BMMG LAN It Policy is nigh

Very successful and significant BMMG LAN meeting in White Lion Street where STC/ICL and ACT/Apricot were on board with other members and agreement was reached to get the proposals written up and for me to handle the press after which an industry dinner at Olympia for the PCW awards and chats with many industry figures before to T Crowther to see garden monuments and then late home to a disappointed and worried reception for dinner as the IRA bombs a police station in Ennikillen

Diana and I awoke at 5.45am by arrangement so as I could drink tea, wash, dress and get out in time to catch the 7.15am train from St Neots to Kings Cross. Almost no petrol left in the car, but I get to the station OK and in good time on a dull, but mild morning, with little wind. A pleasant enough journey and opportunity to read up on the recent BMMG LAN proposals so as to be reasonably well briefed on arriving at Kings Cross. There was Nigel Smith at the exit gate and able to give me a lift to White Lion Street and the BMMG meeting. Nigel looks reasonably well, but confesses to have been diagnosed high blood pressure, which fluctuates dangerously. He is scaling down his business plans to concentrate more on process control and property than computers and, having moved his home to Hail Weston House, he intends to have similarly transferred his business activities from Bedford and Baldock by early next year. In to the meeting and, at the designated 9.00am, there were only Chris Shelton, the LAN Chairman, Bill Barrett, Secretary, Nigel, I and representatives from STC/ICL and ACT/APRICOT.

Rather discourteously, the others arrived at times up to 9.30 and beyond. A nervous start to the meeting with Chris updating everyone and then a remarkable proposal from Mike Rusbridge of DMS and Divers of LDR to finance all of the development themselves (instead of each company having to put up £25-37K) and leave the BMMG with DTI assistance to fund the promotion, standards work and implementation on members machines. This was widely welcomed by a rather surprised meeting and many companies present (including ICL, Apricot, Sinclair, ISL, UMicro) each chipped in £100 so as to get the latest proposals duly written up. There will be a technical presentation at the next BMMG meeting (17th September) and we hope to get a proposal into the DTI by the end of the month. We agreed not to publicise the attendee list to avoid the commercial embarrassment of ICL/STC, nor the proposal details to preserve the commercial interests of DMS/LDR and I have to draft a particularly non-informative press release to this effect – but if that is the price of progress and agreement, so be it. On then by use of the Apricot man’s car to Olympia and, by prior invitation, to the PCW show organisers reception lunch and Evening Standard award ceremony. BMMG member ICL won the award for innovative hardware with the one-per-desk telephone/computer terminal and I went over to Andy Roberts, the divisional manager, to congratulate him and chat about BMMG LAN’s. After lunch at a table of strangers, where I just managed to get to know them (they were representing USA and Dutch interests) time with a number of industry friends. Chatted to David Tebbutt of PCW (who thanked me for my article on Buying British and showed me the entry in the magazine which is being circulated free at the show), Philip Virgo of the NCC (who I chatted to about the newly announced NCC Director, Peter Aris, and the future role of the advisory committee), made acquaintance with Adrian Norman of ITUSA, the user standards organisation, and also with Stuart Randell, a Labour MP keen on IT affairs. Waved greetings at Geoff Lynch, Martin Banks, Guy Kewney, Tessa Curtis and, although I avoided the difficult task of commenting to the press on this morning’s meeting, I must get my statement ready as they will no doubt all be on to me in the morning. Down after to look around the show itself, which was more disappointing. A good size and helpful segregation of the hobby and business sections, but rather fragmented. I liked the atmosphere, however, and it’s good to see a show in early September to shake everyone out of the holiday mood so as to get sales moving again. I compared notes with Bill Unsworth, who had travelled with me, and then left to walk a long distance down to North End Road to the premises of T Crowther and Son. They specialise in antique garden ornaments and furniture and I had been meaning to see them for some time. I wandered around the garden and galleries for some time, appreciating the wide range of figures, ornaments, heraldic objects etc. Eventually I spoke at length to Mr Michael Crowther, a partner, and identified my interest as being possible a temple, but certainly any heron statues and a figure suitable for a riverside setting. Off home by tube and train, but unfortunate to miss the last direct train to St Neots by 2/3 minutes and then suffer a 45 minute delay at Hitchin due to a breakdown of the diesel unit.  Home by 8.00pm and, with great reluctance, Diana makes me an omelette tea before ridiculing the idea of the garden temple before going off early to bed. She had evidently had a headache and a bad day. It was Debbie’s first day back to school and in a new class with Mrs MacFarlane, but Diana’s worries were unfounded as she settles down well. Daniel was late back from today’s boat trip with a broken throttle cable, which didn’t help, as Di had produced a cooked tea. A late evening watching the TV news and then a drama about troops on active service in Northern Ireland. News today of the continued agonies of the TUC conference and the obvious good will between the AEUW and TUC that underpins a desperate attempt to seek a compromise. Also of more financial instability in South Africa. Another mortar bomb attack by the IRA on a police station in Ennistallen. Only 4000 shareholders attended the BT AGM, although £1/2 million was spent on the arrangements in a show biz type atmosphere at the National Exhibition Centre. The weather is forecast to improve as an anticyclone moves in for the weekend.