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It's one of the oldest newspapers in the world, dating back to 1665

When things were done better

EDWARD VII by George Plumptre, Pavilion £19.99

One more cup of coffee

Caf life began in London, not Paris. Now, reports Charlotte Packer, it's here again

SOMETHING NASTY IN THE AIR

IT MAY have been a mild winter so far, but it has been a hard one - and a hard year - for the millions of Britons who now suffer from asthma and other breathing difficulties. For smog has returned to our cities.

Site Unseen: Soho's "Tudor" potting shed

There will always be something special about Soho, something which brings a spring to the step and a tingle to the cheek. Even if the district was bulldozed tomorrow and built over with concrete bunkers housing an army of DSS officials, Soho would still be different.

PEOPLE BORN ON NEW YEARS EVE AND DAY

New Year's Eve Born on this day: Jacques Cartier, explorer and navigator, 1494; Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, 1720; Pierre-Charles Jean-Baptiste Silvestre Villeneuve, admiral, 1763; Sir Edward Augustus Bond, librarian of the British Museum,1815; Sir Will iam Withey Gull, physician to Queen Victoria, 1816; Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, 1830; Henri-Emile Benoit Matisse, painter, 1869; Caradoc Evans, novelist, 1878; George Catlett Marshall, general, 1880; Sidney Strube, political cartoonist, 1891; Ernest John Moeran, composer and violinist, 1894; Jule Styne (Julius Kerwin Stein), songwriter and composer, 1905.

Site unseen: THE GARRISON CHURCH, PORTSMOUTH

This is where Charles II, "the Merrie Monarch", finally got married. One of England's randiest kings actually had a headache on his wedding night and failed to rise to the occasion. How do we know? Did a housemaid listen outside the door? No. It was the King himself who let the cat out of the bag. Writing to Lord Clarendon, his adviser in May 1662, Charles II was explicit: "It was happy for the honour of the nation I was not put to the consummation of the marriage last night, for I was so sleepy, by having slept but two hours in my journey, that I was afraid that matters would have gone very sleepily."

DANCE / Ashton: lest we forget

Ashton Celebration - Royal Ballet

The Rake's Progress

Poet, boozer, bisexual and now a play. Paul Taylor on the Earl of misch ief

BOOK REVIEW / Sailor who knew how to serve two masters: Cromwell's Earl: A Life of Edward Mountagu, Richard Ollard; HarperCollins, pounds 20

IT IS widely believed that the restoration of Charles II in 1660 saw the total rout of the republicans and the triumphant return of the Royalists to power and office. As old Cavaliers were the first to complain, however, this is too simple. Edward Mountagu exemplifies that group of grandees who made a successful transfer from office under Cromwell to the Restoration court.

Inside Parliament: Hurd defends contacts with neo-fascists: Foreign Secretary angered by attacks from Labour - MP's Bill to remove hereditary peers from Lords

Douglas Hurd's legendary sang-froid deserted him temporarily yesterday as he defended his contacts with neo-fascists in the new Italian coalition government. The five ministers from the fascist-led National Alliance were democratically elected, the Foreign Secretary told the Commons - only to be reminded that so were Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

The list

MAINLY FOR WORSE: Eve (there was no alternative); Penelope (Ulysses never at home); Lady Macbeth (husband a wimp); Octavia (Cleopatra's nose just the right length for Mark Anthony); Eva Braun (Hitler so territorial); Mrs Jack Sprat (probably did prefer lean to fat); Charles II's Catherine of Braganza, (tolerated seven mistresses and a dozen bastards); Desdemona (it was only a handkerchief); Mrs Micawber ('I will never desert Mr Micawber' despite his debts and failures); Jane Clark (but 'below stairs' dalliances could be the last straw).

'Playful' portrait expected to fetch pounds 1.2m

THE great-grandson of the artist William Holman Hunt is selling a portrait of his grandfather by the illustrious Pre-Raphaelite painter.

Property: The agent's deceptively spacious CV

YOUR WORST fears about estate agents are confirmed in a survey by the organisation responsible for their training. Only 17 per cent of negotiators and 23 per cent of valuers have any relevant qualifications, according to a report by the Residential Estate Agency Training and Education Association. The odds are therefore at least four to one against the person selling your home having learned from anything other than his or her mistakes.

House used by first cabal to reopen

WHEN THE Dutch Old Master paintings at Ham House near Richmond were taken down recently, neat vellum labels were discovered on the backs valuing the pictures for the pawnbroker.

RADIO / Short, but truly sweet

ON THURSDAY morning, my car became a hovercraft. Huge arcs of yellow flood-water found holes in the roof, the wipers gasped and panicked and I could have been at Thorpe Park, rather than aquaplaning along the lane to my daughter's school. I was really late. Michele Stephens on Morning Edition (R5) had just proffered a thought for the day: 'God put me on earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now, I'm so far behind, I'll never die.' With cruel emphasis, schools programmes began immediately, with Let's Make a Story. A male Joyce Grenfell called Simon Davies, breathless with excitement, made a wildly adventurous suggestion: 'Shall we imagine it's pouring with rain?'
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick