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Friday 25th July

Friday 25th July

Good afternoon.

James 1st of England (6th of Scotland) was only King because Elizabeth 1st didn't produce an heir. His son, Charles 1 sired an heir in Charles II who was better at fathering a legion of "Fitz"-illegitimates than a legitimate heir so his brother James succeeded him as James II - only to get it horribly wrong at the Battle of the Boyne, leaving it open to his sister Mary to marry the Protestant William of Orange and bring an end to all hopes I had of succeeding to the throne. From Charles I through to Mary, they were Stuarts. OK, I'd have had to change the spelling but you get my point.

You can, therefore, imagine my horror in discovering that Salma (She Who Will Do Anything To Get One Over On Me) has been to Buckingham Palace today. The good news is she was only there to learn how to lay a table. I would not stoop, come to think of it, so I'd best calm down. It is a fascinating insight into how her Maj' throws a supper party with the assistance of knee-pads, protractors and a seating plan that makes an Ordinance Survey map look like a rough guide. You'll relish it.

Most arrive for State Banquets by limo' and not by Tube. But if they did they'd either have got the trip for free, or found their card not functioning or some other such debacle: Oyster has gone wrong again and TfL are embarrassed. And out of pocket. And confused. Glen slips under the barrier to try and shed light on why TfL don't need the hacking skills of a Dutch academic to screw up, yet again, the system that is supposed to oil the financial wheels of your trip to work.

We could, I guess, walk to work, sprint to work or even vault to work. We could certainly ride a horse to work or cycle to work. Some might even sail to work and, in deepest winter, ski to work whilst shooting rifles at targets. All are Olympic Sports, too. What no-one will ever do is "triple-jump" to work. Or "triple-jump" to anything other than a sandpit. It is the oddest and most pointless sport so it doesn't surprise me that we have, in our very midst, a Gold Medal hopeful who has crimson hair. Paxo is impressed and he won me over: I bet he gets you, too.

Much more my sporting "tasse de tee" is Polo - I love it and those who do it - both riders and ponies. It is fast, elegant, skilled and capable of bankrupting anyone but the wealthiest. Pop stars like Genesis's Mike Rutherford and the Who's Kenny Jones rub shoulders with bankers and billionaires as the equine equivalents of Ferraris turn on a sixpence as chukka follows chukka. This weekend is the Cartier at Windsor and we've a sneak preview with Lewis who is good looking enough to qualify but too tall. Ah, the girls will be heart-broken.

But none as heart-broken as the girls and boys who have seen the company that promised to deliver their friend's thoughtful gifts, from toasters to turines, in time for their weddings. It has gone bust and it is heart-breaking. Ronke takes a very large box of tissues with her for this one.

Which just leaves James to come and bury or praise Batman, The Dark Knight and Baby Mama which The Big Boss said was "a light-hearted comedy" and Dame Salma, the Marchioness of Siraj, said was "silly".

I, like James, am blessed with an open mind as I know are you.

So you will believe Robin when he says that after sweltering heat for the last four WORK days, it is going to be wet and over-cast when, at last, we get some time off this weekend. I may chose to pretend he is lying as I am going fishing.

The papers don't lie , very often or very well, so we'll share their front pages with you and then we can all enjoy the weekend. Guess who has just a few more good ideas for what you really shouldn't miss? The Richard III of tv journalism, of course.

Alastair and HRH That Woman.... the lovely Siraj.