Thames Water

Middle England goes green with hosepipe envy

Not much happens in Manton, a tiny village in the Wiltshire countryside. Its residents enthuse about horse-racing – after all, some of Britain's best stallions are housed in stables there. The villagers also enjoy gardening. The place is full of greenery and, on a cold afternoon yesterday, some homeowners were admiring the fruits of their labour.

Roll up your hosepipes for the big turn-off

There may be blizzards in the north, but much of the UK is so gripped by drought that, from today, millions of people will be subject to draconian restrictions on their use of water

John Howard Davies: Child star of David Lean's 'Oliver Twist' who

John Howard Davies would still have had a minor place in entertainment history through his affecting performance as the protagonist of David Lean's film of Oliver Twist (1948). But his reputation rests on having produced and directed some of the most acclaimed examples of BBC television comedy. Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, The Good Life, Steptoe and Son and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin all prospered under the air of quiet calm that he exuded, in an often frenetic industry. His frequently stated guideline was, simply, "It's got to be funny."

Milly prosecution case 'fantasy'

The prosecution case that double killer Levi Bellfield abducted and killed schoolgirl Milly Dowler is "pure fantasy", the Old Bailey was told today.

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Nature Club: From badgers to blackberries, readers report on their

A family of badgers – two adults and three young – visit my garden. I've taken pictures, but they are so shy they disappear at the slightest sound. The female is the one with the mottled nose. When badgers fight, they often grab their opponent's nose and bite. The pinkish colouring is scar tissue from battles.

Thames: The tale that the river told

Fifty years ago, it was biologically dead. In 2010, the Thames is in rude health. It's a transformation with huge implications, says Alice-Azania Jarvis

The Big Six: Hotels by the Thames

Set at the top of a grassy bank, The Runnymede makes best use of its riverside setting with a collection of boats to pootle along the water, bags of bread for duck-feeding, and two restaurants that open onto the riverbank. Many of the rooms overlook the tree-lined river and Bell Weir lock gates; additional watery vistas can be enjoyed in the shiny new spa with its pool and whirlpool bath. And when the weather turns, there's a cosy lounge to hole up in, too.