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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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Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
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L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
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Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
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Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall