December 1983

Busy month organising the Comart Group and the industry as IBM launches its microcomputers. Family illnesses but time to ourselves in London but national strikes and the Harrods car bomb set a grim note as the US loses planes over the Lebanon and the east-West arms limitation talks struggle and 3000 protest at Greenham Common

A very busy month of work organising Comart, The Byte Shops, Xitan and the Group, encountering problems and solving them and also laying plans for increased investment in future products all whilst completing Company Administration and Annual Reports. Trouble with executives and directors but then a fairly successful Xmas dinner/dance for 140 of my staff . All this, whilst also leading the British Microcomputer Industry in its fight for a level playing field in the face of a US and Japanese onslaught and their national policies to favour and protect their own industries.

Saturday 31st December 1983

New Year's Eve. Disappointed at the New Year’s Honours List and then shopping for shirts before back to Cambridge to collect the children, with Debbie having contracted Chicken Pox and then seeing the New Year in with Daniel

New Years Eve. We awake at 7.30 and I bring in the paper from the hall that I had ordered whilst Diana prepared tea in our room. I turn straight to the New Years Honours List and am immediately upset that Eddie Nixon, IBM’s Chairman and Chief Executive, is awarded a Knighthood with no executive of the UK computer industry recognised with any honour whatever. Kenneth Barker, however, is made a Privy Councillor. After my personal run-in with Margaret Thatcher, I was not expecting anything personally but how this government can believe, as it seems to do, that it is not important to encourage a UK manufacturing industry is beyond me.

Friday 30th December 1983

Time with Diana alone following the trail of Pepys from Cambridge to London after dropping off the children and then shopping in Oxford Street and a performance of ‘Abracadabra’ at The Lyric Theatre

Awake at 7.30 with tea and the morning paper and soon Diana prepared breakfast of juice and toast before she left to do some shopping. She returns within an hour upset that I have only just risen but within half an hour we are on our way to take the children over to Diana’s parents’ house in Bar Hill. We leave them there and set off for our night away without them (which only happens but once a year on our wedding anniversary.) I have been tracking the history of the trips Samuel Pepys made in the 17th century from London to Cambridge and I set off to London along the old highway.

Thursday 29th January 1983

Relaxing day of reading and family fun and we go to see the ‘Mother Goose’ pantomime in Cambridge as UK car production looks better for a change

We lay in for too late again and resolve to rise at 7.30am at the latest in future. First breakfast and to read the paper then with family to St Neots to visit the library and the bank. Now that I have banned the morning breakfast TV, Daniel is also stocking up on books and Debbie makes her selection from the library to include a tape of Sesame Street. For myself a range of local history books on Huntingdonshire, Hinchinbrook House and the years of Charles 1st reign. On by car to Cambridge stopping on the way at the Little Chef for lunch when I had to tell the children off for bad manners at the table.

Wednesday 28th December 1983

Mild day at home celebrating our 15th anniversary as I feel a bad cold coming on and I get calls and listen to tales of the harsh weather in the US and human toll following the Harrods car bombing

I do not sleep too well and wake early to take a drink of water and toilet before returning to bed. Then a lay in and us both woken by Debbie until Diana brought the drinks. Breakfast of toast and fruit juice and then to read the Times which is still short of substance and real news. We realise that today is our 15th wedding anniversary but do not celebrate the event in any particular way.