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Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, was due to chair a meeting of the Government’s crisis committee Cobra in response to the bad weather and power cuts.

Leading Article: Not so tongue-tied after all

It is refreshing today to be able to report some good news about language provision in state secondary schools after seven lean years. The decline in the take-up of languages has been halted and schools are offering pupils a much broader range of options.

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/independent/2008/09/eat-goodbye-mr.html" target="_blank">Eat: Goodbye Mr. Basil</a>

He was there for the toaster, again and again. There for the remote control. For the alarm clock

Rabbit with saffron, basil, cucumber and tomatoes

Serves 6

Spaghetti with sardines, chilli and tomatoes

Serves 4

Salmon escalope with tomatoes and basil

Serves 4

Ever wondered what it would be like to dine at Fawlty Towers?

You can mention the war if you like, but just don't ask for more butter. Because if you do, your waiter, Manuel, will find an unsuspecting female diner and proceed to head-butt her. Welcome to Faulty Towers: the Dining Experience – a real-life night with Basil, his wife Sybil and the English-mangling Spanish waiter who are abusing audiences at the Edinburgh Festival.

Rich pickings: Skye Gyngell's basil recipes

Did you know that there are over 40 varieties of this flavoursome herb? As British basil bursts into season, Skye Gyngell shows how to get the best out of your bunch

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Sixth Season (DVD)

Warner Having masterminded seven series of 'Seinfeld' and six seasons of his own starring vehicle, Larry David has a strong claim to be the greatest sitcom creator in TV history.

Gardening: Herb your enthusiasm

Basil is now one of the country&rsquo;s most popular herbs, yet it&rsquo;s notoriously difficult to grow in our unpredictable climate. Anna Pavord offers a few pointers

Basil Brush: Down with battery hens &ndash; so dashed hard to get at

The nation's favourite fox has been in hot water. In a programme on CBBC, a Gypsy woman was seen trying to sell him heather and pegs, giving rise to a complaint that he was behaving in a racist manner. Here the IoS imagines how Basil might respond.

Boardroom crisis rocks home of Basil Brush, Rupert Bear and Lassie

On screen, they inhabited idyllic worlds where laughter and fun with friends was never far away. But the perfect lives of children's favourites Rupert Bear, Postman Pat and Basil Brush are under threat, for the company that owns them is in crisis.

Miles Kington: The downward spiral of a downward spiral

I have never worked out how it was possible to hijack an aeroplane with a corkscrew

Basil Hume: the Monk Cardinal By Anthony Howard

A warrior monk who loved a good fight
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine