Outlook: Lloyd's of London

IT HAS taken Lloyd's of London 300 years to get where it is today, which is to say from a collection of individuals who met in a coffee shop to one of the biggest and certainly the most unique insurance markets in the world. Judging by the noises emanating from Lime Street yesterday, it could be another 300 years before Lloyd's takes the ultimate step and demutualises.

Somehow I never did feel at home quaffing pints of foaming euphoria

Yesterday I began the first volume of my autobiography - My Life in Beer. An evening among the tankard-bearing hayseeds gathered in Olympia for the Great British Beer Festival set me off, though in truth we go back a long way, beer and I. Or at least lager and I do. But you can't call your autobiography My Life in Lager. It sounds too much like the story of a South African internment. Which would be to overstate my suffering.

Drink: Good things come to an end

IN THE United States, when you want to bring something unpleasant to an end you are "seeking closure". This week I am seeking closure in two (not at all unpleasant) areas. First, the Wine Relief raffle. I received 51 cheques for pounds 5, and the one plucked from the hat came from Peter Wood of Loscoe, Derbyshire. Many thanks to all who entered, your cheques are on their way to Wine Relief.

Ads: The double life of Darren from Braintree

NO 266: PETE TONG PROMO

Design: Carve his name in lime-wood

At last, thanks to the passion of an American, Grinling Gibbons is being honoured with an exhibition at the V&A.

In 25m years it'll be like Club Med

Dominica is one of the few Caribbean islands to have escaped the invasion of holiday-makers. Now its natural beauty is attracting a new kind of visitor - the eco-tourist.

Home Life: Tip of the week - Make your own traditional pigment paint

GLOSSY interiors magazines are full of rooms painted in old-fashioned pigment colours. They come (of course) at a thoroughly modern price - around pounds 30 for five litres which may stretch to two coats of an average room. For pounds 15 you could paint the whole house in the real thing. Here's how to do it:

Shopping: Putting Pater on a better footing

With Fathers' Day tomorrow, there isn't much time for the unprepared to do anything more than nip down to the local High Street and

DRINKS FOR MEXICAN FOOD

THE FIRST thing you have to know about drinks for Mexican food is that wine will rarely stand up to those strong flavours. This is a shame, because there are a few good ones made in the country: I've always been a fan of the wines of LA Cetto, especially their Petite Sirah which can attain real distinction in good years. Sadly, the good years seem to be less reliable than of yore, but pick up a bottle on a dare if you happen to find one.

Gardening: Wollerton revisited

When Lesley Jenkins got the chance to buy the house where she spent her childhood, her first thought was how to remake the garden. Anna Pavord tells the story of an evolution of horticultural style - from Sissinghur st, through Hidcote, to Lesley's own design

Fashion: Out of the bathroom closet

UMA THURMAN keeps her complexion flawless with Janet Fildermans Lime Blossom Cleansing Milk, pounds 11.25. (Mail order 0171 262 7034)

Property: The best weed in the house

The plant which gives us dope is also a high-quality building material. So is hemp coming home?

Property: Doctor on the House - Sins of the modernisers

Mouldings hacked away, marble smashed to bits. Jeff Howell digs up the evidence of 1970s building vandalism

Repointed walls aren't all they're cracked up to be

DOCTOR ON THE HOUSE; Builders love replacing old mortar between bricks with new cement. But do it at your peril, warns Jeff Howell
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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