A Mouse in the House

I’ve spent the last two days in Westminster, filming, interviewing and, frankly, chatting a lot.

A few things to note: firstly the Westminster pollen. I don’t even know if it is pollen, but the stuff that’s shaken from the plane trees that line Millbank and Whitehall is horrible. It piles up in drifts of brown tree-dust. I’m not allergic to anything and have never remotely suffered hayfever. But that stuff makes my eyes stream, chokes my throat and makes me cough. As I say, horrible. And it makes filming pieces to camera particularly difficult because I kept finding myself dry-throated or coughing.

The other obstruction to filming comes from the tourists. At this time of year there are hundreds thronging Westminster, taking pictures, walking in zig-zags and generally slowing down besuited, sweaty, stressed journos or gathering around the camera excitedly waving and laughing. That’s not their fault, I suppose, but what does annoy me is the amazing disregard for anyone walking at more than a snail’s pace. Worse, Paul, my fantastic cameraman, has a whacking great camera in one hand and an enormous tripod on his shoulder and still they stop, change direction or sometimes just walk directly into him as if he were invisible.

Last night, I was at the annual reception held for MPs by BBC Wales. It was packed and good-natured (not always givens) and a good opportunity for both sides to catch up, ask questions and swap info.

This year there was an added guest in the shape of a mouse. Now these are no strangers to parliament – in a building that old and that big it would be amazing if they weren’t there. But this little feller caused a good old ripple of excitement amongst MPs and journos. Paul Flynn MP in particular did his level best to capture the mouse on camera. I don’t know if he succeeded. If he did, you can bet it’ll be on his blog soon.

As Lord Rockingham said, there’s a moose loose aboot this hoose.

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