Friday 6th September 1985

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' .

Thursday 5th September 1985

The family back to the school timetable whilst I tend the ducks and doves, craft the BMMG press statement, and start typing up my history of Little Paxton Haylings as I query Freda’s wish to start a nursing home. The TUC works out a deal to prevent the AEUW expulsion, South African unrest spreads to all areas and they have at last found the wreck of the Titanic

Awake quite early as the family settles back into the school timetable. Down to breakfast of toast and fruit juice and then back to bed to write up yesterday’s journal and then read briefly the Financial Times. Up, washed and dressed rather later, therefore, at 10.00am and only just in time to be decent before cleaner Joan arrives to do the house. Out to the ducks and doves. The former had been left out last night in my absence, “as it was raining heavily,” and the latter were sitting hungrily on the feeding table awaiting my arrival. The stray blue pigeon that had joined them recently roosts on the ledge every night, flies down to the grass to feed, but has yet to come to the table with the others. Then to the office where I already had messages on the answering machine from journalists and also news that my NCC lecture had been cancelled for the next week. I quickly worked on the BMMG press statement and then telephoned Bill Barrett at Owles Hall to dictate it over the phone. This done, I returned a few calls and then started up the computer to type in my history of Little Paxton Haylings.

Wednesday 4th September 1985

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.

Tuesday 3rd September 1985

Deeply involved today in making sure the preparations for tomorrow’s BMMG  LAN meeting are successful and also trying to avoid press comment which is anticipating the outcome as the Tory’s appoint the controversial Jeffrey Archer as their Chairman, Neil Kinnock is beset with union disputes and extreme Muslims throw hand grenades in a Greek resort. Peter King and Derek Weatherby have departed Kode and John Lamb is busy fighting fires and moving.

Slept well after some initial difficulty getting off and then awake to my morning tea and the paper on a day that starts bright, but soon looks dull with showers to come. Out to the birds and I see that one pigeon is remaining in the vicinity of my doves and may be a hen. Only one egg from the ducks, who are now in variable states of moult. To the office and the start of a productive day on BMMG affairs. I contact Bill Barrett and we review action items and outstanding matters, dividing the tasks between us. First priority is to ensure the attendance of ICL and ACT Apricot at our LAN meeting, which we achieved by the end of the day. I have used all of my personal relationship and influence with the top management of both companies, which is the only reason they are coming.