Monday 29th February 1988

Some work on my finances early on as Di fussed over the children’s work, checking on my Corniche purchase and mower delivery before the ATCO Club was delivered this afternoon and I was well pleased with it. Then to write my election candidate’s address for my evening meeting at Michael Pope’s house where my Paxton campaign was discussed first. Two North Sea oil rigs have broken their moorings in high seas and blustery gales, the government increases prescription prices by a bumper 8% today, South African churches are defying the ban on meetings and more violence has broken out in Israel.

Slept well enough, but was slow to start this morning. Ended up a whole half hour late for breakfast and ate alone. Diana was upset, as Debbie had forgotten some maths revision at the weekend and Daniel had left his room in a messy state this morning, even after being told to clear it up. Got straight down to my office work today, first reconciling my bank and building society accounts and writing cheques to all and sundry for Diana to post on her visit to St Neots. Then the balancing transfers to get the money back in the right accounts, which is quite a business these days. Then several phone calls to check on the progress of our vehicle registration transfers and then tackle Pete Eatonton of the Chelsea Workshop on the price query on our Rolls Royce Corniche. I thought we had agreed £28,000 and he is charging me £28,500. I also chased up the delivery of the special multi-bladed cylinder mower for the games lawn and then returned the call of St Ives Marina about my plans for a new boat.

Sunday 28th February 1988

A better night’s sleep and a more restful day and then took the girls for a morning Little Paxton playground in my Reliant before our Sunday lunch and more paperwork and administration later. News of the McAnespie exhumation for a second post mortem, arch-bishop Tutu is leading anti-apartheid services in South Africa and Labour calling for an ‘NHS budget’

Slept much better last night and was just waking as Di brought in my morning tea. Did not wait long in bed and had gone into the en-suite to wash and shave when Debbie came in, upset that I was not in bed so she could join me. I let her do her jigsaw puzzle in the en-suite and before long Della had joined her as well! Down in good time for a nice fried breakfast, which I ate with a clear conscience (I had tipped the scales at 13st 4lbs this morning). Soon dressed up against the cold and out to work on Percy, the Reliant. Soon had it started and ready to take the girls down to Little Paxton playground for a trip. The van was fine, but Debbie fell over and bit her lip and returned hurt, so I took them home. A nice Sunday lunch of roast beef. Before and after this, I managed to get the windscreen wipers working, top up the back axle, touch up the paintwork and polish it all up. I then put it away in its new home, to the side of the inner garage and in front of the pool boiler room.

Saturday 27th February 1988

A successful road trial in my Reliant after a very poor night still in pain and suffering from a cold and then off in the more suitable Range Rover for a family lunch. To Cambridge this evening to see the film ‘Cry Freedom’ as Daniel looked after the girls

Had an appalling night’s sleep, both pained with my chest and feeling warm from spending the day outside in the cold. My head cold did not help either. By early morning it was time for Di to wake and so I rolled over and woke her with intimacy. Ahead of the routine this morning and managed to write up yesterday’s journal before breakfast. Out after to see if I could start Percy. I laboured the starter, but got it going in the end. I still think that you cannot close the choke enough from outside the engine cowling. I took Daniel to his school bus stop, as a trial run, and the van ran fine.

Friday 26th February 1988

A very cold day, shaking off a sore chest and head cold to work on ‘Percy’ my old Reliant van, making myself a mackerel salad lunch during a short period of rest before to bed tired and achy. US Secretary Shultz gave support to Palestinian self-determination during his visit to Israel as more horrifying TV pictures emerged of terrible Israeli atrocities and trouble in Panama after a disputed coup

Another poorish night with my chest still hurting and cold coming on. Dressed in my oily clothes again for breakfast and then out on a cold morning to continue battle on Percy. There was a touch of frost today and my cold is getting worse. I wear a vest, three jumpers and anorak to keep warm! It was time to start the engine and do some adjustments today. I managed it without too much difficulty, but it seems to overheat. Then tightened up the cylinder head nuts to 30 ft lbs and had trouble with them slipping and the threads failing. Still, managed in the end, though some future work will be needed. The engine and dynamo now satisfactorily charges the battery, with two switch positions on the dashboard for summer and winter charging currents. Then the task of putting on the road wheels and adjusting the brakes to match on all three wheels.