: The right sort of melodrama

"THERE'S SOMETHING going on that's worth peeping into," remarks wicked Mr Corrigan. You can say that again, and it's not just the plot. Connall Morrison's big-hearted Abbey Theatre production of Dion Boucicault's 1860 comedy simply glows.

Books: Religion of a novel kind

Can literature replace faith in a secular age? Michael Schmidt dissents from a critic's sermon; The Broken Estate: essays on literature and belief by James Wood Jonathan Cape, pounds 16.99, 384pp

Who needs critics?

They are despised by artists (`Professional eunuchs') and distrusted by the public (`Why are they always so negative?'). To launch a major series on the Critical Condition, we begin, as they so often do, with a question ...
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