Travel Amazing place: the Colosseum in Rome

'I'm the sort of person who would rather wear one T-shirt for the whole holiday'

Proms: BBC SO / Jiri Belohlavek The Rustavi Choir Royal Albert Hall / BBC R3

Friday night at the Royal Albert Hall suggested something of a musical world tour, initially in the company of Jiri Belohlavek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, then with the all-Georgian, all-male Rustavi Choir directed by Anzor Erkomaishvili. The humid evening air hung as heavily as hot towels, but when the Rustavis broke into their opening "work song", spirits soared and the atmosphere freshened in an instant. There were 17 songs from various regions of Georgia plus two encores, ranging in tone from the sacred to the profane and in style from a hushed lullaby, through hypnotic dance songs, a historical narrative, an Eastertide carol, drinking songs, a horseriding song and a couple of instrumental solos featuring two lutes and a lightning-fingered flautist. The dozen-or-so singers appeared in handsome attire (purple tunics with silver braid) and exhibited both impressive vocal stamina and formidable executive discipline. Anyone hooked on early choral music (by, say, Perotin) will have responded to the music's striking brand of polyphony, while certain harmonic clashes - ie the "seconds, sevenths and ninths" that Dr Gerard McBurney referred to in the excellent programme booklet - sounded a decidedly modern note.

Mediterranean medley

Colin Hughes took his brood to Sardinia's Forte Village - for a mix of family fun and romantic reverie

postcard from sardinia

For More than a year, our journey around Europe has been smoothed by the Cadogan Guides, the best contemporary travel guides - witty but not facetious, informative but not dull. So, imagine our dismay when we discover that our Cadogan Guide to Italy does not include Sardinia. No history of the island, no advice on what to see.

postcard from corsica

We twist onto Corsica's most dramatic mountain pass. The Mediterranean plunges below, and lichen-bearded pines part on rocks that thrust upwards like giants' teeth. Four-year-old Tallulah sighs. "I wish I was in Stockwell."

Cycling: Robert Millar named as Britain's new road racing coach

Robert Millar is Britain's new full-time road racing coach. In Tour de France history the Scot was the only Briton to win a prize category, the red polka dot jersey of best climber, and was our best finisher with fourth overall in 1984.

Letter: Major mixed up about history

Sir: The West Lothian question is certainly a problem to be addressed by pro-devolutionists (letters, 14 February). However, it only becomes an insuperable stumbling-block to those determined to make it so.

Hockey : Problems for Havant

Havant and Hounslow, both former National League champions now nestling at the bottom of the Division, need to reverse the trend of recent games if they are to stand a chance of staying in the Premier Division. It will not be easy for either side.

Hockey

Scotland came from behind to draw 1-1 with the United States in their second game in the World Cup qualifying tournament in Cagliari yesterday. After Bill Scott had given the Americans a 44th minute lead from the penalty spot Chris Anderson levelled the scores. Scotland's late fightback was handicapped by a red card to Leonard Michael in the closing stages.

A powerful cocktail of absinthe and tradition

Corsica is characterised by beautiful scenery and defiant independence.

Worth its salt

FOOD: Don't stint on the dried roe for a true taste of Sardinia; Good bottarga, as with genuine salt cod, has a whiff of old socks about it. But the flavour is quite magnificent once this pungency is appreciated Photograph by Jean Cazals

We gaze at our reflection in the back of a spoon and say, 'Look, I'm Pete Townshend.' Every night

We are on a two-week family holiday in Sardinia - an island populated entirely by glossy-haired beauties whizzing by on Vespas and withered nuns on their way to Vespers. We stare at the coltish girls and try not to look at the nuns. "I don't like them," whispers Mum. "It's so dopey. Marrying Christ." Dad is racing way ahead of us - he always does - turning now and then to say "keep up". We can't. Mum recalls their wedding day. "He walked too fast for me then, too. I had to say, 'Excuse me, I can't find the registry office by myself.' "

Gardiner finds security after year of alarms

Security group Gardiner looks set to share in the spoils of the Government's promise to improve school security in the wake of the Dunblane tragedy and killing of London headmaster Philip Lawrence. Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Education, said last week money would be available to upgrade security in due course. Some of this, no doubt, will go on video cameras and systems - a business that now amounts to a fifth of Gardiner's annual turnover after its entry to this market just over a year ago. Stability is returning to the burglar alarms market after intense competition cut prices and margins, and Gardiner's horror story of overstated stocks is now well in the past. Expect pounds 4m this year (to October 1996), rising to pounds 4.5m next. That puts the shares (at 29p and static for the past month) on a prospective p/e of 12, falling to 10 beyond.

Miner eyes prospect of Sardinian gold

A bearded Australian gold miner rolls into the City of London next week hoping to interest bankers and fund managers in an intriguing, if slightly implausible, investment opportunity.

Cagliari's coach walks out

Giovanni Trapattoni announced yesterday that he had resigned as coach of the struggling Italian Serie A club Cagliari after less than a season in the job.

Jobless gardener walks 160 miles to interview

IAN MacKINNON
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Independent Travel
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Seven Cities of Italy
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