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As the leaves fall I realise I'm just a man for one season

That's how I feel today ladies and gentlemen - a bit frisky and daring because it's Autumn!

What price perfection, and what size?

A new book traces the breast's changing shape from `little balls of ivory' beloved in the Renaissance to the late 20th century's pneumatic grapefruits

HOW WE MET; MAYA ANGELOU AND MAVIS NICHOLSON

Maya Angelou (far right) is one of the world's most eminent writers and poets, who has also won international acclaim as an actress, filmmaker, ambassador and civil-rights activist. Born in 1928 in St Louis, Missouri, she was raised in Arkansas by her grandmother. Since then her books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and she was specially commissioned to write and perform a poem at President Clinton's inauguration. She lives in Carolina, and has a son and a grandson. Born in south Wales, Mavis Nicholson is a successful writer and broadcaster, whose journalistic career has spanned TV presenting, autobiography, interviewing (currently for the `Mail On Sunday'), and agony columns. She lives in Wales with her husband; they have three sons and three grandchildren

For Delia it was guavas. For Mr Skillet it would be the walnut woman

Today we attempt to conclude our new romantic cookery thriller, `Delia's Just Desserts'. The story so far is that Toby Skillet has volunteered to rescue the ailing rum butter industry by going to Delia Smith and imploring her to turn rum butter into a fashionable ingredient. He sets off on a mission made all the harder by the fact that he does not know her address. Now read on!

Letter: Badger menace

Sir: Dr Willie Stanton is not the only person concerned about damage by badgers to gardens (Letters, 13 December). Gardeners from this allotment society are now being compelled to give up their plots when badgers move in.

Three to view/ in the pink

Reed Cottage in Staple, Kent, dates from the 17th century. The four-bedroom, two-reception room house has an inglenook fireplace, exposed beams and leaded light windows. Outside, there are two studios, workshop and garaging. The gardens include walnut, medlar, plum and cherrry trees. Around pounds 210,000 (Calcutt MacLean, 01233 812060).

Trees: An acorn bunged in a pot and a 20-year obsession

It doesn't take a tree expert to plant a tree. Average people across the UK are planting acorns and conkers in pots and parklandss to do their bit to save the nation's forests. Caroline Allen reports.

You don't have to smoke it - you can eat it

Leading chef and IoS restaurant critic Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall with an alternative to the traditional method of consumption

Strike a light! Cigars - and humidors - are back in fashion

Collect to invest: John Windsor on the enduring enticements of Cuba

Multitudes of people!Walking up the hills!

THESE DEMENTED LANDS by Alan Warner Cape pounds 15.99

Fun, self-indulgence and the odd parsnip or two

We launch the New Year with a three-week guide to better eating. We're not suggesting self-denial and hair shirts. The opposite, in fact. Anna Thomas, whose books 'The Vegetarian Epicure', and its sequel, sold two million copies to make her the best-selling vegetarian author of all time, is not herself vegetarian. She just likes the taste of good, fresh food that also happens to be healthy.

Christmas is tacky? Blame Wagner

At this Christmas time, when greater understanding is still needed among those of different faiths, I bring you a series of Christmas tales from different religions all round the world. Today's Christmas story comes from the old Norse religion, and is called:

PRESERVING TRADITION

Orchards and gardens are yielding their ripe and fragrant harvests. One of the best ways to preserve this precious sweetness for the colder months ahead is as brightly-coloured jams and jellies, the perfect way to keep a little of the summer in a jar

The birthday bash that never got to market; City Diary

As the Stock Exchange prepares for a mega birthday bash for AIM, the successor to the USM launched a year ago, others have been forced to abandon similar plans. Brian Winterflood's Winterflood Securities, by far the biggest market-maker in AIM, considered hosting a first birthday party but balked at the sheer number of people it would involve.

WELSH WIZARDRY

For his monthly series on Britain's new regional food, Michael Bateman goes to Wales where Franco Taruschio translates classic Welsh ingredients into Italian poetry
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering