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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory