How the papers viewed yesterday as Black Monday-

As Di went to Cambridge, I stayed at home keeping track of the Stock Exchange and trying to contact my brokers to no avail as an air of panic prevailed and the BP issue looks in deep trouble, and then Daniella refused to go to Tumble Tots this afternoon. Off to Gamlingay to see the Garthwaites later, the former occupants of Windmill Cottage until bought out by the Paper Mill and then home to another deluge of rain and prospects of more flooding. Iran are threatening retaliation in the Gulf, Congress is trying to intervene but Reagan is resisting The War Powers Act

A little late to bed last night, but slept well enough and was quite rested this morning. The children to school by bus all right and then Di went off to Cambridge with Daniella to do some shopping. Her contact lenses were still playing up after their recent ‘cleaning’ and so she went to Haldyn Clamp again, where they ordered her new ones. I stayed at home and was never far away from the TV and Prestel City information, to see how the stock exchanges were performing. The US authorities were in the scene, playing down the crisis, emphasising ‘favourable fundamentals’ and generally trying to calm the Markets. After this, the Wall Street Index rose sharply, fell sharply and then rose again. In London, optimism was overcome by fear again and another 250-odd points were lost from the FT100 on the day. I had contacted my brokers during the day, tried to do some buying, but the market confusion made it impossible. The SEAQ screens were unreliable, market prices were all over the place and an air of panic prevailed.

Made myself a salad lunch and watched the TV coverage of the last hour of the Pakistan vs England one-day cricket match in Hyderabad. England lost this one as well, but can still qualify for the semi-finals by beating the West Indies. Di was soon back, as Daniella had refused to go to Tumble Tots this afternoon. She wanted to come home instead and may not go there again, which is a disappointment for Di. This afternoon, I tackled my project again, transcribing more of the tape from the interview with Mrs Shepherd and printing out the ‘Doris & Friend’ one. A bit difficult to concentrate, however, and soon it was time for tea. A bit of a rush afterwards to get my things ready and to get out to see Mr & Mrs Garthwaite in Gamlingay. I was a bit late going and then lost my way. Found it eventually, at the end of a long unmade road, in a piece of land that included a large trout lake. They made me welcome and we talked until well after midnight, leaving me much to transcribe off of two tapes. It seems the Garthwaites (ex-Windmill Cottage and prior to that, Rose Lawn) had married in Little Paxton, having met one another by living next door. They had moved away after being made an offer by the Paper Mill, who needed to expand the site. It was well after midnight as I drove home and the rain was ‘bucketing down’ again. I knew from this that there would be flooding, as the ground was so wet and sodden from the last two mini-floods that the water was going to get directly to the water courses. Heard on the radio that Wall Street had followed an initial rise with a fall and was now recovering again and so was not sure what the morning would bring. Tonight’s news full of both the above stories and also of the Gulf, where the Iranians are trying to increase tension by promising retaliation for the oil platform attacks and Reagan is playing the situation down to pacify his critics at home. There is a move for a vote in the Congress to try limiting this armed excursion, but Reagan is resisting the use of the War Powers Act to the last. The Government are still making the huge UK underwriters sweat by pressing on with the BP issue, but have backed on a TV advertising campaign to stop small investors getting their fingers burnt. At present rates, the issue will be a flop and the merchant banks will lose a packet.