We had decided to have breakfast, continental style, in mum’s room so as to savour the view and the Monagasgues going about their daily drudgery in the principal glittery place on earth. The staff, naturally, were up pre-dawn laying the tables for the seagulls to aim at, (although hotel snipers were well placed on rooftops to stop them before their bombing runs were started). Mum was, as usual, watching them at about 6, laying up for the early risers and people who, I was horrified to find out, actually came here to work! Breakfast over, we walked into Casino Square fully intending to hit the tables at 10.30am, but were told by various sources, (not least of which, the Casino itself), that it would not open till 2pm. We decided therefore to visit the Metropole Hotel, (scene of the 1956 honeymoon), first for tea for two, and at first glance thought it had turned into a shopping centre….. Fortunately though, (and contrary to this picture, which is un-ashamedly one for the boys), the shopping centre was not the hotel itself, and this picture clearly shows that Spandex does still work (as long it costs at least £800 per leg). The real hotel was hiding next door in an oasis of calm, tranquility, and spandex free , (although to be fair, I didn’t look that hard) Now it will come as no surprise that I was not allowed in to the Casino for lack of identification, so was whisked back to the meridien in the fastest Audi they could lay their hands on so as to return before my Martini had gone irritatingly flat. Once back, I joined mother in the Salon Prive and gave the room the once over. A fleeting glance told me that roulette, which was the order of the day, was available on at least four positions, and so, with a case of money and no idea what to do, I assembled my cufflinks and we rolled over to the wheel of fortune. Three quarters of an hour later, and as we confidently predicted, we’d lost the lot. Although mum had won fairly substantially on number seventeen, thirteen had not been present at all, and dad was blamed for having his hand on the magnet. We had enjoyed ourselves though, and Kim was thanked for coming up with idea of funding the jaunt. No pictures of this as the Casino does not allow common devices into it’s hallowed halls, something which the assembled Japanese must have absolutely hated, along with all the other 14 year olds who can barely speak to people without the resource of a phone to help them along with the difficult words, not forgetting the excuse it gives you to run for a fake call and avoid real life altogether. We went to the bar, had a martini and a champagne cocktail, and wandered back through town towards the hotel, where we endured the worst of Monte Carlo cuisine on offer. A plate of grey escalope, and courgette, green beans, and asparagus which had all been boiled. I hope that can be said of the half-wit who put it on the plate as well, but I can’t be certain.