October 1983

The season changes as I find time for family life as the kids grow up and Daniel starts Kimbolton School but I achieve major reforms of the Comart Group; take part in very many microcomputer industry roles and gain potential recognition as a consequence. The Tory government struggles with the economy and industrial unrest and the US invades Grenada

This month, the weather started warm with plenty of sun with and then it turned wetter and stickier before being  it got very cold later in the month. The Lady was taken for short runs earlier on and then laid up for the winte. Debbie started the month with a coughing fit which may have been linked to her allergies and my duck house clearances.  I completed much family history research and  Daniel settled in to Kimbolton School but we miss him on Saturday mornings. He has become a computer buff and a good programmer as well. We had a great family weekend in London and I enjoy Diana who dresses for my private pleasure on more than one occasion.

In the business, I complete considerable work on trademarks and trading styles as I re-organise things and incorporate Comart Computers as part of the enlarged Comart Group. I get Peter King to move down to manage the Byte Shop group and reform Xitan administration. I also completed significant work managerially inside the Comart company with Quality and asset management a priority. We make use of our new Portacabins and reorganise our space as we expand. I am personally becoming quite the industry figure, being invited to  DTI, NEDC, NCC, IBA and PITCOM meetings as I also get the BMMG involved with the Alvey initiative.  This results with recognition approved, in principal, for my new personal Achievement of Arms as a gentleman with the distinction of a Heraldic Badge and Standard, awarded only to grantees ‘with a large following.’

The key government industry ministers of interest to us rotate due to certain indiscretions and we become stuck with hardliner, Norman Tebbitt, at the DTI as I make public comments for the consumption of the press accordingly as part of my regular authorship of articles and opinions. At the Party Conferences, Labour degrading the ‘Militant Tendency’ and electing Kinnock and Hattersley as  the ‘dream ticket’ and, in  the first day of the Tory Party Conference, the customary law and order debate and ritual has delegates baying for the blood of serious offenders which Leon Brittan satisfied them with promises of longer sentences. Economically,  spending control is presented by the hard line in the person of Nigel Lawson, the Chancellor  all as Sterling falls and bank interest rates reduce to 9%.

There are Ulster Prison Officer strikes, British Shipbuilders are planning more job cuts and contraction as British Telecom management was thwarted by alternative engineers refusing to cross the picket lines set out against privatisation but Jim Prior bravely speaks out against public service cuts. The row over cruise missile deployment in Europe has moved to Germany with public protests by the Green Peace movement. There is now less than 10 weeks to go before deployment and Thatcher has agreed with Mitterrand (President of France) today that if the general talks on disarmament fail that Europe should deploy. The US invade Grenada for good measure after their PM and other ministers are killed as 640 Cubans were captured and above 100 more killed who took part. The US suffers huge casualties of over 220  in the Lebanon this month.  In fact, throughout this month, there are troubles in the Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan. And then earthquakes and volcanos in Japan, Southern Europe and floods in America and an Italian town has the ground rising 8ft in 30mm steps and also  a great earthquake in Turkey has  above 1000 dead and six villages flattened!

Back in England, the domestic problems are still mass unemployment and its side effects but everybody talks about Geoff Boycott at war with his beloved Yorkshire Cricket Club. Forever the English!


Monday 31st October 1983

To London and the Houses of Parliament for representative NCC and PITCOM meetings as the place is picketed by anti-nuclear demonstrators and first to hear Michael Foot speak on Cruise Missiles but still time to press for the involvement of users and medium sized computer company involvement with Alvey in front of the Minister. All this whilst researching family history and keeping in touch with the office!

Early to rise and (after breakfast, a hair wash and shower) to Stevenage Station by car and on to London by train. By tube to New Fetter Lane for a meeting of the Microcomputer Advisory Committee of  the National Computing Centre. There to discuss the Alvey initiative and Export Systems with the conclusion reached that more input should be had from users and the smaller computer manufacturers. In this way to try for successful demonstration or awareness projects. We shall see if the approach will be supported or not. Afterwards a splendid lunch of melon and cold meat buffet provided by the NCC and conversation on the twin but unconnected subjects of computer awareness of youth and health by way of mind over body. A short call to the office and then on to Companies House by tube and taxi to its location in the City Road.

