Thursday 30th June 1988

A day dominated by reading papers for the District Council planning committee meeting and dealing with other correspondence, phone calls and priorities but I got out with Debbie to take her horse Reading to Offord, only to experience a huge torrential thunderstorm which flooded the stable yard and roads but which I survived due to taking my Range Rover. The new Risley remand centre with its high proportion of mentally ill inmates and high suicide rates has 823 inmates in  space for 92  and is castigated.  Thatcher promotes Cecil Parkinson to chair the Star chamber cabinet committee and the new style Moscow conference has novel contributions.

Groggy again this morning and was late washing and getting down to breakfast. I had received a call on my new answering system and called back late last night and it was a problem in Park Avenue of a swimming pool owner covering it with an intrusive metal and plastic dome that had upset the neighbours. This morning, I eventually got down to my hot croissants and read with interest the Hunts Post, which was full of local political activity. After the meal, I wrote up these last two day’s journal and then read today’s post and papers, which meant just about the whole morning was gone. The agenda, minutes and papers for the Planning Committee next Monday weighed nearly 2lbs and cost nearly £2 to send to me by first class post. So much that is worthwhile to do and so little time to do it. In fact, I continued to read it for a while after lunch and then typed up a couple of letters for my main work effort this afternoon and took a couple of phone calls. I also walked round to see a lady in Park Avenue about the sign at the end of the road, which she had been trying to get erected. Later, an early tea, and then I actually managed to take Debbie horse riding and stayed with her to watch. She presently has a Scottish instructress, who is rather strict on style and dressage, but she is soft to Debbie, who plays the innocent learner to good effect. As they rode in the school, the heavens opened with a torrential thunderstorm, which flooded the roads and yard. The Range Rover got us home all right, though there were other cars by the roadside with damp electrics.

Wednesday 29th June 1988

Successful meeting this morning at Pathfinder House with the director of planning and chairman of the leisure and amenities committee which I had called about the future of Little Paxton pits and nature reserve. I persuaded them that, as well as conservation, this should be promoted as a Country Park with areas designed for watersports interest groups with a refreshment kiosk near the picnic area.  This afternoon, in my office without making much progress on my burgeoning in tray and then this evening to attend a party county council election meeting where I emphasised importance of campaigning rather than policy formation

A bit groggy after my late night and slow to get ready for breakfast. Had to come to the table in my dressing gown to eat my scrambled egg, before showering after. Dressed in a suit for a formal meeting at Pathfinder House this morning, between myself, David Potter – Director of Planning and Mrs Day – Chairman of the Leisure and Amenities Committee. The meeting, called at my instigation, was about the future of Little Paxton Pits. As well as the nature reserve, the larger area could be promoted as a Country Park with the other pits already being designated for water skiing, sailing etc. My input was to ensure that all informal leisure groups are catered for (not just conservation interests to the exclusion of all else) and to put up the suggestion of public toilets, a bridleway and also a refreshment kiosk near to the picnic area. These views carried the day, partially for the longer term, and the question of the central government threat to the Community Task Force also arose, with the idea that the HDC (assisted by a 50% grant from the Countryside Commission) might continue the post of the full-time coordinator of voluntary effort. The meeting ran on until lunchtime and I drove home to take my lunch late at 1.15pm. I had used the Rolls Royce this morning, as the Range Rover was being used by Di.

Tuesday 28th June 1988

I spent the morning in Cambridge having coffee with Diana’s parents at Edenderry’s making arrangements for organising a Jackson family lunch at the healing view after which I bought a new telephone answering machine and a wall mounted netball ring which the children loved as I installed it in the garage wall next to the pool. This evening at the St Neots SLD meeting where we made plans years County Council elections. News today of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Soviet party conference where debate was allowed the first time in 30 years. A callous IRA bomb attack in Ulster seriously injures a 15 year old girl

Awoke reasonably on time today and, after my shower, decided to dress in clothes suitable for going out and joining Di and Della on their trip to Cambridge. We set off and hand delivered a number of notes to various local people, to save stamps, and my letter to the St Neots local newspapers. We arrived in Cambridge and parked in the Round Church car park and made our way to have coffee with Di’s parents in Eaden Lilley’s. Made arrangements for them to use our house on Sunday 31st July 1988 for a family lunch party and undertook to do the artwork and duplication of the invitation cards. We had lunch at a restaurant normally a haunt of the students, but empty at this time of year and shopped on after lunch for a while before coming home. I bought a new telephone answering machine and installed it on my return – and a wall mounted netball ring, which proved to be a great success with the children in the swimming pool, as I put it up on the garage wall next to it.

Monday 27th June 1988

We saw the children off to school despite oversleeping and Debbie suffering from hay fever after which I spent this morning working in my office, filing press cuttings and dealing with constituent’s complaints, which continued this afternoon with correspondence and press releases. This evening to the council’s finance and general purposes committee where the sole Labour councillor, Jim Lomax, tried but lacked the knowledge and skills to hold the Tories to account. News today of a record trade deficit on the UK balance of payments of £1.2 billion with the pound sterling sharply falling. Two trains crashed head on in Paris with many dead and this after the air crash in France of the A320 yesterday deemed to be by pilot error

Slept so well last night that we all overslept until 7.00am and had to rush to get the children out to school. Daniel was taking his additional mathematics exam (Pt 1) today and Debbie was snuffling again and actually sick with her hay fever, but still got off to school. I showered and dressed rather late and then settled down in my office for a morning sticking the last three week’s press cuttings into the Little Paxton scrap book. I also heard from Mr Butler again, the aircraft noise campaigner, who reported a call from the Alconbury Squadron Leader, who has denied that his aircraft were responsible for our noise problem a couple of weeks ago. After lunch, I started an afternoon writing and typing up a backlog of correspondence on a variety of matters and also wrote a letter to local editors as well. After tea, it was time to drive to Huntingdon to observe the latest Council Committee meeting – the Finance and General Purpose Committee. I sat there and watched proceedings complete themselves in an hour, with very little debate and discussion. Labour Cllr, Jim Lomax, tried a little, but did not have the skills to question the Tory steamroller.