Monday 31st October 1983

To London and the Houses of Parliament for representative NCC and PITCOM meetings as the place is picketed by anti-nuclear demonstrators and first to hear Michael Foot speak on Cruise Missiles but still time to press for the involvement of users and medium sized computer company involvement with Alvey in front of the Minister. All this whilst researching family history and keeping in touch with the office!

Early to rise and (after breakfast, a hair wash and shower) to Stevenage Station by car and on to London by train. By tube to New Fetter Lane for a meeting of the Microcomputer Advisory Committee of  the National Computing Centre. There to discuss the Alvey initiative and Export Systems with the conclusion reached that more input should be had from users and the smaller computer manufacturers. In this way to try for successful demonstration or awareness projects. We shall see if the approach will be supported or not. Afterwards a splendid lunch of melon and cold meat buffet provided by the NCC and conversation on the twin but unconnected subjects of computer awareness of youth and health by way of mind over body. A short call to the office and then on to Companies House by tube and taxi to its location in the City Road.

A short search revealed no aggressive activity towards our names and I also managed to obtain supplies of company forms much needed for further returns. On by bus to The Houses of Parliament and Committee Room 10 and PITCOM to join the interior queue in warmth at least. So for today also to compile an action list of outstanding company admin. items which have to be completed in correct order. The House has demonstrators without with white Halloween face masks and protesting about cruise missiles and whining a sound of ghosts to appear ghoulish. Eventually and at 7.15pm after an hour-and-a-half wait, I am admitted to the strangers gallery in time to see a very eloquent speech from Mr Michael Foot now on the back benches. His speech is against the motion on cruise missiles.

I have to leave the debate at 8.00pm for the PITCOM meeting. I recognise all three speakers on the Alvey Report and catch the eye of the Chairman for the opportunity to press for user and medium-size company involvement in front of the junior minister, John Butcher. This evening, the peace movement ladies are out with candles and chants blocking the vicinity of the Houses of Parliament so that I have to take the tube to Kings Cross station and the train home to my car at Stevenage. Television news tonight features the continual procession of events in Grenada. The US Government today admit that the invasion forces bombed a mental hospital due to lack of good maps and intelligence. Though the situation is now quiet over 100 Americans have been killed or wounded.

 

Sunday 30th October 1983

Day seeing the sights of London with the family; Petticoat lane; Trafalgar square and the Natural History and Science Museums before home to work for the evening. 100 dead in Turkish earthquake as Grenadian rumblings continue with 740 Cuban agitators accounted for

We lay in reading The Sunday Times before packing and making our way down for breakfast. Daniel and Debbie are quite well mannered over the meal and we leave the room and I pay the bill. It cost above £250 but was considered a good comfort. Off by taxi to Petticoat Lane and we enjoy the fast ride on another cold but fine morning. I leave the others for an hour and walk in a happy but overbearing throng of people which is almost too dense to allow the street marketeers to trade. I try jellied eel for the first time from a stallholder whose family have been in the business for over 100 years but am not too keen, wishing I had chosen cockles and prawns.

Then a bus ride to Trafalgar Square, lunch of hamburgers at McDonalds and a merry time feeding the thousands of pigeons that tamely throng the square. Off by No9 Bus again to Kensington and onward by foot to the Natural History and Science Museums. In the first a good study of dinosaur skeletons and in the second to see historic cars and machines to please Daniel. Back to Oxford Street by bus and after some chocolate, home by car. Then by myself to the office to order my papers for tomorrow when I am due in London again on business.

News today of a great earthquake in Turkey with above 1000 dead and six villages flattened. In Grenada, all Cubans are now accounted for and criticism that the US had exaggerated their number with the remaining resistance coming from Grenadian troops. 640 Cubans were captured and above 100 more killed or wounded. Mrs Thatcher said today that the release of countries from Communist governments did not alone justify US intervention. The Governor-General announced that he will be appointing an interim administration of highly regarded people as a preliminary to a return to the democratic process.

