INDEPENDENT 2024-03-23 10:04:28


Woman likened to Roald Dahl’s The Twits character guilty of murdering husband

A self-proclaimed horse expert with an “ungovernable temper” has been jailed for 17 years after being found guilty of stabbing her husband to death during a row over land at their home in North Devon.

Christine Rawle, 69, killed Ian Rawle, 72, by stabbing him in the back with a knife at their property in the village of Braunton on 21 August, 2022.

Exeter Crown Court heard Mr Rawle then staggered after his wife of 29 years, imploring her to remove the knife from his back, before collapsing and dying from the wound.

Jurors were told how the couple had a dysfunctional marriage, with prosecutors likening them to the Roald Dahl characters The Twits, who are a spiteful married couple who live together in a brick house without windows and delight in making each other’s lives miserable.

The couple, retired circus trainers who keep a family of pet monkeys, continuously play practical jokes on one another out of their hatred for one another.

The judge said: “Ian was not perfect. The evidence showed that he was obstinate, sometimes grumpy, he could shout, he was stuck in his ways and he was old-fashioned in terms of how he wanted a relationship with his wife.

“But he was in no way the serial domestic abuser you sought to portray him as.” He added: “The main reason you killed your husband was that you have an ungovernable temper.”

Prosecuting, Mr Sean Brunton KC said the killing was “as clear a case of murder as you are likely to find”, with Rawle attacking her husband in a “fit of temper” during the argument.

Rawle did not give evidence during her trial but her legal team insisted she had been a victim of coercive and controlling behaviour from her husband, and stabbed him in self-defence.

The jury rejected her account and convicted her of murder.

Judge James Adkin told the panel: “Thank you very much for your close attention to this case. It wasn’t an easy case, there was quite a lot of complicated evidence for you to consider.”

During the trial, the court heard how Mr Rawle had come to help his wife with mucking out her horses as she was suffering with a bad shoulder.

It was alleged that Rawle fatally attacked her husband with a knife as he pushed a wheelbarrow of manure towards the muck heap.

In his closing speech to the jury, Mr Brunton described Rawle as “almost compulsively manipulative”.

He told the jury: “The issue of self-defence doesn’t arise. It is a non-issue.

“He is walking away from her, pushing the wheelbarrow after 30 years of marriage. What was she threatened by? By nothing.”

Mr Brunton said Rawle had “unfettered access to money” from her husband, with the couple living with “no debts, a lovely house, and plenty of money”.

The court heard how Rawle had been on the phone to her adult daughter at the time of the murder.

Her daughter rang police after hearing Rawle say “I’ve stabbed him, I’ve stabbed him”. A call operator for the ambulance service then rang Rawle to help her administer first aid.

But instead, Rawle said to the operator: “He was on and on at me, I am watching him die in front of me”.

When police arrived at the scene, and during police interview, Rawle claimed she had been subjected to years of psychological and physical violence from her husband.

The defendant, who has been diagnosed with depression and complex post-traumatic stress disorder, insisted she believed he was going to kill her when she attacked him.

Witnesses gave differing accounts of Rawle and her husband, with one neighbour describing Mr Rawle as “vindictive” and unpleasant to his wife.

Rawle’s son Thomas told the jury how Mr Rawle had subjected his mother to years of abuse, and tried to control her by hiding her car keys – describing her as a “fat pig”.

A friend of Rawle said she waited on her husband “hand and foot” but he would accuse her of being lazy and useless, with Rawle confiding that she wanted a divorce.

However, one work colleague of Mr Rawle told the court she was concerned he was the victim of domestic abuse and tried to find him a support service.

She described seeing Mr Rawle with a black eye, which he said was caused by his wife. On one occasion, Rawle rang the workplace and told the witness: “Tell Ian to look in the mirror because he isn’t Kevin Costner”.

F1 Australian Grand Prix LIVE: Verstappen takes pole but Hamilton falters

Max Verstappen is on course to take a record-equalling 10 consecutive victories after putting his Red Bull on pole position for the Australian Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s third pole in as many races appeared under threat with Ferrari threatening to knock the all-conquering Dutchman off his perch.

But Verstappen upped the ante in front of a record Saturday crowd at Melbourne’s Albert Park of just shy of 131,000, to see off Carlos Sainz, who missed the last round in Saudi Arabia with appendicitis, by 0.270 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton holds a record eight pole positions here, but the British driver was eliminated in Q2, leaving him a disappointing 11th on the grid – his lowest starting position in Melbourne for 14 years. Hamilton failed to progress to Q3 after he finished 0.059 seconds behind George Russell in the other Mercedes.

Follow live updates from the Australian GP with The Independent

Builder saved baby from arson attack after climbing ladder into flames

A builder has spoken of the moment he saved a baby from a raging fire arson attack in east London.

A man in his sixties was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of starting the fire, which gutted a house on Newick Road in Hackney at around midday.

Krzysztof Bozych, 48, was working two doors down from the fire when he heard a loud explosion in the road where six-bedroom homes can fetch £1.7m.

One woman had already jumped from the top floor and was lying in the garden with a broken leg, neighbours said.

Mr Bozych told The Independent: “I heard a boom; it was so loud. I went on the roof like, what the hell is going on?

“I heard a woman screaming from a window, ‘It’s a fire, help me please.’ There was no time to wait.

“I ripped open the fence and grabbed a ladder. The mother was so scared she was going to jump on me just as I was climbing the ladder.

“I said, ‘Calm down, relax, we are going to get you out.’

“She passed me the baby, I think. I realised I had a baby in my hand. I thought, ‘I’m going to be a godfather.’

“I wasn’t thinking of myself, every human would have done the same.”

He added: “The mum was crying all the time she was in shock. They lost everything, nothing could be saved. She was so scared. I took her to safety at the end of the garden.”

Police said the suspect later shouted “threatening comments, some of which were allegedly antisemitic” when he was being arrested.

Four people suffered non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the fire, while the suspect also was left with minor injuries. He is currently being treated in hospital.

One neighbour said: “I heard a massive boom like it was a truck crashing into my wall. My cutlery was rattling I ran around knocking on doors trying to get everyone out. It was really scary.”

Another neighbour described a man opening the door to the ground-floor property moments before the fireball engulfed the house, which is split into three flats.

Locals said they were unaware of whether a Jewish family lived at the house of multiple occupancy.

The Metropolitan Police said the man was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life, as well for making the allegedly antisemitic comments.

DCS James Conway, responsible for policing in Hackney, said: “On his arrest the man made a number of threatening comments, some of which were allegedly antisemitic.

“We take instances of antisemitism extremely seriously and for this reason we’re investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.

“Undoubtedly this will be extremely concerning news for our Jewish communities in Hackney and beyond, and I and my officers will be engaging with partners including the Community Safety Trust and the Shomrim, to answer their questions and listen to their views.

“Whilst the investigation will continue to explore the motivation for this offence, we believe at this stage that this was centred on a localised housing-related issue. We have no indication, at this very early stage, that the motivation was connected with any specific local or global events.”

He added that the incident was not being treated as terror-related and the Met has increased patrols and enhanced police visibility as Jewish communities begin celebrations for the Purim holiday period.

A Community Security Trust spokesperson said: “This appears to be a very serious incident and we appreciate the police’s swift action.

“We have been in contact with police since yesterday and we will be working with them to provide reassurance to the local Jewish community over the coming days.”

Sheryl Crow: ‘I’m saying the same thing about guns, 30 years later’

Sheryl Crow recently took a guided magic mushroom trip with the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Only one thing spoiled it: the trip employed a carefully selected “playlist” designed to enhance the hallucinogenic experience. Crow’s musician’s ears took her to an analytical space instead. “The playlist robbed me of my ability to go on a mushroom journey,” she reflects sadly, in her soft Southern tones. “I thought, oh, they’re playing ‘Here Comes the Sun’, so I’m supposed to be seeing bright colours? If you don’t understand much about music, I think you can enjoy it more…”

Crow, 62 (she really is 62), looks young and bright in her Nashville studio, sitting in front of four beautiful drum skins made in the 1930s that are painted with scenes of rural Tennessee life. She has many “oddities” in the ranch she shares with her two adopted sons Wyatt and Levi, whom she has raised as a single mum. She has also – she says proudly – “absolutely zero connection to the country music market as it is now”, the very industry of the town she has made her home. Her studio is above a stable (she has 10 horses), but, because it’s soundproofed, there is no snuffling or neighing to be heard on her new record, Evolution.

Actually, there shouldn’t be a new record at all. In 2019, Crow said that the star-studded Threads, which featured duets with Neil Young and Stevie Nicks, would be her last album – an eerie announcement, though she was in rude health again after a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2006 and a benign brain tumour in 2011. “I didn’t mean to make a record,” she says: she just couldn’t help it. She didn’t produce it this time: “That felt too much like going to work.” She was a music teacher in the 1980s, and still has vivid dreams that she is back in the classroom showing kindergarten children how to read notes or match pitch.

The future of music has one terrifying element right now for Crow, who has always had a social conscience. AI is coming. There’s a lot on her new record about it. She will make herself miserable reading about the stuff in the morning when her kids leave for school: “Brushing up against what artificial intelligence is going to mean in the artistic community. As an older mom, it really did jar me to think that we’re going to have to start protecting our souls’ inspiration – the difference between us and AI is that we have a soul. We have empathy, we have compassion.”

She recently spoke to a young songwriter who explained that she and her peers were using ChatGPT in their work: “You say, I want to write a song that sounds like Sheryl Crow that uses these four metaphors, then it spits it back to you. Her argument was, you wouldn’t use everything, but there’s always a good few lines in there. I thought, no, no, no, no…”

Has she heard an AI version of her own voice? “No, but you can go on any of these sites and snag somebody’s voice these days. For me it’s a broader thing,” she says. “AI is without conscience at a moment where algorithms already fortify what we feel is the truth. It’s just gonna feed us more non-truths. The album is not a bummer record, though…”

Crow’s career was launched by the 1994 slacker anthem “All I Wanna Do”, with its picaresque visions of daytime drinking and its disdain for the lunchtime carwash. There is a wonderful mirror of that song on her new record – it could, in fact, have been written by AI – complete with a Gen-X refrain, “All I know/ is wherever I go/ there I am.” Crow thinks it is melancholy. But it evokes a certain ease at one’s place in the world.

She has perhaps the perfect level of fame: four or five hits to her name, which is a lot. All the rock gods – Don Henley, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton (whom she dated) – wanted to work with her in the day, and she even wrote a Bond song, for the Pierce Brosnan era: “Tomorrow Never Dies”.

“But at my age, I can write anything I want to write because it is most likely not going to be heard,” she says. “I mean, that sounds defeatist! But there is liberation in it. You think less about who you offend. I’m not vying for spots on the radio. Being able to write about the things I see is a relief.”

Growing up in rural Missouri as the daughter of a conservative father and a liberal mother, Crow enjoyed passionate debate around the dinner table, and, as an adult, she tends to speak her mind. Never exactly cool, she complained about the violence in Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs when they were the only films anyone was talking about (“I’m still saying exactly the same thing about guns, 30 years later”).

There was a dispute with Walmart when the track “Love Is a Good Thing” claimed that they sold firearms to teenagers; there was another with Michael Jackson’s camp when she accused his manager Frank DiLeo of sexual harassment in two songs on her first album (Crow spent two years as Jackson’s backing singer – the tabloids even claimed she’d been approached to have his baby).

“The interesting thing was that, back then, I would do it [speak her mind] and then I would have a thousand people saying ‘You can’t do that!’” she says. She was less angry than Alanis Morissette, less explicit than Liz Phair, less wistful than Aimee Mann; but she was a Nineties woman writing the truth of female experience long before a hashtag turned it into a movement.

“The music industry is run by men, and the reality was there was no space for anyone to talk about it, so you masked it in music,” she says. “Fiona Apple talked about it as well. Back then it was genuinely terrifying: ‘I may never get to work again if this person actually does silence me.’ Thank God we are inching along.”

Is she proud she spoke out? “I wouldn’t say proud. I guess I’ve always been true to my convictions.”

In 2020, Crow appealed to the conscience of Donald Trump in her song “In the End”, but these days, she’s given up and spreads her attention “more broadly than this one, antichrist-like person. Anyone we choose to be our leader holds aspects of what exists in all of us, and that is what terrifies me. I’ve been around long enough to know what it was like to have good leaders. But I do have hope.”

She’s been reading Neil Howe’s The Fourth Turning Is Here, about America’s cycles of rebellion, uprising and spiritual renewal. And she bemoans the lack of political writing in pop songs. “I do look to the artists I grew up listening to, Marvin Gaye and Edwin Starr and Buffalo Springfield. Songs that were actually on the radio, addressing what was happening in the world. We see it obviously in rap music now. But I find that most of what’s on the radio that I hear these days is about sex. Sex is great. I’m not saying it’s not…”

Crow was a born-again Christian early in life, and moved to St Louis with a fellow convert to whom she was engaged at 21. They met in an Eighties pop covers band. “God love him, he was born again but he also partied,” she recalls. “There was a cycle of drink, smoke weed, repent and repeat.” One day he told her: “If you’re not going to sing for the Lord, maybe you shouldn’t sing at all?” She chose her Huey Lewis covers instead, broke off the first of many engagements, and moved to LA, where she blagged her way into the life-changing gig with Jackson. Crow claims she knew Jackson no better at the end of two years than at the start. As her career flourished, she held on to abstract ideas of marriage and children while failing, she says, to appreciate the real-life story she was writing.

“I had a moment of reckoning when I realised the stories I’d been telling myself,” she says. “You fall in love with somebody wonderful, you get married, you have children. I don’t know what I was thinking. I wasn’t taking into account that, well, you did go to Japan and Israel and Russia all because of one song. What did you think your life was gonna look like?”

After she recovered from breast cancer in 2006, she had a life-changing conversation with her mother. “She said, ‘Be a mom. Go to a sperm bank. Adopt a baby. We’re with you.’ I realised the one person I was measuring myself against was saying, ‘Don’t do it the way I did it.’ It was like her giving me permission. But I think it was an angelic moment, because it was very not like my mom just to say, ‘Go have a baby.’ Everything got set on a course when I looked at my life and went: ‘What now?’”

It is poignant to think that a 44-year-old rock star with nine Grammy awards might still have their life changed by a mother’s blessing. Crow has built a little chapel across the driveway from her studio – she gestures over her shoulder. It contains more oddities: Spanish saints, and the taxidermy head of a deer shot long ago by a Missouri grandfather. Her own brand of spirituality has been a journey, she says: “Lots of meditation. Maybe it’s a cop-out, but it’s where I can find peace.” She loves the idea of enlightened beings, and she’s “a bit of a pantheist”. “But there are a lot of Eastern religions that preach non-attachment, and I find that next to impossible,” she says with a big, white grin. “I’m attached. I’m attached to what I see. And I worry.”

‘Evolution’ is released on 29 March. Sheryl Crow headlines Black Deer festival on Saturday 15 June

Ex-National Trust chief says charity going ‘in wrong direction’

The National Trust is going in the “wrong direction” and there are “serious flaws” in the way the organisation is being run, a former chairman of the charity has said.

Sir William Proby said he was reluctant to come forward and criticise the organisation or his successors but has concerns about where the charity is headed.

His comments come after a right wing think-tank accused the National Trust of being “undemocratic” and engaging in a “subversion of democracy” over changes to voting at its annual meeting.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Sir William said: “The National Trust has always attracted controversy. This is because of its importance in our national life and the passion which so many people feel for what it does. This is healthy and should be welcomed by the management and board of trustees.

“A truly democratic structure allows these issues to be debated, voted on, and the organisation can move on. Stifling dissent will only lead to a running sore of disaffected members outside the organisation, which inevitably will damage this great institution.”

Sir William added that he hoped the report would prompt the charity to restore its “democratic principles” and take another look at its governance structures.

The report, called National Distrust: The End of Democracy in the National Trust, was compiled by the Zewditu Gebreyohanes, a senior researcher at the Legatum Institute, a think-tank.

Ms Gebreyohanes is also the former lead of Restore Trust, a National Trust members’ campaign group that wants the charity to stick to its remit of the protection of historic building and away from “wokeness”.

The report criticises the new “quick vote” system implemented by the charity which allows members at the National Trust to vote for all the leadership recommendations in one go.

It claims this was implemented without the prior knowledge of members, is undemocratic and was introduced in 2022, just a year after the Restore Trust was created.

“A recent National Trust members’ resolution calling for the abolition of Quick Vote was defeated only with the use of over 54,000 Quick Votes, meaning that almost 80% of votes cast against the resolution were themselves Quick Votes,” it says.

“All candidates endorsed by Restore Trust – the grassroots campaign of critical members seeking to return the Trust to its statutory aims – would have been elected in both 2022 and 2023 had the results of each Trust-endorsed candidate not been inflated by over 55,000 and 72,000 Quick Votes in those years, respectively.”

It alleges that if a political party had been in charge of drawing up the reforms then the public would see it as “a significant abuse of power” and a “subversion of democracy”.

The report makes two recommendations. The first is that Lucy Frazer, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport should introduce legislation to prevent anti-democratic measures. And the second is that the Charity Commission should open an inquiry into Europe’s largest conservation charity.

A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “The National Trust is an independent charity, regulated — like all UK charities — by the Charity Commission.

“We have open and democratic governance processes, and are accountable both to our regulators and to our members. Our members firmly rejected a resolution suggesting government oversight in our work via an ombudsman at our AGM in 2022.

“‘Quick vote’ was introduced following advice from our independent election services provider that it is standard practice for large membership bodies. We will continue to take advice on what is standard electoral practice from accountable, regulated institutions that are experts in this field, and which have their own transparent systems of governance.”

History, heritage, cuisine and culture in Split, Croatia

Historical buildings, pine forest hills and breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea are just a few things to expect on a fun-filled trip to the old-world coastal city of Split. This ancient sliver of the country is steeped in eclectic history and blessed with abundant natural beauty, a dynamic food scene, and more cultural attractions you can shake a stick at. It’s an all-rounder, ideal to visit no matter the season and even for a quick city break since there are plenty of direct flights from UK cities, including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Manchester. Here’s our must-see, must-do guide to this stunning city…

Split is Croatia’s sportiest city, often referred to as The City of Sport, thanks to the number of professional athletes that hail from the city. In fact, Split is the city with the highest number of Olympic medal winners per capita. You can see their names proudly presented on Sports Walk of Fame on the city’s west coast, including Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanišević, double world high jump champion Blanka Vlašić, and ex–NBA star Toni Kukoč.

Catch a basketball game featuring the legendary KK Split, one of the most successful clubs in Europe, at the Gripe Sports Hall, or watch a football match with HNK Hajduk Split at the Poljud Stadium to feel the electrifying passion of local fans. If you’d rather participate, take advantage of Split’s drop-dead coastal location by trying windsurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding or sailing; many places offer equipment rental or lessons. Or, to keep it traditional, try your hand at ‘picigin’ – a local ball game from Split that is played at the beach.

For a more cerebral experience, immerse yourself in the city’s rich history, from Roman walls to UNESCO heritage sites and historical Old Towns. Wander through preserved Roman streets lined with Gothic and Renaissance buildings and visit the oldest cathedral building in the world, Diocletian’s Palace, built between 295 and 305 A.D. The beautiful basement halls here (more commonly known as the substructures) are one of the world’s best-preserved complexes from the era of classical antiquity and central to the historical centre of Split being added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979.

Dip your toe into the world of Croatian art at the Ivan Meštrović Gallery, wholly dedicated to the sculptor himself, renowned for his powerful and expressive works. There’s also the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, which delves deep into the city’s history across more than 20,000 artefacts. Plus, the museum itself is an architectural masterpiece.

If you want to learn all about the city’s history and citizens, the City Museum of Split is a must-visit. It was founded in 1947 at the stunning palace of the Papalić family and is a stunning example of late-Gothic style architecture.

There’s also the Ethnographic Museum of Split, situated inside a former residential complex in the southeastern quarter of Diocletian’s Palace. The museum holds a vast collection of artefacts that showcase the traditional way of life, customs, and cultural practices of the people of the Dalmatia region and beyond. You’ll find everything from household items and religious objects to traditional tools and clothing.

Leave some time in your itinerary to explore the city’s natural wonders and incredible beaches. Ideally situated on the Adriatic coast, Split houses some of Croatia’s finest and most picturesque beaches. Bačvice Beach is one of the most popular in the area, perfect for shallow bathing and basking in the sun; plus, there are many bars and restaurants along the front, and concerts take place throughout the summer months.

There’s also Bene Beach, located on the northeastern part of the leafy Marjan Forest Park, often referred to as the green oasis of Split. It’s usually a little quieter, so it’s perfect for finding a secluded spot, sheltered beautifully by the trees that border the shoreline. Hiking or biking in the forest park Marjan is also a great way to experience the natural landscape of the Dalmatian Coast. You can follow many routes through fragrant pine forests and scenic viewpoints – the Marjan Hill Viewpoint overlooks the entire Old Town. Finish off with a dip in the sea to cool off.

Kašjuni Beach is known for being particularly beautiful, surrounded by lush greenery and rocky cliffs. It tends to be a little quieter and less crowded with calm, crystal-clear water, ideal for snorkelling and swimming. While on the southern side of Marjan, you’ll find Kaštelet Beach, a small but peaceful fine-pebbled beach with shallow banks, perfect for dipping in and out of between basking in the sun.

Follow the scenic coastal promenade from the city centre, and you’ll eventually reach Trstenik, home to a well-equipped, picturesque beach popular amongst water sports enthusiasts. Here, you can enjoy windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and more. The surrounding neighbourhood is chock full of restaurants, shops and places to stay should you want to spend a few nights here.

