Life and Style

If you are reaching for your handkerchief it might be too late to stop the spread of flu, research suggests.

Last-ditch bid to rescue Swan Hunter: French company's main shareholder flies in to present proposals

SWAN HUNTER'S desperate struggle to survive hinges on a crucial meeting in private rooms at a London hotel at noon today.

London Walks: A royal retreat to the deer and swans: Michael Leapman escapes the Hampton Court bustle for a peaceful wander in Bushy Park

Hampton Court is popular with walkers, but this weekend they will be impeded by the annual flower show. A good alternative is Bushy Park, just across Hampton Court Road from the palace. This short walk will also provide relief for flower show visitors feeling oppressed by the green-fingered crowds.

Swan Hunter on watch for a rescue bid: A year after calling in receivers, the North East's last shipbuilder looks to a French buyer to secure its future

ON FRIDAY, HMS Westminster, the first frigate to be built by accountants Price Waterhouse, was commissioned into the Royal Navy. And on Thursday PW's second ship, HMS Northumberland, will be launched on the Tyne.

Racing: Hill ushers in outsider

FORTUNES changed up heartbreak hill in the closing strides of the Whitbread Gold Cup here yesterday. The winner, the 25-1 shot Ushers Island, was only third over the last fence; the runner-up, Antonin, behind him in fourth.

Racing / Grand National: Vintage end to test of endurance: Lose sight of the way your money went? Greg Wood tracks it down

THE impeccable order at the start of the Grand National gave no hint of the rigours to come. The gallop to the first, too, was sedate by normal standards, wisely so on the desperate ground.

Shares: Prices come back into range: Market caution is giving investors a second bite at floating cherries

THE FREQUENT moan that only a few select institutions get a chance to buy into attractive share placings at the issue price is fast losing its force in the current stock market gloom.

Fraser could offer stags a field day: Transformation of the stores sector's ugly duckling into a swan could be easier than expected, says Quentin Lumsden

DIVIDED City views on the prospects for House of Fraser shares add to their attractions - an opportunity for private investors to make a quick profit from 'stagging' the issue.

Just who is addicted to what?

'SMOKING,' said Ian Birks, the plump and cheerful-looking general manager of corporate affairs for Gallaher Tobacco Ltd, whose brands include Silk Cut and Benson & Hedges, 'is not addictive.'

Racing: Swan secures a second Ritz

IRISH champion Charlie Swan won the Ritz Club Charity Trophy for the second consecutive year, the first jockey to do so. He rode three winners at the Festival, one clear of Adrian Maguire.

Racing: Pipe pair attract Cup cash

THERE was a just a hint of opposition to Jodami in the Gold Cup market yesterday as Run For Free and Miinnehoma, both trained by Martin Pipe, attracted support. Jodami eased to 11-10 from even money with Coral, while Run For Free is 10-1 (from 12-1) and Miinnehoma came in five points to 20-1.

UNDERRATED / Pick of the crop: The case for Saint-Saens

Two things did for Camille Saint-Saens in critically correct minds. There was the childhood accident of overdosing on the Carnival of the Animals, coupled with schoolday memories of hopeful cellists having their miry way with The Swan. The other he has to be blamed for himself: I compose, he said, the way an apple tree produces apples. Most cultures would be happy with the image of natural fecundity, but not the Protestant work ethic. Anybody who had it so easy has to be suspect. It's Mozart and Salieri all over again.