 

Saturday 29th October 1983

Start of a weekend break in London for Daniel’s half term and to the Tower of London, seeing Santa at Selfridges and buying toys at Hamley’s; all before much fun and pleasure with Diana in our private suite at The Churchill Hotel  

It is Daniel’s half term time and for once he is not at Kimbolton School on Saturday morning. I had decided to take the family to London for the weekend and so fairly early up and, after breakfast, we pack a few things and off to St Neots. There to get some money from the bank, retrieve dry cleaning from Sketchley’s cleaners and complete a little shopping. We journey by car to London and make our way via the City to Tower Bridge and park in the Tower Hotel car park. Debbie was not very good for the journey and ended up being smacked for misbehaviour as we were delayed in traffic. As there was not any spare hotel rooms at The Tower, we went to the cafeteria under the Tower Bridge and then, suitably refreshed, off to The Tower of London.

Although the day was very cold, we had a good tour with a beefeater as our guide hearing of the legends and history that go to make up the uniqueness of the place. Eventually back to the cafeteria for brief refreshment. The White Tower holds a splendid selection of armour – the best in England – but we had no time for the Museum of History and the Crown Jewels which I have to see another time. Back to the car and away to Oxford Street where we eventually find The Churchill Hotel to have room and leave the car while we go shopping.

Time to take Debbie to see Father Christmas and Paddington Bear at Selfridges and then Daniel to Hamley’s toy shop where he is again inseparable from the computers and video games. Back to The Churchill in luxury and splendour and two rooms interconnecting for convenience. Daniel watches Superman II as the TV film whilst I take a be-stockinged Diana downstairs to a sumptuous meal at their international restaurant – No 10. Afterwards great pleasure with Di in her suspender belt and stockings and to sleep contented at a full day.

 

Friday 28th October 1983

A tough and busy day at the office tackling cash and asset controls as the factory is reorganised tonight and tomorrow all; as TV pictures show the extent of US arms used in invading Grenada. Tonight, planning industry political developments with Nigel Smith.

First television pictures are shown today of the Grenadian invasion. Heavy artillery, airborne strikes and full military operation was required to overcome stiff resistance from the Grenadian troops loyal to the previous military government. Arguments continue as to the true motives of the original Cuban presence and also as to the reasons for America’s response. Sir Paul Scoon, the Governor-General has been in touch with the Queen but political reconstruction will be a difficult and drawn out affair.

On time today to the office and a working day completing the overdue Annual Returns for the new Comart Company Limited. A struggle to catch up and keep on top of the work which seems to mount continuously. The factory area is being reorganised tonight and tomorrow to aid work flow and eventually improve housekeeping. Corrective action today to eliminate abuse of the petty cash facility and with it any reimbursements for expenses and other expenditures not authorised by cost centre managers. Also the implementation of a new system to closely monitor stock pools outside the finished goods stores which funds over £80,000 of stock which will now be charged over 24 months if the custodians do not submit it for refurbishment. Phone conversation tonight with Nigel Smith to discuss tactics over industry matters and the developments with the Computer Retailers Association.

 

Thursday 27th October 1983

The day attending to domestic Comart Company management issues as a political furore rages about the US invasion of Grenada with counter claims and denials and lots more administration as I find time to watch the film, ‘Raise the Titanic’

Early to the office and first to tour the factory meeting the managers and overseeing the arrivals of the workforce. Some are late but overall not too bad on adherence to timekeeping. A day full of paperwork and moving the mail. Also signing the payroll and actioning some outstanding correspondence. This morning to help Ian with a customer problem with MPSL BOS that lead to a complete reassessment of the intercompany working relationship and channels of communication. This afternoon a couple of hours with David Fear discussing reviews, job offers and several key account problems. Late this afternoon to brief Derek Morgan and Carlton Lowe on the decisions of Tuesday’s Comart Board Meeting and the Comart name changes. Late home bringing a fair amount of company administration to complete.

This evening to watch an extended TV film entitled ‘Raise the Titanic,’ a most incredible tale. News today of American victory in Grenada but only after significant reinforcement and a greater than expected commitment of time and resource. The Whitehouse is claiming that the Grenadian Governor-General begged for US and British armed intervention. In the House of Commons, Margaret Thatcher came close to supporting the US action and was better received after yesterday’s rough ride of the Foreign Secretary Dennis Howe. The palace is denying that the Governor-General requested military assistance. In Beirut, the four-nation peacekeeping force has agreed to stay in position but, apart from the US, the numbers will not be increased.

On time to bed tired over recent exertions.