Sunday 31st August 1986

A still day of warm sun and cool air makes for perfect conditions to sit out and watch the doves with Debbie kept happy in the absence of Daniel before taking her to church after which more time painting my gates before settling down to watch Steve Cram beat Sebastian Coe for 1500m gold in the European Athletics but spoiled by news of a private plane crashing into an airliner at Orange County Airport, 100 Belfast prisoners starting a hunger strike but the baby swap case is resolved by genetic tests.

Another good night and awoke with Diana again and we lay together a while before getting up. Daniel still away, Debbie rather missed him this morning and played with Della rather better than usual. Down to breakfast of fried egg, bacon, mushroom & tomato and only after found the organisation to wash and dress. Out to the doves on a beautiful morning – the nicest for some time. No wind, a warm sun against the cold air, made it utopian to sit out by the dovecot, watching the fantails feed. Then to the back garden and applied a coat of matt black Berlin paint to the undersides of all three gates, before turning them over. Time only for a cup of coffee as I worked, because soon I had to take Debbie by car to St Neots Evangelical Church in Cambridge Street.

Saturday 30th August 1986

A day of arguments with Diana as she wanted to go shopping and then eat out for lunch and I wanted to stay in and get some more work done and so we went our separate ways. I could then carry on painting my gates, spreading weed killer and washing The Lady’s fenders until I had to stop working outside when it started to rain. Then to forgo my office work and join Diana in the lounge to watch a bizarre video film about a pig. Britain is still third in the European Games medal table after poorer results today but General Walters, the US Envoy touring Europe to drum up support for US action against Libya will not be seeing Thatcher but just Geoffrey Howe. The Irish ‘baby swap’ saga continues


A good night and awoke before Di again and then our pre-breakfast routine. Opted for the last of my natural honeycomb on toast this morning, which I enjoyed, but then got into a dispute with Diana, which I did not want. She wanted to go to St Ives this morning, but, with no general auction, Daniel away, and more European Athletics on the TV, I did not. In the end, I gave her a fiver to go with and settled down to a morning alone. I phoned the Fitzpatrick Riding School, apologised for yesterday’s error and booked Debbie into next Monday and then Fridays thereafter.

Friday 29th August 1986

A better day with Diana, taking her and the family in the Jaguar to Bedford after some fun in bed and before shopping for rose bushes, fishing tackle and taking in Daniel’s BBC micro for repair until another argument ensued about carpets for the playroom; when we had just fitted vinyl! More work in the garden on a chilly but dry day once back, unfortunately forgetting to take Debbie for her riding lesson and then watching more British success in the European Games and hearing of news that South Africa’s Helen Suzman wants an inquiry into atrocities as two families escape from East to West Germany, two twin ladies celebrate their 100th birthday together and Norfolk’s Lotus car manufacturer threaten to move to Holland due to better grants for manufacturing

A good night’s sleep and pleasant awakening as I caught Di in bed before she got up to make the drinks. Showered and shaved before breakfast of wheat flakes and then a quick foray to feed the ducks and doves, before loading the family into the Jaguar for a trip to Bedford. Stopped at Willington on the way for some more Murphy’s Mole Smokes, Pathclear weed killer and was also tempted into buying three miniature standard roses, which will look fine in our back garden beds. On towards Bedford and then stopped at Marshalls garage in the Goldington Road to look at a new Range Rover, which we have considered buying lately. A large vehicle, which is perhaps too big for us, particularly as Di will be using it mostly. On into town and Di dropped me and Daniel off to take his Beeb back to the computer shop for repair, whilst she parked the car. We met up in the café for our morning coffee break and then we all went our separate ways until lunch.

Thursday 28th August 1986

Working outside in The Hayling View gardens with first Della and then Daniel doing shores on a cooler day and then watching Britain’s success in the European Athletics Championship whilst it rained later after which Daniel had Steve over to swim, Diana took Debbie to the Care Bear movie and I was collecting earthworms from the lawn for bait after dark! Thatcher and Tebbit returned to Brighton for the re-opening of The Grand Hotel, as the Irish nationalists bombed two police stations and threatened to bomb others


Awoke twice in the night, feeling stuffy with the window closed and then noticed the light of the dawn. Showered and shaved for breakfast of boiled egg, which was rather hard for the children. Out with Della to feed the doves, as she took a swing and liked to be pushed really high. Then got a reluctant Daniel to help me clean out the pool and chop up some logs for our stock. His friend Steve arrived and saved him from some of the latter. Then I tackled a range of outside jobs on a clear, but damp and cool morning. I marked out and arranged the riverside paving stones in a line to indicate the edge of the games lawn that I am planning.