i Penny Mordaunt, Conservative MP

Someone’s about to make a Splash!

BOOK REVIEW / Method acting through a two-way radio: Songs my mother taught me - Marlon Brando with Robert Lindsey: Century, pounds 17.99

I WANTED to read Brando's autobiography for two reasons. First, because he agreed to do it only on condition that the receipt of several million dollars from his publisher would not oblige him to mention either his several wives or his many children (the details of their lives are of no interest to me, and I liked the idea of saving time by not having to listen to the usual half-truths and emotional self-justifications). Second, because it was unashamedly ghost-written, a once discredited process by which some of the most interesting documentation of pop culture is currently emerging.

Letter: Lord Scarsdale's views on his family seat

Sir: While I cannot speak about events prior to my appointment as the National Trust's architect at Kedleston Hall in 1990, my own experience of working with the National Trust and with Lord Scarsdale since then is markedly different from the impression given by the report of Lord Scarsdale's interview on local radio ('Viscount accuses National Trust of vandalism', 11 August). I have observed first hand the extent to which the Trust's staff consult Lord Scarsdale regularly about even quite minor matters and his views are welcomed and valued.

Hartstone to raise pounds 30m to repay its creditors

HARTSTONE, the troubled leather goods group, is raising pounds 30m in a rights issue to restructure its balance sheet.

Lumiere resurfaces

The Lumiere cinema in St Martin's Lane is reopening on 8 July after a four-week closure. The cinema, which is underground, had to be redecorated after water leaked into the auditorium.

QE2's pounds 30m facelift

The QE2, which has been in service for 25 years, is to undergo a pounds 30m refurbishment. The work will involve redecoration of every cabin on the 69,000-ton Cunard liner and every bathroom is to be replaced.

Flat Earth: Fitting acronyms

NEW acronyms, of which there is never any shortage, generally produce an unpronounceable word (EU, MFN) or a ridiculous one (Nafta, ERM, EMU). Occasionally, though, the effect can be nicely onomatopoeic: Slorc, for example, sounds exactly like a country being throttled by its rulers (the State Law and Order Restoration Committee, which runs things in Burma). More rarely, along comes an acronym which seems to fit the bill exactly. We like two new ones, Potus and Flotus, now apparently in use in Washington. Potus - President of the United States - has a kind of latinate ring to it, suggesting power and authority, and perhaps even - or are we imagining this? - non-inhaling drug use. And Flotus isn't too bad for First Lady Hillary, who has so buoyantly ridden the Whitewater rapids without getting her feet wet.

Fury as flood damages homes: Cable TV contractors say test dig failed to locate supply pipeline marked on map

Hundreds of householders in West London are continuing a massive clean-up today after water from a shattered mains pipe flooded their homes.

THEATRE / Low on spirit: Paul Taylor on Alan Ayckbourn's latest play

Alan Ayckbourn is to writer's block all that Proust was to the meet-the-author signing tour. A mere matter of weeks since the premiere of his 46th play, Haunting Julia (opus 47) now rolls off his word processor and into the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

Allied Radio on ice ahead of restructuring

SHARES IN Allied Radio, the loss- making independent broadcaster, were suspended at 101 2 p as it announced plans for a rights issue and capital reconstruction. Details will be sent to shareholders and stockholders later this week, with results for the year to 30 September.

Property revival helps Taylor Woodrow back to the black

A SHARP recovery in profits from housing and property combined with an absence of exceptional charges to push Taylor Woodrow pounds 30.2m into the black in 1993, a sharp reversal from the previous year's pounds 94.5m loss.

Cheap options for Montague

ROBERT MONTAGUE, the chief executive of Tiphook, has cut his salary by three-quarters to pounds 200,000 under the proposed financial reconstruction of the deeply indebted transport leasing group.

Architecture Update: Restoration comedy

THE EUROPEAN Commission is offering pounds 2.5m for the restoration of buildings associated with the performing arts including theatres, concert halls, opera houses and cinemas. It says that anything which can be done to conserve the architectural heritage is not only of cultural importance, but is also an investment in Europe's future regional, social and economic development.

Appeals: The Ragged School Museum Trust

Children from Dulverton Junior School, south-east London, attending a Victorian lesson at the Ragged School Museum, beside the Regent's Canal, in Bow. The museum trust was set up in 1983 with three aims: to house an East End history museum, to save three canalside warehouses from demolition, now the only mid-Victorian warehouses left on the six miles of canal and towpath in Tower Hamlets, and to provide education, activities and space for temporary exhibitions. The museum opened four years ago and has 12,000 visitors each year. It has started an appeal for pounds 650,000 for a three-part refurbishment programme: to convert further warehouses for display space and other facilities, to make a new kitchen and to do general repairs and redecoration.

CHESS / Did you solve the reconstruction?

CONGRATULATIONS to the 75 readers (including one grandmaster who misspelt Independent) who sent in correct answers to our Christmas competition. Commiserations to the three who submitted 'proof' that it could not be solved.

The long road to restoration: A tough hike will benefit one of the nation's finest churches. Michael Leapman reports

THERE cannot be many countries where a rector would feel obliged to undertake a 200-mile mountain hike to raise money to restore one of the nation's most historic and exquisite churches. That is what the Rev Richard Hayes, of St Mary Woolnoth in the heart of the City of London, will be doing next May.
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University Edible Garden, Leeds – a sustainable garden in the centre of the university, passers-by can help themselves to the home-grown produce
newsFrom a former custard factory to a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery
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Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
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High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
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Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz