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.
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Fabian Delph celebrates his goal
footballChristian Benteke and Fabian Delph turn semi-final after Liverpool goal
Life and Style
Model wears: top £29.50, leggings £25, jacket £29.50, bag £25, all
Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary
Latest stories from i100
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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
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own