Watching me sail the Blue Peter in 1986

Trying to sail this morning and giving up and then some shopping with Debbie and refreshment with the family before cruising from Huntingdon to Godmanchester in a near gale and then a walk around the town before bedtime. Murdoch’s battle with the print unions continues, Thatcher has naively not given up hope of an Israeli/Palestinian compromise, The Boers are opposing apartheid relaxation in South Africa and British holidaymakers and our sports teams abroad are heavily protected from Libyan terrorists


A sound night and the heating was on when my morning drink arrived. Washed in the confines of The Lady’s bathroom and then a breakfast of cereal and toast with the girls. As we were finishing, the boys came in for the toilet and a mug of hot drinking chocolate. There was a high, near gale force, wind this morning that had chilled them a lot. Dan took the girls to the children’s playground to earn himself 40p and Steven was to help me sail Blue Peter again. But, with the wind so high and gusty and the river water cold, we did not want to chance it, so I sailed alone.

It was hard going, as the wind was directly down river with the strong flow. I tacked back and forth at speed, but had to go so tight against the wind, that it was all I could do to keep it upright and gained little headway upstream before I gave up. Then to join the rest of the family in a trip to the shops, starting at the Huntingdon Wimpy Bar for coffee. I then took Debbie to the Abbey National to pay in £1.02 (!) and then she needed a toilet call. I took her to the public conveniences, but we were unable to find any toilet paper. Debbie used my handkerchief but, after insisting that she had not been able to use it effectively for that purpose, I had to take her back to the Wimpy Bar for an unscheduled visit to their toilets there. Thus comforted, she joined me on my shoulders for a carry to the Bridge Street antique shop and then to the pet shop to see some tropical fish and a long-eared rabbit. I had bought an old brass toilet roll holder from the former, along with a couple of paperback books for Debbie. Our lunchtime rendezvous with the others, more burgers, then back to The Lady to pack up and stow the Blue Peter. I then read today’s newspapers, whilst the children went to see ‘He-man and She-ra’ at the cinema. There was also time to install my new toilet roll holder in the forw’d toilet and replace some screws in a soap dish holder to prevent it falling from the wall. We then set off in very high winds to Godmanchester, with both boats managing the conditions reasonably well. Once moored, we had our tea separately, then the boys took out the dinghies with outboard motors, whilst I looked through my ‘library’ of local and natural history books that I keep aboard. I then played ‘Frisbee’ with them, and the girls played themselves to a standstill in the Godmanchester playground. Before dusk, a walk around the town with Diana, following our ‘Walkthro’ G/manchester’ guide book. Then my journal and the TV news. The Print Union, SOGAT, are balloting the Murdoch offer to their members, with no recommendation. Five Britons are being questioned in Zimbabwe over last week’s South African raids into the neighbouring territories. Four others have been released in the clampdown over the alleged collaboration and assistance to the raiding forces. More trouble in South Africa itself as the ‘Boers’ in the country, led by Eugene Terre’Blanche, react in a backlash against the liberalisation of the apartheid laws. Mrs Thatcher, back from Israel, has not given up hopes on a Middle East compromise, despite the Israelis rejection of her initial proposals. Elsewhere, there are threats to Britons visiting Spanish holiday resorts by Basque extremists and England’s team in Mexico for the World Cup are the most protected targets of Libyan terrorists, with four security guards per player. I cannot really understand the weather forecasts, which talk of showers of rain and a depression, as it is clear again tonight, with my barometer reading fair at 1023.5mb