Thursday 31st July 1986

Through The Lower Great use locks after a very wet night and to Waites Quay for swimming at the St Ivo pool and then dinner at The Dolphin after some fishing and dinghy trips as Thatcher still holds out against a cabinet majority for South African sanctions which sees Steve Cram wins the 1500 metres easily at a much depleted Commonwealth Games

A good night’s sleep, in spite of heavy rain and a strong breeze, but Diana ended up with her bunk quite wetted by a leak in the cabin window. An early start to breakfast, as the children were awake early and then I took them out to the riverside swings and slide, having to clean the mud off the slide due to the wet conditions. We enjoyed some of the early sun we were to get today, before un-mooring The Lady and setting off across the remainder of the Old West river.

Wednesday 30th July 1986

Walking up the hill to Ely Cathedral after a fruitless morning fishing and then to cruise on to Twenty-Pence Inn after getting fuel and water at Ely Marina and there to dress up and have a fine evening meal as young estate agent Suzy Lamplugh goes missing and deep sea cameras photograph The Titanic wreck


Slept well – both of us – and mastered the children reasonably well in our, by now, customary morning routine. We sent Daniel to take the girls to the mini playground to the rear of the chandlers, whilst I fished and Di did the ‘boatwork’ (ie boat housework) No luck ever in fishing at Ely – the water seems so wide, deep, murky and featureless. We all took a walk up the hill to Ely Cathedral and, although Ely museum was closed, we went inside Ely Cathedral again and had another good chance to look at this old church of a millennium of Bishops of Ely.

Tuesday 29th July 1986

Abandoning the cruise up The River Lark from Prickwillow in very windy weather and then returning to Ely for a walk to the city centre and lunch before rowing to get more fuel as Geoffrey has a fruitless meeting with President Botha and will return toi even greater calls for joining the sanctioning nations. BA Weybridge closes down with the loss of 2,000 jobs and Boy George is fined for drug abuse.

Slept reasonably well last night and so did Diana for once. The rain fell as we settled down to bed, but the night became clear and ended cloudy but fine. A fair breeze this morning, but after our breakfast and other morning preliminaries, we took a walk together around Prickwillow. Strange to see the way the buildings have sunk with the shrinkage of the peat, so that you are level with the occupants upstairs bedrooms. Stranger too to think that the settlement was sited on the old course of the River Ouse so that they could have the road and foundations on the clay bed, and that the new cut that bypassed this stretch is close to Ely.

Monday 28th July 1986

A walk to Hilgay playing field on a mostly dry day with showers and then to moor near Denver Sluice at Jenyns Arms. This as a Lebanese car bomb kills many and injures many more, Russia starts withdrawing from Afghanistan and Sir Geoffrey is visiting Soweto

I took a walk along the moorings and chatted to the Norfolk couple in the adjacent boat again. He had taken an early morning swim in the river and wondered why we had not joined him! Then a walk with the family up to the Hilgay playing field and a welcome opportunity for Della to play on the rocking horse, slide and swings. A visit to the local shops as we walked back to The Lady and we bought a paper and some provisions. No need to buy milk this morning, however, as the local milkman kindly walked along the moorings, with a hand-crate, selling milk to the boaters. This is a very welcome touch, though it can hardly be economic to do so.