Friday 25th September 1987

Hiring a digger to level the new games lawn and start digging ditches and laying drainage pipes along its length and then spending the day in the driving seat as first Pete and then Daniel help me manhandle the rolls of pipe as Debbie received an accolade at her new school and  Di succeeds at slimming and buys some news clothes. The United Nations are intervening in the Iran/Iraq hostilities. The Hungerford Inquest hears how Michael Ryan acted like a robot in killing people, the Herald of Free Enterprise victims are meeting in common cause and another coup takes place in Figi

A poor night. I was hot again from working in the garden yesterday and late to bed watching a gripping drama about Nelson & Winnie Mandela. Awoke slowly this morning and the family had just about finished their meal when I eventually managed to get down, washed and dressed. Then, shot out in the Range Rover to Tebbuts, as I had decided to buy some drainage 4” piping for the games lawn. It is flexible and in reels and I managed to get two coils in the car and arranged for a further 7 to be delivered later today. Home by 9.00am, so that Di could use the car and then tried digging the trenches for the pipe. Rough going because of submerged rocks and bricks and so checked with St Neots Tool Hire to see if they had a trench digger. They had not, but I decided to hire a mini-digger at £65/day. Used the next hour or two to mark out the extent of the games lawn. It will be 47ft by 91ft. Then had an early lunch and was able to get straight into the driving seat when the digger arrived at 11.30am. It has a bulldozer blade on the front and a trench digger on the back and I spent the first 4 hours dozing the land as flat as I could.

Thursday 24th September 1987

A full and tiring day after an unsettled night, levelling the new ‘games’ lawn with Pete rotavating and moving earth and me setting the remainder of the levelling pegs before taking Debbie horse-riding with Di at her new ‘keep-fit’ class. The UK government lose the latest ‘Spy-catcher’ case in Australia and with it the argument for supressing a book already being widely read, another ship sinks in the Gulf after hitting a mine with four crew dead and a record British Trade deficit and rumours of a higher interest rate sends the stock exchange plummeting

A night of intermittent sleep, as I kept thinking about my progress on the riverside lawn and wanting to cool down and so to the toilet as well! Asleep, however, when my morning tea arrived and then managed to get showered and dressed for breakfast. Joined Della in Debbie's bedroom to wave goodbye to the children and then went out to make an early start on the lawn bed. Pete spent the day rotavating and using the fork, rake and wheelbarrow to move the earth on to the lower levels. I made and placed the remainder of the levelling pegs, which took me all day.

Wednesday 23rd September 1987

Buying scrap timber to make stakes for levelling the 100ft x 40ft games lawn area and the rest of the day working between light showers on the project with gardener Pete continuing to rotavate after a delayed arrival after I had repaired and serviced the machine for him. Daniel was allowed his visitor after completing some good essays as I supervised the children’s homework this evening and I was contacted about meeting the Liberal/SDP joint Chairmen about standing for the local elections. An incompetent Liverpool consultant incorrectly cleared many hundreds of cervical smear tests leading to several women needing serious surgery later, Oftel is unhappy with BT over lack of phone box repairs, the French National Front leader has cancelled her visit to the Tory Conference and more sanctions are imposed against Iran

Slept well enough and was well awake for my morning tea. Showered and dressed in good time for breakfast at last and so I oiled our oak wardrobe hinges, which now no longer squeak for the first time since we had it. Breakfast of wheat flakes, then out in my old clothes to look at the rotavator. The gardener had succeeded in losing another screw again and so I repaired the rotavator by replacing it. Also tightened some other screws which were loose and changed the 4HP motor oil for some fresh, as it was very black. No sign of Pete the gardener to operate it and so I decided to get some softwood and make up stakes for levelling the lawn. Di had taken the Range Rover again and so I took the Daimler and caught up with it in the Waitrose car park and swapped cars. Tried first at Tebbutt’s, but service was so bad I left and went to The Handyman instead. They had some scrap wood in a shed – 6ft lengths at 40p and so I loaded up and paid for 21 and also got 6 mahogany 6ft lengths for 50p at the same time, which is a bargain.

Tuesday 22nd September 1987

The day in Cambridge after waving goodbye to Dan and Debbie for school and then time with Charles and Norma with Della being naughty, Purchase of a large bag of ‘Toplawn’ and a spreading machine, some text books for Daniel and a travel kettle for California before lunch at the Copper Kettle. More garden supplies from Waresley on the way home and then Daniel has an unauthorised visit from Louise and Paul this evening. The British train manufacturer, BRE, already decimated, is to lose 3,000 more jobs, semi-automatic weapons are banned in the UK and Iran and the US clash in the UN debate over the Gulf attacks

A warm and humid night, but we had our balcony doors open and were pleased to have their use. Awoke after a sound night’s sleep to find Diana away getting our morning drink. Soon I had this refreshment and went off to see Debbie in bed. She is quite sweet when she wakes up in the morning. Daniel wakes up all grumpy as a contrast. Off to get my shower and hair wash, but no time left to dress before 7.40am. Breakfast of cereal and the goodbye routine after, with Della leading the race to Debbie’s bedroom to wave goodbye to the other two. We got ready quite quickly and then took off in the Range Rover for Cambridge. I did just stop and talk to Pete and brief him on today’s tasks – mowing the lawn and then doing some more rotavating.