Jilly Cooper caused excitement and a little chaos at the TES summer party in the Natural History Museum last week.
The effervescent queen of the blockbuster made a particular impression on National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations stalwart Margaret Morrissey. Margaret recalls: "I thought, 'That's Jilly Cooper!' We started to walk towards each other. She looked as if she knew me, but of course she didn't." Morrissey introduced Fred Jarvis, former head of the NUT, whereupon Jilly had a flash of inspiration: "You are the parents," she said, pointing to Morrissey, 59 and happily married to husband Patrick, "And you are the teachers," pointing to Mr Jarvis, 78 and happily married to wife Anne. "Are you two married?" she asked. As everyone collapsed in hysterics, Jilly quickly moved on: "It's so hot in here, I've got to get a breath of fresh air."
The saucy novelist was also heard remarking on the "surprising amount of talent" at the party. She began a long conversation with the TES's delectable deputy editor David Budge. ("Very nice indeed," was her considered opinion after the party). Look out for a smouldering Scotsman with a passion for research in Jilly's next tome!