The Zeebrugge inquest returned a verdict of ‘unlawful killings’ over the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry disaster,

Daniel’s working morning with me was thwarted first by St Neots retailers not having the supplies that we need and then by the visit of Peter Lewis, our local vicar, who called by to chat and support my efforts at writing Little Paxton history. My news was in St Neots Weekly news again, Daniel still completed his afternoon voluntary work in the Oxfam shop, Debbie was horse-riding again and then looked at my Grant of Arms after her homework was about Kings, Queens and heraldry. A US helicopter gunship sank three Iranian patrol boats after coming under attack, the Zeebrugge inquest returns a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ over the Herald of Free Enterprise sinking and Sir Jack Lyons of Guinness has been charged with theft and false accounting.

Awake a little tired this morning, but got up, showered and shaved, then put on my dressing gown to go down to breakfast. Recent suspicions were confirmed when finding the family at the table and eating at 7.35 (5 minutes early). No wonder I have been having trouble joining them in time! Daniel was home from school today (a KSSC/CCF Field Day) and so I planned an energetic morning’s work for him, helping me. I took him off to St Neots first, to buy a few things that we would need, but we were confounded by the shops not having them available, viz a 4 ½” circular cutter, 2” wastepipe, ‘U’ bolts of correct dimension. In the end we came home for a coffee and were surprisingly joined by our local Vicar, the Reverend Peter Lewis of St James’s Church.

He had seen the local newspaper publicity for my Little Paxton book and dropped round to express his interest and support. When he came to the door, Daniel cried, ‘God, it’s the Vicar!’, and raced upstairs, as the true atheist he is and he took some getting down again after. The Rev. Lewis stayed for nearly 2 hours and we discussed a whole host of interesting angles to Little Paxton church history and the catalogue of the graveyard stones. He is really trying hard to raise a sense of belonging and community to Little Paxton and we have that in common. Daniella was at playschool and then Di took ages to collect her and came back to get our lunch. It seems that she was waylaid to join a ‘party’ for a friend (a way of agency selling of odds and ends as a pastime, which is always a bit awkward. Thus Daniel avoided his morning’s work, which was a shame. I took him into town afterwards to do his voluntary work in the Oxfam shop, but first we took my portable cassette dictating machine back to Dixons and got a promise that it would be replaced in Bedford tomorrow, which is good. Home with a St Neots Weekly News, that had included my story and photo on page 2. More people telephoned, including a man who will bring round a postcard collection next Tuesday evening. Late this afternoon, I took Debbie horse riding. She was allocated Rumpold and rode him reasonably. She had to trot without stirrups and finally without a saddle! Also jumped on her own for the first time and this earned a mint surprise. This evening Debbie did her prep on dates of Kings and Queens. I got out a large chart on the subject; we went off into heraldry and ended up studying my Letters Patent, granting my Coat of Arms. The rest of the evening filing the recent career press cuttings and updating two days of journal. The news tonight is of the sinking of 3 Iranian patrol boats by a US helicopter, after they fired on the American forces in the helicopter. A fourth patrol boat escaped. This is a sharp escalation of the confrontation and the implications are serious. The Zeebrugge inquest returned a verdict of ‘unlawful killings’ over the ferry disaster, but the Judge directed that a ‘corporate manslaughter’ charge against the ferry company could not be considered. Now papers go to the Director of Public Prosecutions with risks of prosecution to Captain David Lewry, 1st Officer Leslie Sabel, and Assistant Bosun Marc Stanley. Victim’s families were unhappy and after the inquest vowed to pursue a campaign to make the car ferry company answerable for the capsize. Chancellor Lawson pledges to reduce Income Tax to 25% as soon as possible at the Tory Conference. Top Financier, Jack Lyons, has been charged with 9 offences, including an alleged theft of £3.5 million from Guinness. Sir Jack was also charged with false accounting, executing a valuable security, aiding and abetting the giving of an indemnity under the Company Act. In the latest Fijian move, the Governor General sends a representative to agree constitutional changes with the Queen, but she will not be meeting him and will have her Private Secretary, Sir William Haseltine, meet him. There is unease at the moves to exclude Indian representatives in the political system. After a day of cold winds and discomfort, the sky is clear and the evening still cold. Rain will move in overnight and we expect a dull, wet day tomorrow, but not so cold.