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.

Farmer 'drove tractor over wife's head'

A farmer who drove his tractor over his postmistress wife's head told medics he had killed her, a court heard today.

Tomorrow's world today: How far are we from the invisibility cloak?

Invisibility cloaks are set to become a reality. So where are our X-ray specs and rocket boots, asks Rhodri Marsden

One still in hospital after Scout bus crash

One of 10 British Scouts injured in a head-on crash in Canada remains in hospital, a spokesman for The Scout Association said today.

Evil under the sun: The dark side of the Pitcairn Island

In 2004, the tiny Pacific island of Pitcairn was torn apart when seven men were put on trial for sexually abusing children. In her gripping new book, Kathy Marks, who covered the story for The Independent, describes life in a shattered, shocked – and defiant – community

Earth Machine Music / Pohjonen, Manor Farm, Cocking

Four English farms were the venues and inspiration for Kimmo Pohjonen's UK tour. The oddball Finnish accordionist visited them earlier to sample sounds of animals and, particularly, machinery. Having settled on performing spaces, he retreated to turn the sounds into musical ideas, then returned with a sound crew and four site-specific mixtures of composition, improvisation, collage and live transformation, which he described as "environmental art" pieces.

Paperback: Two Caravans, by Marina Lewycka

As the follow-up to her bestseller A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian, this second novel could have been tricky, but Lewycka has plenty more tricks to pull out of the bag. With a cacophony of spot-on international voices, a plot that drags its motley cast around the more shameful aspects of modern England, a Russian gangster, strawberries and a dog, this warm, funny novel had to be a winner. Immigration with a sense of humour: a breath of fresh air.

Album: Nieuw ensemble, Ed Spanjaard, Mauricio Kagel: Kantrimiusik (Winter & Winter)

Mauricio Kagel, who died last year, was perhaps the most irreverently playful of modern avant-garde composers.

The Weasel: The ultimate boy's toy

Are you racking the noggin for an answer to the perennial problem of what to buy the man in your life for Christmas? Well, rack no longer. The object on the table before me will get the testosterone surging in any gent. The sleek shape of its motorhead owes somethin to Raymond Loewy’s streamlined design for the 1938 Broadway Limited loco. Its double row of cooling vents is like the radiator grill of an early John Deere tractor. Its raked motorhead support column suggests the soaring tailfin of a ’59 Caddy. In short, it is the ultimate boy’s toy.



Neil Warnock: 'Sharon and I were hugging and screaming for ages, as you do at 57'

The Sheffield United manager will use a breathalyser in training today after a day of torment as his team reached the Premiership

Germany special: Spooky travels at Playmobil Fun Park

Playmobil men are three inches high, right? Wrong, says Adrian Mourby, who with his son found they could be, well, almost human

Golfing Special: The game in Spain

Homes on Spanish golf courses, once the preserve of pensioners, are attracting younger Brits. Zoe Dare Hall reports
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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
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable