Friday 20th October 1989

After a poor night, thinking of my parents’ predicament, a nice spell with Della joining me, hand-feeding the fish in the conservatory, before I could settle down to producing Derek Giles’s Eaton election literature until Debbie and Daniel had come home early after they had broken up from school for half term. Over to see a very quiet and undemonstrative Dad, who stays in his shell but I have found a room for him and Mum to share at Croxton Nursing Home which is well equipped for them both.

I was reluctant to wake this morning after I had a poor night, staying awake until early morning thinking of my parents’ predicament. Breakfast a little later than the others and then Della joined me to feed the fish in the conservatory. The Hariwake Ohgon fed from Della’s hand, which was nice. I did some work in my office, returned some phone calls and then had to pack some leaflets for the newspaper and can collection tomorrow, before I could settle down to Derek Giles Eaton election literature. I then had lunch of crab salad and we were joined by Debbie and Daniel who had come home early after they had broken up from school for half term.

This afternoon, I drove over to see Dad again. He was talking to the ward sister when I arrived, and I left them for half an hour and had a cup of tea. She tried to put him in the picture and explain things. He is quiet and undemonstrative and stays in his shell and I am asking for the morphine to be reduced further to make him less tired. I stayed with him the rest of the afternoon. I had called in on the Croxton Nursing Home on the way. It has some 40 inmates, mostly in single rooms and have a double room that Mum and Dad could occupy. The bathrooms are well fitted with lifting and bathing aids and many roomy toilets. There are corridors and ramps and lifts that allow wheelchairs to access all parts of the building, but they have a ‘locked door’ policy to stop them wandering off and into trouble. Once home this evening, I worked on for a while and finished the first bout of election copy and artwork for Derek Giles. Now I must get it all to Cambridge on Monday. I heard from Freda this evening; Mum is relieved to hear of our plans and wants, like Dad, to get together again

Thursday 19th October 1989

Debbie remarkably survived a cold that potentially kept her away from school so that she could still go horse-riding and then worked late on her homework! I collected Freda from Cambridge Station and took her to see Dad in hospital and then  drove her on to West Suffolk hospital to see Mum and it was all bad news there, I dropped her off at Stanton for the night where our parents may never see again and, brave until then, I cried uncontrollably on the drive home alone before discussing nursing home options with Di.

News today of the quashing of the Guildford bombings suspect sentences after they had spent 15 years in jail.

I was awake early today, washed and showered in good time for breakfast. Poor Debbie was ill with a cold and did not want to go to school but, when I said she could not go horse-riding later, she insisted on going in and survived the day quite well. Indeed, she was up until 10:15pm this evening, doing her homework! This morning, I started some deskwork but first Nigel Smith came around and then the river engineer Mr Larkin. He had missed me before and had good to try me again. I explained my idea about a cradle for The Lady and he suggested a pair of rails on the slipway it seemed that my idea is feasible and he will draft a design and quote, doing my manhole cover at the same time.

Wednesday 18th October 1989

On a fine and warm day here, I had the double shock of hearing about the earthquake in California killing 200 when the double-decker Bay Bridge we knew collapsed and then later the personal news when visiting Dad who learnt that they are not willing to operate on him.

I hosted a good meeting of the St Neots Democrats tonight, preparing for the Eatons by-election. East German Premier Eric Honecker resigned following mass street protests for reform and Thatcher is left in glorious isolation at the Commonwealth conference resisting action against South Africa

I was rather tired again this morning as the night just did not seem long enough. I was shocked to hear on the radio that there had been a serious earthquake overnight in California with damage, fires, deaths and injuries. At 6.9 on the Richter scale, it was not as large as the 1908 quake but the ‘double-decker’ road systems in Oakland and on the Bay Bridge collapsed, one on top of the other, compressing cars and lorries to a few inches in height and instantly killing over 200 occupants.

** PRESS "Read More" BELOW for the complete story **

Tuesday 17th October 1989

Diana’s Birthday - A busy day, having a birthday lunch with Diana, I history interview with a local schoolgirl and then the journey to visit my Dad where there was no progress or decisions but he did tell me more about his early life, musical ability of his sister  and parents and about Charlie Phillips, his best friend.

Home for tea and then off to a Buckden School governors meeting, then on to Chair a Little Paxton Village Hall meeting. The Guildford four have been released after 15 to 18 years of wrong imprisonment, and shares have been sliding in London and New York again

I was quite tired when woken this morning and I dozed afterwards for a while to recover. I still got to the breakfast table with time to spare for croissants with the others. Daniel had a chemistry exam today and, later on, thought that he had passed it. Diana and I went to St Neots together shopping and we stayed there for a birthday lunch for Diana at the Bridge Hotel restaurant. Whilst in town, I had an hour out and bought two pairs of much-needed shoes. It was a fine and warm sunny day and I wish that we were on the boat.

** PRESS "Read More" BELOW for the complete story **