Wednesday 31st August 1988

A further family holiday day in Blackpool, sunny and fine for our visit to The Pleasure Beach amusement park and then to the pier and finally the beach for donkey rides. More controversy over the SAS IRA ‘executions’ , the new UK government ETS scheme as a means to lower unemployment statistics and more plane crashes occur in the US and China

Slept reasonably enough considering out was our first night in a new bed. I woke up first this morning and found Diana still there and she had very good cause to be grateful although she was a little shy with the children in an adjoining room. Got everybody washed and dressed and then went down to have breakfast in the Queen’s restaurant. It was a pleasant enough affair with all of the breakfast food out and available in the buffet but I much prefer to be waited on rather than jumping up and down all of the time. At last the housekeeper organise the cleaning of our bedroom window panes and we could see the sea and views and even what type of weather it was! In fact, we had a lovely sunny day, although the breeze was still cool. This morning we got in the Range Rover and went to the Pleasure Beach Amusement Park. We enjoyed this as a good venue for the children with lots of theme rides as well as scary ones. Although no Disneyland, it does try quite hard. There were more people out today but the numbers could still be better. We went to the adjacent pier then afterwards and the girls had free rein in a play area whilst the rest of us relaxed. The girls then had pony rides on the beach (on donkeys actually) and they enjoyed these whilst Daniel had some money to spend on the amusements.

Tuesday 30th August 1988

The long 200-mile journey in the Range Rover from Little Paxton to Blackpool, dropping off the Rolls-Royce in Bedford for its service and arriving after a four hour journey to find the Pembroke Four-Star Hotel had mishandled our booking but, after a two-hour wait when the girls swam in the pool, we were eventually given a suite, which was satisfactory. Daniel and I took a walk along the Front and then, the children having tea, Diane and I went off for a nice meal in the Admiral Hotel restaurant afterwards. An Italian ship loaded with hazardous chemical waste was prevented from landing by British harbour masters today and several IRA men are killed in Ulster in a shoot to kill operation in a SAS ambush.

I had stayed up late last night, getting ready for our holiday trip which was starting today. Di was awake first this morning and brought me a cup of tea at 6:40am and, after a bowl of cornflakes each, the last-minute scramble took place as we loaded up the Range Rover and locked up the house ready to go. I dropped off the Rolls-Royce to Alec Norman of Bedford to get it serviced whilst we go on holiday and Di drove the Range Rover and family to Alec Norman to pick me up and we started off for Blackpool. We managed the long journey with two stops of 45mins each for morning coffee and lunch and so even that we had left 8:20am, we only arrived about 2pm. The journey must have taken about four hours as the distance was more than 200 miles. We arrived at the Pembroke four-star hotel but found the reception sadly lacking. There was firstly an argument over whether 16-year-olds were children or adults (and the girl receptionist was quite wrong has own brochures would plainly show) and then they had not given us rooms that had communicating doors in between. We had asked for ‘adjoining’ and they had interpreted this as ‘adjacent ‘and we wanted what they called ‘interconnecting ‘. After a two hour wait, we got a suite given to us that had more room and then, after two more hours, we got the third children’s bed that we had been waiting for. The girls swam in the pool this afternoon and Daniel and I hung around, but I did at least manage to phone Kimbolton School and arranged to see Mr Peel, the headmaster, with Daniel late on Thursday afternoon.

Monday 29th August 1988

A drive to Stanton on my own in the Rolls-Royce to visit my Mum and Dad and check on the health of my Mum who was recovering from a nasty attack of shingles and to see their pond and fish and show them recent photographs. A nice drive back with the hood down enjoying the weather and visiting favourite places before stopping in St Ives for the antiques fair. This as Di takes Debbie to enjoy a friend’s party and ride her pony. This evening at home clearing my desk before our holiday and hearing much remorse over the West German air disaster and the famine in the Sudan as Iraqi/Iran peace talks are also suspended and the Holloway prison officers strike continues.

Great start and steady start to the day with French toast this morning with a minimum of marmalade as I am slimming. I tended the ducks and doves and then did a little desk work, sticking in my recent Little Paxton press cuttings. At 9:30am, I decided it was time to leave for my solo visit to Stanton to see my Mum and Dad as Di had taken Debbie to another girl’s party. I took the Corniche as they had the Range Rover and made fast time on the conventional route; arriving just after 11am with a bunch of dahlias from a nearby garden store. Mum is gradually recovering from her nasty attack of shingles but remains with a perpetual headache relieved by a constant supply of pills. Dad is okay. They showed me the fish in the pond which are of some size these days and may well end up in my new conservatory pond one day. We had a long chat and exchange gifts from our holidays and then I showed Mum and Dad all of my recent photographs before I left for home about midday and cruised back with the hood down enjoying the weather.

Sunday 28th August 1988

Attending the Diddington fete as VIP guests and judging the ‘dressed bicycle competition’, clearing out and adjusting alarm contacts in the garages and then an evening in to hear the appalling news of the The Ramstein Air Crash Show disaster killing 70 people and injuring 500 when the Italian Air Force ‘Piercing Heart’ went fatally wrong. Back home in  Belfast, they have now been 60 vehicles hijacked and 200 attacks on the security forces in the worst violence for a long time and The Post Office strike seems set to go ahead soon

Slept better last night and was left to lay in a while this Sunday morning before I had a nice fried breakfast. Debbie had Helen Thurston to stay overnight and she joined us for the meal as well. Strange how small girls of nine or so vary between one another. They have such varied spans of accomplishment. One may be good at music, or swimming, or horse riding and another radically different. It all seems to depend on their family priorities and background. Later, they all even up to a certain level, with their special accomplishments on top. This morning, I went out and replace the outer garage door alarm contact, then rewired the bypass switch on the inner garage so that it only influences the door to the swimming pool boiler. This afternoon, all of us (except Daniel) went along to the Diddington Mini Fete. Although the weather has been very poor this last few days, it cheered up a bit this afternoon and the sun came out as well.