i Robert Burns, 1759 to 1796. Scottish Poet

Ah, Scotland’s favourite son.

Racing: Pitman's souffle ready to serve

PRINCEFUL IS "like a souffle that is cooked and ready to be served", according to Jenny Pitman, his trainer. Unfortunately, the pudding-like ground at Ascot may prevent the dish of the day appearing on tomorrow's menu at the Berkshire course.

Restaurants: Where shall we meet in Blackheath

Blackheath is turning into a right little haven of foodiness these days. The delicatessens in the area having always thrived on the fact that there weren't many eating- out options if you didn't like Tex-Mex, local residents scarcely have to set foot indoors for their amusement these days. Latest arrival is Chapter Two, which has been predicting its opening for almost a year. It finally did so, after numerous building problems, a couple of months ago.

Comment: An audience with the alien

I HAVE been talking to an extraterrestrial entity. His name is Omar. And he is not best pleased with me.

Letter: Byron's yo-yo diet

Sir: The poet Byron undoubtedly suffered eating disorders ("Byron was severely anorexic", 8 October) but the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa seems incomplete. "Yo-yo dieter" or "bulimic" would be more apt, given that Byron was obese as often as he was emaciated.

Eating Out: Moving in the smartest circles

AXIS; 1 Aldwich, London WC2. Tel: 0171 300 0300. Open Monday to Friday for lunch from noon to 3pm, and Monday to Saturday for dinner, 6 to 11pm. The Express Menu costs pounds 14.95 for two courses and pounds 17.95 for three. Average a la carte price for lunch, pounds 25 per head. Credit cards accepted

Travel: Kerala - Massage and medicinal rice pudding - just what the doctor ordered

The ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda is attracting growing numbers to Kerala. The humidity in June and July is ideal for the treatments, so Phil Frampton decided to join them

Comedy: Cooking up a storm

Like many white South Africans, Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout (right) initially struggled to come to terms with the post-apartheid landscape. But, ever the pragmatist, she soon found her niche in the brave new world of the Republic. She now tours the world, passing on to the grateful masses the benefits of her political wisdom.

Motoring: Worn to be wild

You've got the classic bike, but you're still only half way there, reckons Giles Anderson

Eating Out: Turning Kia-Ora into wine

DAFFODIL: 18-20 Suffolk Parade, Montpellier, Cheltenham GL50. Tel: 01242 700 055. Open Monday to Saturday for lunch from noon to 2.30pm and from 7 to 10.30pm for dinner. Average price per person, pounds 20 without wine. The bar is open from noon to 11pm and snacks are served between 2.30 and 7pm. Major credit cards accepted

Weekend Life

There's always a frisson of tension about Sunday lunch. You know the kind of thing. You are all tucking steadily into our chicken. Then from nowhere ... "So how many gay friends do you have?" asked my sister accusingly. My mother choked. My father went puce. My brothers looked puzzled. Another usual Sunday dinner.

The Human condition: Never lie your baby on his front, on his back - or on his side...

... and never listen to half the advice that assaults new mothers, says Sheila Hayman

What, when, where ...

Feeling peckish after Christmas? Go wild at the Great British Pudding Festival, held at the Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton. Those who take their puddings really seriously can stay in the Spotted Dick and Custard bedroom (booking essential) and feast themselves at the Pudding Parade of seven puddings, including one mysteriously known as "Lord Randall".

eye give ...

20 present-buying days to go ...

Bring back... Arctic roll

Children have been reared and placated on Arctic Roll as a staple part of school dinners for decades.

Where it's Nordic but nice

EATING OUT; ANNA'S PLACE; 90 Mildmay Park, London N1 4PR. Tel: 0171 249 9379. Open Tues-Sat 12.15- 2.15pm and 7-11pm, and for Sunday brunch 11.30am-3pm. Closed Sunday evening and Monday. Average a la carte price, pounds 21. Major credit cards accepted
Career Services

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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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'