THE shortest-serving Prime Minister, whose period in office was not curtailed by his sudden death, was noted for his shock of blond hair and his blue eyes.

That Prime Minister is not Boris Johnson, although as our blond, blue-eyed PM has only been in the job for 72 days, if he falls from his lofty perch in the next couple of months – which must be at least possible – he will face the ignominy of becoming the shortest-serving PM.

For the record, George Canning is the PM with the shortest tenure, serving just 119 days until August 8, 1827, when he died, probably of chill he caught waiting two hours for a royal funeral to begin.

He was succeeded by the blond-haired, blue-eyed Viscount Goderich who lasted just 130 days. He was nicknamed “the Blubberer” and he almost accidentally resigned from office, in tears, on January 8, 1828.

Goderich was born at Newby Hall, which is now a tourist attraction near Ripon, and he represented that city as MP for 20 years. In 1833, he became the Earl of Ripon.

His political career has some similarities to Boris’. When he introduced the deeply controversial corn laws in 1815, which artificially inflated the price of wheat to the benefit of the landowners and to the cost of the poor, he told the Commons that it faced “a choice of difficulties”, much like our current predicament.

So controversial were the corn laws that his London home was attacked and his paintings vandalised, reducing him to tears.

Like Boris, one of his big interests was pushing through a bilateral trade deal with the US, and he had the misfortune to reach the top of the tree in 1827, “a year of exceptional confusion and fractiousness in party politics” – which sounds exactly like our current state.

As PM, he was “unduly influenced by unaccountable advisers” – perhaps a description of Mr Johnson’s relationship with his spad, Dominic Cummings – and the strain of the job, coupled with his wife’s severe post-natal depression, quickly got to him. On January 8, 1828, he confessed to King George IV he was finding it tough and broke down in tears. George lent him a handkerchief and concluded that his time as PM was over, asking him to send in a successor – no one knows whether Goderich really meant to resign or not.

George, though, wasn’t impressed, calling him “a damned snivelling blubbing blockhead”, which may be a fair description of Boris if he fails to do by October 31 and so has to die, thus becoming the shortest-lived British PM of all time.

IN Monday’s paper, I was writing about Bishop Auckland Midsummer Cushions ؘ– wildflowers pressed into wet clay on top of a barstool – which were part of a season celebration which involved the eating of “tansy cakes”. Tansy cakes were a green omelette-like treat, flavoured with the blossoms of tanacetum vulgare, a once common hedgerow plant.

“I have a plentiful supply of tansies in my garden, planted years ago when I learned that they are increasingly rare in the wild,” says Jean Woodward in response to the article. “At the moment the flowers are over, having turned into unattractive brown seed heads, though there are one or two late blooms there too.”

There has been talk of getting Bishop children, after their success in making the cushions, to cook tansy cakes next year, but despite tansies being used in the past to treat everything from flatulence, worms and acne, they are now considered to be poisonous if consumed in large quantities.