Thursday 23rd June 1988

Some time this morning reviewing the HDC computer installation plans and agreeing a course of action with the computer manager and then this afternoon drafting press releases in the aftermath of the Environmental Services Committee after which I took Debbie horse riding and delivered my press releases.  Then this evening attending the Southern Area Members Consultative Committee meeting of the council where I promote the ideas of a St Neots Cinema and Sports Centre. A British army helicopter was downed in Northern Ireland after its tail section was shot away, York’s Rowntree is given in and accepted an offer from Swiss Nestlé, and hundreds of people are feared dead in a Turkish landslide near the Black Sea.

Awoke today to another bright and sunny morning, with warm and close conditions set for the day. A little late down to my breakfast of boiled egg and then I spent the morning on a number of things that I had not intended. In particular, the mail was full of council papers and an item on the Council’s computer installation caught my eye. They had expanded to a near mainframe and the classical debate was taking place on whether to continue to write their own software, or buy in, packages for the new Poll Tax and Competitive Tendering Schemes imposed by central government. I made a number of phone calls researching the background, then spoke to the District Council Computer Manager and was then reassured to hear that his ideas were in tune with mine. By this time lunch was ready and I spent this afternoon drafting press releases and accompanying letters for the stories arising from the Environmental Services Committee.

Wednesday 22nd June 1988

After a slow start due to several late nights I spent much of the morning editing my Riversfield chapter of my Little Paxton history, calling in later to see Ken Gambier and his managing director of Samuel Jones paper Mill, Mr Brannigan, to return their archives and talk to them about local affairs. Then to prepare for my history talk to St Neots Rotaract club this evening when they took a close interest. The TUC decide finally to suspend the EETPU, bank base rates are hiked again to reach 9% as fighting inflation at the expense of manufacturing is Nigel Lawson’s top priority.

Awoke rather groggily after several late nights to another warm and sunny day. Washed for breakfast and then a meal of these ‘new-style’ Jordans wheat flakes, that lacks the malt additive etc. It was quite palatable but will take a bit of getting used to. This morning started with my Financial Times and then, after helping Diana to load two armchairs into the Range Rover, I settled down to an editing exercise of my Riversfield chapter. Kept finding more of my notes to add, but I could not find my copy of the 1851 census, which I needed most. Lunch of salad, then, this afternoon at Samuel Jones Paper Mill, handing over the files to Ken Gambier, then chatting with Mr Brannigan, the Managing Director, about local issues. I put him on to the potential savings by classifying more of his business to be in Little Paxton, asked him to paint the ‘Stalag 5’ fencing green, but was sad to hear that they plan to do away with the social club building on economic and development grounds, as I was after the village utilising it as an amenity.

Tuesday 21st June 1988

Working on my Little Paxton history of windmills and watermills chapter, combining them all together, on a close and muggy day, as I also watched England lose the test match against the West Indies on TV and then making a big contribution to the environmental services committee meeting this evening much to the annoyance of chairman Councillor Mrs Beddows but to good effect. The BBC can now report on government secrecy, the EC rules that VAT applies to commercial property and the TUC and EETPU are falling out over non-strike agreements.

A good day working on the Samuel Jones documentation archives and witnessing the closing overs in the England vs West Indies test match on TV. Despite the best efforts of our tail-end batsmen, the endeavour came far too late and we lost by 160 runs. Lunch of salad and then this afternoon updating my history chapter on Riversfield and the Paper Mill. I have decided to widen it to include the corn, water and windmills all together. This evening was my first Environmental Services Committee at Pathfinder House and I got there in reasonable time and made an active (some would say a dominant) input to the meetings deliberations. I spoke out against the plans of NIREX for nuclear waste disposal, supported the continued existence of Papworth in-situ, rather than have it moved, pleaded the case of paid collection by the council of garden waste (which they supported), voiced concern over the sewage and road agency programmes and generally chirped up at every opportunity. Chairman Cllr Mrs Beddows was a bit grumpy with me, but the meeting was successful and still ended by 9.30pm.

Monday 20th June 1988

A warm and muggy day at home preparing the council committee meetings and progressing my local history project before an evening meeting of Priory Doom where I called for unity in preserving Priory Park as the natural barrier between St Neots and Little Paxton

A morning and afternoon shared between working in my office and watching the televised cricket. England were gradually bowling themselves into a losing position and the position was quite hopeless by the end of the day. For my work, I continued to prepare for my Council Committee meetings, getting information from Marion Woodbridge on Papworth and Mike Pope on Cambs County transportation issues. I was also getting slowly back to my local history project, with particular emphasis on copying the relevant sections of the Samuel Jones files, before Ken Gambier headed off for his retirement. This evening, I attended the committee meeting of Priory Doom and commented on my suggestion that trees be planted along Mill Lane to mark the end of the new housing zone; and I also tried to persuade them that they should share logos with the present DOOM to draw upon mutual support and recognition. Arrived home quite late on a warm and sunny day, with the air very muggy