The Liberal and SDP leaders in better times

Briefing Pete in the use of the rotavator as I carried on undercoating the balcony rails and Di took Della to another little girl’s party and Daniel spent time with Louise and I then surveyed the results of Pete’s efforts later on with my new line-level before working on my Little Paxton press cuttings this evening. Now a British oil tanker has been attacked in the Gulf, as the US calls on Iran to obey UN resolutions or get sanctions imposed. The miner’s overtime ban starts without much initial effect, the National Front leader addresses a Tory Party fringe meeting and David Owen’s supporters clash with SDP Chair Shirley Williams as they resist merger.

A pleasant start to the night as Di and I tumbled together with mutual enjoyment and then a sound night’s sleep after, with one toilet call in the early hours. The earlier morning routine again this morning and only just made it to breakfast before all of the others left the table. It is now served at 7.40am to facilitate the children catching the school bus on time. After, I went straight out at 8.00am to brief Pete on the use of the rotavator and on what I wanted him to do. He then spent the morning rotavating all of the remaining untouched areas, having first moved all of the wood, scaffold poles and pipes from a pile. After he had then cultivated the soil the other way all over, we were left with quite an attractive result. Meanwhile, I applied the second of two white undercoats to the railings and only have a gloss coat to do when the weather is more settled. It was warm, dry and humid today, but also quite breezy. Di prepared me a salad lunch and then left for Caxton to take Daniella to another little girl’s birthday party.

I then helped myself to some apple pies and ice cream to follow, only to find out later that the pies had been in the larder for 2 ½ months! Such inefficiency in housekeeping matters is all too commonplace for Diana. This afternoon, I went out and surveyed the middle portion of the games area, establishing the levels by means of a line and line-level. It will be some job to both level the lawn and allow for drainage, as the bed is below the level of adjacent paths etc. and may well continue to get waterlogged. The day became even more tiring and humid and a sprinkling of rain began to fall, so I repaired inside to rest and read the paper. Read some of today’s FT before the children came home from school. They had plenty of homework for this evening, but tackled it well and were happy to be dropped off by the school bus driver at the end of Willow Close. Debbie had got round the bus driver again and Daniel now finds her a bit useful! A nice pork casserole for tea, which we all ate and then I read the local papers this evening and cut out the Little Paxton press cuttings. Daniel uses the phone a lot these days, telephoning round for third party conversations about Louise – his girlfriend that he seems to share with Gary Skinner. The main news story today is of the attack in the Gulf on a British oil tanker, setting it on fire. Two men off the tanker, ‘Gentle Breeze’, are missing after the crews quarters were set ablaze by a fast gunboat salvo. Iran is suspected. Four British minesweepers joined the ‘Armilla British Patrol’ in the Gulf today, but neither these, nor any of the 10 Navy vessels in the fleet, were escorting the attacked tanker at the time. The Reagan administration has called on Iran again to accept UN Resolution 598 and with it a ceasefire in the Gulf War. In the alternative, America will be forced to impose sanctions, including an arms embargo. During the first day of the NUM overtime ban, there is little affect, as expected, due to the ban only applying to production and not weekend maintenance work. The fight is now on as to whether to toughen up the ban, as the Yorkshire miners want, or relax it, as wished by the Scots and Welsh miners, who have seen their pits and jobs opportunities drastically reduced since the last miner’s strike. Political controversy as French National Front leader, Monsieur Penn, is invited to a Tory Party Conference fringe meeting, despite opposition from Tory Chairman, Norman Tebbit. In the SDP party merger tussle, acrimony today when Dr Owen and his supporters tried to get a vote taken on their having access to the party membership lists for an independent party recruitment drive. They tried to unseat Shirley Williams as President and Chairman, when she refused a vote, and she only retained her position by use of her own casting vote.