Trooping the Colour - Olympic style
To the Trooping of the Colour on Saturday morning, courtesy of the Secretary of State for Scotland whose Dover House office has the best views of Horse Guards parade.
From a distance the bearskins and red jackets look like toy soldiers but, as the programme reminds us, most of these guys were on the front line in Afghanistan a few months ago or are preparing to go out there.
The pomp and splendour of it all is quite impressive. Someone on the balcony mentioned that when the Olympic 2012 organisers started canvassing opinion for the grand opening ceremony for the London event they had in mind so great multicultural reflection of modern Britain and the world city on the Thames.
Word came back from focus groups and American broadcast networks that what they really want to see is red soldiers trooping in formation like on the Queen's birthday. After all, we do seem to manage to do it well although I can't disagree with one Labour peer who wondered out loud if we need quite so many mounted cavalry in this day and age.
As we spoke about the 2012 games I reminded fellow hacks to chalk their names on the balcony to reserve their place for the Olympic beach volley ball competition that will take place on a sandcovered Horse Guards parade.
I predict a sudden surge of interest in Scottish politics among male lobby journalists in two years time.
11 hours ago