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Sian Smith: 'She's not in trouble. We just want her back'

The mission: Colds must be fed. Where better to test this out than an `all-you-can-eatery'? Matthew Sweet suffers for science

wo phrases underpin this week's mission: "Feed a cold" and "All you can Eat". And this is the story of their horrible collision. Some people have tested the limits of the human frame by scaling mountains or blasting themselves up into space - either of which I would have been prepared to do to furnish material for this column. Instead, I was forced to take up a less noble challenge - testing how much food one human being could consume in a day. A fairly greedy human being with a stinking cold. Anyone with a weak stomach should probably now flip forward to the Crossword.

Visual Arts: It's `The Independent', but not as we know it

In his new exhibition, Richard Wentworth invites us to view everyday objects in a new way. And that includes this newspaper.

This week's top ten sports books

1 Rothmans Book of Football Records, Jack Rollin (Headline, hardback, pounds 25.00).

Restaurants: Christmas Kitsch

Walthamstow Stadium

Clubs: The best of the rest: Breeze

PUSHCA @ hanover grand

Altogether now... breathe

A COUPLE of years ago, I was looking for a poem of Auden's which I couldn't lay my hands on, so I went to Charing Cross Road to look for it. Foyle's was the first shop I went into, and was genuinely shocked to find the shelves bare of his books. I became angry: this great English poet unrepresented in what was once an international byword for bookshops. "Do you realise," I said, tersely, to the assistant, "that there is not a single copy of any book by W H Auden in stock?" "Yes," he replied, "and it's your fault." It was shortly after the release of Four Weddings and a Funeral. I knew that there had been a bit of a rush on "Funeral Blues", so memorably spoken by John Hannah in the film, but had no idea that Auden had literally reached the best-seller lists. It was a striking reminder of how poetry, the Cinderella of the written word, with sales in single figures, can, spoken aloud, be the most popular of all literary genres.

Racing: Gallagher rides through storm

DEAN GALLAGHER said yesterday that "nothing new" emerged in Tuesday's questioning by police investigating doping and race-fixing allegations. He said he was "very disappointed" at being rebailed, so that the inquiry which has racing in thrall for eight months will drag on again until at least next January. However, he intends to carry on riding as normal, resuming at Ludlow today.

Racing: Gallagher forced to wait again

POLICE QUESTIONED Dean Gallagher, the National Hunt jockey, for nearly eight hours at a central London police station yesterday as part of the on-going investigation by the Metropolitan Police into race-fixing and doping. Last night Gallagher, and six other men who had also been questioned at length, were bailed until November.

Racing: Osborne in clear over race-fixing

JAMIE OSBORNE became the second National Hunt jockey to be released from police investigations into race-fixing and doping allegations yesterday. The discharge from scrutiny by Scotland Yard's Organised Crime Group ended nine months of torment for one of winter racing's most charismatic riders.

A humanist on the information superhighway

The Metaphysical Touch by Sylvia Brownrigg Gollancz pounds 16.99

The knack How to walk the beat

"Good boots are a necessity - you're on your feet for the best part of your shift. Check the weather forecasts and make sure you've got appropriate clothes for the time of day. The early hours can get really cold and it's no good having your thermals at home when you're freezing your parts off on the street.

Serial rapist prowls railways

A RAPIST has been preying on women at railway stations as they return from work, police revealed yesterday.

Cafe Society: the good, the bad - and all points between

Paddington: Raffles Cafe-Diner corner of Spring St and Praed St, open 7am-11pm Does excellent espresso, decent sandwiches, cooked breakfasts, mezze, and has pavement tables.

Court told of girl's taxi rape

A SCHOOLGIRL who ran away from home to seek out her pop idol, Brian Harvey, was repeatedly raped by a taxi driver she trusted, an Old Bailey court heard today.

Review: A welcome return

The Amazing Rhythm Aces The Borderline, London
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
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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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick