Royal Tribute or Colonel Gaddafi look-alike? Ben Bennett tends to a terracotta sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II in his front garden. The head, complete with grass hair, was one of the more unusual tributes as the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday this week. (Telegraph Images)

This week will be remembered for the premature farewells to much-loved comedian Victoria Wood and global pop icon Prince.  There was also cause for celebration, however, as the Queen marked her 90th birthday and in doing so became the nation's first nonagenarian monarch.  Her Majesty marked the occasion on Thursday by greeting well-wishers on a tour of Windsor and lighting the first in a chain of 900 beacons across the UK.  All this before lunching on Friday with US President Barack Obama.  She could therefore be forgiven for putting her feet up today and kicking back in front of the television (corgi in lap) for a well-earned rest day.  Indeed if Her Majesty is tuned into BBC1 this morning she may catch a glimpse of 88 year old Iva Barr pounding the streets of London as she attempts to complete the marathon for the 20th time.  The oldest runner on the course, she describes the 26.2 mile endurance test - which for most people represents an exercise in physical and emotional torture - as "like being at the centre of a big street party".  Hats off to both of them!   
 
It is less than 2 weeks before Londoners take to the voting booths to elect Boris Johnson's successor as Mayor and the focus has understandably been on the bad-tempered campaigns being waged by the two main candidates vying for the keys to City Hall.  Yet, Boris may still have time to leave a further mark on the Capital.  The Mayor is set to rule on two major London developments on 27 April - the £500 million Alpha Square scheme on the Isle of Dogs and the proposed redevelopment of the former West Ferry Printworks in Canary Wharf.  The developers will be holding their breath.  Johnson has been pro-development throughout his tenure and never once refused a called-in scheme.  Will his successor take a very different approach?

Do you feel jaded after a night's sleep in an unfamiliar hotel room, or find yourself tossing and turning when you're not in your own bed?  If you do, then you are not alone.  It seems logical that the comforts of home make for a better night's sleep, but a study by Brown University has now added a scientific explanation as to why we struggle to sleep in strange surroundings.  Apparently it is the result of a simple defence mechanism known as the "nightwatchman" function, which  ensures our brain's left hemisphere stays alert for danger in an unfamiliar place.  Logical and somewhat re-assuring.  The response, however, does have its limitations and can be "numbed" by excessive alcoholic intake.  So for those of you wondering why you still wake up on the sofa following a "big night out" there is your answer.  And if you really can't sleep next time you visit the relatives, we have also neatly provided you with a rather less scientific solution!

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