June 1986

A month starting frosty and ending up hot which was ideal for planting our gardens to look a treat and for our first use of the new swimming pool, and renovating our boat, ‘The Lady’. During the poor weather, success with my paperwork, indoor DIY and deals as I successfully sold £1/4m-worth of Kode shares and completed the purchase of my fine Harraden paintings and my extensive 600-odd-acre Scottish Highland Estate. The family overcoming problems and continuing well with the children progressing well at school but the month dominated by one atrocity after another against the black people of South Africa with Reagan and Thatcher standing by and resisting measures against this and for East/West nuclear disarmament. This despite the true outcome of Chernobyl becoming apparent with other radioactivity and chemical leaks here. The Irish pact is forced through and Stormont evacuated by riot police, in just the same way as the Hippies and other dissenters are dealt with in the South. Ex-Nazi Kurt Waldheim is elected Austrian President, and the tragic carnage of The Battle of The Somme is commemorated 70 years on as a sober reminder of extreme right-wing politics which should be learnt!

So June had started with cold easterly winds and frosts well into the month and ended in a heat wave as ‘flaming June’. I must say the weather is becoming a bit of a trial to work in. I had told myself to work outside on the boat when it was dry and inside on the paperwork when wet, but this was too one-sided now. Ideal weather later for us to appreciate our pool and we swim daily, sometimes with our neighbours, to be friendly. The winter cover was delivered and the rear gates are installed, though the wrong size and fixings. The garden is a picture, with shrubs, roses and bedding plants in flower and hanging baskets a riot of colour with doves hatching chicks and the doves laying. Quite a task to keep the plants fresh in all this heat and so the sprinklers are in regular use. The Lady is coming on, but, as ever, is a huge job to get right and at least my aching back improved so that I can also spend a lot of time on carpentry, adjusting and fitting doors etc. I have fished for the first time in many years and am also busy with my antiques, investment/ tax arrangements and other activities so as to divest myself of £1/4m-worth of Kode shares. For a break, we had a Fountain Forestry lunch and presentation on investment and then tea at The Hyde Park Serpentine Café in London.