Doing things with Daniel as a teenager

Trip to Bedford on a windy early autumn day to Peacocks Robert Room auction and then to find an engine spare for Daniel’s boat and fix it later in the growing darkness as the South African authorities close 500 coloured schools as ‘seething hotbeds of violence’ with the Western Cape the latest to be affected but the British Tory government rules out sanctions despite US pleas

Awake to my morning tea and then to catch up on yesterday’s journal. An early breakfast so that Debbie could get ready for school and then back to bed to finish off and then read the paper. Not finished until 9.15am and then up and washed quickly and to the doves. Another windy day and real autumn chill in the air. The doves fluttered down and landed with their normal fantail difficulty in the wind, then ate well. The stray would not come down again. I noticed the moles are active again in our riverside garden. The flattening effect of the gardener’s lawnmower this morning lead to the mole having to enlarge his burrows and he left a tell-tale mound on the shrub bed at the edge. To the ducks where I found 4 eggs, which is better as they recover from their moult one by one. A little time in the office opening the mail and sealing up the envelope for Vinters and then off with the family to Bedford. The family that is, less Debbie, who was at school again today. I parked in the Marketplace (as it is not market day) and then left the others to go shopping whilst I walked up to the Peacocks auction rooms. To my surprise it was the Robert Room antique auction today, but little of interest and a few poor lots. It seems that the police were in last night to take away 30 lots of silver, jewellery and paintings that must have been stolen property. Downstairs I put in two commission bids for a folding mahogany chair and a painted double child’s desk and we shall see if they secure the goods. Back to the Marketplace to collect Daniel and then off to Harry Kitchener Marine to try to find spare parts for Daniel’s boat engine. Debbie and Amy are going to have fun this weekend playing in Old Bill's Shed which they are going to enjoy as a 'Wendy House' .

We were lucky to find a second hand control leaver set that was effective yet cheap, but the principal spare (a gear leaver) they did not have. Back to rendezvous with Diana, who had a good time shopping, buying some nice winter clothes for herself for once and one or two things for Debbie in the sale. Also she got Della her first pair of shoes. Lunch together at Debenhams and then back to the car and off to try to find Daniel’s engine part. No luck at Colnworth, but managed to get one off of an old engine later on in the afternoon at another place. Home to my desk for an hour typing a personal letter, but annoyed afterwards that Diana had gone out with my stamps so that I could not post it. After getting the spare part and returning some phone calls (including one to Tessa Curtis of Computer Weekly) I just had time to tackle the garden mole before tea. Just hot dogs, but some nice apple pie and cream to follow. The evening until darkness at 8.30pm repairing Daniel’s engine until I got it into a good state in the end; properly repaired, controlled by its new cables effectively, and bolted onto the steering rod. We cleared up in the growing darkness and, whilst Diana got Daniel washed and to bed, I wrote today’s journal up. Then the TV and the main news is of escalating crisis in South Africa. The authorities have closed 500 schools of coloured children, denouncing them as ‘seething hotbeds’ of violence. Youths rioting have been attacking white homes in Western Cape products. Firearm sales to the white population are up eight fold and there is speculation that S. African businessmen are holding undercover talks with militant and banned black leaders. British Foreign Secretary Howe has ruled out sanctions, but the US seems set on them. The TUC conference closes today with Auld Lang Syne and a note of unity. The political conference season starts to an intensive security operation at an unprecedented level. The pound sterling fell by 4 cents today against the dollar, which is good news for industry and doesn’t seem too have damaged my short-dated gilt edged securities too much. The weather, which stayed fine but cool today, will get cloudier tomorrow with rain on Sunday.