BOOK REVIEW / Swans, geese and ugly ducklings: The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century English Poetry, ed Ian Hamilton, pounds 25

'COMPANION' has rather gone the way of 'bookman' and 'man of letters', suggesting the dear, dead world of J B Priestley, or Wallace Arnold knee-deep in Edwardians at the Garrick. On the other hand, there

BOOKS / Bestsellers of 1993

----------------------------------------------------------------- BESTSELLERS OF 1993 ----------------------------------------------------------------- HARDBACK FICTION ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle, Secker pounds 12.99 2 Honour Among Thieves by Jeffrey Archer, HarperCollins pounds 15.99 3 Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years by Sue Townsend, Methuen pounds 8.99 4 The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous by Jilly Cooper, Bantam pounds 14.99 5 Decider by Dick Francis, Michael Joseph pounds 14.99 6 A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, Phoenix House pounds 20 7 The Night Manager by John le Carre, Hodder pounds 15.99 8 Mrs de Winter by Susan Hill, Sinclair-Stevenson pounds 12.99 9 River God by Wilbur Smith, Macmillan pounds 15.99 10 The Queen and I by Sue Townsend, Methuen pounds 8.99 ----------------------------------------------------------------- HARDBACK NONFICTION ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Delia Smith's Summer Collection BBC pounds 14.99 2 The Downing Street Years by Margaret Thatcher, HarperCollins pounds 25 3 Some Other Rainbow by John McCarthy & Jill Morrell, Bantam pounds 14.99 4 Bravo Two-Zero by Andy McNab, Bantam pounds 14.99 5 The Guinness Book of Records 1994, ed Peter Matthews, pounds 14.99 6 Taken on Trust by Terry Waite, Hodder pounds 14.99 7 Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 1994, Mitchell Beazley, pounds 7.99 8 Diaries by Alan Clark, Weidenfeld, pounds 20 9 Pole to Pole by Michael Palin, BBC, pounds 16.99 10 Eat Your Greens by Sophie Grigson, Network, pounds 15.99 ----------------------------------------------------------------- PAPERBACK FICTION ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, Arrow pounds 4.99 2 The Firm by John Grisham, Arrow pounds 4.99 3 The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller Mandarin pounds 3.99 4 The Men and the Girls by Joanna Trollope, Black Swan pounds 5.99 5 The Queen and I by Sue Townsend, Mandarin pounds 4.99 6 Fatherland by Robert Harris, Arrow pounds 4.99 7 The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Penguin pounds 5.99 8 The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy, Orion pounds 4.99 9 The Rector's Wife by Joanna Trollope, Black Swan pounds 5.99 10 The Pelican Brief by John Grisham, Arrow pounds 4.99 ----------------------------------------------------------------- PAPERBACK NONFICTION ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Wild Swans by Jung Chang, Flamingo pounds 7.99 2 An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan, Vintage pounds 6.99 3 Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton, O'Mara pounds 6.99 4 Food Combining for Health by Doris Grant & Jean Joice, Thorsons pounds 4.99 5 Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, Gollancz pounds 4.99 6 The Rock & Water Garden Expert by D G Hessayon, Expert pounds 4.99 7 Gardens of England & Wales Open to the Public 1993 National Gardens Scheme pounds 2.50 8 Every Living Thing by James Herriot, Pan pounds 4.99 9 The Food Combining Diet by Kathryn Marsden, Thorsons pounds 4.99 10 The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson, Abacus pounds 5.99 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Compiled by Bookwatch -----------------------------------------------------------------

BOOK REVIEW / First fumbles and cross-dressing: 'The Wives of Bath' - Susan Swan: Granta, 8.99

FOR those of us without the means to have been to them, our knowledge of girls' boarding schools and their arcane rituals is borrowed from fiction. To girls of my generation, our envy spiked by the class-ridden sagas of Elinor M Brent-Dyer and Enid Blyton, they invoke images of illicit midnight feasts, of slim, clear- skinned head girls, and of ageing Mam'zelles and other spinsters who one later suspected were lesbian in imagined secret lives.

TRAVEL / In search of swans'way: In the Fens the earth is flat and empty, the sky huge. But for Jill Crawshaw this eerie landscape has the special lure of a land of lost content, an ideal past that nearly was

IN THE throes of one of our periodic let's- escape-the-crowds phases that afflict city dwellers from time to time, it was the isolation promised by the small ad that launched what has become a family tradition. Fenland and north-west Norfolk are among the least populated areas of England, the guide books told us - so we packed our crackers and fairy lights, and prepared to hole up.
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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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

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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

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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
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

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Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015