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.
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