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Food & Drink: Welsh cure for a Sardinian cheese: Giovanni Irranca found retirement boring, so he took up making pecorino, writes Emily Green

RETIREMENT bored Giovanni Irranca. So when he gave up running a parade of foodshops 10 months ago at the age of 64, he took up cheese-making: ricotta and several different cures of pecorino. And very respectable cheeses they are, too. These are yet more exotic foodstuffs from the fecund Italian nation-state called Wales. However, unlike so many Welsh-Italians - the ice-cream makers, the owners of the Bracchi cafes, even the Berni brothers - Mr Irranca is not from Bardi in the province of Parma. He is Sardinian, from the mountainous Santu-Lussurgiu.

Ministry of fun shows its polish

STANDING amid the soft grey fabric-covered walls and the clean-lined Arts and Crafts-inspired furniture in English walnut, Peter Brooke, Secretary of State for National Heritage, seemed to feel a need to justify himself, writes Amanda Baillieu.

Travel: Roadside treasure: In France, put a bateau-lit in the boot, says Liam Davies

FORGET Portobello Road. The smart money in antiques is moving to France, and not to the horribly overpriced antiquites shops, not even to the slightly downmarket brocante stores, but to one of France's best kept secrets, les Depots de Vente d'Occasion.

Health Update: Health nuts

WALNUTS are excellent for the heart, according to a study from researchers at Loma Linda University, California. In trials involving two groups of healthy men on medically recommended cholesterol-lowering diets, they found that the diet which included a moderate quantity of walnuts was more effective in reducing blood cholesterol levels.

Gardening: Feast your eyes on gold, fire and ice: From traditional holly and ivy to candles, glitter and bowls of melting magnificence, Anna Pavord explains a few simple ways to create luxurious Christmas tables

The transient nature of Christmas decorations is a huge advantage, especially when it comes to building a table centrepiece. You need not worry about how it will look the next day: this is a one-night stand.

Expensive souvenirs from the big house: Country house sales can be great fun. But private buyers rarely pick up bargains, says John Windsor

THE TRADE lay in wait last week as the country house auction season reached its peak. Private bidders flocked to the sales for a day out - and probably a day out of pocket. Illegal dealers' rings were poised to raise private bids sky-high, then leave them in mid- air. Jocular auctioneers beat their way through fag-end lots of kitchen tat as seekers after souvenirs of 'the big house' sent prices spiralling. In corners of panelled rooms, country auctioneers whispered congratulations over lots that had been 'got away', never having belonged to the big house at all.

Motoring: Basking in the Shadow's glow: Walnut, leather, silky silence: James Ruppert is sorely tempted by a pounds 5,000 Rolls-Royce

OWNERSHIP of a Rolls-Royce was once described by The Motor as 'the goal of all civilised men'. These days, anyone with up to pounds 10,000 to spare can join this gentleman's club, whether civilised or not. The walnut, leather and silky silence on wheels now belongs to the masses - and a Rolls-Royce can make more sense than any number of executive expresses: most depreciate like stones and have all the presence of a jelly mould.

Kurdish rebels kill own kind for revenge

BULLET-RIDDLED bodies of Kurdish men, women and children lay before the smouldering rubble of this mountain village yesterday, another gory lesson that there is nothing simple or compromising about the direction of Turkey's increasingly ugly Kurdish conflict.
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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
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
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
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future