Sunday 3rd June 1990

The day of Linda and Ian Richardson’s rather irreverent family christenings after a morning’s work on the gardens for me and studying for exams by the children and then this evening writing and hearing news of the horrific coach crash in France. Political manoeuvrings in the centre of British politics leaves the LibDems in central stage and the demise of a major financial services group hits the headlines

It was a bit colder last night and this kept me awake with cold feet until I put some bedclothes back on the bed after they had been discarded in the warmer weather. It had become fresher and more unsettled and we hoped for more rain for the garden. Today was the day for the christening of the children of Linda and Ian Richardson but, because this was not until this afternoon, this still left this morning for me to cut the lawns. I cut the main lawns this morning and did the edging at the same time. They had not grown much but had become straggly and covered in seeds, weeds and other rubbish and so they looked a lot better for my effort. The new Koi is tiny, at 4ins, compared with the rest and is so nervous of them that it hides under the plant baskets all the time.

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Saturday 2nd June 1990

For a change I took Diana out for a trip and we went to Ely, via a Little Chef coffee and bought some things at the Ely Boat Chandlers, and then visited the Fair with Della. Back home via the Needingworth Fish Farm (where Diana chose a golden Koi) and then L.H. Jones of St Ives where we saw The Lady for the last time in our ownership, some poor football on TV and then more gardening.

Another IRA killing, this time of an army major in Germany and the Gorbachev/Bush summit agrees arms and trade pacts but agrees to differ on the reunification of Germany

I was all set to get on with my work this morning but Diana fancied a trip out and so I took her to Ely. I still had a chance to do a little work before we left and then I got her to drive as I read the paper and telephoned my mother to have a good chat. We stopped once on the way to have coffee at a Little Chef and then arrived in Ely to find a fair in the market square which pleased Della. First, we went to the Ely Boat Chandlers and got Diana an off-shore jacket and life-jacket as well as a whole host of other things for the Paxton Princess. There was a new pair of boating shoes for me and some rope and other fittings for the boat. We then parked closer to town and walked up to the fair and gave Della some nice rides before lunch.

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Friday 1st June 1990

A day of gardening , clearing undergrowth and having a very smoky and unsociable bonfire as Di collected her Mum and brother's children from Sandy to play here for a while and we heard that Charlie and Chrisula have had another baby girl - their third. Some rain later after all the dry weather as I planted more bedding plants in what had become helpfully damp soil.

Bush and Gorbachev have agreed on substantial nuclear and chemical weapons cuts but are still far apart on the tricky question of whether a united Germany and now West Germany join the boycott of British Beef. The IRA mount a further attack as they gun down three young soldiers at a railway station in Staffordshire, The first Poll Tax protesters were in court today for refusing to pay and Diana informed Fiona that we were going to be taking Sundance away from the stables

I was up and out early to get going on the gardening today. I decided that, as I already had far too many hedge cuttings to dispose of and the branches on the riverside lawn were far too entangled with the undergrowth to be easily cleared, I would have a bonfire. It was a pity that the breeze was towards the house, but it had to be lit today to get the gardening work done. It turned out to be a very smoky bonfire that attracted Diana's wrath and probably did not do neighbourly relations much good either. This was after the noise of my chain-sawing yesterday as well! Still I carted all of the material across and just about got the thing over with by lunchtime. I could not start the chain saw again and had to give it up as a bad job despite having a close look at it. It seems to flood with fuel far too easily. Diana went out to collect her Mum and brother's children from Sandy to play here for a while.

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May 1990

May 1990 This was a very busy month indeed as I tried to keep working on gloriously hot and sunny days between some warm and stuffy nights with family hay fever being supplemented by bad coughs and colds. Diana was unhappy with our new public lifestyle and marriage but we still managed to get Debbie's 12th Birthday Celebrations organised although we were experiencing problems with her livery with Fiona in Offord after beating her Dad Roland Smith in the election!

This followed my success in organising the Local Government Elections, where Percy and Sally both won to give me two Liberal Democrat colleagues on the District Council and a place on each of the important committees of power. There were many council and private meetings to attend and organise thereafter. As gardener Pete had left me after many years, I had the lawns and beds to tend to, in addition to the conservatory plants, ponds and fish and swimming pool. On the first of two long trips to Norfolk, I was working on The Paxton Princess and taking the chance of being with sister Freda and her husband Alf and family who were staying in Heronshaw whilst we completed negotiations for the purchase of Redgrave Village Post Office and Stores. I took the whole family (except Alf) on a boat trip and a visit to see and help Mum in Stanton with her garden. Alarmingly, Alf regarded the Redgrave venture as being totally down to Freda and wanted to play no part in it.

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