Most days as I pedal across the Square Ambiorix in the early morning I see a lone Chinese man practising tai chi and the sight immediately whisks me back to Coal Hill Park in Beijing. To explain, a few years back we stayed in Beijing for a week and I got up early every morning to jog around the Forbidden City and Coal Hill Park. The early morning is a wonderful moment in the massive metropolis’s life. People hang up their bird cages in the trees and practice exercises of various sorts. Coal Hill Park in particular is a riot of groups practising everything from shuttlecock to ballroom dancing, from tai chi to flag dancing, sometimes to music, sometimes not. When I see the lone Chinese man in Square Ambiorix I wonder if he is not imagining company around him. In any case, by eight in the morning the people of Beijing are exercised and energised and if you left your hotel at eight-thirty (say) you wouldn’t realise just how much activity had been going on. It’s certainly worth getting up for.