Tuesday 31st January 1989

I had a restless night, with a cold coming on, but then spent the day scanning further images for my Paxton Park chapter and making my own salad lunch until I picked up Lisa Drake and then Debbie from school and then went with Fiona from the riding school to the Alconbury Weston Saddlery to buy some tack for Sundance. Unfortunately, he was troublesome when we used it but we hope he will soon settle down. Controversially, the government plans to make GPs responsible for budgetary control and to give hospital managers authority over consultants’ work and to encourage private health schemes. Wandsworth prison officers are still striking despite seven hours of talks, Sizewell want a third nuclear reactor and Col Oliver North is under trial and aims to call former US president Reagan to the stand for cross-examination.

I had a poor night, struggling to get the temperature right in my bed. Diana had electric blanket on for far too long and I also had a cold coming on, so was a bit difficult and had a restless night but I was still awake early and down to breakfast with the others. The fish remained all right and survived the night quite well. I managed to feed the Ohgon again today and painted its side and then changed the water for its penultimate dose of Steryzine against parasites. I spent the day scanning further images in my chapter on Paxton Park but the process is taking far too long. I made my own lunch of salad as Diana went to Cambridge shopping. At 3:30pm, I picked up Lisa Drake and then 4:30pm Debbie from school and we met Fiona at the Alconbury Weston Saddlery and bought several items of riding tack for Sundance. Back to the riding stables where we put on the new girth, rains and other things and then experienced some trouble with the pony who ran away with Debbie a couple of times.

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Monday 30th January 1989

I spent some time in bed being friendly with Diana on a milder morning after another chilly night but with less frost than yesterday. The Koi had survived the night and the Ohgon fed today. I was working on my history book and photographs today, hosting Percy Meyer, this evening when I attended a good Village Hall Committee meeting where we agreed to provide changing facilities for the village sports teams and I was asked to be a Trustee. Today, the £40 million bank robbers were sentenced to 22 years, Wandsworth prison officers were striking and their inmates rioting and Sir Geoffrey Howe announces his Gibraltar troop reductions

I went to bed at the same time as Diana last night for a change and we were suitably friendly as a result. I slept long and well and was slow to wake at 7am. It was another chilly night but not so much frost as yesterday. The Koi had survived the night quite well and I got the Ohgon to feed today and painted his wound again with Mercurochrome. This morning was spent working on my history book. I was scanning in several of the scrapbook items and making lists of the photographs for copying at some time. Di was back to provide lunch for me and then I carried on this afternoon, being interrupted by Percy Meyer who came round for some photocopying and to buy some raffle tickets. I worked on until this evening, when I attended the Village Hall Committee meeting which went very well. They agreed to support a village football team by letting them use the hall for changing on a temporary basis and to support the project of getting a sports pavilion for use by the football team and other sporting teams in the village. I am also to be asked to become one of the three Trustees of the Village Hall as well.

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Sunday 29th January 1989

A slow start on a cold and frosty morning, which compared with the record minus 86°F cold weather emergency in Alaska. I was attending the fish and pond again before taking the family for a lovely St James’s church service with the choir in their new ropes and sun shining through the south windows. I then delivered leaflets to Southoe and outlying houses, liaising with constituents, after taking Debbie to Offord where she had a leg bitten by Sundance! An evening of paperwork and press cuttings as I heard about Britain halving the number of soldiers based at the Gibraltar garrison

After our late night that followed the SLD gathering, we slept in and it was after 9am that I had finished my fried breakfast. I showered and dressed etc. and then fed the doves and ducks on a cold and frosty morning. There is a cold-weather emergency in Alaska where temperatures are as low as -86°F have been recorded to make it the toughest winter on record. I then turned to my fish and painted the Ohgon’s wound again and did a water change and another application of Steryzine to the pond as the gill flukes still seem to be present. The small Koi in the isolation tank still seems to be the same and the antibiotic is not yet doing anything about their swollen eyes. I refilled the pond with fresh water and, unfortunately, left the tap running and the conservatory was nearly flooded by the time we realised! We all went as a family to the St James’s Church service this morning and the church was full to overflowing again which was good to see.

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Saturday 28th January 1989

I made a slow start on a rainy day that became clear and foggy later as Debbie started recovering and was coughing nicely, but the Koi carp were not recovering as well. I took Debbie to the riding stables with our new tack chest, until she was relieved by Lisa, and to hear of residential development plans for the stables from Roland Smith. Di and I reluctantly attended the SLD wine and cheese event this evening, which was okay. An IRA grenade attack kills an RUC officer in South Tyrone, Kenneth Clarke refutes a government NHS privatisation rumour and opposition leaders criticised the Prime Minister at a Cheltenham GCHQ rally over the removal of their trade union rights

I had a bit of a lay in this morning and Debbie and I slept very well. It seemed to do her good she was much better, playing Hide-and-Seek with Della and getting some exercise as this activity made her cough and clear her chest quite a bit. I tended the fish this morning and still found them rather unwell. The younger ones are not ‘shoaling’ too well in their eyes seem swollen now. I went to Sandy and got some antibiotics and made a 50-gallon isolation tank later today and then caught the fish and put them in there. I also caught the Ohgon and Mercurochromed his back which had still not healed up yet. First thing this morning, we had a leak in the boiler pump and had to get the Gas Board to turn out and fix it under their four-star service contract. They came back later today with a replacement pump, which was very good service. The seal had broken and spilt water and I hope that our new system for forcing water through it for the underfloor heating was not to blame! I typed a couple of letters to the builders and conservatory makers this morning: they have made the struts far too low and I only noticed by measuring them. I also made out the insurance form for Sundance and went to Lifesure to get cover for the pony. I renewed my Reliant insurance at the same time. After lunch, I took Debbie down to the riding stables with our new tack chest and left her there for a couple of hours. I met Roland Smith, the owner and local Offord councillor, who gave me some rather worrying news that his landlord is applying for residential use planning permission for the place which would leave us without a livery and base.

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