Saturday 27th December 1986

Studying the news after waking up with my family and then driving them to Cambridge shopping this morning before relaxing with Debbie and Di  this afternoon, watching television whilst writing my diary and hearing news of several incidents of murder and abduction this ’festive’ season. Hearing also of serious death and injuries of holiday-makers due to a gas explosion in Germany and cable-car collapse in France . Unrest and deaths in South Africa, a less-than-positive Reagan State of the Union address in the US and demonstrations in several countries on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan


A very poor night. Awake feeling hot from the excesses of food and drink of the season and very restless with it. Could wait no longer to end this torture and with a thirst for my morning drink, I woke up Diana after 7.00am and implored her to make me one. She was not willing to do this and so I spent a companionable time with her to my satisfaction, even though it was an awkward time of the month. Even after, I still had to make my drink myself and one each for the family as well. Debbie was first awake, appreciating her drink, and afterwards sweetly brought me a couple of ‘Christmas cards’ from her toy ponies. Daniel was dead to the world, having set his new watch to wake him early and listen to his personal stereo. Nevertheless, I woke him and got him to drink it.

Friday 26th December 1986

Boxing Day Waking up slowly to assemble Debbie’s new Cindy horsebox and feed the ducks and doves before noticing the ancient field boundaries on the meadows opposite and then taking the family to visit Diana’s people in Bar Hill for a pleasant afternoon before home to put the kids to bed. British tanker Syneta founders off of Iceland with the loss of all 12 crew and many die in a Ukrainian mining disaster but Ian Botham excels in Australia and Arsenal are top of the league

Tired last night and so slept well and woke slowly to my morning tea. Took some time to get showered, shaved and dressed and, by that time, the family had already finished breakfast. More relaxation and recorded TV films this morning and then I assembled Debbie’s new Cindy horsebox with Daniel to ensure that it was done properly. Dan had attempted it poorly yesterday and we had to do it all over again. A few of the large self-tapping screws were lost as well and so I had to go out to the workshop to find some similar replacements. This gave me the chance to take the air and also feed the ducks and doves.

Thursday 25th December 1986

Successful Christmas Day lunch and present opening staying warm with balcony lights on and fire lit but, sadly, without my parents as Mum was not fit to travel. The Queen and Pope’s messages for Peace within and without the family contrasted starkly with the fatal hijacking and crash of an airliner, the fate of the Icelandic trawler foundering in the North Sea and two marital killings in Britain but the England test team dress up and play jokes on the Aussie press. 


Awoke and a morning tea at 7.15am. Di had held back the children from their presents until then and I soon finished my drink of revival and made my way down to watch them open their presents. For once this year I did not make a video film of the occasion and, although Di intended to take some still photographs, it was altogether too hectic. So many presents to open that we only allowed each child  a few before breakfast. A cooked meal, as we treated today as a Sunday, and then back to the presents, trying to keep the kids in order and the floor clear by removing the wrappings that had been discarded. A pattern that was to continue all day. I laid the table for Di to produce a superb turkey traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings and then Daniel and I did the washing up afterwards. A sad call from my Dad this morning confirmed the fears we had and they felt that they were not well enough to join us today. They were very cut up about it and I hoped that they would be well enough for us to go over next Sunday.

Wednesday 24th December 1986

Christmas Eve – Recovering at home in front of the fire and television from the colds and illnesses of yesterday as Thatcher is angry about her Ulster reception, 300 Irish are stranded by a ferry fire and are flown home, Labour MP Guy Barnett dies suddenly at home and now there will be a bell-weather election to aid Thatcher’s election decision

Slept better last night and we awoke with the family in much better health. Lay in bed for a while with my tea thinking about ancient Little Paxton and then went down for breakfast in my dressing gown and pyjamas. As I went up to shower, I noticed that some drunks had been past the garden last night, pulling up a lot of wallflowers and one laurel bushling. I quickly turned to my shave and shower, thinking that I would have to spend a while out in the garden putting things to rights, but then Pete turned up and planted them all again for me and they will probably be all right. He had a few more hours to work to make up his time and I was grateful for that. Then Di went into town to go to the dental hygienist and catch up on the shopping that she missed the last day or two. I had to keep Della happy and it was quite a trial. She is over the worst from her illness, but is still temperamental and Daniel and I only just managed it. My cold is also worse and I got a call from my Dad to say Mum is worse and they are thinking of not coming over tomorrow after all, but at least I managed to persuade them to think about it in the morning, in the hope that Mum might perk up a bit.