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Revelling in the latest growth figures, George Osborne lifted Balls-baiting to a new plane. He was asked an unusually long list of super-friendly questions by euphoric Tory backbenchers. Ones that in the secret dreams of the MPs involved, invite the answer: “Yes. My honourable friend has absolutely hit the nail on the head with that spiffing question correctly mentioning our long-term economic plan, allowing me to lay into the Opposition, and qualifying him for early promotion.”

Tudor Monastery Farm Christmas, BBC2 - TV review

An opportunity to feel satisfied with your festive lot was provided by Tudor Monastery Farm Christmas, a seasonal special of BBC2's living history series, which gave us the lowdown on how a Tudor farmstead would have celebrated. On the one hand, they did get a whole 12 days off work – the luxury! – for a festive period which began on 25 December and extended well into January. On the other hand, the partying was preceded by Advent's four weeks of fasting and back-breaking toil.

The northern lights or aurora borealis near the village of Vik, in southern Iceland.

Road project in Iceland delayed to protect 'hidden' elves

A road project has been stopped until the country's Supreme Court rules on a case to protect elves and the environment

Unlucky for some: 13 notable deaths on Friday the 13th

One theory goes that the composer Rossini's death sparked modern superstition over the date. But he wasn't the only notable figure to die on this mysterious day

Sunbathing by the Thames as the heatwave continues in London and across much of the UK

Heatwave Britain - are we putting our heads in the sand about the weather?

Extreme summers are growing more common, says a top public health body, and it’s time to pay more attention to their hazards

This golden-stag study lamp is a blow-the-budget gift for the desk of a gentleman with a peacocky streak. £720, squintlimited.comsquintlimited.com" width="80" height="60" onclick="location.href='http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/istyle-what-shall-we-get-dad-8638295.html';" class="" />

iStyle: What shall we get Dad?

Forget the usual useless Father’s Day junk, treat your pa to something stylish for his den come June 16th. Kate Burt picks her favourite pieces

Nostalgia, By Jonathan Buckley

Get beyond the vaguer-than-vague title and this is some book: a minor-key masterpiece of restraint, invention and the fine art of keeping expectations deliberately low, then elegantly surpassing them. Nostalgia is set in the fictitious Tuscany town of Castelluccio, home to expat British painter Gideon Westfall, a successful but defiantly unfashionable exponent of neo-Neo-Classicism .

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure

FA Cup final: Yaya Toure eager to maintain momentum at Manchester City

City play Wigan at Wembley on Saturday

Eamon de Buitlear: Film-maker and environmentalist

For anyone who grew up in Ireland from the 1960s to the present, Éamon de Buitléar was a household name. He achieved this status as a chronicler of rural Ireland and what he called "the unofficial countryside" of urban development, through his writings and the natural history programmes he made for Ireland's national broadcaster RTE.

PM is not in Holland, and pro-Europeans may prevail

Inside Westminster: Eurosceptics are never satisfied. If Cameron announced a referendum tomorrow, they'd complain it wasn't yesterday

Haunted: Fiona Shaw and Daniel Hay-Gordon in The Ancient Mariner

IoS theatre review: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Old Vic Tunnels, London
So Great a Crime, Finborough, London
Fiesco, New Diorama, London

Fiona Shaw leads her audience a surprisingly merry dance to Coleridge's bleak epic poem

The Fall of the Stone City, By Ismail Kadare (trs John Hodgson)

Truly, the dinner party from hell

Toots and the Maytals, Concorde 2, Brighton
Jessie Ware, Plan B, London

If ever someone needed to relax, it's Toots

Martin Freeman in 'The Hobbit'

One into three won't go. A Hobbit trilogy is stretching Tolkien a little too far

Is there some kind of law of modern culture that says everything must come in threes? Fifty Shades of Grey, The Dark Knight movies, The Hunger Games books, Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell books, Toy Story, The Matrix… It seems that publishers and film studios would do anything to get a franchise under way, and to tell its audience, as if they were small children, that the characters they liked will be back with more adventures next year…

The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, Edited by Steve Roud and Julia Bishop

Does this expert guide to a musical heritage throw out the mystery along with the myths?

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University Edible Garden, Leeds – a sustainable garden in the centre of the university, passers-by can help themselves to the home-grown produce
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Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
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High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
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Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz