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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Lake Garda
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

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Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

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Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

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Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own