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.
Life and Style
Social media users in Mexico who commented on cartel violence have been killed in the past
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Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
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i100
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people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
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Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker