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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.

Frank Worthington in his mid-Seventies heyday

Kevin Garside: Oh for some flair like Frank's to fire up dull England

The Last Word: Hodgson’s brief is to deliver us from the golden age that never was

Harriet Walker: How hard could it be to look after a baby?

I spent the first half of this summer only too pleased at the clouds, downpours and lingering chill in the air. I wanted the skies to reflect my mood, and if I wasn't feeling sunny or blithe, I was damned if anyone else should be.

<p>1. Dri Buddi</p>
<p>£59.99, Jmldirect.com</p>
<p>Hang up to 18 garments in this electric contraption. The warm vortex action takes out wrinkles, cutting down ironing time.</p>

The 10 Best clothes dryers

From tried and tested old-fashioned designs to high-tech super dryers

Sonar used to search for body of four-year-old Dylan Cecil

Specialist sonar equipment is being used today to find the body of a four-year-old boy lost at sea.

Diller: ‘My whole idea is to cheer people up’

Phyllis Diller, first female stand-up, dies, aged 95

She reportedly kept a plastic surgery diary, showing it to anyone who asked

These are not women who rely on being either pencil thin, preternaturally tall or studiously aloof to carry their clothes

Ready To Wear: The real beauty of carnival is being happy in your own skin

Unlike many of the residents of London's Notting Hill, I stay put at carnival time. No escaping to sunnier or rural climes for me on the occasion of this, the biggest street party of the year.

Born this way: Madonna during her 'Blonde Ambition' tour

How To Be Gay, By David M Halperin

This mammoth account of gay identity defers too much to the passing fads of pop culture

Stocking fillers

Mark Fast's designs have long been inspired by hosiery techniques, so a new collaboration with the tights titan Jonathan Aston is a perfect fit

Emeli Sande’s repeat appearances divided opinion

Olympic closing ceremony: Cynicism's comeback gig

For the last fortnight, the nation has been uncharacteristically enthusiastic and, well, nice. But the Olympic closing ceremony saw us getting back to our snarky selves...

August 1, 2012: Mauritius celebrate winning a point in their beach volleyball group game against Germany

London 2012: Sand from Olympic beach volleyball to be used to build 36 new courts within the M25

Sand from the beach volleyball stadium outside Horseguards Parade will be used to build 36 new courts within the M25 over the coming months as part of an attempts to build a lasting legacy that will propel Britain towards the next Olympics in Rio.

Man sets Weymouth flat on fire after trying to dry underpants and socks in microwave

A man had to be led from his flat after a fire started when he tried to dry his underpants and socks in the microwave.

Deconstructing Gaming: Sonic on the couch

The first in our semi-regular, and most certainly satirical, character assassinations of gaming's virtual icons.

China next for Next's online expansion

Next will launch an own-language website in China this autumn, as the fashion retailer seeks to capitalise on booming online revenues.

Hyde Park Olympic concert: Snow Patrol, Simon Le Bon and Ricky Gervais's beard strike a chord

"The night's most enduring band – with Le Bon in Union Jack jacket – enter after a brief, bracing deluge"

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones