Ida Maitin

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View our 360 interactive panorama of Nelson Mandela's funeral procession making its way to his childhood home of Qunu, South Africa. More here: http://fw.to/E83ktaI

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – review

This second Hobbit movie was for me not just a pleasure, but a revelation. For the first time, I "got" the JRR Tolkien/Peter Jackson experience. I tuned into the frequency. I tasted the fusion cuisine. I heard the eccentric but weirdly rousing choral harmonies. And this is despite – or more …

Painted ladies: why women get tattoos

The first tattoo I ever saw belonged to my grandad. He had it done in Scotland during his national service in the 50s, so the tattoo must have been more than 30 years old when I became fascinated by it. I used to ask him to roll up his shirtsleeve and I would use my finger to follow the outline of …

Geminid meteor shower begins: watch out for fireballs

The mysterious Geminid meteor shower lights the skies of Earth between 12 and 16 December and is visible from almost anywhere on the planet. This year the peak rate is estimated to be 100-120 meteors per hour, rivalling the August Perseids, which are usually the most spectacular meteor shower of …

Qunu: the ancestral village where Mandela will be buried

It was a rainy Saturday afternoon when Khumbuzile Gubenani got the call. He had spent the morning with a shovel in his hands working the banks of the Mbashi river. A lorryful of sand from the same "dark river" where Nelson Mandela played as a child would earn each of the five young men from his …