Gorbachev-and-Thatcher

Daniel cruising on his boat on a sunny, still and mild morning after an earlier studying session to earn it and me arranging and then fulfilling Little Paxton History interviews before calling in at The Ely Boat Chandlers who had secured the propeller we needed for The Little Lady. Thatcher struts in Moscow about rather too obviously as The UK Stock Exchange records its record one day fall over fears of a US/Japanese trade war, the IRA kills another soldier in Belfast, and the trial starts in Spain of the alleged perpetrators of the huge poisonous cooking oil scam that it is claimed killed over 500 people and crippled tens of thousands

Late to sleep with Diana and then, after a sound and satisfied sleep, was reluctant to wake up and get out of bed. Still the first down, dressed and showered, for breakfast. Once over, Daniel took his boat downstream to Offord to try to get some more fuel, Di took Debbie to school and I did a little work at my desk, reconciling my bank account and arranging some account transfers of funds. Also used the telephone to arrange visits this afternoon to Miss Hazelton and Ken Gambier of Samuel Jones. An early lunch of salad and then changed to receive Nigel Smith, who came round for a chat, a coffee and to advise me on my new conservatory idea. Took longer than planned and so was a little late gathering my tools together to see Miss Gladys Hazelton in Eaton Socon. Poor thing, she had mislaid the photograph of herself in nurse’s uniform in the time of Paxton Park Hospital, but I still installed a door viewer for her flat, which will make for much better security for visitors after dark.

She delayed me somewhat and I was 15 minutes late to see Mr Gambier at the Paper Mill. Even then he was making a long winded telephone call for half an hour. Returned the last 8 photographs and borrowed the next of Little Paxton staunch. Home to collect Daniel and his petrol tank and then a dash to Ely, making the entire journey in 40 minutes and arriving at 5.31pm. They had stayed open for us and we collected the 8” pitch propeller to fit to the new 20HP Mariner outboard. Home late for tea, but Di was expecting it. She went to her slimming club later this evening, but was disappointed only to have lost half a pound. Daniel and I watched some comedy on TV, until I sent him to bed at 9pm. Then Di and I watched the news and start of a good film. The news today is of the Thatcher/Gorbachev talks in Moscow. They were ‘vigorous’ but not hostile. In contrary and emphatic speeches, each side spoke critically of the other and pulled no punches. The meetings are friendly and extended beyond the times allocated, being described as ‘very frank and very, very useful’ by Thatcher. Political journalists remark on the overstated and campaign nature of the TV photo sessions and street walkabouts and there is no news of anything agreed, or of any movements in positions, as a result of the talks. Back in London, the Labour Party launched its TUC collaboration for increasing employment and industrial activity at a press conference. The London Stock Exchange recorded its record daily fall, following fears of a US/Japanese trade war that saw high proportions written off of Wall Street and Tokyo’s stock prices. The IRA killed another British soldier in the Divis flats area of Belfast, as blast bombs were dropped from a balcony. A man, Robert Healey, who killed his wife and step-daughter before faking his own disappearance, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. In Spain, the trail has started of a string of businessmen who refined and distributed contaminated cooking oil, after it had previously been dyed and marked as unfit for human consumption. 583 people had died and tens of thousands crippled by the stuff. The trail is a highly emotional event for the Spanish people, though forensic evidence cannot tie the cause down completely and the perpetrators claim the use of insecticides on citrus fruit was responsible.  A Van Gough painting of the famous sunflowers fetched £22 ½ million at Christies auction today, which is the first time a painting has been sold for more than £7 ½ million. An anonymous overseas buyer obviously hopes that it will gain further value, but he may well have miscalculated. It is a famous image (we have a print in the ironing room) but to me it is a dull, unimaginative picture, painted by a man going insane in the last year of his life, prior to suicide. Early this morning, Daniel had willingly studied some more maths – the topic of sets, Venn Diagrams, and notation. All this for the tank of fuel that I got him later on today. The weather was sunny, still and much milder today, though still only in the 50’sdegF. The weather is forecast to revert to rain tomorrow, with very little sun and so we still have to wait for the spring.