The Feral Beast: Jungle Beatles, lazy mandarins, a quartet of corgis,

Michael Gove is a no-nonsense sort of chap, unafraid to shake his fist at the Human Rights Act. In 2011, the Education Secretary vowed to crack down on unruly pupils, whatever Europe said about their rights, and last year he led the cabinet's huffing and puffing when it looked as if Abu Qatada couldn't be deported. So how surprising to learn he is the trustee of a charity dedicated to promoting, er, human rights! The Charity Commission lists Gove as one of only two trustees of something called the European Freedom Fund. The other is the neocon writer and activist Douglas Murray. Their objective is "the promotion of respect for human rights as set out in the European Convention of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms adopted by the members of the council of Europe on 4th November 1950 and the convention's five protocols". This could put Gove in a tricky position when the Tories come to replacing the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights. Still, the EFF hasn't been too busy: no money has gone in or out since it was founded in 2007. Molto strano!

Brian Viner: Oh, for the days of parlourmaids

The enduring British fascination with life above and below stairs gets another stoking from Sunday, with ITV's transmission of Downton Abbey, a seven-part drama set in a grand country house just before the First World War and naturally starring, in the regrettable absence of Dame Judi, Dame Maggie Smith.

Daisy Goodwin: A woman of substance

Already TV’s face of poetry, awardwinning producer and ‘head girl’ of her own company, Daisy Goodwin has writtenher debut novel. She talks to Arifa Akbar

Sun shines on festival revellers

More than a million revellers were thought to have attended the Notting Hill Carnival yesterday, making it Europe's largest street festival, which has been held every August bank holiday since 1966.

The Timeline: Music festivals

Music festivals were nearly as common in the ancient world as they are in the modern. Though unlike modern festivals, which venerate rock gods, the ancients sought to glorify more ethereal deities. Each spring the Athenians would celebrate the Festival of the Vine Flower, a three day shindig which began with a drinking contest conducted in silence and ended with singing and dancing to "melodies that excite the soul to a mystic frenzy". A description that wouldn't be amiss applied to many a modern festival.

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Deck the halls: Get the winterwonderland look

The cosy comforts of home are more important than ever at this time of year. So turn your space into a winter wonderland by mixing traditional festive fare with quirky contemporary pieces...