Friday 31st January 1986

Continuing battle with non-attending builders and messy swimming pool excavators whilst I reassure the council and look after my children as Thatcher’s supporters dwindle, the actor in Ronald Reagan excels in the US memorial service to the lost astronauts, Botha announces some apartheid reforms in South Africa and Haiti struggles in a leadership crisis

Awake, but less rested than yesterday, as the second late night in a row caught up with me. The paper was late (and eventually arrived with the Express again) and so listened to the radio before and after breakfast. Dressed and ready for the builders to start, as we cleared the surfaces of the kitchen and prepared for a mess. Unhappily, the builders did not come today and I had to try chasing both them and the architect. The telephone engineer was here rather late, after I had checked with his supervisor, and the swimming pool contractors were here as usual churning around and digging. Phone calls also to Tann Security, who should deliver the security safes next Thursday and a few others.

Thursday 30th January 1986

Trip to de Zoete in the City of London for stock market advice and brief visit to St Catherine’s House for genealogy study and then home to the mess of swimming pool excavation as I also spend time with my children, Thatcher and Brittan are pilloried over the Westland Affair, Unemployment soars even further, Murdoch brutalises his workforce to push through his Fleet Street reforms here and the US licks its wounds over its careless space shuttle disaster

A good, if late, night and then woken up with tea, but no paper to read. Listened to the radio until breakfast and then went straight to shower and shave and just managed a quick look at the FT afterwards. The postman delivered 2 letters for Mr Eaton of No8 and the paperboy his Daily Express! We may own 6&7, but that is all and will have to get some decent signs for the Hayling View to avoid confusion. Daniel took the letters across and I called with the paper to find the daughter in her nightie and dressing gown, but she is a bit podgy for my taste.

Wednesday 29th January 1986

Writing and posting my last resignation letters for Computer Industry Representation as Elm Leisure start our new swimming pool excavation on a day of mourning and shock across the USA and the world affecting millions who were watching the Challenger Space shuttle demise live

Another good night’s sleep and awake on a very cold morning to my tea and paper. Little time to read it, as summoned to breakfast at 7.30am and toast and fruit juice to boot. Returned to bed after, to read the paper some more. Gilt-edged stocks had risen with the pound sterling, just in time for my sales later this week. Opened the house up for the builders and the carpenter arrived first to put in the new window frame and glaze it. Sid and John came to do the majority of the tiling for the en-suite bathroom as well. I called Diana back from slipping off to the shops and asked her to watch out for our other workmen, whilst I typed a few letters. Their purpose was to complete my retirement from Computer Industry affairs. I made my final consultancy payment demands of Kode, withdrew from the City University lecture, cancelled my place at the Computer Weekly 1000th issue commemorative dinner and thus said my last farewells on a past era.

Tuesday 28th January 1986

A day researching design details for my new swimming pool and chasing safe deliveries after rushing down to read Grace before breakfast at Debbie’s request! This on a day when the US space shuttle Challenger blows up killing all aboard and when my old friend Kenneth Baker introduces Thatcher’s new Poll Tax plans

A good night and then slow awakening to my morning tea. A ruder awakening soon as Debbie insists I run downstairs to breakfast, tripping over our trailing bedspread on the way. It transpires that she has read about Grace in her prayer book and wanted it to be read before anyone can eat. So a bowl of cornflakes and glass of fruit juice before reading today’s FT. Verdict on the debate yesterday was that Thatcher should now survive the dissent of her back-benchers, but the opposition and public will fail to be completely convinced until the next election. Quickly showered and shaved to the radio reports and then dressed for my office. A quiet morning, with no visible activity from the builders.