Tuesday 30th October 1990

With Diana visiting her parents in Cambridge, I stayed at home to clear the riverside path and then use the small mower to tidy the grass by the moorings. In to a late lunch and to watch a very unconvincing Thatcher reporting on her EEC summit meeting to the House of Commons and then to my office this afternoon as Diana hosted her challenging sister-in-law. A good HDC Policy Committee meeting this evening with Labour’s Jim Lomax and I, followed by many Tory back benchers hammering the Tory leadership for lack or preparation and capital cutbacks to pay for the Poll Tax.

The news today was of the Channel Tunnel excavators from Britain and France meeting up under the channel. The service tunnel, the most advanced of the three being dug, is now linked by a two-inch diameter probe for a distance of 100 metres between the full sized drillings, 22.3 kilometres from England and 15.7 kilometres from France.           

Diana was going to Cambridge this morning with Della and I thought of joining them but decided that I had too much to do in Horning instead. It was fine, if windy, and so, after breakfast and doing my normal chores, I went down to the riverside with a wheelbarrow, spade and shovel and started clearing away the stones and earth from the riverside path prior to mowing the lawn. I used the small mower and collected the rough grass cuttings for the compost heap. It was a rather overdue job as I had left it a bit too long. I skipped my morning break and had a late lunch as I also wanted to use my new strimmer to trim the bank as well and was afraid that it would start raining. Quite tired afterwards, I then came into a late lunch by which time Diana had got back and could help me.

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Monday 29th October 1990

A sluggish start to the day impeded by many phone calls and issues with my Liberal Democrat colleagues as Percy struggled understanding Housing Finance but then coffee in St Neots with Di and a session clearing fallen leaves off of the lawns. Iraq is considering the release of all foreign hostages, but the rumours are of advanced plans for a U.S. invasion in mid-November.

I slept reasonably well after being restless at first and so, when Di came with the morning tea at 7.00am, it was quite a shock. It was a while before I was really awake and then (getting showered, hair-washed, shaved and dressed one-handed as I had cut my finger yesterday) I was late to breakfast and was only just in time to see Debbie off to school. After the meal and doing my chores, I decided to go into St Neots with Diana and Della and we loaded up the car with more rubbish for the civic amenity tip before going to have coffee at The Old Falcon on the market square. This is a new place to have coffee but I think it is rather dingy and smoky and would not like to go again.

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Sunday 28th October 1990

After the clock change back from Summer Time, I resumed work on the garage, borrowing Jack’s ratchet winch to square the structure as I jacked it up and got blocks underneath. Daniel visited to do his washing and had a cup of tea and chat. A long job clearing up ready to leave and return home to Little Paxton. Dan and Debbie have been studying hard and Della has a cold.

Thatcher is in complete isolation at the EEC summit as all the other eleven members agreed to adopt a single European currency by 1994 and were not at all worried to discuss agricultural policy

I woke earlier this morning and had my morning drink and ate breakfast as dawn broke. The clocks had been put back overnight (from 2.00am to 1.00am) and I was still really thinking in British Summer Time, even though we were back to Greenwich Mean Time. I managed to complete my morning routine and then got out to work by 8.30am. I started to jack the garage up even further, aiming to have it up to a level of two blocks today, but the front section started to creep out of alignment (as it was already out of square) and so I had to stop. Jack popped by with a spirit level and I chatted to him about the job and it turned out that he had a portable ratchet winch at home and I arranged to pick that up later. In the meantime, I pre-fabricated the last section of replacement wooden framing and then collected the winch from him later and it seemed just the job.

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Saturday 27th October 1990

Another late start being tired on a chilly day as I first had to buy an 80th birthday card and small present for caretaker Jack, who I eventually caught up at The Black Horse, where he was celebrating his 80th birthday with his extended family. Steve Bloom had arrived unexpectedly and helped me jack the garage up a little but declined an invitation to stay over.

The news was of Gorbachev calling for world unity to liberate Kuwait by peaceful means and Thatcher failing to get the EEC summit to discuss farm liberalisation for GATT as the Franco-German alliance insisted on debating monetary reform and further EEC unity

Another lay this morning and it had turned rather chilly which discouraged too much physical activity too early. It took me until 9.15am to have breakfast, wash, shave and dress and I then went into Horning village to do some shopping. I needed milk and some food, and I also had to get a card and small present to mark Jack's birthday. I bought gift wrapping paper and some Sellotape to wrap his present in and was on my way back to Heronshaw, when I saw him arriving. I pulled off the track and prepared his things and then went looking for him when I got back to the bungalow. He had left his car in front of my garage and was not far away. Then Steven Bloom arrived out of the blue as he was in Wroxham and just dropped in. I welcomed him and we had morning coffee together and, although I tried to look out for Jack, he slipped away thinking that, having company, I would not want to be disturbed which was silly. We caught up with him at The Black Horse at lunchtime, where Steve and I had a steak and kidney pie and Jack was not only surprised to see me, but also had a surprise gathering of all of his family and friends as well.

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