Thursday 31st August 1989

A surprisingly quiet night in Huntingdon aboard The Lady and a slow start before shopping in the Town Centre. My new book was in the book shops but not yet in the library. The cruise downstream to The Twenty Pence Inn on the Old West River where the girls played out until dark at 8:30pm with children from the other boats and Daniel revised his Chemistry before some TV aboard.

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, is to live separately from a husband Capt Mark Phillips, there are to be new navigation rules for larger vessels on The Thames after the Marchioness disaster and anti-apartheid rallies and demonstrations increased in size and number as the South African authorities reacted with predictable violence and retribution

After our walk around Huntingdon until dusk, Di and I slept well enough in our cabin. We had become rather discouraged by all this unresolved talk about boats and the sight of The Lady’s 35 -foot sister ship, Patience, has only made things worse. Surprisingly, the noise of the two road bridges by the Huntingdon Town Quay was not too bad and did not disturb us. We had a fairly slow start this morning but once breakfast was over, we set off as a family for a shopping trip to the town centre. We had a morning drink together and then I took the girls to the library where I got them two books each on my own ticket.

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Wednesday 30th August 1989

To the house for our showers etc on a warmer and sunnier morning after sorting out a gas cylinder problem and then to remove the algae and super-chlorinate the swimming pool. Daniel to a driving lesson and Debbie to see her beloved Sundance who she had been tearfully missing. We set off again on The Lady, had lunch in St Neots and then back and on to collect Debbie from Offord cruising on to Huntingdon Town Quay to find The Lady’s sister ship, ‘Patience’ in a poor state.

After the chilly breeze and the dull weather of yesterday, this morning was warm and sunny after Hugh. After midnight., I was awoken by Di with a tale of woe. The gas cylinders had run out again and, after changing over, I had trouble lighting the fridge now that the electronic ignition is faulty. This morning, we went to the house and all had showers etc before breakfast. I then relit the fridge and Diana did another four loads of washing. I then hoovered out the swimming pool, brushed away the persistent algae and super chlorinated the water to last us through next week.

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Tuesday 29th August 1989

Being the only boat moored at Priory Park, we had a very quiet night and then took our small boats to the Town Quay for more shopping after investigating the river upstream which had been incorporated into a riverside park. Later I researched all about St Neots UDC in the library after which we cruised downstream to St Neots for food shopping and then home for a service visit.

A very quiet night at Priory Park, Bedford. There was not a single boat to share the moorings there, which is a great shame and underutilisation of facilities. We set off on our sports boat and dinghy again, through Bedford lock but, before we moored at the town quay to do our shopping, we cruised upstream and saw how the banks in the Bedford Ouse have been almost completely incorporated into a Riverside Park. This trend of preserving the banks of the river and providing public accessibility is to be applauded will stop we.

We had coffee at Debenhams and lunch at McDonald’s. Whilst the family shopped, I went to Bedford library and read all about the history of St Neots Urban District Council which was very interesting. This afternoon, we cruised all the way downstream to St Neots, arriving just in time to do some shopping at the Waitrose supermarket. Then finally home to moor at The Hayling View for the night on our service stop. This evening, Diana did lots of washing etc. and I caught up with some paperwork. Daniel did a little studying in his room for his Chemistry exam re-take next week and Di and I then returned to The Lady to watch the last episode of the TV drama, ‘Dirtwater Dynasty’. We went to bed very late as a result and this time we put out a mud weight to ensure that the youths would not have The Lady drifting downstream with us on board this time!

Monday 28th August 1989

A quiet and cool night in Willington and then the sun warmed the day as we ‘discovered’ another Frederick William Broad from Islington who cruised by in a similar vessel which we looked around in Bedford Boat Club. A look around Harry Kitchener Marine to no avail and then the cruise to moor at Bedford Riverside Park before an evening out in the town.

The IRA bomb attack on a service car in West Germany has been followed by a hunt for more bombs and the attackers and the Notting Hill Carnival was followed by the police being attacked by a bottle throwing crowd which marred an otherwise peaceful event

 I slept well at our quiet spot in Willington after catching a few fish at the moorings. This morning, we extended our routine to include Deborah in the shower for the first time. A much cooler night but brighter this morning as the sun soon took over from the central heating that we had put on. Once breakfast was over with, another Discovery-type boat cruised past us upstream and so we quickly unmoored and join them. We caught up at the next lock and found the boat (called ‘Broads Cruiser’) was actually owned by a ‘Frederick William Broad’ who originated from Islington and now lived in Luton. Once we had locked through Castle Mills and Cardington locks, we accepted their invitation to a coffee at the Bedford Boat Club and had a look around their boat which was fitted out in the same design that George Smith is achieving on the 31-foot model.

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