Sport Richardt Strauss could return to the Ireland squad for the Six Nations following his rapid recovery from heart surgery

Schmidt coached Strauss at Leinster and believes that his return is a bonus for Ireland ahead of the Six Nations campaign

Rant & Rave (09/12/12)

Rant

Anthony Rose: 'Maurizio González Gordon is sherry royalty'

An invitation to join in the blending of González Byass' new Palmas range doesn't come along every day, so when Martin Skelton, who heads up the UK office, invited me, it didn't take me long to say yes please. Imagine a game-loving monarchist being invited on a shoot at Balmoral with the Queen. Maurizio González Gordon, who runs the traditional family Jerez firm of González Byass, is sherry royalty, so the opportunity to join in the blending was not to be missed.

Five-minute Memoir: Michael Holroyd recalls a mischievous feline lodger

I grew up in a house that was crowded with dogs. Most of them belonged to my aunt, though a few of the less popular ones were passed on to my grandmother. As head of the household, my grandfather had to summon the vet from time to time, an excruciating business as he did not trust the telephone and, being unable to see whom he was speaking to, would raise his voice, making him sound very rude.

Legal highs... Jimmy Greaves - a meal of roast and veg

Need a boost? Try glands and brandy on the menu

England clearly needed a pick-me-up in Poland. Steve Tongue looks at what history has to offer

Grounded: Racing's Olly Barkley is tackled by Doug Howlett of Munster

New boy Barkley puts the boot into Munster

Racing Metro 22 Munster 17

Eric Hobsbawm

Further to yesterday's obituary of Eric Hobsbawm, in 1952 and 1953 it was my privilege - a word he often used in various contexts – to be supervised by Eric, as an undergraduate, a raw youth straight from a tank crew in the British Army of the Rhine. Unlike a number of distinguished don colleagues, he required one's essay to be delivered to his rooms at least three days before the submission date. The result was that he had time to read it more than cursorily and knew exactly the points he thought it was worth pursuing. No tutor could have been more dismissive of irrelevance or cant, and more direct in getting to the substance of any historical issue.

The spectacular New York City skyline

The travel agency of mum & dad

Recession-hit adult children are being forced to holiday with their parents, survey shows

Mandela Trilogy, Cape Town Opera, Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Since its foundation in 1999, Cape Town Opera has heroically fostered the growth of opera in South Africa, while spreading the word internationally about the wonderful voices which thrive in that country’s soil. And its close connection with the Wales Millennium Centre made this the perfect venue for the European premiere of Michael Williams’s biographical ‘Mandela Trilogy’.

Baked potato Madame Fort

Baked potato Madame Fort

Serves 4

Ireland head coach Declan Kidney

Uncapped Irish trio earn chance

The Ireland head coach, Declan Kidney, is set to finalise his 29-man squad for the New Zealand tour after tonight's game against the Barbarians at Kingsholm.

Solear Manzanilla, Barbadillo, £4.99, half-bottle, Waitrose, Tesco.com

Sunshine in a bottle: The freshest, lightest vintages to sip this summer

Solear Manzanilla, Barbadillo

Terence Blacker: Time to put email, Twitter and texts in their place

The landline telephone rings only occasionally these days and, when it does, it often brings a call-centre hustle of some kind. Yet every day passes in a blur of staccato communication with the outside world: can you do this? Have you seen that? Nudge, link, like, follow. The rhythm of online correspondence provides an easy sort of company, and can sometimes – not always – make life more convenient, but there is a price to be paid. We are losing the art of conversation.

Terence Blacker: Don't confuse talk with genuine conversation

The landline telephone rings only occasionally these days and more often than not, when it does, it brings a call-centre hustle of some kind. Yet every day passes in a blur of sustained, staccato communication with the outside world: can you do this? Have you seen that? Nudge, link, like, follow.

Pizarro says: 'I have a problem, which is that I love alcohol. I really like a glass of sherry'

José Pizarro: 'People ate anything they could get their hands on under Franco'

My earliest food memory...Seeing my mum and grandmother cooking – although growing up as a boy in rural Spain at that time, you weren't supposed to be in the kitchen. If there's one thing that evokes childhood for me, it's partridge. My grandmother would cook it at Christmas, and I still remember the smell of the burning feathers.

Anthony Rose: 'Something is happening: it's called the tapas bar revolution'

I was propping up the bar at José's eponymous tapas bar in London's Bermondsey when before you can say Rozinante, the barman offered me two red wines to taste, a bobal and a mencia. Not rioja, please note, but two relatively obscure yet delicious Spanish reds each with their own distinctive personality. I couldn't resist a glass of Gramona, a cava that's so refreshing it almost single-handedly redefines Spanish sparkling wine.

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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
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
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
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How did our legends really begin?

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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