Abstainers Anonymous

He's not weird, he just doesn't drink, but try convincing Chris Taylor's friends of that

Items and Icons: gifts

`Florentine' lamp by Jenny Worrall from her Neo Classical collection.The designer has revived the Victorian technique of Potichomania, decorating hand-blown Dartington crystal bases internally with cut out images and decorative paint finishes. Prices from pounds 140 (01295 690 402). Centre, Ingrid Bergman, 1946, by Robert Cappa, guide price pounds 700 to pounds 900, from a sale of cinema prints by Magnum photographers celebrating the 50th anniversary of the photo agency. The sale is on 18 December at Bonhams, Montpelier Street, London SW7 (0171-393 3965). Far right, original graphics make buying work by a favourite artist an affordable gift for Christmas. Alan Cristea Gallery, at 31 Cork Street, London W1, is featuring work by Peter Blake including his Alphabet series. Screenprints from around pounds 750 (0171-439 1866)

India: Where beer grows on trees

Rice harvests, toddy, lime groves - Alex Ninian gets a front-seat view of Indian life on the road from Madras.

Property: Get really plastered with lime-and-hair

DOCTOR ON THE HOUSE; A bosh bosh, loadsamoney job means gypsum plaster, but lime has stood the test of time, says Jeff Howell

Property: Doctor on the House - The curse of rising damp is just a load of old rot

There are building 'experts' who make money from persuading us that water is a bad thing. Ignore them, writes Jeff Howell

Power station to burn dirty fuel

A ``filthy'' fuel made from oil refinery waste, is to be burnt at Europe's biggest coal-fired power station for a 10-week trial period, the Government's Environment Agency announced yesterday.

So much for railing against privatisation

When I was a young boy, growing up in the borders of North Wales and Cheshire, the village railway station was called Gresford, and there I used to spend many hours taking engine numbers and watching trains shuffle back and forth, taking coal from Gresford Colliery and passengers to Wrexham. Occasionally, bigger fry would pass through. Trains going as far as Wolverhampton. Trains marked "Pines Express" and going to somewhere called Bournemouth, though how they got re-routed on to our line I could never quite see. Bluebells came every spring in the woods and lady's smock grew round the River Alyn.

Every possible shade of green

Simon Calder meanders through Dominica's vibrant rainforests in the company of parrots and hummingbirds

Farewell to misery of poison gas

`Dulce et Decorum Est' by Wildred Owen*

Lloyd's lodges first writs against names

Rupert Galliers-Pratt, the colourful Old Etonian financier, Tony Gooda, of the Gooda Walker syndicates, and Robin Kingsley, of the Lime Street Agency, are among 150 names that are the subject of writs lodged yesterday by the Lloyd's of London insurance market.

Earl invests in Punters

Robert Earl (above), the man behind the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain, has emerged as an investor in Courtyard Leisure, owner of four bars and restaurants in the City of London, writes Nigel Cope.

Devil in a lime blouse

DIABOLIQUE Jeremiah Chechik (18); Sharon Stone is dressed to kill. Isabelle Adjani is looking peaky. Ryan Gilbey is entertained. But a brighter remake isn't necessarily a better one

Theatre: This Lime Tree; Bower Bush Theatre, London

The title of Conor McPherson's play comes from a poem by Coleridge which describes, basically, the poet's feelings on being stuck at home while his friends go out for a walk. But even imprisoned in his lime tree bower, the poet finds consolation in contemplating the joys he's missing, and in the signs of life that surround him.

English like she is spoke: an abuser's guide

The new Oxford English Grammar should be the last word on split infinitives and correct usage. But it ducks all the issues. Super-pedant William Hartston confronts its libertarian editor, Sidney Greenbaum

Time for Lloyd's to get tough over settlement

Lloyd's of London needs all the friends it can get. So it was with an audible murmur of surprise that the beleaguered establishment at Lime Street reacted to unexpected words of support for the insurance market's rescue plan from Chatset, the independent analysts. In the past, as Lloyd's condition turned from dire to disastrous, Chatset made its name for regularly laying bare, with figures and sharp analysis, the obfuscation, half-truths and downright lies behind which the insurance market sought increasingly to hide.
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
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Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
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Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
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Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
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Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
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Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
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Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
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Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones