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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


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.


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.


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?'
Arts and Entertainment
Lennie James’s return as Morgan does not disappoint
artsConquer, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Another picture in the photo series (Rupi Kaur)
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor