Monday 30th June 1986

Another sweltering day working on The Lady and my riverside garden access between rests in the shade playing with my daughters and trying to fish before the whole family in the swimming pool later. Escalation of the South African troubles as the country’s most senior labour leader is also detained and John Stalker is suspended whilst pursuing his inquiry into Ulster policing but two tragedies feature. A grave train crash at Darlington and a coaster crashes into Southend Pier, dividing it into two!

Awake to a welcome early morning tea and washed and dressed before breakfast. A cooler morning, with the mist holding back the sunshine for a while and so I went out to clean and sweep the pool and surrounding area. The chlorine level was almost zero after the last two days hectic use of the pool and I had to move to quickly charge the skimmer basked with boost pills. The doves are now joined fully by the two chicks, which come to the table and behave as the others. I then had my morning coffee and biscuits by the pool, before going down to the river and arranging a way through our new plot. I took down the wire fence with tin-snips and then got the upper landing stage from The Lady’s mooring, to put across the slipway, as a bridge.

Sunday 29th June 1986

A warm and sunny Sunday during which Daniel and his friends Paul and Gary took a river cruise and I worked on The Lady and watching the World Cup football before the swimming pool was a magnet again with our girls joined by neighbour Clare and her friend which pleased the boys when they came back to join in. Local cats were harassing the local ducks, Sir Geoffrey Howe is expecting hostility for his forthcoming South African visit and Richard Branson gets his Atlantic crossing record at last


A long lay in and turned 8.30am before I sat down to a full fried breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and tomato. Debbie enjoyed some bacon as well, but it was rather fat and she wouldn’t eat any of ‘the white bits’. Us all in our pyjamas as the temperature was warm and rising again. By 8.45am, Daniel’s friends had started arriving. They had been given instructions yesterday to bring a packed lunch and they took both Daniel’s and Paul’s boats for a day trip up river. After they had gone, and we were dressed, I went down to The Lady to undercoat the forw’d cabin rail supports. By the time I had finished, it had risen to 80degF and I sat in the shade of the back garden to read the Sunday paper, with my cup of coffee and biscuits.

Saturday 28th June 1986

Trip to St Ives to earmark more Harraden prints for purchase on the hottest day yet and home to the sanctuary of the pool where Garry was waiting for Daniel with the Law family joining us in the pool later after a neighbour had written off two cars outside by bizarrely hitting the wrong pedal on an automatic! Rallie, Marches and Rock concerts support the cause against South African apartheid as a black journalist is detained and nine more die but concern at home when a huge cloud of sulphuric acid mist engulfs St Helens in Merseyside


Woken very early as we had another false fire alarm. With my ears blocked by wet wax from my swimming lately, I did not hear it, but Di switched it off and woke me up after. Washed, shaved and down to a cereal breakfast, after dressing in sports jacket and trousers for our trip to St Ives. The day started and continued hot, perhaps the hottest so far this summer. I fed the doves, but forgot the ducks until we returned after lunch. Early to St Ives and we parked too early to have coffee at the normal café.

Friday 27th June 1986

The day in Bedford researching the history of the castle before a salad lunch and more work on The Lady as Di hosts more friends and their children in the pool after which I allow Daniel periods of Chemistry revision and swimming in equal measure. A poor British-led fudge ends EEC talks on South Africa, Ireland vote against divorce, The Hague finds against the US-supported Contra’s intervention in Nicaragua and the tragic carnage of The Battle of The Somme is commemorated 70 years on


A very warm and humid night and we had the windows and curtains wide open, so that Di felt a bit chilly this morning (though the temperature had not fallen below 68degF). Then I showered, shaved and shampooed my hair, before a breakfast of Jordan’s wheat flakes. Then to chase up Daniel on his preparations for today’s exams, before I dressed in light sports clothes for the trip to Bedford with Di. We had coffee together and then I went to Peacocks auction viewing in the rising temperature. A short look round and little of interest there, but I left the auction hall after an hour and walked to Bedford Castle Mound as the temperatures were in the 80sF. A magnificent site, but the slopes are too overgrown by trees, so that its lines are lost.