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In my previous dispatch from the traumatic home-hunting frontline, where regiments of estate agents fire broadsides of scorn at our hilarious budget-to-square-footage aspirations, I detailed how one such know-it-all had been forced to tell us – just as we were about to enter – why the house was unsellable, due to the all-pervasive stench of chemicals from the dry cleaner down below. Needless to say, we weren't inordinately tempted.

Jack Pitt-Brooke: At Queen's, a quaintly English affair doesn't quite go to plan

View From The Sofa: Aegon Championships at Queen's, BBC1

Susannah Shops: Anything but haute

At least a few designers out there are pragmatic enough to realise that if they adhere to a signature style, they will not only please a loyal customer base, but will also drop in and out of fashion in its more ephemeral guise, thereby regularly attracting new consumers into the fold.

The Hacker: Shoe socks are OK but 'massive intellects' put their foot in it again

Adapting to life under the new Equality Act has not been easy for most golf clubs, particularly those who've been male-dominated for 100 years or more.

The Game of Love and Chance, Playhouse, Salisbury

Old farce with a new identity

Diary: Kirsty makes a boob on tape

Cheery property expert-cum-TV homemaker Kirsty Allsopp was at Thursday's Hodder dinner at Café de Paris to promote the new paperback edition of Kirstie's Homemade Home. Deciding, however, that the subject of craft would yield few gags, she chose to recount a racy anecdote from her youth.

A new spin on Shakespeare

Propeller, theatre's celebrated all-male ensemble, has a reputation for witty, adventurous takes on the Bard. Alice Jones visits rehearsals for its latest double bill

Deborah Ross: Surrender to the fleece and the game is up

If you ask me...

You can keep your red underwear, bankers told

Good news for Swiss bankers: They may soon be allowed to wear red underwear, black nail polish – and even eat garlic.

Resolution!, The Place, London

The funny side of naked ambition

Deborah Ross: These tips will stop you buying stupid presents

If you ask me...

My Secret Life: Terence Conran, designer, 79

My parents were... a constant inspiration, and encouraged our creativity at a time when such a thing was almost unheard of.

Leading article: Dressed to impress

School uniforms: garments of oppression or liberation? It's a tricky one. What, many will ask, could be more effacing of an individual's character than requiring them to dress in an identical way? Uniforms are for the armed forces, or the police. What business do we have imposing such stifling conformity on children? Some young people agree with this.

Outside the Box: 'Scissorhands Sid' is a cut above the rest for Stoke

They come and go, these football managers, but fortunately for barber Sid Cartlidge, a 70-year-old Stoke City supporter, they all need a haircut from time to time. The man known as Scissorhands Sid reckons to have served 17 different managers, which by our reckoning takes him as far back as the Potters' icon Tony Waddington. He has just opened a new salon in town, at a ceremony attended by the current incumbent Tony Pulis and several predecessors, including Lou Macari (two spells as manager in the 1990s), George Eastham (1977-78) and the current director of football John Rudge. Ruthlessly cast aside by neighbouring Port Vale after 15 years as manager, Rudge is if anything even more, er, folically challenged than Pulis, and says: "It's not about what he takes off any more, but what he leaves on. I've so little hair left these days that Sid can give me a cut over the phone."

Sarah Sands: Threadbare is the classiest look of all

The PM's shabby socks signal his fine lineage

In defence of the older man

You may not even know it – but if you are a male of a certain age, you have become the latest target in the battle of the sexes. Enough, says Michael Bywater. It’s time to fight back
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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...