Wednesday 23rd January 1985

Leading a successful BMMG Local Area Network seminar for the microcomputer industry at the famous St Ermin’s Hotel before home with John Lamb hearing of his concerns about Kode and then to witness the first ever televised House of Lords debate where Thatcher was savaged for forsaking unity and industrial recovery

An excellent night’s sleep and glad that I arranged for a 7 o’clock call – I was fast asleep. Up, showered and shaved to the radio news with echoes of yesterday’s miners’ strike controversy, supplemented by the now regular NCB propaganda and PR. Dressed by 8.00am, and 15 minutes before Nigel Smith arrived, preparing some thoughts for today’s member’s meeting. A further 15 mins before Martin Isherwood, agreeing the agenda and then down all to breakfast and to discuss BMMG public relations. A full breakfast and I have more than made up for my latterly deprived diet. Strange to see how Martin does not want to address our meeting through nerves, though good in copy and conversation. We agree to let him off, but we shall see for the future. Anyway, he does offer free services to the group (an offer difficult to refuse in the absence of any other similar one) and will draft and send recommitment letters and help with our Press Conference in late February. Along to the meeting at 10.00am and by 10.30am the best turnout ever for a BMMG members meeting, with the room packed. A good meeting with much agreed and action load spread. Then to a buffet lunch in welcome for our afternoon’s LAN seminar, where an even better attendance (38 company representatives) and even higher participation. Two from the DTI, ICL, Acorn, Nine Tiles as well as all active BMMG members. Unfortunately not a great deal of acceptance of the LAN proposals and many spoke against, but all interested and scope for further work. This story will run and run.

Tuesday 22nd January 1985

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.

Monday 21st January 1985

A day of illness and sickness combined with torrential rain such that I was unable to supervise the arrival of my new Blue Peter sailing dinghy as the US inauguration had to be held inside the Capitol due to harsh cold weather. Labour leader Niel Kinnock accuses the government of frustrating NUM/NCB negotiations and Israel have to pull out of the Lebanon after their first ever defeat

An awful night. Awake from 3.00am onwards feeling shivery and sick, until eventually up to be actually sick at 5.00am. By the time Diana rises at 6.30am I am still feeling sick, achy and ill and so I got to spend the day in bed. I am only to drink water, but allow myself a gulp of tea and a biscuit or two as the day goes on. I spend the day almost prone due to a bad headache and stiff legs, but manage some reading. At tea I manage a little tomato soup and a slice of bread, but Di has to phone Nigel Smith to cancel our evening meeting. I get up in early evening and stagger around and then shave and bathe before changing into fresh pyjamas and watching the TV. Skipper Boats call after dark to deliver our new Blue Peter sailing dinghy and I apologise for not being able to help unload it. Daniel steps in and before long the dinghy and spares are on the lawn, the trailer by the house, and the rigging and sails inside.

Sunday 20th January 1985

A struggle to clean my car after reading about my campaigns as the temperature barely rises above freezing and another with the children to eat a more varied diet before I fit a dishwasher and then settle down to writing in front of a log fire. Reagan’s sickly show biz inauguration and the Indian spy scandal makes the headlines but I am drawn to the ongoing suffering after the Bhopal tragedy with some 12 added each month to now total more than 2,000

A sound night’s sleep and my wakening at 8.00am seemed too early. I dosed with my cup of tea until a fine breakfast of fried bread, egg, bacon and mushrooms. Up with The Sunday Times, but not finished until 10.15am. Jane Bird had written a good piece on the Hobby Micro sector and the fears from MSX, but again, no attribution. A quick shave and, in old clothes, out to the doves. Their water frozen again, but soon thawed and they ate a goodly measure of mixed seed. The breeze seemed to be more from the south east today and off of the sewage farm, but still a cold day – hardly rising above freezing. Then to the ducks (3 eggs) who only ate a little on their normal mad rush to the water. The river is mostly clear of ice and the freezing of a few days ago did not take hold. Still snow everywhere and during my next task – the cleaning of my car – the hose was frozen fast and I had to get another to use that had been lately kept inside.