Saturday 31st August 1985

News today from our old friend Celia, concerning the breakdown of her second marriage, as I find neighbours’ rabbits and cats amongst my garden plants and birds, and then to St Ives for the auction and some more folding chairs before home to commence battle with the moles as there is news of mounting casualties in the latest French rail crash with 43 dead and Maxwell now orders his Manchester plant to print the whole nations newspapers as he closes the Fleet Street works

A letter finally opened late last night from Celia, who writes from Cardiff, revealing that she had broken up with her second husband, Ken, last May. This fills us both with sadness and, together with the sudden coldness of the night, gives us more trouble in getting to sleep. It was ironic that we had met her former husband in Cromer recently and would wish she were equally happy. Awake to my tea and the Investors Chronicle on a much cooler morning and I had to shut the veranda door on a brisk southerly breeze. Down to a breakfast of boiled egg and buttered toast fingers and then to get washed quickly. Out to the doves, who feed well, and the ducks, who only manage a paltry two eggs today. I saw a neighbour’s cat, Lady, a black & white one, catch a bird today and kill it. I think it was a coot or moorhen. This, and another neighbour’s rabbit amongst our plants today, makes me consider getting a gun again to protect our things.

Friday 30th August 1985

Working outside clearing shrubs and assembling a frame for climbers on another very warm day with Daniel completing his last chores as a penalty for stealing the money as a further 13 blacks die in South Africa and the authorities surpress hospital casualty figures from whips, shotgun pellets and tear gas and also prevent an EU fact-finding mission from seeing Nelson Mandela whilst UK unemployment keeps rising with Maxwell moving printing from Fleet Street to Wapping and unjustified American attacks on UK air safety are rebutted

A good night’s sleep and awake to my morning tea and newspaper on another fine and sunny morning. Breakfast of toast and fruit juice, a quick wash and shave, and then out to the birds. I spent the morning putting up the support wires for the second wisteria on 7 Willow Close and ended the task after a full three hours of drilling and wire bending, reaching from the ladder and scraping fingers on the brickwork. Glad to put the job behind me, but a good job well done and I reckon it will last 5-10 years at least, with the plants maturing after 2-3. Another splendid day and it was quite unbearably hot by the time the sun had risen high and I had nearly finished. I then had a lunch of salmon, then cheese sandwiches and sank down to watch the test match on TV. The remainder of the English batsmen fell cheaply, but there then started an even greater collapse of Australian batsmen, so that by the end of the day they were beyond hope of saving the Ashes. This afternoon, I took out bow saw, pruning saw and secateurs and successfully lopped two hawthorne trees that were dominating the riverside garden path and the back garden and also the silver birch by the garages, so as to open up the shrub bed underneath to light and air.

Thursday 29th August 1985

Hot day spent hosting a family barbecue for Di’s parents and sorting out my video tapes before using Old Bill’s water pipe to water the garden  as the AEUW and TUC split over the financial ballot but the NUR hold out for reinstatement of sacked guards but the main shocking news is of South African police attacking peacefully-striking schoolchildren with a further 13 killed today and another train bomb in Belfast injures 9 police and civilians

A good night’s sleep and I was the first to wake with the sun shining in between the curtains in the hall and bedroom. I make the drinks and then settle to the morning papers for the last two days. Down to breakfast and then I take a shower, dress and resume my video taping so as to have finished most of our latest holiday film of Mundesley by the time Diana’s Mum & Dad arrived after 11.00am. A little time watching England’s efforts at the start of the Oval test cricket match and then we all go out to the riverside gardens, where Daniel has got out the chairs and barbeque for our hamburger lunch. I officiate at the grill and we all enjoy the meal. The weather has turned out really glorious today, with warm settled wind conditions and a clear sky for the day.

Wednesday 28th August 1985

Some attention for Di during a warm and unsettled night and then we find that Daniel has been taking money from my wallet and spending it but his punishment had to wait as we were expecting guests to go boasting with him today as South African riots and deaths continue with a march to Mandela’s prison is prevented and the stock and foreign exchanges have to close. One aspect of the train strike is averted but checks on Pratt and Whitney engines on other 737’s reveal large combustion chamber cracks.

A poor night that was too warm, but eventually I took an interest in Di and then slept better afterwards. Daniel woke us up by creeping in at 6.30am and so all awake to our morning drinks and, for me, the Economist and Financial Times. Debbie made the breakfast and we all came down to a variable drinks mix (orange & lemon) and another meal of toast for me. Then a big row as, to our shock and horror, we find out that £30 is missing from my wallet and eventually Daniel admits to taking it and buying speakers and tapes with it. This spoils our whole start to the day and, to make it worse, Diana mislays £50 of her money but thankfully finds it in her car later on. We carry on with today’s schedule unchanged, because Jonathan Bloom is coming over for lunch and, with Gary and Paul there as usual, we do not want to spoil the day, but resolve to punish him from tomorrow on.