Wednesday 6th December 1989

Mum goes home to Stanton today as we pack up her things in Dad’s old car and take her there. I chat to a few neighbours and make some arrangements before returning home to collect Della from school and the rest of Mum’s things from Weald House. After accompanying Daniel to his Brunel University interview, Di rushes back and we go to see Deborah’s school pantomime performance. More revolutionary change in East Germany with Egon Krantz, the state president, resigning.

After the arrangements and events of late, it was time to take Mum back to Stanton with Freda and Alf today to try to get her settled. She had agreed to give it a proper try yesterday and so I got the rest of us ready and we went over early to collect her and her things from Weald House. We loaded up without too much disruption, though Mum was as nervous as ever at packing for the journey. We managed to get most of the urgent things in Dad’s little estate car in which I was returning, loaded, and left the remainder of her things together for a collection later. The journey itself was very easy and, within an hour, we were pulling up outside number 105 Shepherds Grove Park. I settled them in, went off and bought sandwiches for the multitude, and then attended to a few property matters whilst talking to several of Mum’s friends and neighbours.

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Tuesday 5th December 1989

Intense family discussions about Mum trying seriously to try staying back at Stanton and she resolved to do so after some persuasion. Another visit to Dad’s grave on a fine morning to see his flowers and tributes again. The news today is that 50 fellow Conservative MPs refuse to support Thatcher’s continued leadership

An early morning start after a night of little sleep. Freda had a hard time this morning. Yesterday had been a daze to her and Alf was unhappy at the prospect of time away from Cornwall if his efforts to help Mum settle into Stanton were in vain. This morning, on another fine day, we went (Di, Freda and Alf and I) up to the cemetery and had another look at the flowers which had been nicely laid on Dad’s grave. I remembered to take our camera and so we photographed the flowers from each and every angle so as to capture and identify their elegance and design.

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Monday 4th December 1989

Dad’s funeral – We awoke to find a thick fog, but it cleared and the sun came out to become exceptionally still, mild and sunny weather. It was a first class to send off for Dad! They certainly turned out for him; relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours alike. I was proud of him and of the comments variously voiced, that I was so much like him in terms of mannerisms, voice etc.

The close family gathered with Mum at The Hayling View and then the cortege proceeded firstly to St James Church, Little Paxton, for the service.  The coach had arrived from Stanton and many other cars as well went on to Little Paxton cemetery for the committal where there was a long line of floral tributes which Funeral Director Peter McGarry read individually to Mum and I as we passed.

Then afterwards the transport home to The Hayling View for the Wake where we set up Mum on her wheelchair in our front hall, welcoming each visitor as they came in for refreshments. Di’s family helped Joan dispense a seemingly endless supply of tea, sandwiches, cakes, mince pies and sausage rolls. Contrary to my prediction, they had a good appetite and we could hardly keep up. back at.

It was a fine and happy occasion; the service and burial had been well done, the whole well attended and the companionship a great comfort and compensation. We particularly thanked The Rev Peter Lewis for his service and the Funeral Director for the arrangements. The taxi took mum back to Weald House and the rest of us tidied up the chairs and collapsed with exhaustion.

I slept reasonably well considering the day ahead but was concerned to awake and find thick fog. At least there was no frost and then, as the morning progressed, the fog dispersed, and the sun came out. We were up between times and, after breakfast was eaten, we all did various tasks to complete our readiness for the service. I changed, tested out the Rolls-Royce and put it and the other cars out of the way so that they would not get blocked in. First to arrive was in the disabled taxi at 10am. Then Ivy Arthur and Keith Barrett with Elaine in June shortly followed by mum’s sisters Vi, Olive and Nancy and Olive’s husband Stan. Together with us these formed the close relatives of Mum and Dad’s that would be following the coffin into the church.

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Sunday 3rd December 1989

Freda and Alf were staying ahead of the funeral tomorrow and we welcomed Mum for a visit and prepared the place for the funeral reception but Mum was still being vague about her future. The whole of the East German Politburo has resigned en masse and former members are arrested for misdeeds, parties in Czechoslovakia differ over the Cabinet membership and, off Malta, a storm blows up and strands President Bush on a battleship

I slept well and laid in until nearly 8am with Di until Della came in and disturbed us, wondering where her morning drink had got to. Di prepared a superb fried breakfast with good choice and quantity of goodies for all. After this, I took Freda and Alf for a look around the gardens and, as they set off for a walk to the shops for a newspaper, Derek Giles arrived and I spared him the time to chat about his first problems and ideas of the job of being the new Eaton Socon town councillor. I passed the time socially for much of the day, with another nice lunch and tea until we set up the house for the funeral reception tomorrow.

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