Thursday 25th January 1990

On a day that that 20 people had died as a direct result of severe gales with human tragedies involved as roofs were ripped off schools and factories and trees and debris crushed cars I was driving to Daventry and back via Northampton with my new inflatable RIB on my roof rack! I first had to pay in some high value cheques and transfer some cash and so I could not leave St Neots until 11am.

I rushed past overturned lorries to Daventry and then drove into the Zodiac warehouse to lash the inflatable onto my roof rack with the Range Rover swaying drunkenly in the open! With her horse-riding cancelled due to power lines down in Offord, I collected Debbie from the Prep as she was blown across the playground. My museum meeting was cancelled giving me time to catch up. My Mum’s doctor and hospital visits went well today

Both Di and I were a little slow to get to sleep, and Di left for the spare bedroom in the end. I then slept all right until woken by her radio/alarm that she had left set. Up in time for breakfast with the others and I officiated as the children went to school. Poor Daniel has a cold and, as the gale force winds rose and rain started, Diana gave in and took them to the bus stop. In view of my failure last night with Red Star, I decided to try to get to Daventry today so that they could upgrade my set whilst I waited. To make the trip worthwhile, I also pressed for my new Inflatable Tender to be ready at the Zodiac distribution depot in Northampton and they agreed and so the trip was on. But first, I had to deal with a mail full of high value cheques and had to arrange for cash to be transferred to the Norfolk company for the Webasto parts. In the end, I opted to pay the largest cheque into Norwich/Peterborough 85-day account which currently pays the highest interest of over 11% but this all took time. I also popped into the shops to get some good rope with which to tie this new inflatable to the roof rack as the severe gale warnings sounded ominous.

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Wednesday 24th January 1990

A recovery morning, taking a long shower and washing my hair in some pain due to my scraped and wounded hands from tackling the boat pipe work. A long session reviewing the mail and returning phone calls which led to me inviting Percy Meyer and Sally Guinee across to have an update on their campaigns and to get adverts to subsidise our Focus newsletters.

The afternoon on the telephone organising my boat parts and service with many items underway but one thwarted by Red Star (British Rail) failings. The Finance Meeting of the District Council this evening where the Tories try to reduce the political impact of the Poll tax by £5 by taking £1/2 million from reserves, against the emphatic advice of the Director of Finance. Thatcher has had to climb down at last on the matter of Football I.D. cards and severe gales are expected tomorrow.

I slept in a little and then had a good long shower and hair wash which had been difficult on the boat and I felt much cleaner and fresher as a result. The only thing was that my hands were covered in scrapes and wounds from trying to repair the boat pipe-work and this was quite a painful exercise as a result. Then to my pile of mail. I took it into the conservatory and went through it thoroughly and there was quite a lot of reading of Council papers as well to keep me occupied. I tended the fish and plants and, although Di had looked after them as best she could, they needed a bit of attention. I then started to tackle the task of returning about a dozen phone calls from the messages that had been received on my answering machine.

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Tuesday 23rd January 1990

The morning rain had cleared, and the high wind warnings were only apparent as a stiff breeze and so, after struggling to conduct the toilet repairs with a full holding tank, I cast off in search of a pump-out. After this, lunch at a Wroxham café and then to visit the boatbuilders Barnes Brinkcraft, who were very helpful. The slow process of packing up and securing Heronshaw and the boat before the journey home, dropping in at the McDonalds Drive Thru’ and Mum’s in Stanton to check she was all right with her back pains. Once home, I eventually cheered up a grumpy Diana, who I had left with the children,  after arrival and had a nice time with her in bed before sleeping.

Ferranti's Radar Division had been taken over by GEC to secure their supplying radar to the Euro Fighter, Ford Motor Company workers are settling for an inflationary 10.2% pay rise, the stock market has fallen sharply (from 2450 to 2291 on the FT100 index) with jitters about inflation,  huge demonstrations greet the rebel "Test Cricket Team" of Gatting in South Africa and the EEC is now considering a total 6-month ban for British cattle to Europe in view of infection by BSE, the "Mad Cow Disease".

I struggled on trying to repair the rear toilet but the level of effluent in the holding tank was high, making it difficult to work on the problem. Then, with the river level being very low, the front sea toilet started sucking up silt whilst being flushed and this made me decide to cruise off for a "pump-out". It had been raining this morning, and this had cleared up but there were warnings of high winds to come. At this time, I only a stiff breeze to contend with as I cast off on my own with some trepidation after deploying all of the fenders for safety. I cruised up and down the river for some time finding both the "Percival’s" and "Colin Tracey" yards closed and they had winterised and drained down their pumps at this time of year. Then I found another yard open and managed to edge past the moored houseboats and alongside to their pump-out station without incident. This achieved, I also filled up with water and then cruised back to the moorings.

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Monday 22nd January 1990

Tired after the last two days, I still awoke earlier at 8am and started working on the faulty bilge pump lights and then again struggled with the after toilet plumbing until lunch and a rest at the café in Wroxham reading the EDP. The evening making a list and transferring unwanted things from the boat to Heronshaw, starting to clean the saloon carpet there.

Slept even better after the efforts of the last couple of days but awoke slightly earlier on at 8.00am. This day I started working on the faulty bilge pump lights but could make little progress. Then I found that the aft toilet was filling with water and overflowing into the holding tank, so I tried to empty the tank through the macerator. No luck as the pipe leaked and soon the task became hopeless unless I could get some new hose. Also, I then suspected that the toilet had a faulty valve. At this point, I called a halt and drove into Wroxham, very tired.

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