A short search revealed no aggressive activity towards our names and I also managed to obtain supplies of company forms much needed for further returns. On by bus to The Houses of Parliament and Committee Room 10 and PITCOM to join the interior queue in warmth at least. So for today also to compile an action list of outstanding company admin. items which have to be completed in correct order. The House has demonstrators without with white Halloween face masks and protesting about cruise missiles and whining a sound of ghosts to appear ghoulish. Eventually and at 7.15pm after an hour-and-a-half wait, I am admitted to the strangers gallery in time to see a very eloquent speech from Mr Michael Foot now on the back benches. His speech is against the motion on cruise missiles.

I have to leave the debate at 8.00pm for the PITCOM meeting. I recognise all three speakers on the Alvey Report and catch the eye of the Chairman for the opportunity to press for user and medium-size company involvement in front of the junior minister, John Butcher. This evening, the peace movement ladies are out with candles and chants blocking the vicinity of the Houses of Parliament so that I have to take the tube to Kings Cross station and the train home to my car at Stevenage. Television news tonight features the continual procession of events in Grenada. The US Government today admit that the invasion forces bombed a mental hospital due to lack of good maps and intelligence. Though the situation is now quiet over 100 Americans have been killed or wounded.


Sunday 30th October 1983

Day seeing the sights of London with the family; Petticoat lane; Trafalgar square and the Natural History and Science Museums before home to work for the evening. 100 dead in Turkish earthquake as Grenadian rumblings continue with 740 Cuban agitators accounted for

We lay in reading The Sunday Times before packing and making our way down for breakfast. Daniel and Debbie are quite well mannered over the meal and we leave the room and I pay the bill. It cost above £250 but was considered a good comfort. Off by taxi to Petticoat Lane and we enjoy the fast ride on another cold but fine morning. I leave the others for an hour and walk in a happy but overbearing throng of people which is almost too dense to allow the street marketeers to trade. I try jellied eel for the first time from a stallholder whose family have been in the business for over 100 years but am not too keen, wishing I had chosen cockles and prawns.

Then a bus ride to Trafalgar Square, lunch of hamburgers at McDonalds and a merry time feeding the thousands of pigeons that tamely throng the square. Off by No9 Bus again to Kensington and onward by foot to the Natural History and Science Museums. In the first a good study of dinosaur skeletons and in the second to see historic cars and machines to please Daniel. Back to Oxford Street by bus and after some chocolate, home by car. Then by myself to the office to order my papers for tomorrow when I am due in London again on business.

News today of a great earthquake in Turkey with above 1000 dead and six villages flattened. In Grenada, all Cubans are now accounted for and criticism that the US had exaggerated their number with the remaining resistance coming from Grenadian troops. 640 Cubans were captured and above 100 more killed or wounded. Mrs Thatcher said today that the release of countries from Communist governments did not alone justify US intervention. The Governor-General announced that he will be appointing an interim administration of highly regarded people as a preliminary to a return to the democratic process.


Saturday 29th October 1983

Start of a weekend break in London for Daniel’s half term and to the Tower of London, seeing Santa at Selfridges and buying toys at Hamley’s; all before much fun and pleasure with Diana in our private suite at The Churchill Hotel  

It is Daniel’s half term time and for once he is not at Kimbolton School on Saturday morning. I had decided to take the family to London for the weekend and so fairly early up and, after breakfast, we pack a few things and off to St Neots. There to get some money from the bank, retrieve dry cleaning from Sketchley’s cleaners and complete a little shopping. We journey by car to London and make our way via the City to Tower Bridge and park in the Tower Hotel car park. Debbie was not very good for the journey and ended up being smacked for misbehaviour as we were delayed in traffic. As there was not any spare hotel rooms at The Tower, we went to the cafeteria under the Tower Bridge and then, suitably refreshed, off to The Tower of London.

Although the day was very cold, we had a good tour with a beefeater as our guide hearing of the legends and history that go to make up the uniqueness of the place. Eventually back to the cafeteria for brief refreshment. The White Tower holds a splendid selection of armour – the best in England – but we had no time for the Museum of History and the Crown Jewels which I have to see another time. Back to the car and away to Oxford Street where we eventually find The Churchill Hotel to have room and leave the car while we go shopping.

Time to take Debbie to see Father Christmas and Paddington Bear at Selfridges and then Daniel to Hamley’s toy shop where he is again inseparable from the computers and video games. Back to The Churchill in luxury and splendour and two rooms interconnecting for convenience. Daniel watches Superman II as the TV film whilst I take a be-stockinged Diana downstairs to a sumptuous meal at their international restaurant – No 10. Afterwards great pleasure with Di in her suspender belt and stockings and to sleep contented at a full day.