Thursday 28th February 1985

Recovering from illness, caring for the children and keeping up with industry contacts before a drive to Cambridge to see my solicitor with my Accountant and organise my wills, trusts and investments before a quieter afternoon recovering as the IRA kill four police in Newry and the scene is set for the climb down of the miners tomorrow

Awake feeling much better after my temperature had subsided, but still weak and with a light head. Much family pandemonium this morning as the baby is ill and will not stop crying. Things start all right as Daniel and I look after Daniella whilst Di gets Deborah ready for school, but as she gets more tired she becomes fretful. Di is also resentful at not getting help from me and at me being ill, which she seems to think is my fault. I take breakfast and return to bed for my papers before catching up on yesterday’s journal. By 11.30am, with the birds still not tended, and weak but OK, I rise to get washed and dressed. The architect’s assistant, who had been keen taking house measurements amongst all the crying and confusion, had finished mostly by then. To the office for an hour, after Di’s parents arrive to walk the baby and help with the washing up. A large post with papers from Jill Hills, circulars and a letter from Roger Martin of ICL. Also confirmation of my COMPETA speaking engagement at their first Computer Industry dinner. I concentrate on printing out my investment update for this afternoon’s meeting and manage most of it whilst checking for answering machine messages at the same time. Time only to call Martin Isherwood and agree a television interview date before lunch and preparation to leave. I pick up Roger Britain from New Street, St Neots, and we drive together to Cambridge, briefing him on my latest investment acquisition and letting him read the forestry details and schedules.

Wednesday 27th February

Falling ill on a frustrating day where I end up having to dictate my own BMMG press statement copy and then to my bed with a small TV after the architect has been surveying the house for our grand expansion plan as the NCB claims more than half of the miners are back to work but sterling rises on ECB support

A poor night’s sleep, which was a pity after the lack of it the previous night, and a fairly weak constitution in the morning feeling shivery. After the paper, out to the birds, which seem to grow ever hungrier in the case of the ducks. They laid about 7 eggs today and seem set to return to lay in earnest. To the office by 10.00am and a range of post to deal with after the lack of time these last two days. All resolved, and then to phone Martin Isherwood with my continued concerns over next Tuesday’s BMMG press conference. I break off to return and collect Daniel so as to take him to the doctor. It seems that there are a couple of cold bugs going around at the moment and also that no particular treatment is effective. I pay in to the Abbey National a couple of dividend warrants received today from gilt-edged stocks and then return home to continue my work. Annoyingly neither the BMMG secretariat at Owles Hall, nor the Isherwood PR people have a means to transcribe my thoughts for the press statement into typed script and I leave them to try to find an agency to contact me after lunch. I get a return call from Chris Shelton who helps me with some suggestions for the copy. Back to the house at lunch time feeling weaker and shivery and hardly managing to eat anything at all.

Tuesday 26th February 1985

A pleasant breakfast at The Dorchester before an Export IT Council meeting and drive back home on a mild and sunny day, reaching 13degC after some organisational phone calls before some time with the family as Sterling falls despite US helpful measures and the NCB are still trying to undermine the miners’ moral and resolve

Awake at 7.30am and a good night’s sleep after an initial period of uncomfortable heat. Whilst listening to the radio news I wash, dress and shave. Last night the Tory rebellion on Rate Capping lacked courage and just a few abstentions marked the simmering discontent of a ludicrous policy. Dressed and down to the Dorchester Grill for breakfast at 8.00am. A full English breakfast, toast and coffee and then up to pack my bags before leaving at 9.00am. I check out (£130!), collect my car and drive off via Buckingham Palace, Parliament Square and the Embankment towards the City. I find an underground car park at the Old Bailey and walk to the Export IT offices for a Council Meeting. A good meeting where I get every chance from the Chairman to push the schools educational market moves and need for common course with the ECCD (Educational Council for Computing Development) and the British Council. Good sessions also on the need to lobby government on the overseas barriers to exporting and lastly the damaging effects of the extension of Export Security controls. A nice buffet lunch, more conversations, and then to use their phones to check my office for messages and return a few calls.

Monday 25th February 1985

A morning with family and friends and then off to the Dorchester in London for an evening dinner discussion hosted by Sir Kenneth Corfield in the Dorchester Penthouse/Pavilion Suite for Industry leaders at which I was asked to lead the discussion on ‘Government Policy and the Microcomputer Industry’


A better start to the day with the paper quickly read before breakfast of toast and honey. Out to the birds with the doves well trained by now and the ducks laying a further 5 eggs. To the office by 10.00am and, with virtually no post today, I take the chance to conduct some phone calls and change my appointments for a car service to a more convenient day for a day out to Cambridge with Diana, and my meeting with Roger Brittain, to the afternoon following Sussex stay. Calls from Martin Isherwood, which prompted me to try contacting the BMMG. Helen was out until later and Nigel has taken off for a week’s skiing in Austria, leaving a number of BMMG issues in the air. Coffee eventually at 11.30 so that I could meet John Tomblin. He dropped by on the way to a relatives funeral in Buckden. We agree dates for Daniel to go and stay with David Tomblin and in principal for David to come and stay with us during the summer school holiday. Then back to the office and a session of bill paying: Selwyn for the printed stationery, Buckden Marina and another £2000 towards the boat repairs, and my outstanding Datalex account, which is proving quite expensive for telex services. I checked via Prestel on the Bank of Scotland/VISA payment facility and noted a few setbacks on the stock exchange with the pound sterling falling sharply. I then wrapped things up, packed my briefcase and suitcase ready to leave and had lunch with Diana. Off to London by car, arriving in moderate traffic at the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane. A little trouble getting the doorman’s agreement to let me park in the small forecourt car park and then to check in. A grand hotel, it is suffering from alterations at the moment with the workmen installing air conditioning, but it was otherwise all right. I order afternoon tea from the waiter whilst calling Helen Gibbons, back at last in Owles Hall. We agree some financial decisions in Nigel’s absence, which is fine. Then to enjoy a splendid snack with scones, jam and cream and a few light sandwiches before returning Martin Isherwood’s call, who had since spoken to Helen and agreed the administration for next Tuesday’s press conference. I am still worried, however, about the content. We have not advanced the DTI/LAN matter sufficiently, having failed to send the questionnaire out, and I am considering widening the topics. I check the office for messages and call to agree a meeting with the DTI Statistics Section when next at Millbank Tower on March 13th. Then to my bath and, soaking gently with the room radio turned up to hear, ignore a phone call which I wonder about. A hair wash, shave and slow preparation for tonight’s dinner party, listening to the news and current affairs. Sterling has touched $1.05c and over 3,600 miners have returned to work today, but still the strike continues with the majority of men still out. Being early, I strolled downstairs and bought an Evening Standard and then, eventually, dressed up and made my way up to the top floor Penthouse and Pavilion Suites for Sir Kenneth Corfield’s party.