The  'Gang of Four' with Shirley Williams and David Owen founding the SDP

A welcoming change of heart from Godmanchester Council, my emotional  purchase of my 1939 Reliant 8cwt van, and then more work on my history project as the rain fell and the river remained in flood making this the wettest January for very many years and doing for one of my doves. The SDP merger proposal is the cause of a battle between Shirley Williams and Dr David Owen today, an 11th hour meeting is convened to try and stop the Fords strike and now Scottish health workers are on strike too. Thatcher meets Chirac today and they make no progress on the EEC Budget Crisis and my Namesake Chris Broad scores 120 not out against the Aussies at Lords!

Had some trouble getting to sleep last night and then woke Di up in the middle, which was a bit rotten of me. Slow this morning, but good at breakfast, where I only ate a dish of melon to aid my diet. Read my morning newspaper and then this morning’s mail, which was inconsequential. At least it contained a letter from the Mayor of Godmanchester, responding to my playground offer, and they wish to meet me there on Saturday week. They now welcome boating visitors, which is a nice attitude change. Had analysed my Census results yesterday and so I was in the right position to write up the results, but, whilst cleaning up, I found the Exchange and Mart and had a better look under Collector’s Cars. This time I found a 1939 Reliant 8 cwt van, a predecessor of the ones I used to own as my first car and got so much fun out of. I phoned up and bought it for £2500, which was a bit of an emotional decision, but I shall enjoy showing Daniel.

It is also short enough to sit in the inner garage next to our new Corniche. A bit excited until lunch, but I typed up a couple of letters – one to the Mayor and the other to the Early Reliant Owners Club. Made myself a salad lunch with salmon, whilst watching the news. The rain poured down again today, as the flood water stayed high. Got down to more work on my word processor this afternoon, re-editing The Old Post Office and then Di came in with a wet dove and I shared time between that and my re-edit of The Nook and Shepherds Cottage for the rest of the day. The dove died sadly. Sat up a little tonight watching the news and updating my journal, but was in bed by11.00pm. The news, on the eve of the SDP conference, is of a public argument between SDP President Shirley Williams and David Owen’s group spokesman, Mike Thomas, over the use of the conference hall for a meeting after the main conference. It makes the party look even more divided and silly. In the end, Shirley Williams backed down to avoid the matter overshadowing the conference proceedings. On the industrial front, a last minute meeting between Ford unions and management on Sunday will provide the last chance of reconciliation before the strike is called next week. Junior Health Minister, Edwina Curry, has run into a row tonight by promoting the use of private health payments. She ran a gauntlet of protesters after addressing a Tory Party meeting. Meanwhile, the Scottish TUC has called a full health workers strike on February 24th. Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, has ruled out any use of the Royal Pardon for the Irishmen whose appeal was turned down yesterday. A British-French summit took place today, with both Mitterrand and Chirac meeting Mrs Thatcher, but there was no progress on the EEC budget crisis, nor on a proposal for a joint UK/French cruise development. On the opening day of the England vs Australia Bicentennial Test Match, Chris Broad scored 120 not out and the England team 220 for 2 wickets at the end of the first day. More rain is forecast to end a month which is the wettest January for very many years.