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When was the last time you had a first time.....?

Despite what some might think, I took no pleasure from seeing QPR lose their first game under Mark Hughes against Newcastle

Translunar Paradise, The Pit, Barbican, London

Theatre Ad Infinitum’s Translunar Paradise is a show about death and memory. A hit at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe, it comes to London as part of the London International Mime Festival. Director George Mann plays an elderly man coping with the death of his wife (played by Deborah Pugh). Told in mime and music, it’s a touching portrait of grief, sometimes muffled by a loss of clarity.

Christopher says: 'The children clustered around me yelling 'Toubab' - I felt special'

Go with the flow: Charting a course through The Gambia

The Gambia offers sunshine and sunloungers on its Atlantic coast, but it's easy to get off the beaten track and experience a different side of this West African state.

A certain smile: Vanessa Kirby

Vanessa Kirby: A Dickens leading lady with a dark side

Kirby had a small part in The Hour but made a big impact. Now, she's starring as the heartbreaker from Great Expectations.

Simon Carr: 'Storm in a teacup' lands whips and the Speaker in hot water

The Speaker did not appear to be surprised by Labour's ambush on the Coalition

Masts go back upon restored 'Cutty Sark'

One of Britain's most historic vessels, the Cutty Sark, had her masts raised yesterday for the first time since the ship was damaged by fire four years ago.

Education Secretary, Michael Gove

Diary: Gove's persuasive ways of bringing people into line

Whatever the outcome of today's public-sector strike, the leaders of one of the unions involved are delighted with the latest achievement by the man they are coming to regard as their main recruiter, namely the Education Secretary, Michael Gove. On Monday, Mr Gove denounced "hardliners itching for a fight" who are behind the action, inspiring Scottish newspapers to republish the photograph of a young Gove on a journalists' picket line outside the office of the Aberdeen Press and Journal in 1989. On that same day, 300 university staff who were not already members applied to join the University and College Union. Previously, the union had never recruited more than 143 new members on any one day.

John Key’s embarrassing remarks in a café were recorded

Storm in a teapot transforms New Zealand's sleepy election season

It was a lacklustre election campaign whose result seemed a foregone conclusion: victory for the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, at the polls this Saturday. Then a freelance cameraman left a tape recorder running on a café table where Mr Key was meeting an ally, unleashing "Cuppagate" – a row about politics, privacy and media ethics.

Minor British Institutions: Biscuit dunking

Dunking biscuits is one of the chief pleasures many Britons afford themselves, which tells you much about the country. Even so, the practice is disapproved of by other Britons, mostly members of the middle classes who follow what they believe, usually erroneously, to be the views of the upper classes.

The Weekend's Viewing: Downton Abbey, Sun, ITV1
Prohibition, Fri, PBS
The Blues, Sat, PBS
Special When Lit, Sat, PBS

"Will someone please tell me what's going on... or have we all stepped through the looking glass?" said the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey.

Luke Blackall: Tea with the world's greatest soprano

Man About Town: Like Maria Callas, Gheorghiu has become as well-known for herself as for her roles

Rexam sees demand fizz

Rexam, Europe's largest drinks can maker, yesterday beat forecasts with a 19 per cent rise in first-half profit, helped by demand for energy and ice tea drinks and a growing trend among cash-strapped shoppers to consume at home.

Sarah Churchwell: The wilful ignorance that has dragged the US to the brink

The Tea Party version of the American Revolution is not just fundamentalist. It is also Disneyfied, sentimentalised, and whitewashed
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee