Wednesday 30th September 1987

Organising the turf supplies for my new games lawn, booking repairs for The Lady at Buckden Marina and then reading nursery rhymes to Della after she became distressed shopping with Di as Daniel was struggling with his homework and finding time to give a ring to his girl, Louise. Tory MP Keith Best gets four months prison sentence for multiple share applications,  Colonel Rabuka stops short of declaring a Republic in Fiji after consultations with former prime Ministers and the Queen, another tanker is hit by Iran in the Gulf and Yuri Romanenko has broken the space endurance record

Up a couple of times in the night, after drinking much liquid again yesterday, but was first pleased to celebrate the end of Di’s period with her in the traditional fashion. Sat in bed a long time this morning, reading some of yesterday’s paper, as my working time outside has made it difficult to keep up with my reading. Breakfast in my pyjamas & dressing gown again and so the normal boisterous comment from the children. Back to bed after breakfast, until I had completed the paper, which is unheard of in recent times. Then showered & washed my hair, shaved and dressed and started a full day of work in my office. My desk was in quite a mess and the mail pretty full and then, before I had started it all, morning coffee arrived and I sat and read the Which? consumer magazine, which spoke harshly of the performance of car servicing agents, but confirmed the wisdom of my choice of Panasonic for a video camera.

Tuesday 29th September 1987

After repairing our rotavator and working all day, the games lawn site was level and finished and, with Diana making progress with her slimming, she treated herself to a new wardrobe and Debbie and Amy enjoyed their ballet lessons. Neil Kinnock presides over a turbulent Labour Conference but carries the day for reforms and more details of the Colombian mudslide emerge. Fiji is destined to continue its racially-inspired conflict despite HM The Queen supporting the Governor General

Up several times in the night, after the pints of liquid drunk yesterday evening (to restore my fluid levels after the work outside) found their way out again, in several visits to the toilet. Sound asleep, however, when woken with my morning tea and was soon shaved and dressed ready for my breakfast of boiled egg with buttered toast fingers. Straight out afterwards to resume the good work on the games lawn. Helped Pete get started, topped up the rotavator gearbox and I manned the machine, as Pete dug out the many and various clods of clay and the contrasting stones. The weather was fine and calm again, but the high pressure has passed its peak of 1027mb and is now starting to decline slowly. Fine enough for our task and a good chance to finish the job off.

Monday 28th September 1987

More progress in rotavating and raking the games lawn today with a break to attend to some urgent administration as The Labour Conference change candidate selection methods and appoint Ken Livingstone to the Executive, a constitutional crises unfolds in Fiji with the Governor General refusing to recognise the latest army coup, 2,000 people die in a South American mudslide and 720 farms in Britain are still affected by the Chernobyl fallout 18 months after

Slept soundly enough and sat up wearily for my morning tea. Sat in bed reading yesterday’s Observer newspaper and then went down in my dressing gown and pyjamas for a cereal breakfast. Quickly shaved and dressed after and went out to see Pete about the day’s work in the garden. I explained the techniques I had been using to prepare the lawn bed and then made the snap decision to join him for the morning’s work. With me on the rotavator and him the garden fork, loosening the earth and remaining clay lumps, we made good progress. The barrow for the clay and two well positioned buckets for stones and other debris, we then both raked the rotavated soil and used a rake each to level the result.

Sunday 27th September 1987

Completed my use of the mini-digger as it was collected in mid-morning and then resumed work with the rotavator but the presence of stones and clay limited my progress as both Daniel and Debbie had friends round to go swimming. The UK and European golfers held on after yesterday’s efforts to beat the USA and won the Ryder’s Cup for the first time at a US course, Neil Kinnock gets the support he needs from the Labour Party Conference for his reform plans and Fiji suffers a bomb attack after its second military coup.

A lay in after yesterday’s exertions and wearily up after my tea to get shaved and dressed. A nice fried breakfast for a working man and then read yesterday’s Financial Times, before going out on the lawn bed to start work. I used the mini-digger for a while, until the lorry came in mid-morning to collect it. After all making me feel a bit guilty about using it, still wrote a cheque for the day & half hire at just over £100, which was money well spent. In for a morning drink, then out again to start using the rotavator to try flattening the bed down again. The digger had left the bed much more level (in that the earth was in the right places on the bed) but much more uneven, with localised dips, hollows and track marks. This job took quite a lot of time and effort. The rotavator was good, but often patches of clay & sub-soil had to be loosened with a fork first, then bricks and stones had to be continually removed and the soil raked to flatness. I probably had half an effective day on it and did about 1/8th of the total area, which is a bit slow.