The cow had climbed up my slipway after falling from the meadow opposite

Awake to the sound of a noisy cow stranded outside our house before a family day out swimming and antique searching in St Ives as the Malta airliner hijack comes to a violent end in Egypt on a day of even more widespread violence elsewhere


A much better night’s sleep and, because the lounge was full of children, I opted for my bedroom to catch up on yesterday’s journal and then the vacant bathroom to wash, shave and dress. Down to a breakfast of toast and apple juice and a quick look at the Sunday Times before gathering together my tools and going across to the other side of the building to fit some more security bolts. As I did so I heard an almighty moo-ing and disquiet amongst the young bullocks grazing in the field opposite and then, looking to see what was disturbing them, I could see that one was on our side of the river and standing at bay outside No.39! Downstairs and out for a closer look, when I could see that the cow was wet and must have slipped into the river and waded out this side. Jim and his son were looking out of the window and had shouted down that they had phoned the police for help. Together with Daniel, Gary, Eric the retired policeman, Jim & son; we drove the errant beast down the towpath and the police held up the traffic whilst we herded it back into the field. So much for the excitement of the day. Back then to the house, stepping it out in the cold misty weather.

Once back, I took off the playroom door and fitted two security bolts, top and bottom, by removing it first. Rather longer than I planned and so it was 10.30am by the time I joined the others for coffee and got ready to leave. Everyone in my Jaguar and I drove them to the St Ivo Recreation Centre in St Ivo. I had intended to visit the antique fair whilst the rest went swimming, but they had cancelled the second day and so I joined them as well. Debbie swam well, Della enjoyed splashing about with Diana, and I swam with the boys as they played a game of trying to duck me and me them. Ordered out by the whistle at the close of session at 12.00 noon and changed before meeting up with the girls again. Upstairs, but no drinks as service was slow and the kids would not sit nicely at the table, so straight off to lunch. Wimpy in Huntingdon was closed, so was the burger take away in St Ives and so we went back to Little Paxton and the Little Chef for a nice lunch. Della is quite a revelation these days and seems to eat as much, if not more than Debbie. Home after and I spent a couple of hours cleaning out the ducks and then installing more security bolts on the new guest room balcony doors. I also took the wire netting and framework off of the new dovecote to release the doves after three weeks and one immediately fluttered helplessly to the ground and needed to be put back. I hope that they will be all right, as I also had to put them in the pigeon holes – the daft things. Tea of ham sandwiches, cake and tea to drink and more work after; putting the ducks away in their clean house and then fitting double screw security locks to the new shower room and kitchen. Then to measure up for tiles (200 6” square tiles or 50 sq ft) and then to see what additional curtain rails we needed and what fittings to go with them. By 8.00 quite tired and watched a couple of TV documentary programmes, whilst the others watched TV soap operas downstairs. Then my journal, a bath, and the news update on the day. The main story has been the Malta airliner hijack, which has ended up in violence as Egyptian commandos attacked and the hijackers let off several hand grenades. This is the second time recently that Athens airport was the embarkation point for the arms and explosives. In the Republic of Ireland, an escape attempt by 11 IRA prisoners, with explosives, failed when the front gates refused to blow and they were recaptured. Terry Waite has left Beirut and is now on the way to New York to talk again to the US Administration after meeting the kidnappers. A car bomb exploded in a Frankfurt, West Germany, US military shopping centre, injuring 35 people. Three more people have died violently in South Africa, ending the worst week of violence for a long time. The first TV announcer, Leslie Mitchell, died today aged 82, after being with television since the beginning. Ian Botham celebrated his birthday today (30 years) still walking from Lands End to John O’Groats after a month. Even colder weather is now forecast and more snow is expected, though it will be bright to begin with in the morning.