The educational future of Daniel and Debbie being discussed at Kimbolton Castle this evening

A late start to the day after a poor night but then ahead of time for our visit to Cambridge for coffee, research and browsing of information sources, a Copper Kettle lunch and then the afternoon photocopying the Little Paxton Scrapbook and an evening at Kimbolton School reviewing Daniel’s ‘progress’ but also getting reassurance from the headmaster, Donaldson about Debbie. The USSR pardons 140 dissidents and will review the imprisonment of as many more, Kenneth Baker faces a series of half day strikes over teachers contracts, all eyes are on Israel over the Lebanese hostage demands, The US are holding Iran Arms deal hearings and Harold McMillan is buried in Westminster Abbey today

A rather restless night, awake on at least two occasions before morning came. Went back to sleep after my morning tea and then Di was upset that I was not ready when she came to make the bed. Got showered and dressed in a lightening 15 minutes and surprised her by being ready for breakfast before the others. Was further prepared after by getting the Range Rover out and, in the end, it was Di that was behind time! All off by car to Cambridge, but first I used the time to talk to Pete for a change, asking him to clean the ducks out and paint the outside of ‘Bill’s Shed’. Traffic and congestion on the Cambridge road and so we turned off to pass through Great and Little Gransden and enjoyed the countryside. A quiet day in Cambridge today for some reason, and we had no trouble in parking at the central Lion Yard car park. Early to Eaden Lilley for coffee and were actually there before Diana’s mum and dad arrived. I got Charles to take away some old English/Latin scripts to translate for me, as his ‘prep’! Then to Vinters to collect my deeds and leave a litigation brief over the swimming pool boiler problems. Also a walk round Fishers Hall book sale and the normal book shop, but nothing at all on Huntingdonshire. Then the long walk to the Cambridge University Library, where I saw the William Frend letters from the Reynolds and read certain of them in the little time I had. Lunch at the Copper Kettle and then home via Marshalls, where we saw our new Daimler up on the ramp, being inspected – we should have it in a day or two.

The afternoon photocopying aspects of the Little Paxton scrap book, then the evening at Kimbolton School. Met the Headmaster, who reassured us over Debbie, then saw Daniel’s teachers. He is struggling in English and art, but improving at all else. He has a problem with writing and essays that holds back his history and geography, but he should still squeeze passes here, whilst doing better in the science subjects. His practical work in chemistry and biology is very good, but needs to answer questions more fully. Had a good session with each teacher and I hope a breakthrough with Mr Stratford, the English teacher. He thought that Daniel was unconcerned and not trying, but I explained that he was really defensive and embarrassed by his problems and in need of help. We agree a course of action to include handwriting lessons, better attempts at essays, and being more forthcoming in answer to the teachers questions, we shall see. Home and then a debriefing with Daniel. He has injured his toe, kicking the wall in a fein judo kick (!) and is not really very responsive to my talk. He feels that he needs his lunchtime breaks and cannot do the handwriting lessons – who would be a parent! Up latish with Di, writing my journal and trying to relax after a trying couple of days. The news today is of the USSR giving 140-odd pardons to dissidents, with another 140 cases being given active consideration. They want less people behind bars, but there are some opponents of the liberalisation within the Politburo. Norris McWhirter of  ‘The Freedom Association’ has got High Court writs issued (but not served) against 10 people, including Duncan Campbell and Tony Benn, over the Zircon spy satellite filming at private showings. The 10 describe the development as ‘silly actions by political extremists’ and Freedom admit that the Attorney General would have to be involved, if the actions were to succeed. The threat of new ½ day strikes has led to Kenneth Baker having to prepare for the opposition to the imposition of new contract terms, without discussions and negotiations. The spotlight is now on Israel to see if they will consider swapping Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli pilot. The key UK witness in the Iran arms deal, Robert McFarlane, has nearly died from an overdose of Valium on the eve of more interrogations from Congressional Committees. Some of Reagan’s private notes have also been handed over. A memorial service for Harold Macmillan at Westminster Cathedral today, with his old political opponents and colleagues paying generous tribute to his accomplishments.