Saturday 31st May 1986

Taking advantage of the warm swimming pool on a misty and damp day and successfully bidding for items at Peacocks Auction in Bedford later before an evening watching the opening football match of the World Cup football in Mexico where the President words were drowned out by booing


I had stayed up late last night and it showed this morning. With this (and the higher house temperatures, now that Di has put on the heating) I had a fraction of my normal sleep. Down to breakfast in my pyjamas and then after, I shaved and took a swim in the pool. Air temp 55degF and the water 81degF! It certainly freshened me up, but I still have a sore back that I picked up moving some salt sacks yesterday. Then a warm shower, dressed and out to the doves. A dull, misty and damp morning and the rain increased during the day to a drizzle and then a downpour by dusk.

Friday 30th May 1986

Congested trip to Bedford after tending my ducks and dove chicks and then back via Elm Leisure for pool chemicals for the family, and their neighbourhood guests, to enjoy the warm pool for the rest of the day as I wired up lights in Bill’s Shed and caught up on the news. UK riot police stop the Hippy colony near Dorchester, Europe are encouraging the US to continue arms limitation as the Russians are claiming deterioration in US relations and South African police savagely attack a university protest march with whips and tear gas

A good night and our normal morning routine. Then dressed in my old clothes and out to feed the doves, who were hungry. I got the ladders and checked the chicks. The largest are still flourishing and developing their ‘fan-tails’. One Blonde Qualmonde (like Mum) one Indigo Dilute (like Dad). If I can be around when they leave the box and keep the cats at bay, they may well stay the course as our first winning brood. Their smaller brethren had shed their rings and so I put them on again. Then to the swimming pool and I tested it for chlorine (high) and for pH (too alkali). I put in some pool acid and started a record of my actions in the pool maintenance manual, as I thought these events might be useful to record. Time to let the ducks out, but only 7 eggs today.

Thursday 29th May 1986

The family are beginning to enjoy our new pool as the temperature rises to 79degF but only after Daniel completed his schoolwork and Debbie her riding lesson as Kenneth baker resists calls to delay the GCSE introduction, Bob Geldorf and others lobby the UN for African help and a Yeovil farmer expels a Hippy colony from his land!


Slept well and woke to my morning tea from a sound and deep sleep. As I had a bath late yesterday, I settled for a wash and shave this morning. Daniel presented his assessments from school, which were poor and so I lectured him as usual. Out to Bill’s shed, where I spent this morning and most of this afternoon installing the wiring for two ceiling lights. Today the carpenter arrived to adjust the door hooks and weatherboards and the builder attended to the leak and tile damage in the shower room. A cold north-westerly breeze continued today, but the pool boiler raised its temperature to 79degF by evening. Before the children could swim, I had to check Daniel’s schoolwork, then rush off to Offord with Debbie for her latest riding lesson.

Wednesday 28th May 1986

A good cruise back from Godmanchester to Paxton after a slow and chilly start, past the splendid Portholme Meadow, full of unspoiled wild flowers, and on through Offord and home to find Elm Leisure there to hand over the new swimming pool and everything else all right apart from some dove chick casualties. The spotlight on Africa now with Ethiopia starving but Chernobyl radio-activity casualties grow to over 1,000!


A very settled night and it is a normal irony that once you have settled and acclimatised to the conditions afloat, it is time to come home! Awoke to my tea prepared and the heating already on. Slightly reluctant to get up, but Di persuaded me and I washed and shaved ready for breakfast. The boys soon joined us, as it was chilly in their boat and they also needed The Lady’s comfortable toilet. Daniella slept on and so we cast off and cruised back upstream beside Portholme Meadow, starting at 7.30am!