Thoughts of a non swine kind….

For the past few days I have been ill with spring flu of the non swine variety, the illness that has affected so many in recent weeks, including, so I read in today’s coverage of the Cannes film festival, the actress Penelope Cruz whom I find it impossible to imagine looking anything other than gorgeous. Anyway, as befits the thought processes of someone with a fever, dizziness, cough etc but the continuing domestic tasks of a mother of two, including a fifteen year old taking triple science GCSE papers, let me tell you what has been on my mind these past few days:

* Ida, the forty seven million year old fossil, with its milk teeth and broken hand, found at the bottom of a volcanic Italian pit in the early eighties and sold to a tenacious scientist with a flair for publicity who has put his findings up on a free website, to further public understanding. I am particularly interested in Ida because, when helping my fifteen year old with her biology revision, we did quite a bit on fossils and what they reveal of our ancestry. The thing I find most amazing is that homo sapiens, who follows homo habilis and home erectus ( apologies to the exam board if I remember this in the wrong order) is only about two hundred thousand years old but the marmoset monkey has long been established as thirty million years old. Extraordinary.

* Michael Martin, the first speaker of the House of Commons to be forced out of office for three hundred years ( the last one was found guilty of financial corruption.) Martin is clearly a scapegoat who has also made many mistakes and misjudged the mood of the essentially upper class workplace he was supposed to preside over. But contrary to the mood of my last post, I am now finding the speed with which the parliamentary system is unravelling rather exciting. Could it lead to the wiping away of all the pomp and pretension and patriarchy of both the Commons and the Lords and lead to not one but two modernised elected chambers?And might we see a host of new representatives offer themselves for election. And I don’t mean Esther Rantzen……

* on the subject of new political representatives, and this is definitely the effect of fever, I have actually been wondering for the first time in my life what it would be like to stand as an MP, now that I am in proud middle age and pretty clear about what I believe and the changes I would like to see. Given my parentage/family background etc I am often asked why I did not go into politics – well, they have to ask writers something – and I have never been in the remotest sense tempted. But flu has brought out new imaginings in me, and in many others, judging by the messages I am getting from other mid life friends who say ( of themselves, not me): if not now, when?

* Nicholas Moseley, whom I am currently researching; the writer son of fascist Oswald and his half brother the equally infamous Max ( whom I admire solely for taking on the tabloids rather than bowing sheepishly to them) I am going to interview Nicholas in a week or so. Now, there’s a difficult inheritance, yet as the writer of many books including Accident ( made into a terrific film with Dirk Bogarde) and Hopeful Monsters ( which won the Whitbread in 1990) Nicholas has at least managed to carve out a life for himself separate from his infamous father.

Apart from these disordered thoughts, I have about twelve books lined up to read, and one huge tome still to finish. So far this week I have only been able to manage DVD’s in the afternoon, lying under a scratchy tartan blanket.My final observation then is that Jane Austen is perfect for flu. I have re-visited Sense and Sensibility ( brilliantly acted by all the A list of Brit cinema, including Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson – who also wrote the script – Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant etc ) and Pride and Prejudice ( again fine performances from all the cast.)

So that’s the end of my report from the groggy front line. Finally, let me repay the compliment to Normblog, the supremely talented blogger, who increased my hit rates and blogging self confidence on what would otherwise have been a supremely sluggish day.

Ever thought of standing for Parliament Norm?

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