Preparing The Lady and setting off today

Some final preparations with the gardeners and then away on The Lady upstream to St Neots for an experimental and quiet evening on her at Coneygeare with fish and chips to eat and some portable TV reception to hear news of Thatcher’s arguments with the Football authorities and the BBC backing down on an IRA documentary as a US congressional hearing also criticises their TV channels over publicising the Beirut hostage affair

A poor night’s sleep, feeling too warm and interrupted also by Della keeping Diana awake. Finally into a deep sleep and then awoken with my morning tea and paper. Breakfast and the paper as usual and I went and got the cordless telephone from the office so as to take any calls that arose – but none did. A little mail this morning including welcome news that my contacts at the British Embassy had identified a BMMG counterpart in Germany who was keen on cooperating with us. Out to the birds and to talk to the gardeners, who were all busy later after the further heavy downpour of rain early on. I get Pete to witness some documents for us and also to undertake to feed the ducks & doves whilst we are away. The landscapers complete the paving stones during the day and are ready for the turfs tomorrow. They should have finished the gardens by the time we return from our boating holiday. Before lunch I finish cleaning up my office and, after a hamburger with the family, start to load up the boat. By mid-afternoon we are ready to set off and Paul, Daniel’s friend, comes with us as far as St Neots. I decide to go upstream as we seldom see this stretch and we can then attend to some business in the morning and drop in at Little Paxton on the way back for anything we have forgotten.

We arrive at Coneygeare after 5.00pm and can only just get a mooring upstream of the bridge in a very quiet spot. The other boats obligingly move up to let us in and we then let the children play on the swings whilst we collect plaice and chips from the local fish & chip shop. An exploratory evening in the boat, settling down the children and sitting and writing in a quiet setting. At dusk we put on the portable TV for the news and weather. The BBC governors backed down today and decided not to screen the TV programme on the IRA. In the US, a congressional hearing heard criticism of the way in which the US TV networks publicised the Beirut hostage affair and gave air time to the terrorists. Three weeks before the start to the football season the football bosses disagree with Thatcher’s request for an identity card system for all league clubs. They have proposed a voluntary scheme on grounds of cost, but the government wants a compulsory system, refuses aid on a ‘Football levy system’ and claims that there is plenty of money in football. The US publicly criticises the USSR’s human rights record on the opening day of the talks marking the 10th anniversary of the Helsinki accord. The South African government recalled its US Ambassador as US criticism of the emergency regime continues. The CBI continues to call for further cuts in interest rates and reports that export and employment prospects are weaker. The weather forecast, dry for tonight and mainly bright with a few showers tomorrow. Thursday should be sunny and fine.