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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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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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