Monday 2nd April 1990

We feel an Earthquake in Shropshire this afternoon measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale after we took the Rolls Royce in the pouring rain to P & A Wood in Essex fore service and repair. I had a planning meeting with an important item for Little Paxton on the agenda; and I made a logical and eloquent speech but the committee chose to ignore me and the vote was lost.

The Poll Tax information arrived in Government white, orange and green leaflets all with great complexity and the switchboard at Huntingdonshire District Council have been jammed with enquiries. Elsewhere, the prisoners at riot-hit Strangeways Prison in Manchester are still in control and one of the injured sex offenders has since died in hospital of his injuries; meaning murder.

Awake early again, even though I was tired and have been missing quite a bit of sleep. I dressed in sports jacket and trousers before breakfast as we were due to take my Rolls Royce to a new service dealer today. We left after breakfast, once Della was at school and Debbie was at horse-riding. It was pouring of rain which was a pity to take the Rolls Royce out but it drove well and the weather cleared up from time to time later. I drove on ahead to P & A Wood in Essex and Di followed in the Range Rover to pick me up. I got a chance to see around the place and it was full of all types of Rolls Royces - old and new. They are restoring on behalf of the manufacturer the original Silver Cloud that completed the endurance run in 1907 and gave the Rolls Royce its reputation for reliability. Also an original prototype of a Bentley. They also had the latest version of a brand new Bentley Corniche Convertible, worth £140,000. They are going to do an "Inspection and Report" and then discuss with me on Wednesday which of the items that they find are to be done at this time.

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Sunday 1st April 1990

April Fools Day – A good joke played on Daniel and then some time cleaning algae from my pond until I had visits from Percy, Derek and Sally in turn with whom I edited and printed out their election Focus newsletters.

Debbie arrived back from her trip to Holland having really enjoyed it. The news continues about the Trafalgar Square Poll tax riot and another at the Strangeways Jail in Manchester with reports of up to 12 dead in the sexual offences wing

I was awake early today and started to get washed and dressed before Diana got up. I played a rotten joke on Daniel to make an April Fool of him whilst he was sitting in his dressing gown having breakfast. I told him that Debbie and Lisa (two old girl friends of his that are always pestering him) would be calling back in ten minutes to see him and he nearly had a fit! To my conservatory where I am pleased to see that my melon seeds have germinated but I found quite a lot of dead algae in the bottom of the pond and had to scoop some of it out later.

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March 1990

A mostly very mild month for the time of year heralding an early welcome for migrant birds from Africa during which the government was forced to make concessions on reducing chemical and sewage pollution of the North Sea.

I was recovering from my serious foot injury, spending almost equal periods of time up in Norfolk at Heronshaw, making repairs and improvements and back home in Paxton coping with the administration, paperwork and political activity.

The Paxton Princess was being well equipped and prepared for a good cruising season ahead, and Di had her first trip. Daniel’s old boat is with a broker for sales and the land, garage, shed and utility room at Heronshaw was cleared and restored for early use as a temporary accommodation by my sister and her family.

Steve Bloom had been a companion and local Jack Edwards also a help. I had my meeting with RYA instructor Tom Phillips about a trip for my RYA Day Skipper Certificate.

My own family had a chequered month: Della and Debbie were doing very well at school and at their riding lessons, though Daniel needed to work much harder at his revision. Earlier in the month, after passing his test, he had a depressing incident where he severely damaged his car and Diana had become very upset and depressed at all this before I intervened.

Fiona , after behaving in an accommodating manner, leading Della on foot for her first hack and planning transport and arrangements for Debbie to go to events on Sundance this Spring, she had fallen out with Debbie at the riding school later when she had let Debbie down once too often. Until Freda could get down to help with my Mum, I took every chance to drop into to see her in Stanton.

Apart from my political work, I was keeping up with my journal, looking after my conservatory fish and plants and preparing for the boating season. My political work was already showed good signs of me getting several more colleagues on the Huntingdonshire District Council soon, with comprehensive leafleting, press stories and interviews and, now, we had started canvassing. I was an active participant in Council meetings and I was also helping the Parish Council and Local History Society.

Nationally, there was a stunning defeat of the Tories in a by-election. Thatcher was in serious political difficulty as new opinion polls over the Poll Tax and the figures on inflation show the government in disarray; the Pound Sterling shares and Gilts fell sharply and there was a full-blown Poll Tax riot in Trafalgar Square as a well-attended peaceful demonstration then deteriorated into a violent protest. Thatcher now faces a rebellion in Parliament. The case of the "Birmingham Six" is to be re-opened with a new police investigation following more publicity proving their innocence.

The Chinese will not recognise the latest British plan to give up to 50,000 Hong Kong families British Passports when they take over the colony in 1997. Nelson Mandela has been elected deputy president of the ANC but political progress there is blighted as South African police open fire on several thousand black anti-apartheid demonstrators with 8 being killed and many more injured.

Despite the Baltic Republics pledge of solidarity to Lithuania in their fight for unconditional independence and the US threatening the Soviet Union over intervention, Soviet troops forcefully occupied party and government buildings. An aid convoy of 11 lorries carrying 120 tonnes of food has at last got through the civil war battle zone to feed starving Ethiopians.

Prolonged turmoil in the Japanese financial markets drove some investors to panic. A New York nightclub fire has killed 87 people and arson is expected.

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Saturday 31st March 1990

I tended the conservatory plants and fish on another splendidly sunny and warm day before being collected by Pat and Percy Meyer to go canvassing in Offord and then Great Paxton. Back for tea in the lounge as we watched a pretty scary film with Della this evening before several phone calls with party colleagues organising the local elections.

News of a full-blown Poll Tax riot in Trafalgar Square as a well-attended peaceful demonstration then deteriorated into a violent protest with buildings and cars burnt, shops looted, and hundreds injured in a running battle between police and protesters. Thatcher is still protesting very loudly that there are no vacancies for the Tory leadership at the moment and is very much under pressure from all sides.       

Diana had a long lay in this morning and I got up on my own and boiled the kettle. It was another splendidly sunny and warm day and I had arranged to help Percy with canvassing the High Street areas of Offord Cluny and Great Paxton; but first I could spend a little time at home. I tended the conservatory, feeding the fish and watering the plants etc. The seedlings have germinated quite well, and we are rapidly catching up for the lateness of our sewing them. The greenflies still prevail, and I am still experimenting by introducing ladybirds to see if they will contain the infestation as I do not want to use chemicals with the fish there.

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