Monday 27th October 1986

Making concessions to the wet, wild and windy weather today by first working in Bills’ shed on my antique folding chairs, reviewing gardener Pete’s role for me this winter an d then going inside for paperwork and to start researching family and local history. Met up with Nigel, who is still considering selling up Tensor to some Canadians, and spoke to the Local History Society secretary who works for him, and discussed manorial history of Little Paxton. EEC ministers are deadlocked on Britain’s call for united action on Syria as French are on verge of big arms deal and the impact of the City’s Big Bang change to eligibility rules was dampened by computer systems overload.


A long night, still getting used to the end of British Summer Time, and rather groggily awake to my morning tea. Of course my programmes on the World Service have changed! They always adhere to GMT and I turned on the radio to find an English language programme for foreigners! Washed, shaved and showered as usual and first to breakfast for wheat flakes and fruit juice at 7.30am. Out at 8.00am on a wild, windy and wet morning and worked in Bill’s shed, clearing up my tools and then putting more woodworm killer on some old folding chairs. Pete arrived at 9.00am and I spoke to him for some time about his projects and chores for the winter. Then the same with Joan, before she brought me my morning coffee in the office. Time to do some paperwork and type a few letters. I have resumed my winter work on family and local history and so am pursuing the Brewers to find details of John Broad at the Red Lion in Watford (1820-28) and also trying to find the fate of the Little Paxton Manorial rights, via the Manorial Society.

Sunday 26th October 1986

Good day of family visits to both my parents and Diana’s as our children get to see all of their grandparents today as well as Charlie and his family for tea. The news is of the disgrace of Tory Chairman Jeffrey Archer after a sex scandal

Slept well after our late night and, as I sat in bed reading yesterday’s paper and listening to the radio, the news came in that British driver, Nigel Mansell, had just missed winning the World Drivers’ Championship, when his rear tyre deflated on the straight. Frenchman, Alain Prost, wins the race and, with it, the title for the second year running. Dramatic news also as Thatcher’s blue-eyed boy and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, Geoffrey Archer, resigns after being implicated with a prostitute, who he tried to pay to leave the country.

Saturday 25th October 1986

Family colds prevailing on a cold and windy day whilst I tamped down our asphalt drive and Diana did some shopping and got flowers for my Mum in Bury hospital and then lunch with the family and, later, a cinema trip with Diana to see ‘Mona Lisa’ in Bedford. The Syrian row continues but sad news as British TV producer Alan Stewart is killed by a land mine after interviewing rebel leader, John Garang and the International  Red Cross give up on South Africa where they cannot work any more.


A settled night, after investigating a few noises due to the wind, and then awoke to my morning tea. Down to breakfast of toast and the remainder of my fresh honeycomb and then, in my old clothes, out to do some chores. Another windy and wild day, but the rain held off until later. I managed to go around the entire asphalted area, tamping down asphalt dust into the blemishes and filling the area around the bricks and gravel drain to improve the finish. This took until coffee break, which Di got for me, as she did not go out shopping until later. The girls are nursing the after effects of colds at the moment and are slow to get going in the morning.

Friday 24th October 1986

Progress on my slipway on a cold and increasingly windy day but poorer family news as Debbie, tired after last night’s disco,  fluffs  her horse riding and then cries when there is no time for a bedtime story, Daniel causes mayhem at dinner and I hear from Dad that Mum has had another all and broken her wrist. Jordanian Nezar Hindawi is convicted of the El Al airliner bombing and his links with the Syrian Embassy have led to mutual cessation of diplomatic relations with Syria and another shooting takes place in Ulster as a man is shot dead by a gunman on a motorcycle

A chilly night, but we were warm in our cosy bed and slept well. Sound asleep still when woken to my morning tea and was soon washing to the sound of the World Service. Breakfast of wheat flakes and then out at 8.00am again to the slipway. I had decided to repair the side section today and this involved chipping away at the mass of collapsed earth behind the paving stones and removing them carefully one by one. Also took out the old rotten timbers that were supposed to hold the paving slaps in place, and shaped the new angle to give the repairs a fighting chance. It was lunchtime by the time I had taken it apart and, as I had let Diana go with Della this morning and do the Christmas shopping,