Friday 31st October 1986

Preparing for out trip to London and packing in our new Range Rover to arrive through Swiss Cottage at the Ladbroke Olive Hotel and then by taxi to the West End to shop at Hamley’s and have lunch at Wendy’s Hamburger Restaurant and shop in Tottenham Court Road with Daniel and then relax back at the hotel. British Gas is to be floated later this month, but Labour pledge to re-nationalise it, Terry Waite may get Western hostages released in the Lebanon and 300 black police riot in South Africa during a pay strike


A clear night and fine when we woke up. No sign of the deer, but we were not really up early enough anyway. Sat in bed reading this week’s local papers and was chased out by Diana, anxious for us to get ready to go to London. I got showered and shaved and then went down to have a slice and a half of toast and some fruit juice. Out to do the doves and ducks, leaving plenty of food out, as we will not be there for a couple of days. Daniel checked out his boat cover and bailed out the puddle of rain water that had collected. The process of finishing our packing and then loading the car, which was made much more easy than usual by the size of the Range Rover’s luggage storage.

Thursday 30th October 1986

Successful day researching the history of Little Paxton in thee St Ives Norris Museum and Library as the girls struggled to go shopping in near gale force winds and rain and then news of progress on my family history research in Bermondsey as Norman Tebbit tries bashing the BBC and Ken Bakers plans to appease the teachers are emerging


A little lay in this morning as, with Daniel at his friend’s house and not being at school, Di could lay in. Poor Della wet her bed, due to the delay of serving breakfast, but it was a pleasant enough affair, with Debbie’s friend Amy joining us for the meal. Read today’s paper and this morning’s mail, after, in the playroom, but then got Amy away and the rest of the family into the Range Rover for a trip to St Ives. I had phoned Norris Museum & Library’s Burns-Murdoch earlier and he had a catalogue of the 1920 Paxton Park auction ready for me when we arrived.

Wednesday 29th October 1986

Fine, sunny but rather colder day for me to complete both inside and outside work whilst I received a visit from an excited Nigel with news of the Abbot and monks of Buckden Abbey listening to his offer to buy their Manor of Hail Weston! In the House of Commons today, Tam Dalyell is ordered to leave after accusing Thatcher of lying over the Westland Affair as Kinnock has more supporter elected to the Labour Shadow Cabinet, a 200 mile fishery exclusion zone is declared around The Falklands Islands and £206m is raised to start work on a Channel Tunnel


A little late to bed last night and longer still to get to sleep. An early call and sat up in bed, drinking tea and watching the sun climb above the trees and early morning mist. A finer day than of late, sunny, but also rather colder. Breakfast of toast and marmalade and then out to do some work. I got the Range Rover out for Di to go to town in and then got on with cleaning up Bill’s shed and doing a few chores on my list. Screwed on the bath panel with chromium cup screws, mounted a ladder to put sealant round the frames of the last two windows, and then (forming wooden stand-offs) drilled and mounted the trellises back on the garden wall to retain the clematises. Di came back and I got Pete to clean the new car, vacuuming, shampooing and polishing it. As I was finishing off, an excited Nigel came by. He had been visiting the Monks of Buckden and had discovered that they might have the Lordship of the Manor of Hail Weston.

Tuesday 28th October 1986

A mild but wet day busy working outside and then attending to family matters before taking the girls off to Huntingdon as it was their half-term holiday where they shopped after coffee together and I then researched Manorial history for Hail Weston and Little Paxton in the library and local record office and then Diana met up with friends as I installed a power point and floodlight to Bill’s shed and had a sea food tea. A murder trial sentencing for a family inheritance killer today but the main news stories were of political turmoil in Mozambique, UK Government changes to benefit eligibility designed to discourage claimants and of the deaths of three women in a Newcastle bus crash just after the service was deregulated.

Another very deep sleep and reluctant again to wake. Decided to shampoo my hair this morning before breakfast. Opted for marmalade and toast today and went up just to bring down Della, who had some with me. She has been missing this first meal of the day lately and declining to come down, but I put a stop to this nonsense. Sat in the playroom reading my paper and mail after, as the girls played together. Then up to clean my teeth and to the office, where I filled in some NS Investment account forms for the children’s trusts and put them in successive envelopes for routing around my trustees and back. Out to the doves, who were very hungry after little feed yesterday and helped Pete to get a ladder for cleaning away some hawthorn growth from the roof of our inner garage. Then to get the car out and take the girls off to Huntingdon.