The splendour of St Ermin's Hotel for my BMMG seminar

Recovery day for me with the river rising after thaw and rain before off to stay at the St Ermin’s Hotel for the following day’s BMG seminar as Thatcher comes in for coal dispute criticism and Reagan has to contend with the anti-abortionists on Capitol Hill

Up and feeling better this morning, though still weak and ‘fragile’. I managed to tend the birds his morning, returning three casualties from the garage – their feathers dry and flight restored. The river has risen and thaw completed by heavy rain and so, after tending the doves and ducks, I get the gardener to raise the new garden furniture seat covers above the possible flood level and then put the Blue Peter dinghy on the assembled trailer and fitted the cover to keep out any further rain. A long session at the office, clearing my desk, stowing stationery in the old record cabinet, sending ten letters, accepting ECIF Savoy and STC Dorchester dinner dates and updating my electronic and personal diaries with my latest appointments and commitments. I broke for a lunch of self-prepared rolls and ice cream (Diana had taken Daniella to her mother’s and sister’s in Cambridge and the kids were at school) and then back to the office to talk to Nicholas de Zoete to agree to buy £40,000 worth of Ladbrokes shares rather than my original choice of Trust House Forte. We agree that the strong dollar and US tourist boom will make 1985 fat city for UK hotel occupancy and profits. I check with Bill Barrett at the BMMG and am pleased to find 32 company delegates are registered for tomorrow’s seminar, and I telex to confirm my St Ermines Hotel reservation and check parking restrictions. I cannot raise Nigel Smith, however, who is in uninterruptable meetings. Off by car to London and St Ermines, which is hard by St James Park.

I check in, take my car round to the NCP term car park, and try Nigel again. He has been meeting a minority shareholder (Mr Blackadder of all names!) and seems to have successfully persuaded him to withdraw, but agrees to meet me for breakfast tomorrow at 8.00am to prepare for the day. Down to the carving table for a fine dinner of horderves followed by roast beef and strawberry cheesecake with a half bottle of Rose d’Anjou to drink. Up and to bed with my foot intake well and truly restored! A phone call from Martin Isherwood, fretting somewhat, upon tomorrow’s arrangements and so the news and to bed. News today of another almighty row on the coal strike. Kinnock in full sail attacking Thatcher for “vindictively” and “cynically” holding the NCB back from talks to which the NUM would join without preconditions. A higher profile for anti-abortion activists as Ronald Reagan supports the demonstration on Capitol Hill and also as ultrasonic scans show a baby’s alleged ‘silent cries of pain’ as its life is terminated. Much anticipation of tomorrow’s historic televising of the House of Lords debate, with a packed house guaranteed and over 50 on the list of speakers – the theme is the economy! In the UK High Court, Quakers lose out on a tax case for withholding defence money from tax dues and the report on the Brighton bombing says Sussex police were not to blame, but that lessons in training and liaison are there to be learned. A dry, bright night, with several degrees of frost as I settle down in my 5th floor St Ermin’s bed.