Sport Gary Ballance is confident he can deal with Mitchell Johnson ahead of his return to the Australia squad for the second One-Day International with England

Ballance is looking to fight fire with fire after hitting half-centuries in his last two innings

Iron, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Murder meets mother-love in a steely domestic drama

The late showman

Christopher Hawtree has lots of fun beyond the grave; The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery by Kyril Bonfiglioli Black Spring Press, pounds 14.99, 174pp

Man of substance: Matthew Paris

For writer, broadcaster and wit-about-town Matthew Parris, absence of style is a positive virtue. He has no time for his appearance - aside, perhaps, from a sneaking concern that he may end up one day looking like an old tortoise

Celebrations for a right Charlie

Author Kyril Bonfiglioli is dead, but his portly and dissolute alter-ego Charlie Mortdecai is making a comeback.

Theatre: Touch of Chekhov in Calcutta


Is it time to get a Gaydar?

I CAN'T get my mind round the job. It's difficult enough settling to one's work after a holiday in the normal course of things - that post- break anticlimax is one of the greatest robber of man-hours on the planet - but after two weeks hanging around with a gay couple on one of Europe's premier resort islands, all I can do is swivel my Gaydar.



'Blue Peter' has been a nursery for many thrusting talents


No longer in the shadow of the King of Rock'n'Roll

`If you look quite like Elvis, it merely underlines the fact that you aren't him'

Food for thought: Why does a skin form over hot milk?

SOMETIMES HOT milk can seem to be the only remedy for a sleepless night. But this often means having to remove an unpleasant skin from the top of your bed-time drink with a teaspoon (or enduring a novelty white moustache). This skin formation is due to the loss of solids that the milk undergoes as it is warmed up.

Secretarial: The Temp What the chauffeur saw

PAUL THE chauffeur and I have struck up a bit of a friendship, mostly because we spend a lot of time sitting around with mugs of coffee in the kitchen waiting for Oscar, who always calls for the car an hour before he really needs it. I wasn't sure about Paul at first - thought he was pretty dour - but that's mostly because I've never had a friend with a ginger moustache before, and I gather now that a ginger moustache is almost compulsory if you want to join The Regiment, which I think is the phrase that a particular type of soldier uses to avoid saying "SAS". Paul's over 40 now; he got out of The Regiment nearly a decade ago and set himself up as a chauffeur-bodyguard and security adviser.

Your Holiday Disaster: Elizabeth Smith tried to avoid the gangsters in her Moscow hotel

DON'T GET me wrong, Russia is a country not to be missed - full of fabulous treasures, fascinating culture and interesting people. But the service can be appalling, with limited hot showers and surly waitresses, food can be stodgy and fresh vegetables scarce. And, more perturbing than these minor difficulties, the country has an uncomfortably dark undertone.

Case of the fat food critic and his handsome impostor

A MOST curious case is going on in the High Court at the moment, in which a famous restaurant critic is suing a man who, he claims, is masquerading as him. The reason for this is that... well, perhaps an extract from yesterday's proceedings would be enlightening:

The agreeable world of Wallace Arnold: How the General got tetchy at the tricky third hole

GOLF! I have spent many a happy hour parading up and down fairways in my snazzy plus-fours, my multi-coloured V-neck and my two-tone shoes with the saucy little flaps. Sometimes, I even bring my clubs and tees along and enjoy a bit of a knock-about while I'm at it. It's a glorious game, perfect for unwinding. With one well-timed swing, you can send that little ball - what? - ten, fifteen, sometimes even twenty yards, right into that little clump of trees to the right. With a smile and a wink, bidding your opponent good luck as he shimmies into the distance, you saunter genially over to the little clump and you take aim and swing and you take aim and swing and you take aim and swing and then you hammer the ground with your club and then you hammer it again and again until you're blue in the face and the divots are flying and the trees are cracking from the blows and your club breaks and there are tears pouring from your eyes and you're saying mummy mummy mummy why did I have to grow up I hate it I hate it I hate it and nineteen shots later you've only just reached the green and your opponent is smiling in that ghastly smug way of his saying: "Came a bit of a cropper, did we, ha ha!" and you want to wrap your number 9 around his neck dig a six-foot hole in the bunker and leave his corpse for the groundsman to disinter five months later in a state of decomposition.
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