Thursday 31st December 1987

New Years Eve – The entire day at home as Diana struggles with her tonsillitis and I watch a documentary about Great Ormand Street, watch an old variety show and listen to Radio 4 plays whilst I write up a summary of my investments at the end of this year and then send copies to my advisors Elsewhere, the Dollar has been weak overnight in Hong Kong, the LSE falls heavily the New Year’s Honours list is full of establishment cronies and the Ulster police chief expects even bloodier IRA violence next year but Gorbachev voices new year’s optimism

Has stayed up later than intended last night watching a moving TV documentary on Great Ormond Street, the London children’s hospital. It is strapped for funds, has certain wards closed for lack of money for specialist staff and is appealing for a huge sum of cash for a new building programme. Then I sat still and watched the end of an old recording of a ‘Saturday Night at the London Palladium’ Granada TV show. It starred Norman Wisdom and Bruce Forsyth and displayed such talent and versatility in these two that I fear is no longer available from entertainers today. Slept long and sound and was thus late up again this morning. Diana eventually got up, her bodily pains subsiding to leave only a bad case of tonsillitis, which has been her lifelong affliction. All showered and prepared quickly for breakfast and by this time Joan and Pete had arrived, but we ate our breakfast regardless.

Wednesday 30th December 1987

Debbie and Della made breakfast today, as Di was ill overnight with aches and pains, during a fine start to the day that turned very wet, Daniel was revising ahead of going away on a school narrow-boating this weekend and I carried on trying to progress my Range Rover and Stereo system repairs and evaluating my Fountain Forestry investments. Concern over the US shuttle progress after an explosion ripped through their factory, British Warship HMS York is involved in another Gulf incident, CofE Bishops reject practising homosexuals for the Ministry, the Russians claim to have re-taken Khost in Afghanistan and Mugabe has become both President as well as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe

Slept well enough, but awoke to find Diana feeling ill in bed. She had aches in her head, back and legs, as if having more of a glandular problem than the tonsillitis which is her only other symptom. She stayed there and I could only stay with her for a while until, by 8.30am, I felt the need to get showered and dressed, as Joan and Pete would soon be arriving. Debbie was very good and got the breakfast ready with Della and then Joan was on hand to clear away the things afterwards. This morning I read the FT and watched shares regain half of yesterday’s losses, but the markets are still thus and nervous. I started to update my investment summary for the year end but, by midday, I decided to take the children over to the Little Chef for lunch, as Diana was still indisposed. Debbie had played with Amy Law this morning and was invited to go swimming with the family this afternoon, with which I agreed. Daniel did quite a deal of revision and just as well, for we received his joining instructions for the winter narrow boating holiday starting next Saturday. I made a couple of phone calls to book a riding lesson for Debbie on Saturday afternoon (there is again no lesson this Thursday – being New Years Eve), and also arranging the Range Rover repair and collection for Thursday week.

Tuesday 29th December 1987

Monitoring the stock markets and currency markets but advised to sit tight for now and then off to Cambridge for meals out before and after and to see a pantomime as Pete and Joan work on at The Hayling View. Yuri Romanenko return, with two other cosmonauts after he spends more than a year in space and a gunman in Arkansas kills 16 people

A sound night and steady start to the day. A modest breakfast once more with all my family and then I quickly went to my office and scanned the Prestel SEAQ data for the state of the stock market. The $ had confirmed its seasonal 3c drop against the pound sterling at 184.7 and also the City FT100 had fallen by 70 points to about 1720. I called my broker and chatted, but decided that the values were too high to buy still and too low to sell the few shares I have. Pete and Joan soon arrived and so I went out to explain to him what I wanted doing. He cut out many of the lawn weeds and patches of weed grasses, replacing them with good turf fragments, and then dug out and shaped the ditch on the west side of the lawn. Had time to read the first Financial Times after Christmas and then it was soon time to leave for Cambridge. Today was the day we had booked a box at the Cambridge Arts Theatre to watch the Christmas pantomime ‘Cinderella’, but we stopped off at the Happy Eater en route to have a light lunch first. Then the difficult task of getting into the centre of Cambridge to park.

Monday 28th December 1987

Our 19th Anniversary – Celebrating this achievement and then driving off to have a remarkable if rather chilly experience of  visiting Warden Abbey at the behest of Diana’s Aunt Christine, who had hired it for Christmas and then home to see two family films this evening. Wall Street and the dollar are tumbling, the Soviet-supported Afghan troops are fighting a battle with the Mujahideen resistance fighters, Terry Waite has been spotted by satellite and the UK post-Christmas Sales are in full swing

We had a good night and a fair lay in and I caught Di in bed again as I woke up. This anniversary morning we exchanged cards over our morning drinks and Diana’s was one with a badge pinned to it, which I bid her to wear all day. It read ‘Very Important Person’. Soon it was time for breakfast, but not before Della had come to join me in bed by trampolining up and down on it. Dressed for breakfast and Diana had no milk but plenty of frying food left over and so she cooked me a breakfast. I had dressed wearing casual things, but I was reminded that we were to go and visit a cousin of Diana’s, Christine, at Warden Abbey later and so I later had to change again. We copied a video of family film that Christine had requested and hardly had time to change and (in my case, feed the ducks and doves) before Charles and Norma arrived to join us for the journey. We left around midday, with two adults in the front of the Range Rover, three in the back, and the two girls in the boot section. It was an interesting drive to Old Warden and the venue was very interesting. The old 12th Century Abbey Farm building has been restored recently, after being allowed on a long lease by the Whitbread family to ‘Landmarks of Britain’, an organisation that takes over and renovates buildings of historical value that are not suitable for dwellings. Christine had rented it for the week and served us ham and all sorts of other meats, cakes and wines.