Wednesday 31st October 1984

Eventful day as Indira Gandhi is murdered by her own Sikh body guards and the NCB is rife with divisions of view but I took Daniel to a boat show during the day and then, with his girlfriend Christine, to the Kimbolton Firework display in the evening


An earlier start to the day, breakfast as usual and then a mild panic to get ready so that Daniel and I could set off for our day out to the Boat Show. We are too late for the 8.02am train from St Neots, and also the 8.40am from Huntingdon, but hurry down to Stevenage for the 9.06am train which whisks us to Finsbury Park by 9.30am. By tube to Waterloo and we just catch a train to Esher, piling into a first class carriage by mistake. A courtesy coach from Esher Station drops us off at the Marina Equipment Trade Show, and I am struck by the poor attendance and lack of visitors, exhibitors and press on this day. We only spend the rest of the morning at this show centre at Epsom Racecourse, looking at boat heating systems, dinghies and fittings. There are no large boats to look at and we feel a bit out of place. Back by courtesy bus and train to Waterloo and a nice burger lunch which finds favour with Daniel. He is also intrigued by the large station concourse and interested in the new WH Smith computer store that had just opened there. Home by mid-afternoon and to relax before tea. This evening I took Daniel, Debbie and (by invitation) Daniel’s girlfriend, Christine, to Kimbolton school firework display. A good effort with plenty of bangs and lighted canopies featuring, at one point, two battleships firing at one another before culminating in a cascade of colour and noise. We find out that Christine is from San Bernadino, near San Diego, California and is the daughter of the fat lady that takes keep fit classes with Diana.

Tuesday 30th October 1984

Unusually sunny and warm day for our Cambridge visit to Belinda’s Coffee Shop as the TUC presses the NUM to settle and more aid is announced for Ethiopia as the Polish priest’s body is found in a reservoir


My normal morning routine for a non-working day and then out with Diana for a trip to Cambridge. A coffee at Belinda’s and then we split. I went to Heffers and eventually found books on keeping doves and pigeons and also a book on squirrels for the future and smallholdings to send to Freda. I meet Diana in the market square at 12.00am, purchase fruit and vegetables, and then we walk off together to Belinda’s for an excellent onion soup, roll and salad sandwich for lunch. We then meet Sue and take her home on our way back. News tonight of the TUC putting pressure on Arthur Scargill and the NUM to end the coal dispute. Tomorrow there are crucial talks between the NCB and NUM and there are differing views on the TUC Council as to whether the TUC should be further involved in the settlement of the dispute.

Monday 29th October 1984

Day dominated by the Miners’ Dispute as we visit Jordon’s Mill in Biggelswade for our duck and pigeon food


Another day of personal and school holiday and so a fair lay in, reading the FT and digesting the weekend’s news. The NUM have really suffered from adverse publicity over the contacts with Libya and, in the wake of the NACODS settlement, are now the ones under pressure. On the other hand the NCB Chairman, Ian McGregor, has stood down Michael Eaton, his new Publicity Spokesman, after pressure from his Vice Chairman and Personnel Director. In a bitter House of Commons row the Energy Spokesman, Peter Walker, exploited decisions in the oppositions ranks to escape unharmed from this latter news and the media continue to make hay whilst the sun shines at Scargill’s expense. After breakfast, and checking the business mail at 39 Gordon Road, we set off for Biggleswade leaving Deborah at school and Daniel to his own devices. At the millers we get three large bags of layers pellets for the ducks and one of mixed corn which we think will be suitable for our doves when they arrive.

Sunday 28th October 1984

Farewells to Brighton after nostalgic visits to the universities and home to find everything well if a bit chilly as the NUM seeks help from Libya and 40,000 attend church service in Warsaw for Polish Solidarity priest

An early awakening on the first morning of Greenwich Mean Time, British Summer Time having ended at midnight. A noisy night with a first class gale rattling the windows and the radiator valve working overtime. Then Debbie wandered in to go to the bathroom and I realised it was morning. All to get washed and dressed and then down together to a splendid breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Then upstairs to pack and make ready to leave. The weather today was foul on the sea front with gale force winds whirling down the streets, whipping up the sea into white plumes and filling the air with salt spray. We drove off to Black Rock Marina to photograph the waves hitting the sea wall and then drove off to Sussex University at Falmer to film Diana’s old offices in the Arts Department. Time to see Moulsecoomb and a much expanded Brighton Polytechnic to bring back my own memories before we set off for home. A good trip through a quiet city as we stopped at two places for coffee and lunch to finish off our weekend’s pleasure.