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As drug fiends usually know, peyote is a Mexican cactus with hallucinogenic properties; the visions it conjures are so strong that a religious cult once sprang up to worship it. And a pretty hefty restaurant cult has appeared in the UK that worships simple Mexican cuisine.

Cornwall: Act natural

Ben Ross and family discovered Cornwall's wild side by staying in a luxury log cabin in magical woodland and then a tipi set beside a lake. Now all they needed was a fire...

The Fox and the Child (U)

Luc Jacquet, who scored a hit with March of the Penguins, now tries to melt our hearts with this paean to foxes.

Fern Britain: Anna Pavord has frond memories of a garden favourite

Giant fronds, instant shading, exotic shapes ... no wonder the fern is a popular plant. But why is the home-grown variety still such a rarity?

The man who said 'no' to bank charges

When Marc Gander was charged £150 for going into the red, he launched a fightback campaign that could cost the banks billions in compensation and refunds

Terence Blacker: Season of renewal – and renewed anxiety

It has been a difficult few days: silence in the hedgerows where there should be song, followed by the publication of a profoundly depressing survey into the decline of migrating birds. But today has brought relief. The cuckoo is back, calling from his normal spot across the field from where I write.

Miles Kington Remembered: If you want to write a nature column, live in London

When I wander through the country, my mind tends to be elsewhere, and I can come home without having noticed anything in particular

Last Night's TV: A tragicomic postcard from the edge

Poppy Shakespeare, Channel 4; Marty Feldman – Six Degrees of Separation, BBC1

Time to get tough: How being nasty can improve your life

Being nice can ruin your life, according to the authors of two new books. Their advice? Stop being so pathetic!

Restaurant that served Jean-Paul Sartre and Victor Hugo stripped of Michelin star

Its lavish dining rooms and Parisian delicacies have attracted French politicians, writers and artists for 200 years, but the gilded mirrors of Le Grand Véfour lost their lustre yesterday after the eatery was stripped of its prestigious third Michelin star. The restaurant, founded in 1785 and frequented by Victor Hugo, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, is the only three-star establishment to have been downgraded in the revered food guide's latest edition.

On a gilt trip: Vermilion, Hulme Hall Lane, Lord North Street, Manchester

Its opulent interior cost millions. But will Vermilion bring the crowds to an industrial estate in east Manchester?

Diamonds, Gold and War, By Martin Meredith

In the 1860s, despite over a hundred years of effort, the European colonial presence in Southern Africa was a fragile thing. The Cape colonists, British and Dutch, had managed to wipe out the San and push back the Xhosas, but this small agrarian incursion clung to the fertile coasts of the south. To the north-east the voortrekkers had stolen and defended enough land to establish two wafer-thin republics, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal.

The rudest Christmas letter ever written by Roger Lewis

Each Christmas, the critic and biographer Roger Lewis sends friends a seasonal'suicide note'. In hilariously caustic prose, it details family crises, the true awfulness of his celebrity acquaintances, and the dreary reality of a writer's life in the British provinces. This year's was his rudest and most outrageous ever...

Blair in surprise Baghdad visit

Prime Minister Tony Blair flew into Baghdad today for a surprise visit to mark the formation of a new Iraqi government pledged to defeat terrorism.

The Conjuror'S Bird, by Martin Davies

Biologist turns sleuth in quest for mystery bird - and its DNA

The Conjuror's Bird, by Martin Davies

Biologist turns sleuth in quest for mystery bird - and its DNA
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'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering