After being thrust into public life and becoming the subject of intense debate for two years, it is only natural that one might desire a little tranquility. Where better to escape to than the British countryside?
Since finishing her residency on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth in October, Alison Lapper Pregnant Marc Quinn's enormous nude sculpture of the disabled artist has resided at the Hampshire country home of the former BBC and BT chairman Sir Christopher Bland. The statue will stay there while Quinn, Sir Christopher's son-in-law, plans a global tour for the work, scheduled towards the end of 2008.
The road up to Sir Christopher's house and stud farm strong enough to take lorries and horseboxes would not stand the strain of 13 tons of white Carrara marble, so a military-style roll-out road and crane were deployed. The gates had to be taken down and a concrete base constructed by the front lawn.
As soon as Alison Lapper Pregnant settled into her new home, two pigeons landed on her. The Blands' horses were amazed by the addition to their paddock and have formed an immediate affinity, spending hours a day wandering to and from, gazing at their imposing feminine companion. Sir Christopher's wife, Jenny, has even joked about knitting her some winter woollies to keep off the country chill.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if Alison Lapper Pregnant could spend part of her world tour at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics?
Bussell packs for world's longest commute
Darcey Bussell's summer touring commitments in the UK (and potentially America) seemed to have left her family's dream move to Australia stranded on the tarmac at Heathrow.
The ballerina, 38, and the mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins have scored a hit with their two-lady singing-and-dancing show Viva La Diva. Their management keep cramming in more concert dates.
Bussell's Aussie banker husband Angus Forbes believes Sydney to be the best city in the world, and had commented: "We either go now or we don't go ever."
Despite Bussell's growing workload this side of the world, she has decided to press ahead. Her tribe will fly down under in January to begin a new life by the beach. The couple's daughters, Phoebe, six, and three-year-old Zoe, are said to be particularly excited.
Where does this leave her show commitments? Says the producer, Steven Howard: "Darcey will be commuting."
One in the eye for Kate
Soho carollers choke on the lingering smell of cordite from last week's late-night physical dust-up between Kate Moss and the Mail on Sunday's television critic, Jaci Stephen.
Pandora reported on Friday that the pair had an altercation following Jaci's singalong at the piano with actor Max Beesley. Reports differ, as they say, and continue to be interrupted by gunfire and screaming, but the judges have since convened and their decision is a win for Jaci on points.
The journalist modestly denies telling Moss to "Piss off, you skinny minger," insisting: "I was too busy defending her right hook." Bless! Holding out an olive branch and then poking your opponent in the eye with it. Goodwill to all women.
Oh, sweet FA
At the risk of seeming the Grinch, may we quickly cast an eye over the surprising nomination of Lord Triesman to become the new chairman of the Football Association?
The former Foreign Office minister was "surprised and upset" when Gordon Brown demoted him in the summer. I'm not suggesting that external political pressure was applied on the FA to offer Triesman the 300,000 pa, three-day-a-week job ahead of other well-qualified candidates we all know that's an implausible scenario. It just warms the heart.
* Seasons Greetings, from Burma's military junta. The regime's message in its (Hallmark?) Christmas card to Rangoon's diplomatic corps: "WE MUST CONSTANTLY BE STRIVING TO KEEP NATIONALIST FERVOUR EVER ALIVE AND DYNAMIC TO OPPOSE COLONIALISTS AND NEO-COLONIALISTS AND THEIR MINIONS AND LACKEYS." And a happy New Year.
The room at the inn
The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke had not expected to "rough it" when he signed up with Paul Weller, Beth Ditto, Graham Coxon and The Enemy to record a track, "Consequences", for the homeless charity Crisis.
After flying in to London, he was shown, exhausted, to his orange-themed cubicle at the Victoria easyHotel. He had hoped for a quick kip before rushing off to the recording studio. Alas: there were no bedsheets. He was quoted a tenner for "housekeeping". Perhaps, instead, some mindless telly? The by-now-agitated Rourke could not find the remote control. Further investigation revealed he would have to cough up more shrapnel for this electrical luxury.
Shortly afterwards, Rourke arrived at the studio carrying his suitcases, telling producer Paul Epworth that he had seen more welcoming prison cells, and asking if he could sleep on the sofa.Reuse content