Hopes rise for the release of Nelson Mandela

Badly disrupted the kitchen fitters today by locking them out and spending the day in Cambridge and the architect insists on more carpenters to progress the work as peace breaks out in the world with Reagan taking Congress by storm over arms control progress and speculation mounts about the possible release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa


A poor night tossing and turning and not being able to get comfortable. Up in a poor mood and a glance at the FT before breakfast. The Kode shares are plumbing new depths again and I calculate their acquisition and present values and conclude that it is pointless selling them now as they have already lost most of their value, and capital gains tax would be payable on the resulting proceeds anyway. Breakfast with the family and I feed Della Rice Krispies and try to keep her happy. Up to get showered and shaved and then a rush to get ready as the carpenter and decorators start early. The rest of the builders go off on another job today, which is disappointing and, when the architect visits later, he arranges a meeting on Monday with Mr Cheeseborough to push for more progress on the link building. Out to the ducks and doves on a cold and damp morning and away by car with Di and Della to Cambridge on a shopping expedition. Initially for elevenses at Belinda’s coffee bar (where I feed Della another biscuit) and then on to Eaden Lilley to pick and confirm the wallpaper design for the hall, stairs and landing areas.

Then Di goes to her hairdressers for a trim, whilst I start an abortive search for a supplier of burglar alarm kits. In the end I buy an Exchange & Mart and resign myself to having to review the competing designs and buy by mail order. I also managed to buy a couple more issues of Country Companion and am only now missing 2/3, which I should now write off for. Back to meet Di and we troop round Eaden Lilley and Sayles to no great purpose, looking at furniture etc. Then lunch at The Copper Kettle and back to St Neots for a little shopping and a visit to the bank. Home at 3.00pm when we saw the architect and reviewed progress on the house. To my horror I find that I had forgotten to unlock the garage before we left and the kitchen fitters had been badly held up. I do not think it will affect their progress unduly and they should still be finished next week. The chippie was installing the upper link building double doors today, but the light went before he could finish the task. The architect said that there was work for two carpenters and plasterers there, which would make a great difference for a week. Out to tend the birds again, which is a great chore on these cold days, and then to check for phone messages at my office and return a couple of the calls. A sit-round tea of tomato soup and shepherd’s pie to follow and a fair row with the two girls who were not too keen on this arrangement. Some time with Daniel on his schoolwork and then across to the new rooms to fit more security locks. News tonight of a last minute compromise by Liverpool Councillors, as they agree financial measures to provide a stay of execution for a week at least, and the acceptance of an alternative budget. Suffolk police are questioning a suspect in connection with the assault and death of Leoni Keating; one of the most horrific crimes the police had experienced. The Archbishop’s envoy, Terry Waite, is trapped in West Beirut by heavy street fighting between rival factions of militiamen. President Reagan has taken Congress by storm at the end of a 20 hour day and there is rising confidence of the chances of a lasting peace. The first tangible result is the restoration of air travel between the US and USSR. Rising speculation in South Africa on the possible release of Nelson Mandela, as frequent meetings take place between him and his wife and lawyers. He has been in jail for nearly a quarter century and is now 67. The past week has been one of the worst in South Africa for violence, but details are hard to get because of press and TV censorship. The Daily Mirror is preparing to shut down in Fleet Street against the background of a bitter battle by the unions to resist the moving of production by Maxwell to his BPC plant out of town. More rain, cold and sleet forecast overnight and a grim start to the day tomorrow.