Nelson Mandela’s illness leads President Botha to sound conciliatory on the prospects for his release

After first valeting the Rolls-Royce, ahead of Linda Nagle’s wedding tomorrow where the car will be used with white ribbons and bows, the rest of the day working on the Lady, fitting my new window glass before the rain came later. The Pakistani authorities believe that a rocket or bomb downed Zia’s plane and Nelson Mandela’s illness might yet lead to his release from jail

 I had a very late night and was consequently tired in trying to get up this morning. Still, I had swam last thing yesterday and so could skip my shower and was therefore first down to breakfast, leaving myself time to read the morning paper again. After the meal, Daniel dragged me out to start on the Rolls Royce. He and I brushed and vacuumed the upholstery, carpets and floor for half an hour and I gave him a pound for his efforts. He then had to set off to St Neots and go with his boyfriends and girlfriends to Cambridge, where they were to have lunch and watch a film. He came back rather sad later, according to Di, having lost his ‘girlfriend’ to his friend Steve – though he does not admit the status before or after. This morning, Diana had helped me finish off the Rolls. We took a leather each and I used a bucket with car shampoo in it and Diana one of clean water as we wiped the car all over. We finished with a sparkling result and we then tied on the white ribbons and tied bows to make the car ready for Linda Nagle’s wedding tomorrow.

Morning coffee together on the back lawn (Pete was mowing the one at the front) and then I started my last full day’s work on The Lady. It had turned windy and changeable today. The cover had blown off the boat, tipping a number of brick weights into the river, presumably, and a large limestone block fell onto the boat deck, but only caused a couple of dents. This morning, I painted another coat of varnish on the aft cabin and then spent a long afternoon taking out the Perspex from the three windscreen sections, chiselling out enough recess for the 6mm+ laminated glass, and then varnishing the resulting work, ready for glazing this evening. It then took me all evening to putty in the glass and, by now, the rain was pouring, as the weather broke. I had also applied some coloured varnish to colour some irregular patches of the aft cabin and carefully put beads of silicone rubber sealant on all the cracks and joins. It gets dark at 9.00pm now (and dusk at 8.30pm) and so I think I will have more time to spend inside now. Still, first we have the small matter of that wedding tomorrow! The news today is of the Pakistan Authorities coming round to the belief that a bomb or rocket downed Zia’s plane, which I had first suspected. The politics of Nelson Mandela’s illness leads President Botha to sound conciliatory on the prospects for his release, but he is still insisting on a renunciation of armed struggle – which will be beyond Mandela’s pride. The US Republican convention glosses over the vice-presidential running mate fiasco – but now Senator Quayle is being accused of draft-dodging during the Vietnam War, by his parents pulling strings to get him into the Home Guard instead! A fiasco in West Germany, as two bank robbers kill hostages as they are chased across the continent. Unemployment has fallen for the second year in succession.