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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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
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform