Days out: Watch your step after a drop of the abbot's ale

A hike to Byland Abbey in Yorkshire

Television: Binging it all home

When it comes to television at Christmas, as it does at least once a year, our powers of hindsight become distinctly myopic. "There's been nothing much worth watching on telly this Christmas" is an annual whinge at least as sacred as, "Don't give me any more sprouts, I hate sprouts!", yet presupposes that there ever was anything much worth watching at Christmas.

Letter: Stone circle

Sir: Karl Cradick (letter, 18 December) objects that the stone circle at Rollright is "cut off" from the surrounding landscape by trees planted in modern times.

Letter: Ancient stones

Sir: Your photograph of the Rollright Stones (Review, 13 December) shows how this important monument has been cut off from the surrounding landscape by a ring of conifers planted in modern times.

America's Stonehenge saved in centre of Miami

AN AMERICAN Indian archaeological site in the heart of Miami, revealing secrets going back at least 2,000 years, has had an eleventh- hour reprieve.

Public asked for verdict on Stonehenge road debate open to public

MORE THAN a year after the Government announced its intentions for the management of Stonehenge, members of the public will be able to comment on the plans. A draft goes on show at Amesbury, Wiltshire, today and tomorrow and people will have until the end of October to give their opinions.

Avebury's ancient mystery uncovered

THE SOUND of a mechanical digger hitting stone marked the discovery of a Neolithic "lost avenue" that is being described as one of the most important finds this century. Since the 1700s, archeologists and historians have argued over the existence of the huge sarsen stones, which have been unearthed at the site of the world's biggest prehistoric stone circle at Avebury in Wiltshire.

Found: the lost avenue of Avebury stones

ONE OF the greatest archeological discoveries of the century, a lost "avenue" of slabs linked to the world's largest prehistoric stone circle, has been unearthed at Avebury in Wiltshire.

Television: It's all the fault of the solar system

It had been a long time coming, but the BBC finally had some good news last week when Noel Edmonds, one of the architects of dumb television, resigned in a greedy huff. But where were the champagne corks? It was hard to hear anything apart from the gnashing of teeth and the sharpening of knives. Even the newspapers tried to present the exciting collapse of Crinkley Bottom as fresh evidence that the BBC was a sinking ship.

Kesey rides again

Ken Kesey's legendary `Magic Bus', filled with tie-dye hippies, flower children and the spirit of Jerry Garcia, is heading your way. But will its mantra, `love, love, love', weave its spell the second time around, after 35 years?

Words: Mortise, n. and v.

HAL PORTER'S excellent memoir The Watcher on the Cast-Iron Balcony (1963) opens with the memory of two corpses seen 28 years apart and the reflection that "on or about the day King Edward VII died, these two corpses [were] young, agile and lustful enough to mortise themselves together to make me".

Books: Hardback top 10

1 Hannibal Thomas Harris/Heinemann pounds 16.99

The Great Woodstock Disaster of 1999; Lyric Sheets

Unlike the original Woodstock 30 years ago, the vastly overpriced Woodstock '99 ended
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

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From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'