Wednesday 30th April 1986

After some time with Daniel and my ‘new’ old gramophone purchase and then to dismantle the rest of my workshop with gardener Pete’s help before buying the necessary roofing felt and clout nails to re-erect it in the new place. This as more news emerges of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Ukraine where Russian spokesmen insist that deaths and damage are limited but that does not stop calls for changes to our own nuclear policy nor hides a serious dispute with prison officers striking.


Awake early to help Daniel with his homework, which we did before it was time for breakfast. Some more of Holme Mills, Jordon, crunchy nut cereal, which has now become the family’s firm favourite. I then went to my office and played the old gramophone and listened to the 78rpm records. I particularly liked the 1812 Overture and the Blue Danube, which I must get on compact disc. After 8.30am out to the garden and, getting Pete’s help, I took down the remainder of the workshop and got up the base. Underneath was a rats nest and it just shows how careful I have to be with the ducks food. Very tired to a nice lunch of lemon sole and a fair rest afterwards. Later, I went into St Neots for some nails, roofing felt and other goods.

Tuesday 29th April 1986

Myself to the St Ives auction with Diana going to Cambridge before home to see the builders’ progress and get Daniel’s help to dismantle and start moving my workshop. This as the first news emerges of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power accident in the Ukraine and also of the burial of the Duchess of Windsor and nationwide campaign of disruption by prison officers


An uncomfortable night, as the temperature was around 70degF and too warm for me to sleep satisfactorily. I was forced to take off my pyjama jacket and then dozed off. Awake to my morning tea and then down to breakfast a little early for the others. Boiled duck egg for me and the children, which we all enjoyed. Dressed in my working clothes, so that I was able to do a few odd jobs. I put up the white curtains on wires in the rear hall and utility room, fixed the new handle to the stable door and then fed the ducks and doves. Di having gone to Cambridge, I made myself a coffee and biscuits and went up and sat out on the southern balcony to read my morning mail and paper in some comfort. Kode shares had risen 7p to 143p yesterday. The sun is warm, but the airstream still very cool. Changed in a hurry and off in my Jaguar to St Ives for the antique auction.

Monday 28th April 1986

A slow start liaising with Pete and Joan and then to St Ives for the auction viewing and then back to work outside re-organising my sheds with Daniel’s help before reading to Debbie and checking the news. Prison officers do not turn up at Worcester Crown Court in what Labour’s Gerald Kaufman called a tinderbox atmosphere, caused by Government intransigence and have two prisoners escaping from their custody at knifepoint elsewhere. Cornish tin mines are closing without Government support and the 130,000 pieces of Chinese porcelain,  recovered from an old shipwreck, are auctioned


A sound night’s sleep and then groggily to my morning tea. Late to breakfast because of the need to wash my hair and then out afterwards to feed the doves and see Pete. I instructed him on how to maintain the lawnmowers, which was hard going. More time than I had planned, but then in to get ready for our trip to St Ives. The tiler already here, grouting the results of his work, and two landscapers were laying crazy paving as our swimming pool approaches completion. We were delayed by Joan until 9.30am and the gas fitters were just arriving, as we left, to install the swimming pool boiler. To St Ives via the country route.

Sunday 27th April 1986

Using the last of the current better weather spell to move tools and materials from my older workshop to other sheds and the garage whilst Daniel enjoys it to take Aquabean to St Neots to collect Gary and bring him back to join Steve for an unplanned lunch. The Duchess of Windsor is returned with respect but little ceremony and Thatcher speaks out to try and defend her actions and support for US strikes in Libya, as widespread retaliation takes place against Britons in Jerusalem and Pakistan and an Ulster car bomb is defused and failed to prevent a Loyalist march

Awake somewhat late to my morning tea and then showered and dressed as usual, only to find Di behind and not ready for breakfast. To the sitting room, therefore, and read the rest of yesterday’s Financial Times, which was quite interesting. Breakfast at last of fried eggs, bacon, mushrooms, bread and tomato and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Then back to my papers, this time the Observer, which I read cover to cover for a change. Full of Libya and other depressing stories, as Britons do not feel safe abroad any more. By mid-morning, out to feed the ducks and doves – 8 eggs and still three pairs of doves incubating.