i Robert Burns, 1759 to 1796. Scottish Poet

Ah, Scotland’s favourite son.

Auntie and Me, Wyndham's Theatre, London

Why don't you just drop dead?

Auntie and Me, Wyndham's Theatre, London

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The Irritations of Modern Life: 74. men-only clubs

I HAVE often wondered what men do in all-male clubs. Million-pound deals? Homosexual rituals? Men, especially if they belong to the Garrick Club, are reticent, giving the impression that it involves little more than long lunches, at which they get slightly squiffy and eat nursery food. Yet, as soon as someone proposes changing the law to force such clubs to admit women, it is as if the very foundations of civilisation had begun to shudder.

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Schools chief says Puttnam is `silly'

THE EMBATTLED chief inspector of schools, Chris Woodhead, was embroiled in a fresh row over his performance yesterday after Lord Puttnam accused him of damaging teacher recruitment by leading a "permanent regime of intimidation and terror".

The Joys Of Modern Life: 42. Airline food

THE METAL trolley rattles into the aisle. It must be at least 20 rows away, but already a Mexican wave of descending tray tables is rippling its way back towards you. The tantalising smell of hot food seems to fill the air as the cabin staff move with agonising slowness in your direction. If it weren't for the lack of leg room, you'd be on the edge of your seat with excitement. It can only mean one thing: you're about to get an airline meal.

Restaurants: It's only rock'n'roll but I like it

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Words: medley, n.

IN ANGLESEY I once asked a waitress what the "mixed vegetables" were. She said, "They're mixed vegetables", and I still puzzle; and boggle at the Brighton restaurant Peppers' "medley of vegetables". This is pithily defined by Johnson as "a mingled mass. It is commonly used with some degree of contempt." (Restraint itself compared with one's seeing that Harvester describes a pudding as "playfully stabbed with walnuts".)

The flavour of Britain

The flavour of Britain

Eating Out: Your usual table? Who eats where Lesley Glaister, author

My favourite food is my own lentil stew with caraway dumplings, eaten in huge amounts while curled up on the sofa. And when I'm sad the only thing that will do is Heinz tomato soup - the cheerful speckled orange is just so comforting and right. But I do love eating out - as long as it's nowhere stiff and pretentious. Across the road from me in Sheffield is a cafe-restaurant called Nonna's (539-541 Ecclesall Road, 0114 2686116). I often meet my friends there for lunch because it's so cheerful and bustly. They serve plates of crostini and bruschetta misti, topped with different nibbly delights, which are perfect for sharing during confidences and gossip. In the evening the food is also sublime. The best starter I've ever experienced is their tonno carpaccio - wafer-thin tuna marinated in lemon to create the most delicate melt-in-the mouth appetite sharpener. When I first had it, my partner and I hardly spoke for fear of wasting a moment of taste-experience.
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