Jane Merrick: The Emperor's New Clothes (29/07/12)

They are designed to soothe, but a neighbour's wind chimes have got our writer running for the scissors

Weekend work: Time to do some deadheading

What to do

Nato says Afghan militant attacks are up 11%

Insurgent attacks in Afghanistan during the past three months were up 11 per cent, compared to the same period last year, according to the latest statistics on monthly violence released by the US-led coalition. 

Hilary Mantel on Booker Prize longlist following success of Wolf Hall

Past winner Hilary Mantel and three former shortlisted authors found themselves among the 12 writers on the Man Booker Prize longlist today.

“Wouldn’t it be fun for Britons to organise themselves quickly enough to beat Starbucks to a chain of tea houses,” says tea grower Jonathan Jones (pictured)

For all the tea in Truro – how a Cornish plantation is turning the tables on China

It's shortly after noon and the Tregothnan country estate is bathed in a low blanket of mist. Leaden skies loom overhead and a steady drizzle of rain makes the surrounding foliage glisten bright green.

Yearly mating ritual will see pavements and gardens covered with swarms of flying ants

Cleared for take-off: it's the day of the flying ants

Yearly mating ritual will see pavements and gardens covered with swarms of insects

Finnegans Wake By James Joyce

No one said it would be easy ...

Weekend Work: Time to prune wistarias

What to do

Wayne Amiel in the Clapham garden he has been lovingly tending for five years

'My best find was in a skip': Wayne Amiel reveals his dedication to abandoned plants

I used to know the streets round London's Clapham Old Town reasonably well, wheeling pushchairs past the grand façades of The Pavement, balancing small children on swings in Grafton Square, haring after scooters in Rectory Gardens. Someone once told me this was the oldest squat in London. I like Rectory Gardens – the random collections of stuff tacked on to walls, the small bits of garden laid straight on to the street, shored up with timber offcuts, casually, promiscuously planted with marigolds and lettuce, petunias and parsley.

B&Q sees its sales spruced up in the rain

B&Q slashed prices on paint and wallpaper to encourage homeowners to make the best of the wet weather by getting on with the decorating, its owner Kingfisher said yesterday.

Archbishop of York climbs aboard giant Noah's Ark

The Archbishop of York has inspected the final preparations for an event billed as Britain's biggest outdoor theatre production.

Gardeners say slugs have made this year a nightmare

Slug alert! Invasion of the gastropods

Record rainfall leads to population explosion – and devastation of British gardens

Kohlrabi (Brassica 'Purple Delicacy')

Caravan of love: How Joy Larkcom transformed the way we grow, cook and eat our greens

Emma Townshend pays homage to a woman whose passion for vegetables saw her take to the roads of Europe in the 1970s.

Weekend Work: Time to cut out flower stems

What to do

Archie Bland: Cameron would do better not to take sides in future

It's embarrassing enough to be overheard being rude about your neighbour if it's just the guy from down the road when you're mouthing off in the pub. Consider how much worse for David Cameron.

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Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
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Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
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George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
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Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
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Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?