Monday 14th December 1987

A slow start on a cold morning, ordering the riverside lawn turf, writing all of my Christmas Cards and then attending the Little Paxton Brownies St James Church service as it now seems that my Daimler will be returned to Marshalls for £28,500. 1,000 doctors and professors signed a petition in the NHS dispute today and oil prices slip to about $17 a barrel on news of  the worst trouble so far in the Gulf, as two Iraqi missile attacks on Norwegian tankers kill 21 crewmen

A slowish start on a cold morning, but I made the breakfast table in time to see the others leave. A slight frost had withered the ground and the outbuilding roofs, but soon dispersed as it was to become a milder day. Pete worked most of the day, giving the lawn bed a rake and levelling it as best as he could. I telephoned Shelford Turf Supplies and arranged for the turf to be delivered before ‘dinner time’ on Wednesday, which probably means by midday. Then I got out my photo archive and spent most of the day on it. In the morning, I labelled all of the latest photos, in the afternoon, I stuck them all in, reorganising the pages accordingly. Then, this evening, I wrote out all of my Christmas cards, sending them to those that had helped me in the history research and wishing them all thank you as well as a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

Sunday 13th December 1987

With Diana and Daniel still suffering from colds, a brave start to the day down to the slipway to stop up a quay-heading gap as the river was very low today until Colin Howard arrived with my photograph copies and it was time to attend the Brownie’s Christingle Sevice at St Mary’s Church St Neots. Bombing threats in Dublin are causing tension, opposition Socialists are making strong gains in the Belgian elections, Bob Geldorf comes back from Africa reporting famines affecting five million people, after thousands of UK women were damaged by the Dalkon IUD shield, 2 ½ thousand million dollars into a compensation fund, the Pakistan cricket row rumbles on as another controversial umpire is appointed

Stayed up late last night waiting in vain for Diana to make the bedtime drinks, only to find later that she had slipped off to bed! This morning she had been brave and got up to make our morning drinks and look after us for the day. She has had a cold coming on – the third in the last few weeks – and is depressed and uncomfortable with it. I got shaved before breakfast, but had to wait to get showered and hair washed until afterwards. My breakfast was a nice fried one (more pressure on my diet!) I checked in both Observer and Sunday Times this morning, and the Daimler advertisement was in both. I then settled down to read both papers this morning, but only had one phone enquiry and that from a dealer ‘whose customer wanted that colour’. By midday, I had finished the papers and so went out to feed ducks and doves. A full company of anglers opposite this morning, fishing a match. The river was extremely low and so I went down the slipway in my wellington boots and plugged a hole in the metal sheeting that was not normally apparent.

Saturday 12th December 1987

Whilst still monitoring the financial news, also calling by the public library and driving the family to the Godmanchester Riverside playground to build a case for its retention before home to find sewage being discharged into the Great Ouse from my outlet and then this evening to the Kimbolton School concert with Debbie playing the recorder in the prep orchestra, meeting the recently bereaved John Braga. News today of Irish cooperation on bomb disposal and several risks being found at London underground stations after checks

Slept better last night and at last my ‘full’ feeling seems to be subsiding – though I know not what causes it. Got up and dressed this morning and was on time to breakfast for the first time in a while. I sat in the corner, swapping places with Deborah as she is always causing difficulties opposite Daniel. This morning I read the Investors Chronicle and Financial Times. Everyone is still very nervous about the markets, but the takeover activity in the oil industry has brightened things up a little. I went out later to feed the doves and had a coffee with Di when she came back from her chores. It was Debbie’s morning for music practice with the school orchestra. Though hers is the most junior role. Then I took them to St Neots, where I collected my shoes from the menders (nearly £10 for a new pair of soles and heels), bought an Exchange and Mart and checked that my name was on the copy of the new draft electoral list in the Public Library. Afterwards, I drove the family to Godmanchester and took a look at the playground problem, resolving to try to save the old one as being convenient to the boating visitors, including ourselves.

Friday 11th December 1987

Working on my journal, my Jaguar plans and then watching my Stock Exchange shares rising weakly using my Prestel terminal (and selling Jaguar shares) before working with gardener Pete on the final lawn preparations and Colin Howard on my photograph copies. England captain Mike Gatting is instructed to provide a written apology to the Pakistani umpire he criticised and The Kimberley child abuse enquiry report guidelines are published

After the late night, another uneasy experience as I had trouble sleeping with a ‘full’ stomach. The night finished all too soon and I struggled up feeling quite tired again. Shaved and dressed for breakfast, to find poor Daniel still struggling with his cold congestion, which appears to have developed into sinus trouble. Once the children were off to school, I gave Diana my chores and she went off with Della to do some shopping in Bedford. Joan arrived with Pete, as the weather was milder today and the garden more capable of work than in recent days. I turned to my office once more, caught up on yesterday’s journal, and then conducted a number of phone conversations to inform the local Jaguar dealers of my intentions. Next the chore of reading today’s Financial Times and I checked a few times on the Prestel terminal to monitor the state of the stock exchange, which was rising weakly.