Saturday 22nd November 1986

Studying local Little Paxton History at The Norris in St Ives today as Diana struggles to manage the girls before back to collect Daniel after school and ‘enjoy’ a Happy Eater lunch before off to the Village Hall November Fair and then to see ‘Highlander’ with Diana at the cinema. A coup to oust Cory Aquino fails in the Philippines and the Indian Government start a $1000 million claim for damages over the Bhopal chemical disaster and so who knows about the Rhine pollution implications…

A fair night and good start to the day, as I washed, changed and shampooed my hair before breakfast. Some more wheat flakes to eat, then skimmed through the papers, whilst the girls got ready. Out to the ducks and doves on another cold day, with a fresh wind making it uncomfortable for walking. All aboard the Range Rover, then off to St Ives together. Arrived very early and we had to go to Tooks for our drink, as the small cafe was not yet open. After, I walked up to the Norris Museum and Library and, finding it open, went in to study the Inskip Ladds Little Paxton file again. An old chap was on duty to relieve Burns-Murdoch and he insisted on showing me some old aerial photographs of St Ives, showing fighters under repair downstream of the road bridge in 1919. He saw them there as a boy and pointed out the old railway bridge and the old river swimming pool. I felt for him, getting on in years, with so much knowledge and many memories to impart and I did not mind the distraction.

Friday 21st November 1986

To Huntingdon to study Little Paxton History and then home via the riding school where Debbie rode well on Barbie as the government starts an anti AIDS publicity campaign after 284 sufferers have died in the UK of it. Controversies for Reagan in the US over Arms for Iranian hostages and here for Thatcher over the MI5 book affair and more effluent pollutes the Rhine as flooding affects Southern England and Wales but not here.

A better night and start to the day. Showered and dresses, noticing that my weight is staying stubbornly over 13st 10lbs, despite my diet, and means that I need more exercise. Updated yesterday’s journal and then settled down with the paper again until the post came, but nothing of much interest. Once the girls were ready, we left by car, but Di was a bit upset that I had decided to go to Huntingdon, rather than Bedford. It was a very cold day and, though becoming sunny later, it meant that she and Daniella (who had a cold) would have been better off inside the larger Bedford shops. Still, we had coffee at ‘The Chelsea’ cafe and then they set off for the library and I for the Record Office. I spent most of the day there, transcribing the card indexes on Lt. Paxton, The Standleys, the Gordons and the Huntlys photographs and then photocopying Little Paxton Enclosure Awards for inputting into my word processor. They were also grateful to copy the printed act of 1812, which I had secured from St John’s.

Thursday 20th November 1986

Di seems not to be able to cope with the children’s  behaviour now that more of my time is occupied with my new history project but I find out the true picture of Paxton Park and the early village shape before hosting a riparian meeting with Tom Chaplin and Nigel Smith, who joined me. Reagan’s blustering interview seems to have burst his bubble ahead of the next election and Sir Nicholas struggles to justify deregulation after another investment company releases details of insider trading

Not a very good night and a rather grumpy start to the day. The less time that I have for the children, the worst behaved they seem to be. Was rather late down to breakfast and they had left their rooms in a terrible state and now Daniella is starting to copy their misbehaviour at the table. To my office this morning and a long time studying maps of Little Paxton, as I struggled to write the history of Paxton Park. Was surprised to make the discovery (when comparing enclosure awards with the pre-enclosure map) that a track came from the centre of Little Paxton right down to the river where we live, with ‘closes’ and cottages on each side. These were bought up by the Standleys and just a few of the cottages near the house left for domestic staff and one where we are for a fishing lodge. Had to edit much of the pre-enclosure passages as a result and I do not know how such a task could have been achieved without a word processor.

Wednesday 19th November 1986

A full day drafting the structure and content of my new History of Little Paxton Little-Paxton and putting off other appointments accordingly as Thatcher is at the centre of a House of Commons row for resisting the Speaker’s ruling on the MI5 questions row and Reagan cannot defend his Iranian arms decision satisfactorily and may lose his Secretary of State Shultz as a result. Ken Baker does intervene in the teachers’ dispute and the stock exchange falls over the Boesky affair have made this government even more unpopular

Forced out of bed after morning tea and hastily dressed and showered, I was down to breakfast rather late. Read the morning paper afterwards, sitting in the playroom, and then moved into my office when the post came. Most of the day sitting at my desk and word processor, typing in and editing the text for my History of Little Paxton. I have already gathered such a quantity of information that I am adopting the technique of creating different sections and working my way through the file, inputting all items that are relevant. Today I worked on the introductory section, explaining the topology of Little Paxton, a section about rebuilding the village after a disastrous fire and also one about the enclosure act and the effects on Little Paxton afterwards.