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Errors and Omissions: Try as you might, there's no way to decapitate a human head

This week the Independent's pedant-in-chief considers the stars, takes on "whet" vs "wet", and severs a misunderstanding

Rustic retreat: Roll-top bath in a Spacious room

B&B and Beyond: The Pig in the Wall, Southampton

The people behind The Pig in the Forest have brought their luxury B&B concept to the seafront, says James Litston

Being Modern: Trick-or-treating

Say the words eggs and flour to the average householder and a fair proportion will doubtless respond, "Bake Off!" But mention those cakey basics on 31 October and they might equally induce feelings of dread. Eggs plus flour? That's a recipe for but one thing: a surprisingly hard-to-clean front door thanks to the dastardly menace of trick-or-treaters.

‘I wanted to pay but they would not negotiate’

Councils resort to rogue bailiffs to 'terrify' debtors, charities warn

Government urged to reform medieval laws as municipal outsourcing prompts complaints

The ‘Dark Ages’ were a lot brighter than we give them credit for

We still view European history as taking off with the Renaissance and Enlightenment, but this position gets more out-of-date the more we learn

The Crusader States, By Malcolm Barber. Yale, £25

Between 1099 and 1192, an assortment of Western European Christians known as Franks or Crusaders managed to recapture, rule and eventually lose Jerusalem, Antioch, Edessa, Tripoli and the lands surrounding them in Syria, Palestine and the Levant. Known as Outremer, these were Latin and Catholic polities in lands then dominated by Greek Orthodox, or Shia and Sunni Muslim. Malcolm Barber's detailed, fair-minded and scholarly history of this collection of western states in an eastern setting sheds much light on both the period, and its repercussions, which are still with us today.

Artist Frank Grenier has engraved a miniature of the 70m (230ft) Bayeux Tapestry on to a shallow crystal bowl

History that's crystal clear

An artist has engraved a miniature of the 70m (230ft) Bayeux Tapestry on to a shallow crystal bowl.

Howard Jacobson: Suddenly everyone wants to talk about books, but nobody wants to read them

No one who cares about reading can fail to be alarmed at the closure of libraries and bookshops

Harriet Walker: Harry is bringing the Royals into reality-TV era

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, according to the adage, but the pictures that emerged of Prince Harry yesterday tell a rather different story. Right Royally starkers, he cups his crown jewels coyly by a pool. With one kingly shoulder, he valiantly saves the blushes of the naked woman standing behind him.

Postcard From...Languedoc

Travel west along the French rivieria, going past Antibes, St Tropez and Marseilles, and you will find another side to France's Mediterranean coast. Far from the glitz of Monte Carlo, brimming with its tax exiles and Russian billionaires' yachts, here is the less fashionable but "salt of the earth" France. No Brad Pitt, Brigitte Bardot or even Graham Greene here.

Album: Stealing Sheep, Into the Diamond Sun (Heavenly Recordings)

You can't move for Wicker-Man-soundtrack-influenced bands these days, but when these three Liverpool lasses let their freak-folk flag fly their abandon is contagious.

Errors & Omissions: An odyssey won't take you to the Holy Grail

Legends cluster around the name of Katherine Grainger, it seems. Last Saturday we reported on the British rower: "Ever since she secured her first silver in the double sculls at the Sydney Games in 2000, the 36-year-old rower has been painfully honest about her quest for what she called the Holy Grail – Olympic gold. That odyssey came to a euphoric close yesterday on Dorney Lake when she and her partner Anna Watkins powered to first place in the double sculls."

Memorabilia from the Wenlock Olympian Society inside Much Wenlock Town Museum

Amble into Olympic history: Walk of the month - Much Wenlock, Shropshire

Take your time in the Shropshire town where the modern games began, says Mark Rowe

One minute with...Eoin Colfer, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Visionary: Barry Unsworth visits Seaham Colliery in Co Durham, not far from his birthplace
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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
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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
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
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Day In a Page

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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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