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Northamptonshire: Triangular Lodge, Rushton

The Oldie

This folly, built between 1593 and 1597 by Sir Thomas Tresham, has many references to Catholicism and stands as a testament of faith from one of the few who would not recant their beliefs. One of Britain’s strangest buildings, but one that you must see.

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‘Dump’ by Bob Marshall-Andrews

The Oldie

Bob M-A’s satire, set on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, has plenty of wit and wisdom. The nature, predictability and ephemerality of tyranny are explored through the eyes of a keen American-dentist-cum-safarist, some donkey-mad English oldies, and a tyrannical reprobate – the chimp called Dump.

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‘Letters to the Lady Upstairs’ by Marcel Proust, translated by Lydia Davis

The Oldie

Proust’s interaction with his upstairs neighbour is hysterically rageful. His moaning about the banging and clattering of life in the 8th arrondissement in Paris enlivens his brooding rancour. The mind of Proust is shown in motion, thanks to Davis’s sensitive translation.

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Manchester: Lowry Centre

The Oldie

Built as part of a project to regenerate the Manchester Docks, the centre is a notable and impressive landmark well worth going to just for the privilege of seeing it. Balancing the new with the conventional, the Lowry has something for everyone: theatre, exhibitions and workshops.

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‘The Century Girls’ by Tessa Dunlop

The Oldie

Tessa Dunlop’s book focuses on the experiences of six women who – over the past 100 years – have witnessed extraordinary change. Dunlop wanted to explore the diversity within society. With a domestic servant, a child of Empire, a bohemian and a Cambridge classicist, she has done just that.

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‘Talking to my Daughter about the Economy’ by Yanis Varoufakis

The Oldie

Yanis Varoufakis has been a busy man since the beginning of the Greek financial crisis in 2007/2008. In spite of this, he was able to write this shrewd book in nine days. He uses an easy-to-understand style, which makes a nice change from the dry and incomprehensible jargon used by most economists.

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Buy Kombucha

The Oldie

Billed as the latest non-alcoholic drink ‘to take hold’, it is fermented from green or black tea, and originally from China. Kombucha can be brewed at home but if you – quite understandably – don’t want the hassle, the best by a long way is the Real Kombucha – and try the Royal Flush flavour.

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UK: The Pig Hotel

The Oldie

A pioneer of the ‘locally sourced’ movement; all ingredients in the wholesome, delicious dishes served at the restaurant come from within 25 miles. There is already one near Bath, one in the New Forest and one at Studland Bay, and there are three more in the pipeline.

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London: Arts Theatre Club, Soho

The Oldie

This place claims to bring ‘the understated glamour of the Prohibition era’ to Soho, with many delicious cocktails in teapots and a carpeted ceiling as you descend the basement stairs. Once an illegal drinking den and playground of the notorious Krays, the place is steeped in Soho history. 

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‘The First Iron Lady: A Life of Caroline of Ansbach’ by Matthew Dennison

The Oldie

Caroline of Ansbach is a much under-appreciated figure in British history. Dennison gives credit to this astonishingly clever queen consort, whose intellect and interests garnered so much respect from both intellectuals and politicians alike.

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‘The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World’ by Catherine Nixey

The Oldie

Nixey’s first book is entertaining and informative. It focuses on the early Christians and, in a manner reminiscent of Gibbon, takes them to task for destroying pagan art, civilisation and culture. Her journalistic prose makes the book very readable.

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Norwich: Farmyard, St Benedicts Street

The Oldie

The daily changing a la carte menu uses produce from Norfolk’s finest suppliers. The puds are smashing – a bravura end to a meal would be a jolly elegant chocolate bar made up of Colombian 65 per cent, miso caramel, peanuts and milk sorbet. Endorsed by Marina O’Loughlin of the ‘Sunday Times’.

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Non-harmful anti-bird spikes

The Oldie

If gulls, pigeons and crows are continually settling on your home, non-harmful anti-bird spikes may render it pleasingly uninviting. Putting spikes on the edge of guttering will deter gulls from leaving droppings, which can cause blockages.

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London: Rovi by Ottolenghi in Fitzrovia

The Oldie

Ottlolenghi has his cafés, cookbooks and now another restaurant. Vegetables and the open fire upon which they’re prepared are the focus of this new venture. 70% of the dishes are made from vegetables, with intricate twists and ingredients such as the charred onions with feta and green gazpacho.

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Books2africa.org

The Oldie

Instead of hoarding old books on your shelf, consider donating to Books2Africa, to help them in their mission to improve the quality of education in Africa. You can even schedule a collection from your house.

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Try Whispersync For Voice

The Oldie

This especially clever service from Amazon allows you to seamlessly flit between your Kindle and Audiobook, updating each medium to your exact page location every time.

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Holiday Reading Tip

The Oldie

If you’re going on a group trip, choose a book that somebody in your party or family has already read. It can make it more lively. Plus, don’t grin and bear a book. If you’re not enjoying it – call it quits.

Buy Le Labo Mandarin Shower oil, from Liberty, London

The Oldie

This is a shower oil, not a shower gel. It smells divine, in a naturally opulent way. The new ‘flavour’ Mandarin and Geranium feels gorgeous on the skin – leaving it properly satiny and hydrated, ‘like it’s just been fed’, says India Knight.

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Lavender in your garden – Hidcote

The Oldie

Alice Bowe, the gardening expert at the ‘Times’, calls Lavender ‘low-maintenance and long-lasting’. It’s also utterly beautiful and has that heady scent. Available in pinks, dark navy and all different colours – but really, it’s the purple Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ that is the very finest.

Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes on a Small Island’

The Oldie

Supposedly the ideal book to read when you’re trying to drift off to sleep – not because it’s dull, but because the chapters are perfectly self-contained. When you’re trying to sleep, you don’t want anything too deeply engaging that forces you to push past the tiredness.

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The Aubergine Cookbook by Heather Thomas

The Oldie

A contender for vegetable of the year must be the aubergine. Its great sponginess and ability to soak up neighbouring flavours make it a blessing of an ingredient. This book introduces splendid ways to cook the purple veggie, such as Persian Stuffed Aubergine and Aubergine Chocolate Cake.

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Monte Rosso Naturally Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo

The Oldie

Jane Macquitty at the ‘Times’ says, ‘Forget Aperol, tuck into this unusual raspberry, tomato and cranberry-stashed non-alcoholic spritzer instead’. It looks utterly delicious and can be scooped up at Waitrose for £2.55.

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Silk and Cotton Pillows

The Oldie

Cotton is described by Dr Neil Stanley, author of ‘How to Sleep Well: The Science of Sleeping Smarter, Living Better and Being Productive’, as a ‘wonder fabric’. He puts this down to its being breathable and helping to regulate heat. To sleep well, apparently, we ought to lose one degree of heat.

Scotland: Strathmashie House

The Oldie

Scotland is the home of an award-winning, small-batch premium gin. You can pair foraging with a trip on a paddle-board. Head off across Loch Spey with your oar, a pair of secateurs and a basket. Paddle against the backdrop of the russet-coloured foothills of Cairngorm mountain – it’s quite idyllic.

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Yorkshire: Bownber Hall, Yorkshire Dales

The Oldie

This hotel was born out of a couple’s frustration. Peter and Amanda were fed up with going between London, where they worked, and the Lake District, where they hiked, so they bought Brownber Hall. It’s a renovated mid-Victorian country house billed as a ‘boutique guesthouse with a chic twist’. 

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