Property: Know your nails, or I'll insist on a tusked tenon

DOCTOR ON THE HOUSE; There's more to joining timber than hammering in a brad here, a spike there and pins everywhere, says Jeff Howell

Schools lose their badges of shame

Ministers will today celebrate the recovery of 73 schools which were once labelled as failures. Judith Judd, Education Editor, explains why Stephen Byers, the school standards minister, is holding a Commons reception for the school heads.

Cavalier colonel goes out with a bang

Ronnie Kray, the gangland killer, asked that he be laid next to his mother, Violet, at the family plot in Chingford in Essex. Charles Irving, the former MP for Cheltenham, asked that his ashes be scattered over his constituency from a plane.

Television: Mirren shows her all is not lost

It takes a lot of nerve to show off your naughty bits after 45. To be honest, only Helen Mirren could have got away with it. I am sure that other personalities - like Peter Snow, say, or Esther - are wise to keep their togs on. But the divine Helen gives hope to us all that there are great bonks to be had after the menopause.

Captured on film: the changing times of an English town

An Essex man has filmed the passing of history on the streets of his home town. Paul McCann, Media Correspondent, watches the minutiae of 40 years' living slip past.

Government literacy school, Leytonstone, east London

Summer School

albums of the week

"Arrival Platform Humlet" (from In a Nutshell) sounds like as good a place as any to start, and may or may not be where you make your connection to Train Music. That's a journey to nowhere, the tantalising torso of something that threatened to be even bigger than The Warriors (our final destination) if Grainger had only got around to finishing it. But we're only here for the ride, and Grainger takes us places we've never even dreamt of. What kind of "Pastoral" terrain is evoked in the huge central tableau of In a Nutshell? A blasted heath, a mountainous pass, the valley of the shadow of death? Such harmony - the harmony of nature's disharmony - and who knows where it's shifting next.

Football: Hardy still has hunger for success

Rupert Metcalf talks to the veteran manager of FA Trophy finalists Dagenham & Redbridge

Criticised councils turn over a new leaf

Councils criticised for their poor record in providing services have improved remarkably over the past year, according to the Audit Commission's annual local-authority performance indicators.

'After three, groove on down to the booth'

The Referendum Party is planning to rock the vote with its single "Let the People Decide", sub-titled "The Rabble Army Song". It will be released in the run-up to the General Election in a bid to get youngsters boogying on down to the booths. Its creator was George Hargreaves, the man whose hit "So Macho" took Sinitta to number two in the charts in 1986.

Housing trusts prove costly

Housing Action Trusts, designed to regenerate some of Britain's worst council estates, have proved to be extremely expensive with each new home in one scheme costing pounds 122,400, according to a report by the National Audit Office.

Letter: Chingford line

Your story on the Greenwich Meridian ("The invisible line that could make pounds 1,000 a day", 19 January) couldn't name every location that it passes through, obviously. But here in Chingford - or "east of Enfield" as Stephen Goodwin calls it - we couldn't help feeling disappointed that no mention was made of the notable feature on our suburb's northern borders. This is Pole Hill, on whose summit, 299 feet above sea level, stands an obelisk marking the transit of the original Greenwich Meridian. There are several other places in Waltham Forest, too, where markers in the pavement indicate where the meridian passes.

Social work high-flyer who was darling of left

Roger Dobson assesses the career of David Divine

A pint of lager, a decent curry, and a word with Chingford CID

It Was an Accident by Jeremy Cameron Touchstone, pounds 14.99 My Ride with Gus by Charles Carillo Sceptre, pounds 8.99 By Desire by Sam North Secker, pounds 12.99

Case of the cavalier council that nursed a costly lie

The history books are littered with cases of local authorities losing their shirts on financial and commercial engineering, so no one should be too surprised or upset at the addition of Welwyn and Hatfield district council to the roll-call, except perhaps its unfortunate council taxpayers.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee