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Thursday 7th August

Thursday 7th August
Greetings from Beijing!
Gosh that sounds quite cool - I hope you have enjoyed what we've done so far: we have even more tonight.
When the Big Boss asked me to come out here for a few days to cover the opening of the 29th Olympic Games, I leapt at the chance. First, ever since I saw the tiny toddler Emperor Pi emerge from the Forbidden City in Bertolucci's magnificent film "The Last Emperor", I have wanted to come to Beijing and see it for myself. And, second only to the "horsey" events that will be held in Hong Kong, I love rowing and hugely admire the likes of Pinsent, Redgrave and Cracknell... the last two of whom were on London Tonight a few years back when we covered the Henley Rowing Regatta.
Well, this morning I saw the Forbidden City and this evening I am sitting next to James Cracknell who is here to do some stuff for News at Ten. Can it get any cooler? This morning Faye, who looks wistfully resplendent in a silk shirt and elegant open toe sandals, and I went out to the rowing centre and talked to two London hopefuls, one of whom is a towering example of the finest the East End produces, and the other, a charming young man from Henley who went to Eton College. Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase, respectively, are Gold Medal hopefuls who, even if they capsize, we can all be really proud of. I think they will stay afloat and end up on the top step but meet them and hear their thoughts at 6.
Before that I walked around Tiananmen Square - architecturally huge and historically massive - here, Chairman Mao declared the creation of the People's Republic of China and here, his successors fatally confronted student freedom fighters with tanks . Like something out of a Le Carre novel, we were followed by a well-orchestrated sequence of casually attired "spooks". We then wandered through the back streets of the Imperial City and saw dim-sum like you have never seen before. Enjoy me doing my Thomas Cook bit in the debilitating heat.
Harris is here too - hurrah, I say - and has been talking to the London 2012 mob who have come to see how the Chinese do it. Any early arrogance has evaporated in a sea of well-turned out volunteers, an absence of "in-your-face" sponsorship and an almost frightening efficiency. Wonder how pole-climbing protestors in Parliament Square would be treated? We have tried to keep all these matters in balance and Harris is my, and your, man for such impartiality. I'll also give you a look at the "goody-bag" us journos have been given but I am afraid I am keeping it all.
Harris has just walked in behind me and asked "Where's the man with the bottle of sea-horse pee?" so I might not be keeping everything in the goody-bag, after all. I thought it was cologne....
Salma will have her comprehensive round -up of all the news in London: something, surely, Not To Miss..
Sadly more shooting and violence in Crete will be there but, with Salma, one knows sad and sorry news is in safe hands. A glorious tale of Aldershot FC who my uncle supports and whose ground sits on the railway line I use. Plus the Dagenham man with a soft spot for the Sugarbabes. OK, so that doesn't narrow it down, I know, but if I say he is organising a pop festival with them and he isn't Harvey Goldsmith, you might get a bit closer. No? OK, discover and enjoy at 6.
Newspapers which, in London, have never had to be read on the walls, and a weather forecast which, however bad, won't get near the oppressive, damp, over-cast, smoggy nonsense that we are enduring ....just for you.
Actually, it is an honour and a privilege: hope you like it.
See you at 6.