Wednesday 25th March 1987

Early rain delaying Daniel and I fitting out his new ‘Little Lady’ but we worked together when the weather brightened up later after taking Debbie to an eventful horse-riding lesson and then planning my new conservatory and koi-carp pond when we receive news from Dad of Mum’s relapse with chest pains from a possible blood clot. News of Russian posturing on the eve of a Thatcher visit raising the prospect of France and the UK losing our nuclear deterrent if East West Arms talks succeed, management of the Caterpillar factory in Strathclyde win a court order to evict 800 protesting strikers and the court of appeal in London has made legal history by directly applying European Community Law directly in an equal pay case, but the defendant employers may still appeal to the House of Lords


Slept well until brought my morning tea and then sat out of bed drinking it. The rain has been falling and the window was wet, which was disappointing for a day when I intended to help Daniel fit out his ‘Little Lady’. I ate breakfast with the others. We had boiled eggs, whose yokes were almost blood red. Each spring the ducks find something in the river which has this effect when eaten. I made for my office after and, instead of doing any history work, read my books on duck husbandry and learnt how to construct a light box for viewing the eggs. I went out to the workshop and, gathering together some off cuts of thin marine plywood, knocked up a box of the right dimensions and then fitted a switch and light into it. By the time I had finished, Daniel had returned from St Neots, where he had his hair cut and helped Di with some shopping. I then surveyed his boat before lunch and helped him afterwards. We fitted the fender eye to the starboard gunwale and then took off the control panel to look at the wiring. A call to E P Barrus (via Walton Marine) gave us the information we wanted and so we cut out a hole for the tachometer with a fret saw and put it in place.

Tuesday 24th March 1987

To Cambridge as usual but also to get some more Daimler repairs before collecting Daniel for a family lunch and then taking him after to look for boat parts at Harry Kitchener and then LH Jones and Ely Boat Chandlery before home to assemble more Quadro as the IRA’s bomb attacks are escalating, The British Army are attacked by a car bomb in Germany and the US accuse The Soviet Union of using laser weapons in Afghanistan. Back home controversy over the government ‘pulling’ a Health Education Council press conference on inequality for the rich and poor over treatment and the BAC Chairman threatens to pull out of the Four-Nation European Air Bus project unless grant aid comparable with partners is available


Slept well and was sound asleep when woken with my morning tea. Sat in front of the French windows drinking it and then sat a little longer listening to the radio, until I was rather late for breakfast. By the time I had gone down, the others had finished their meal and I ate alone. Read the paper after, for a while, and then got the Daimler out, ready for our trip to Cambridge. We missed the road works on the A45, as they had yet to start and went on to the Cherry Hinton Road to get Diana’s kettle fixed and then put the Daimler into Marshalls for another repair. Took the walk into Cambridge, which Di found a bit difficult and tiring and then met her parents for coffee at Eaden Lilley. Her father, Charles, was more friendly than usual and stayed and chatted a while. This morning, I spent time in Heffers book shop, buying Daniel a text book on ‘A’ level maths and then in the public library. In neither case did I find any books on building conservatories or fish ponds.

Monday 23rd March 1987

Taking Di and Della to the new to Neots Gateway Supermarket on a milder but wet day as my back improved and I was able to archive my Little Paxton reference material and then back to learn of Daniel’s Maths success and elevation to the 1st set as UK political leaders tour the world trying to look statesmanlike for the expected General Election and news emerges of Terry Waite being held hostage as a ‘suspected US Spy’ whilst the US is intent on keeping open the Straits of Hormuz in the Gulf and record numbers of UK nurses are leaving because of poor conditions

A sound night’s sleep and then my back was further improved by the time I was awoken to my morning tea. I sat out in the bedroom chair, drinking my tea again, and then got smartly showered and dressed to be early for breakfast. I teased Di and then Dan about them being late, ratty, and having got out of bed the wrong side (though, of course, they hadn’t), but they took this in good part, as I am rarely so early to breakfast. Daniel off to school, and then Debbie, and I repaired to my office, as Di took Della to St Neots to shop for the first time at the new Gateway supermarket.

Sunday 22nd March 1987

Collecting ‘Little Lady’ with Daniel and Steve from Walton-on-Thames and then to launch it In St Neots for them to cruise it home to Little Paxton. This evening we heard of more Irish killings due to the INLA feud, of a huge explosion at BP’s Grange Mouth plant, killing a crane driver, with a bang that could be heard 20 miles away and Roy Jenkins rounds on the Tories calling them a ‘bunch of alley cats’, who are scratching and clawing their way to the ballot box.

I awoke to find Diana still in bed and so ‘persuaded’ her to get up and make the drinks! I got out and read some fish keeping magazines, before washing and dressing for breakfast. We all enjoyed a nice fried breakfast (except Di) and then I sat and read the paper until Daniel's friend, Steve, arrived and it was time to set off in the Range Rover to collect Daniel's new boat from Walton on Thames. A sunny day gradually turned cloudy, but it was still fine when we arrived and spotted the ‘Little Lady’ on its trailer. The boatyard helped us launch it and try it out, showing us over all of the controls and equipment in the process.