Wednesday 31st January 1990

With Diana not happy over things, we were still experiencing gales and even worse warnings of such and poor Amy is still ill and staying with us during the day. Better news as my new bottle bank has arrived at The Anchor but the District Council are still remiss over heating improvements for our Southoe Tenants and I was also sad over Dad’s grave being spoilt by the wind as I settled his estate. The County Tories are subsidising the Poll Tax even more to save their skin, District officers and working party have put both the "Friendly" and "Domesday" options for Little Paxton for Monday's special Planning Meeting. A 1970’s disinformation campaign to discredit not only the IRA but also ex-Prime Ministers Wilson, Callaghan and Heath is revealed.

I had a bit of an argument with Di last night and again this morning and she had gone o to discredit ff to sleep elsewhere in the house for the night. The trouble is that when she watches these anti-male romantic women’s' films, she becomes anti-male herself. We slept to more gales and there are even more severe gale warnings broadcast today for later in the week. Diana went out shopping and I got her to do some delivery chores for me; posting letters etc. I had cleared quite a few things up and was doing what I hoped was the last few items on my late Dad's estate, when Hilary Knightley arrived to announce that the bottle bank had arrived in the Anchor Car Park.

I therefore helped her with a draft press release publicising the achievement and the help given by the new Anchor publican, Mr Piana, and then I laid out some artwork for posters for her to put up in the local shops etc. This took much of the morning, but I didn't mind. The rest of the morning I spent on my Dad's estate and I thought that I had completed everything by lunchtime. After lunch, I went to Southoe to see Mr and Mrs Oliver and Flo Clyde about their problems with the District Council over heating improvements; and then also dropped in on Shirley White opposite to put her in the picture. The Council are being dismissive of the complaints, but we do not want to get Olly worked up any more in view of his health.

Then on to Little Paxton Cemetery to see what damage the gales had wrought on Dad's grave. I had become quite sad and philosophical after spending much of the morning on his affairs. In fact, the laurel leaves Debbie and I had put on it had stood up quite well even though all of the flowers had rotted or been blown away. It will do for a day or two. They are still harvesting Brussel Sprouts in the adjoining fields. Home via The Anchor to see the bottle bank which looks fine there, and I think it will be a great success.

A few calls once home to and from the Citizen and Michael Pope. It seems that the County Tories have been really scraping the barrel and depleting just about all of their reserves over two years to try to hide the effects of the new Poll Tax to save their political skin. Tea and then, this evening, I caught up on these last two weeks' press cuttings whilst watching the Commonwealth Games but still have the task of sticking a very large backlog of cuttings into the Little Paxton Album. the news is of the deepening Games scandal as another Welshman has been found out for taking drugs and has been disqualified from the Games and his medals forfeit. All British weightlifters now face a year's ban from international competition. Even bigger news is of an ex-government employee's claim that he was involved in a disinformation campaign in the 1970's not only to defame the IRA but also ex-Prime Ministers Wilson, Callaghan and Heath and that certain of this is now admitted by the government despite a previous House of Commons denial by Mrs Thatcher. An enquiry is being pressed for and another minister is to make a Commons statement tomorrow.

More gales are forecast for tomorrow and I am worried because I heard from Barnes Brinkcraft today that my boat is ready, and I may go over on Friday/Saturday to collect it. I had a huge wad of planning documents thud onto my doormat tonight in advance of Monday's special Planning Meeting. The officers and working party have put both the "Friendly" and "Domesday" options for Little Paxton in the alternative and it is for the Planning Committee to decide which is an improvement on before. We had little Amy Law with us all day today which is sad to see her left here unwell as her parents go to work which I think is not right and have told Diana so.

Tuesday 30th January 1990

Still nursing my injured thumb which had been bleeding overnight, I returned calls to the local papers over our LibDem stance on the Tories using council tax reserves to soften the unpopular Poll Tax as Percy joined me to plan our forthcoming election campaign. Poor Amy stayed with us ill today as her parents had to work and Della brought two friends home prior to ballet to add to the mayhem.

This evening writing and filing press cuttings as a Welsh weightlifter is found guilty of taking drugs at the Commonwealth Games, an airliner Avianca Flight 52 that crashed recently was left circling until it ran out of fuel and the CBI are now predicting that manufacturing investment is at a long-term low and that we are on the brink of a recession

Back to my own bed but a slightly disturbed night as I had trouble getting comfortable and then Della came into the room and tried to get in our bed after having a bad dream. I showered and washed my hair this morning, favouring my left hand to try to allow my thumb to heal. When I had left the boat, my sleeping bags were covered in bloodstains! I read this morning's mail and then had the job of trying to go through all the last few days' messages and action items and to try and deal with them. Quite a problem to keep my desk in order. I returned phone calls to the Hunts Post and Express and received another from the St Neots Weekly news all about our local Liberal Democrat position on the unpopular Poll Tax. My press release of last week was well-received and has already been covered by Chiltern Radio and the Cambridge Evening News.

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Monday 29th January 1990

Up early on what was to become a very windy day, receiving the two contractors  to repair my boat fridge and install a replacement Redi-line rotary inverter which then worked fine. The tricky journey in the wind to Barnes Brinkcraft where I left the boat for repairs to the pump-out tank and got a lift back to Horning so that I could drive home. The new transportable cell-net phone was useful to warn my Mum of my arrival and to book sandwiches from the state shop and she seemed better though taking even more anti-coagulants to keep her old replacement heart valve working. Home to find Diana unwell and suffering from an injured leg and pleased that my own injured hands were getting a break from the work.

The publication today of the Lord Taylor report into Hillsborough football tragedy with ID cards now ruled out and all-seater stadiums considered to be the safer solution but at some cost to the clubs. Trouble continues in Bucharest where thousands of pro-government factory workers attacked the offices of the opposition leaders. The lessons of democracy are hard to learn. At least the warring nationalist groups in Armenia and Azarbajan are meeting for peace talks. The Church of England is outspoken in attacks on government taxation and social security policy.

I was even more pleased to have the boat heating controls on this morning. I set the heating and alarm to come on even earlier to be ready for the arrival of two specialists to cure problems on the boat. I was eventually ready by 8.30am after going through my routine and had the boat well cleared and the washing up done. Both people were later than promised but at least they came and did their stuff. First to arrive was the General Refrigeration engineer at 9.00am. It took him two and a half hours in total to fix the fridge. First, he re-charged with refrigerant from a gas cylinder but then found that the system was still leaking. Eventually the problem was diagnosed to a cracked joint and the system had to be de-pressurised and the joint removed and the pipe welded together to prevent repetition of the problem. He re-charged it again and adjusted the pressure so that the fridge was frosting where the coils went into the cool box rather than the cupboard beneath. He left at 11.30am and I was trying to sort out lots of the excess stuff in the boat and move it to the garage when the electrician arrived with the replacement Redi-line rotary inverter. This he installed and I chatted with him for some time over boat electrics (as he is an expert) until we tried the unit out with loads of up to 2 Kilowatt which it handled safely. The unit's load on the 12 volt batteries is an incredible 166 amps at this level which is quite amazing.

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Sunday 28th January 1990

On my second day aboard The Rolyat Princess, I enjoyed the convenience of the new Webasto heating controls     which warmed the boat for me in the morning and helped counter the very icy weather later. A day working aboard on the wiring and surveying the electrical equipment for safety and security of performance, stopping to enjoy a fine roast lunch in Wroxham and watching Norwich draw an exciting televised football match with Liverpool. Quite late to bed again on a very cold night during which I had to get up to get a hot-water bottle to keep warm.

U.S. President Bush announces budget plans intended to halve the deficit and arguments through Congress will centre on whether defence or welfare will be the main casualty and at least three American bases in the UK will close. More gales are forecast, and the blame is falling on the global warming effect.

I was pleased to have the new Webasto boat heating controls as I set the heating to come on at 8.00am and for the alarm to sound half an hour later. Had a breakfast of cereal with a cup of tea and then took some time to wash, dress, do the washing up and generally prepare for work. I inspected all the wiring that was directly connected to the ship's batteries, rather than being switched via the isolation switches. Having run out of tea bags as well, I changed and broke off for lunch, drove to Wroxham, bought my teabags and a Sunday Independent newspaper and then had a nice lunch at the Bridge Restaurant. I had Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding and a wide range of fresh vegetables which were each beautifully cooked to perfection. Home-made apple pie and whipped cream followed to complete a fine Sunday lunch.

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