Her mother-hen aspect is always to the fore in her concern for her staff, even in the relentless routine of Downing Street. “You’ve got a cold coming on, Ferdy.”
“No, I don’t think so, Prime Minister.”
“Yes, you have, I’m sure. You need some Redoxon.”
“Honestly, Prime Minister, I promise you I haven’t.”
It is 9.30pm and the meeting has already been going on for two hours and I have been groaning inwardly at the mind-numbing tedium of it all and unfortunately one of the groans has escaped.
“I’ve got some Redoxon in the flat. I’ll go and get it.”
“No, please don’t. I’m sure we’ve got some at home and anyway I don’t need it.”
“One always needs Redoxon.” And she shoots out of the room, up two and a half flights of stairs, to get me the blasted pills that I don’t need, while everyone else in the room looks furiously at me for causing this further delay.
It is hard to think of another prime minister in British history who would have insisted on interrupting a meeting and going to get the Redoxon herself. In fact, looking back on it, I think going upstairs to fetch it was the most sustained piece of physical exercise I ever saw her take.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Life with Mrs T
There's a superb piece by Ferdinand Mount in the Sunday Times today on his two periods working with Margaret Thatcher in 1964 and then as Head of her Policy Unit in the early 1980s. It's an extract from his new book Cold Cream: My Early Life and Other Mistakes. I particualrly enjoyed this anecdote...