Life and Style Large breeding snails of the 'gros gris' variety in Helen Howard's production unit

Heliculturists have increased production 25-fold since 2000. Cahal Milmo meets some and finds out why more home cooks and chefs are shelling out

Gale can take to the air for King George

Jim Dreaper believes he can solve the transportation problems that had threatened the participation of Merry Gale in Saturday's King George VI Chase by securing a berth on one of the regular flights that transports breeding stock between Ireland and Britain.

DIARY: Obituaries of the late Patricia Highsmith

Obituaries of the late Patricia Highsmith have stressed her unhappy childhood, her friendships with Graham Greene and Paul Bowles, her sphinx-like inscrutability and so forth. But not enough attention, I feel, has been paid to her relationship wi th snails.

Gastropod

THE VEXED question of tipping has been discussed in this column before, when the Restaurateurs' Association of Great Britain advocated legislation to levy a standard service charge on all meals served in restaurants (as in other European countries). That way there would be no doubt about how much one should leave, or who benefits from the arbitrary surcharge that many restaurants slap on top of the bill.

Columbia finds space for weightless matters

(Photograph omitted)

Good Questions: The sound of silence

GASTROPODS and hats are among our subjects the week, but first a query sent to our Thursday Silly Questions feature, but re- routed because it is - literally - phenomenally good.

Ivory Towers: Personality tests for octopuses

PARANOIA can make an octopus unsuitable for aquarium display, according to R C Anderson's report, 'Cephalopods at the Seattle Aquarium' in the 1987 International Zoo Yearbook. An emotional octopus may have to be excluded from tests for spatial awareness, according to J A Mather's paper 'Navigation by spatial memory and use of landmarks in octopuses' (Journal of Comparative Physiology, vol 168, 1991).

Gastropod: Correction

In last week's column a wrong telephone number was given for Lenni Smith, organiser of Portobello Road's green markets. The correct number is: 071- 624 6249. The Gastropod and his editorial minders apologise for the inconvenience.

Letter: Catholic planning

Sir: Andrew Brown writes ('Catholics braced for moral crackdown,' 3 August) that the birth rate among middle-class Catholics is exactly the same as the birth rate among middle-class agnostics.

Food & Drink: Such slow progress in the snail's saga: After some little local difficulties, L'Escargot has opened again with new names being dropped around the place. Emily Green sampled the results

L'ESCARGOT, the soap opera, continues. For those unfamiliar with the Soho serial, a brief exposition: L'Escargot opened in the Twenties, but became fashionable only in the Eighties. At the height of its popularity, the food was fine, the wines were excellent and it was almost synonymous with Elena Salvoni. She was the manager, and had a deft touch attracting showpeople and politicians.

Look closely and you will see the snail moving

NOW, here is a question: is John Smith the snail? Not any snail, I mean the snail described by Gunter Grass, the great moustachioed German novelist. His snail symbolises slow, real, political progress: 'It seldom wins and then by the skin of its teeth. It crawls, it goes into hiding but keeps on, putting down its quickly drying track on the historical landscape. . . .'

A dying legend in its own lunchbox

IN A PLASTIC lunchbox, a single snail is experiencing the ultimate loneliness. It is the last of its kind. When this small mollusc dies, its species will enter the eternal night of extinction.

EPIC / Keeping the drama shipshape

'I FEEL as if I've got a chihuahua lead and I'm running up this huge monster, this jabberwocky, and trying to pull it through a small door,' says Greg Doran, director of The Odyssey, which opens tonight at the Other Place, the RSC's smallest, roughest space.
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
Sport
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel Shop See all offers »
India and Nepal
14 nights from £2,159pp Find out more
Dutch Masters
five nights from £679pp Find out more
La Robla and Rioja
nine nights from £1599pp Find out more
Classical Spain
six nights from £539pp Find out more
California and the Golden West
14 nights from £1,599pp Find out more
Bruges
three nights from £259pp Find out more
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?