Full of beans
So how IS the First MInister? It sounds like a loaded question but sitting in his garden - and more about that later - he insists he's not only well but fitter than he's been in a long time. The tiredness, the lack of energy of the past few years that he put down to his age he says, have gone. Instead he's full of beans and you suspect, having spent half an hour with him talking about his diet, that he means it literally.
That's why I'm here, to hear him explain how well he is, how aware he is he's been given a chance to improve his diet and lifestyle and how he's embraced the good life of corn on the cob, picking superfoods like elderberries from the hedgerows and walking every day.
Last year he went swimming in the sea while staying in the caravan down in Mwnt. His wife Julie could swim further and faster than he could. Not this year. The two stents that make sure his heart is pumping healthily are doing their job and the First Minister has no intention of standing down before 2009. In fact he says with no trace of irony that he did consider going on longer, "perhaps another four or six years". But 2009 it will be, as long as he can keep healthy when the going gets tough. That, he admits, has not yet been put to the test.
Tony Blair got it wrong. That's what the First Minister thinks. Rhodri Morgan wants to leave mid-term, on his own terms, leaving his party and the coalition government in the kind of rude health he feels he's in ... but then who wouldn't? And who wouldn't want to give potential successors a chance to shine over the next few months? There's no guarantee it'll happen that way but that's the blueprint.
He shows me another blueprint, the new First Ministerial 'allotment'. It's a work in progress and a polite voice asks why he doesn't just call it a vegetable patch? But this is a man on a mission and the patch of land that brings the term 'scorched earth policy' to mind will, he assures me, be producing root vegetables this winter. He means it. In fact you sense he really means to make this whole plan work. He's almost becalmed, even talking in clear soundbites. Those stents must be wonderful things.
Tomorrow Julie Morgan returns from Gaza. She'll come home to find she has her own battles to fight. Tonight the Conservatives of Cardiff North have picked Jonathan Evans MEP to take her on at the election. A senior figure, a moderate, a shoo-in to fight a seat the Tories must fancy - and a bit of good news for David Cameron. Jonathan Evans will be standing down as an MEP and turning his fire on Julie Morgan's 1100 majority. Perhaps a bit of Rhodri's superfood sundae might not go amiss?