Arts and Entertainment

Given our national obsession with property prices, Tim Walker’s novel is bound to hit a nerve. His fictional couple, the Manvilles, bought their large north London home at a knock-down price in the 1990s, and it became the key to two aspects of their family life. Jerry, a successful advertising executive, undertook all the original plumbing, electrical and redecoration work; Pen devised a series of popular children’s books, The House on the Hill, whose “cheeky brat with the ridiculous schemes” is modelled on, and named after, her real-life son Conrad: 15 years on, they have done a loft conversion, and divorced.

Let's go to the hops, everybody

It used to be a working summer holiday for impoverished Eastenders. But a determined bunch of assorted characters still descends on Kent every September to pick hops. By Mark Piggott

UCAS Listings: `It was designed to cover a lot of ground - it was hard work'

Economics, conservation, marketing and animal science were all covered in Diana Pritchard's agricultural degree

Travel: Competition - Literally Lost No 38

The following excerpt has been taken from a work of travel literature. Readers are invited to tell us: a) where is the action taking place? b) who is the author? Blackwell's Bookshops will supply pounds 30 of book-tokens each week to the first correct answer out of the hat. Answers on a postcard to: Literally Lost, "Independent on Sunday", 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Usual competition rules apply. Entries to arrive by this Thursday.

How Serbs made a village vanish

THE SERBS made sure they removed the dead and wounded before they let the outside world see Prekaz, the village in Kosovo that they had bombarded for three days. But the evidence of destruction was all too evident: houses peppered with bullet marks and what looked like shell holes, whole walls ripped down, doorways and roofs blasted to pieces and reduced to black, smouldering wrecks.

Archers star designs his own death

THERE WAS a distinct whiff of Thomas Hardy about the Archers last night, writes Paul McCann. John Archer had given up his wild ways - by Archers standards - to propose to his loved one Hayley. A happy ending looked in the offing. And then it was John himself who was offed by a tractor.

The kiss of death in Ambridge

YOU could tell John Archer had it coming to him. It wasn't his affair with a single mother and a recently cranked-up social life - admittedly more spoken about than actually heard on air - that cursed him. Because it is not moral retribution Archers characters need worry about - it is moving centre stage that gets the Tippex hovering over their name on scripts.

Letter: Vain plea

Am I supposed to take placards imploring us to save British farming, mounted on imported tractors, seriously?

Letter: Changing countryside

This country-dweller is sick of having his views "represented" by others. First it was the hunting lobby. Now I see that the Country Landowners Association and the National Farmers Union are claiming to speak for me ("When the wrath of the country people will be set ablaze", 7 February).

Safety: Sharp rise in farm accidents

Safety inspectors called for a change in culture on Britain's farms after a survey revealed that workers risk their lives by using defective machinery.

Farmers vow to block Dover with tractors

Farmers protesting against beef imports plan to step up their blockade of ports today, one of the busiest days for meat imports from the Irish Republic.

Games: Odd Books

After much deliberation, The Bookseller has awarded its annual "Diagram Prize" for the Oddest Title of the Year. The prize has gone, rather surprisingly, to The Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition, ahead of The Prostate: A Guide for Men and the Women who Love Them, and Method for Calculating the Size of Stone Needed for Closing End-Tipped Rubble Banks in Rivers. This year's short-list had displayed an unusual level of sensitivity by including Interpersonal Violence: The Practical Series, and Attractive and Affectionate Grave Design, though there was considerable surprise that the strongly tipped From Coherent Tunnelling to Relaxation was not featured among the top three.

Woman in parachute terror

A woman was suspended from power cables for 90 minutes when she drifted off-course during a charity parachute jump at Netheravon, Wiltshire, yesterday.

Science: Farmers to field a driverless tractor

A driverless tractor steered by satellite that can find its own way around a crop field with pinpoint precision could help to usher in a "third agricultural revolution", it was claimed yesterday. Researchers at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, expect the tractor to be the first of a new generation of fully automated farm and construction vehicles.

Obituary: Jimmy McGinley

Albeit they had had a good result the year before in the by-election at Glasgow Bridgeton, it was the 9,750 votes in the by-election in West Lothian in May 1962 that launched the resurgence of the Scottish National Party. (Dr Robert McIntyre, the then SNP chairman, had represented Motherwell for a fleeting period at the end of the Second World War.)

Stone coffin holds Roman remains

A stone coffin thought to contain the remains of a high-ranking Roman official has been unearthed on the site of a housing development in the West Country.
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn