From left: Kyoto vase (1875-1980); and Nagoya vases (1900-1910 and 1912-1926). Images: copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Blame mass production, perhaps, but the processes by which once unique, costly and highly specialised objects can now be enjoyed by everyone, have (...)

Seamus Heaney. Photographer: Jack McManus

Lisa Hannigan Singer Anahorish, soft gradient, of consonant, vowel-meadow. I was really stuck for ages last year and took to reading Se(...)

First place winner and new world record holder Dennis Kimetto of Kenya poses on the podium after the 41th BMW Berlin Marathon. Photograph: Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it...” E(...)

Simla in northern India, capital of the Himachal Pradesh Territory on the southern slopes of the Himalayas and summer capital of India, photographed  circa 1955. The town is now known as Shimla. Photograph: Hulton Archive

The spirits of English sahibs and their equally grand memsahibs would be aghast at what Shimla, the Raj’s charming summer capital in northern India, h(...)

Indian slum dwellers outside their makeshift huts on a roadside in New Delhi. Photograph: Kamal Kishore / Reuters

India is an exceedingly rich nation. India is one of the poorest nations on this earth. The incongruities of life in the sub-continent can appe(...)

Ireland’s Sean Greenwood takes part in  the  men’s Skeleton.

Tying those shoelacesThere’s an old West Wing episode where Jed Bartlett is expected to wi(...)

Praveen Halappanavar says  he still does not know why his wife, Savita, died. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Last week I had a eureka moment: “why”really is the most important question of all. I was listening to Praveen Halappanavar explaining to Miriam O’Cal(...)