Split also serves as an ideal hub for day excursions, offering easy access to the stunning Dalmatian islands and hinterland, each brimming with natural and cultural treasures. From the city, you can visit several of Dalmatia’s spectacular islands, including Brac, Hvar, Vis, Solta and many more. Bisevo Island is one of the most popular to visit, where the remains of a 1050 AD Benedictine monastery lay, and the Blue Cave, one of the must-see natural attractions in the country, renowned for its incredible glowy sun rays that shine through cracks in the cave, creating a magical blue glimmer.

Just a half-hour drive from the city centre, you’ll find idyllic hiking trails on mountains such as Mosor, Kozjak, and Biokovo. There’s also the Cetina River, where you can participate in heart-pumping rafting and canyoning adventures.

As a cultural hub, Split boasts a diverse timetable of not-to-be-missed events throughout the year, including Sudamja, Stories of Diocletian, Advent – Winter Joys, Split Summer Festival, the Split Carnival, Month of Gastronomy and the Split Marathon.  In recent years, the city has also emerged as a sought-after filming destination, hosting productions such as Game of Thrones and the Dark Tower movie. So it’s pretty fitting that the city is home to the Mediterranean Film Festival and the International Festival of New Film.

Food-wise, Croatia’s diverse and delicious cuisine varies significantly from region to region, with coastal areas focusing more on seafood dishes like grilled fish, octopus salad, and black risotto. Learn all about Croatian fare at a local cookery class, where you’ll get to sample and make delicious dishes and take recipes back home.

Split’s culinary scene is constantly evolving, with many restaurants opening in the city, especially in the historic centre and its surroundings. Several restaurants have been recognised by the world-famous Michelin Guide, but there are many more worth visiting, with menus brimming with local Mediterranean cuisine, often with a creative twist added by some of Croatia’s best chefs. Most of the local restaurants’ menus are made with regional, fresh produce, including just-caught seafood.

For an authentic Croatian experience and the most local atmosphere, travellers should dine at a traditional tavern-style konoba restaurant, the Dalmatian version of a tavern, where you can enjoy fresh fish and seafood and popular local meat dishes.

The local diet is also rich in seasonal vegetables, which vegetarians can enjoy in many of the city’s restaurants, with plenty of spots specialising in vegetarian and vegan fare.

Wine and olive oil are essential components of Split’s gastronomic makeup, meaning that restaurants are always stocked with exceptional Croatian wines, particularly those produced within Dalmatia. You can enjoy them with dinner or at a local wine tasting.

If you’re looking for local produce, Ribarnica is stocked with fresh seafood plucked out of the neighbouring Adriatic Sea. While Pazar Green Market is the place to go for fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, cheese, cured meat, honey, and sweet treats, for delicious eats you can sample on the spot, or take home for a slice of Split you can reminisce with.

For more Split travel ideas and inspiration, head to Visit Split or check out Instagram or Facebook

There is still time for the West to change Israel’s mind on Gaza

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund – a body worthy of trust and respect, and well acquainted with conditions on the ground – “Rafah is Gaza’s last hope”.

In that case, the Israeli government’s continued apparent determination to launch an armoured ground assault on Rafah, coupled with the most recent failure by the UN Security Council to agree to call for a ceasefire, removes the last vestige of hope for the nearly 2 million displaced persons – many of them children – sheltering in flimsy tents around the city in southern Gaza.

If the record of the last five months or so since the atrocities of 7 October is a reliable guide to what will happen next, what remains of Rafah will be pulverised, many thousands more innocent civilians will be killed, maimed and orphaned, the incipient famine will intensify across the territory – and what is already a humanitarian disaster will grow still more hopeless.

Are politicians ever justified in using private jets?

The home secretary, James Cleverly, spent some £165,561 last year chartering a private jet for a one-day round trip to Rwanda to sign a fresh treaty that would, supposedly, negate the UK Supreme Court’s finding of fact that Rwanda is not a safe third country for the deportation of refugees. The sudden urgent demand for new assurances about human rights from the Rwandans was, it is fair to say, politically driven, as the prime minister sees the Rwanda plan as the key “deterrent” in his struggle to “stop the boats” full of asylum seekers crossing the English Channel.

The revelation is troublesome because it reinforces the charge that this is a government with a profligate attitude to taxpayers’ money; that its ministers enjoy indulging themselves; and that the Rwanda scheme is, as Cleverly once repeatedly remarked in probate, a “bats***” crazy waste of money. Chartering a private jet is also, if anyone still cares, one of the most environmentally destructive ways to travel by air. Politically, the turbulence generated by such trips can be extremely distressing…