Wednesday 18th October 1989

On a fine and warm day here, I had the double shock of hearing about the earthquake in California killing 200 when the double-decker Bay Bridge we knew collapsed and then later the personal news when visiting Dad who learnt that they are not willing to operate on him.

I hosted a good meeting of the St Neots Democrats tonight, preparing for the Eatons by-election. East German Premier Eric Honecker resigned following mass street protests for reform and Thatcher is left in glorious isolation at the Commonwealth conference resisting action against South Africa

I was rather tired again this morning as the night just did not seem long enough. I was shocked to hear on the radio that there had been a serious earthquake overnight in California with damage, fires, deaths and injuries. At 6.9 on the Richter scale, it was not as large as the 1908 quake but the ‘double-decker’ road systems in Oakland and on the Bay Bridge collapsed, one on top of the other, compressing cars and lorries to a few inches in height and instantly killing over 200 occupants.

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Tuesday 17th October 1989

Diana’s Birthday - A busy day, having a birthday lunch with Diana, I history interview with a local schoolgirl and then the journey to visit my Dad where there was no progress or decisions but he did tell me more about his early life, musical ability of his sister  and parents and about Charlie Phillips, his best friend.

Home for tea and then off to a Buckden School governors meeting, then on to Chair a Little Paxton Village Hall meeting. The Guildford four have been released after 15 to 18 years of wrong imprisonment, and shares have been sliding in London and New York again

I was quite tired when woken this morning and I dozed afterwards for a while to recover. I still got to the breakfast table with time to spare for croissants with the others. Daniel had a chemistry exam today and, later on, thought that he had passed it. Diana and I went to St Neots together shopping and we stayed there for a birthday lunch for Diana at the Bridge Hotel restaurant. Whilst in town, I had an hour out and bought two pairs of much-needed shoes. It was a fine and warm sunny day and I wish that we were on the boat.

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Monday 16th October 1989

Drama on the London and New York stock exchanges, as the FT100 fell more than 200 points before climbing back to lose only 70. A morning tending my birds and fish and then publishing two press releases on the HDC using ‘ratepayer money for political purposes’ and announcing the candidature of Derek Giles.

No news yet for poor Dad whose morphine pain-killing dose seems to be making him feel very vague and forgetful. A dry and pedestrian meeting of the KSS at the castle on their fireworks display between calls organising the St Neots Museum

A day of trouble as the stock exchange fell further but it avoided the worst forecasts of an out-and-out crash. Still the London FT100 fell more than 200 points before climbing back to lose only 70. For my part I spent time with the koi this morning and then occupied the rest of my time drafting and printing two press releases. I have launched into a condemnation of the HDC publicity brochure as being ‘ratepayer money used for political purposes’. The other release was about Derek Giles standing for the St Neots Town Council election for the Social and Liberal Democrats.

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Sunday 15th October 1989

Our best lay in for a long time on a mild day after a frosty start until the hunger of the children for breakfast got us up after which I tended to a few chores before going to see Dad this afternoon, dropping off at Cambridge Garden Centre for a break on the way. Dad is eagerly anticipating the decision on his future tomorrow but my sister Freda fears for him due to his poor recall and speech on the phone and I will try to get her up for a couple of weeks to help.

Tens of thousands of natives rejoice at the release of Walter Sisulu in South Africa and want Mandela next! Terry Waite is alive in captivity after 1,000 days as a hostage in the Lebanon. World and national banks meet over the weekend discussing ways of providing liquidity to avert the financial disaster when the stock exchanges open in London tomorrow.

A sound night’s sleep and our best lay in for a long time on a mild day after a frosty start until the hunger of the children for breakfast got us up at about 10am. I had a nice breakfast prepared by Diana and spent some time thereafter feeding the doves, ducks and Koi carp. The Hariwake Ohgon is now happy to take silkworm pupae for my fingers and the little Ginrin Koi takes 2 to 3 pellets 2 to 3 times a day and will not stay tiny for long.