Blessed to be a witness

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Wednesday, February 23

Oh monsieur, you are really spoiling us

M checked her email to find that a Beijing-based former colleague, whom she had emailed yesterday to ask where we might catch the England-Ireland rugby match on Sunday, had replied with a couple of suggestions - and an invitation to a reception at the Irish embassy! It's not every day one gets to meet the ambassador, and is something we really shouldn't turn down. First business class, now this.

Apart from that, we missed the flag raising ceremony today due to sleeping for 13 hours straight, and not surfacing until 1pm, which is highly unusual, especially for me: I am normally quite insomniac and rarely get more than seven hours.

It's freezing here. Snowing heavily and outside we wear gloves, hats, thermals, special woollen socks. Killed two small cockroaches in the bathroom but didn't tell M, though she found a bigger one later, and will read this too, so now she knows.

Visited the Forbidden City, which was fascinating, particularly for the audio tour, which was voiced, bizarrely, by Roger Moore, at his most pompous. "Look up at that ceiling. Isn't it marvellous!?" It's a truly amazing collection of buildings, made with astonishing skill and care, and it was easy to imagine them when they were occupied by imperial pomp. Very cold too, but we were delighted also to be warned by copious signs, "Don't fall over". Right then, thanks for the advice. I was going to, but now I won't.

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