Saturday 30th November 1985

Progress with carpet fitting , tiling and shopping as the doves survive on a milder but foggy day before we collect Daniel after school and enjoy our customary Happy Eater lunch before Daniel helps me restore his and Debbie’s bedroom at last but Diana is struggling with her diet, the dust, a heavy cold and her period! The news today is of the assassination in London of the exiled leader of a Seychelles party, Gerard Hoarau


A good night’s sleep and awake to my morning tea, which I now drink in bed as a trial. A brief glimpse at the paper and then down to breakfast of toast and fruit juice at our Ercol table in the breakfast room. A pleasant meal and we all appreciated the space and freedom it brings; even though the wind and dust still comes under the half inch gap beneath the door. Up to get washed and dressed and then over the hall debris to open the door opposite for workers access. Mr Evans and Cheeseborough arrive and take instructions to start the kitchen tiling and soon Brittains arrive as well to install Daniel’s new bedroom carpet, which looks superb. I had sorted out the underlay yesterday and they then trimmed the bottom of the door, put the gripfast around the edge and then laid the carpet on top, pushing the edges tight with the knee lever gripping tool. Out to the doves, who divide into two camps this morning. The old ones swoop down hungrily for their seed, but the new ones loiter inside their dovecote, apparently dissuaded at first by the very foggy and damp start to the day.

Friday 29th November 1985

Building progress with the carpenter and electrician working and me screwing down floorboards after a cold and frosty night as we hear of the aftermath of the Glasgow gas explosion and of the UDR captain murdered by the IRA today

Another very poor night. This time it was worries over the central heating. The recent ‘roof-sliding’ sounds that I thought I had heard, turned out to be the boiling of the water in the radiators due to the boiler thermostat being set too high. Several times out in the rubble and cold to adjust it and several times more to the toilet, induced by the cold. A very frosty night and cold day to follow, with much of the snowy/frost staying around all day. Quickly washed and dressed for breakfast on our Ercol dining table and chairs in the breakfast room, which was a treat. A bit cold, however, as we only have the one radiator working there, with the Myson kick-space heater still to be commissioned. Then across to Daniel’s new bedroom to spend an hour putting more 1½” No.8 c/sunk screws into his floorboards, as a continuation of the war against creaks. Out, after, to the doves, who now feed regularly from the one dove table and to scrutinise the work of the builders. Today the carpenter was working again and put in the ironing room door, finished paneling in plasterboard, fitted the two teak-finish fire stop doors and then put in the door frame for the new utility room. Mr Evans then built up the block utility room wall, ready for the plasterers on Monday. His son, Richard, concreted in the ramp path at the front for connecting the walkway, in the form of a square past the front patio.

Thursday 28th November 1985

A day of high building activity with electrician, carpentry and ground works despite it being cold and snowy whilst we have a visit from Diana’s parents who were very impressed with progress and manage to get our table and things back into a completed kitchen. This as concerns about our finance and banking industry continue, the Anglo/Irish agreement is ratified by both Houses of Parliament and South African guerrillas fire rockets at an oil refinery.


A better night after the upsets of yesterday, but cold and snowing. I heard a few sliding sounds from the roof last night and checked the roof for lost tiles this morning, but it seems to have been snow sliding down onto the gutter. Awake to my morning tea as it continued cold and then down to have breakfast in the new kitchen/breakfast room for the first time. A pure luxury being able to use a table at last! Up to shower, wash my hair and the warm water bringing nice relief from the tensions and deprivations of our recent past. Dressed and across to unlock the house for the builders. A full complement of workers today. The electrician arrived a day early to commission a lot of the power supplies, the carpenter was working with his aching back, Richard was out excavating the front path for the ramp to link the two levels via a patio, the two youngsters were in the bathrooms removing the tiles, and Mr Evans was along to fill in the holes in the kitchen and make good the plaster to the new kitchen units. First I got the youngsters to remove the old cooker and sink unit. Out then to the doves, who all fed at the bird table without conflict, but also without any cross-fertilisation.

Wednesday 27th November 1985

Busy day supervising the building work and kitchen installation, insisting on the sink being plumbed in and the job being completed today and then running The Lady’s engines and heating system as The Labour Executive suspend the Liverpool Labour Party, the Anglo/Irish pact is supported in The Commons and South Africa’s apartheid puts blacks at risk

A very poor night, unable to sleep until 3.00am, worried about the kitchen progress and annoyed that the kitchen fitters were being difficult over the clipping of the sink to the worktop. Up a bit late to the lounge for breakfast, then quickly showered, dressed and out to sort through the kitchen materials. I had decided to retain a sample of each length of shaped oak to provide for future repairs/alterations to the kitchen. I finished by 8.00am and then unlocked the rest of the house and waited for arrivals. No decorators today, but the plumber and labourers were there. The carpenter was off work with back trouble and so Mr Cheeseborough took over the hammer and saw and supervised the new stud partitioning for the link hall and ironing room. I tackled the kitchen fitters on the sink securement and was upset further by their attitude in what had become a demarcation dispute.