Wednesday 17th January 1990

I made an effort for an earlier start today and then sat in the conservatory reviewing my mail and papers whilst tending the fish and plants. Some organising of my new boat equipment with commissioning details now to hand for my new charging system. I was also in contact with the former owner and will meet up with him over Easter.

This afternoon delivering some letters, shopping and comparing building society interest rates and also buying some electrical accessories. Then a Southoe Parish Council meeting this evening with a number of matters to discuss. Ambulance coverage deteriorates even further with many more stations withdrawing coverage and industrial trouble elsewhere with Ford and British Aerospace affected

Was still awake for some of the night but eventually slept well and made a big effort to get up at 7.15am to shower and dress in time for breakfast. Even so, I was still late, but Della was even later and had quite a lay in. This morning, I went through the papers and mail and then tended the fish and plants in the conservatory. I decided to reset the security lights and re-commission them now that the time switches were back from the Christmas outside display light use and that took some time. I was pleased, at long last, to get return calls on my boating problems. I first heard from Jim Cole with the response to my letter. He is putting the list of the craft's equipment into the post which I need. The I heard from Cetrek and got the advice I needed with respect to the commissioning of the charging system.

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Tuesday 16th January 1990

After clearing up my office, which had been inundated with paperwork, I spent the day on political moves, agreeing cooperation with Labour and Greens over targeting election wards. In today’s Environmental Services Committee of the District Council I then successfully supporting Labour and back-bench moderate Conservatives to ban stubble burning and out-manoeuvred Leader Cllr Holley by using points of order thus dividing his members. A sad tale from Tory reject Cllr Ross McKay as I gave him a lift home.

Racial violence in the Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia with Moscow sending in 11,000 troops. More job losses in the city and other industrial firms and the stock exchange is falling again. An epidemic of "Mad Cow Disease", BSE.

Another day at home, actioning a variety of matters and starting the process of clearing up my office which had become inundated with paperwork. I had the best filing session for a long while and filled all of the wastepaper baskets. Di went to Sandy and got our dove food at long last and I completed quite a bit of correspondence. I had a call from Mark Slater of the Labour Party who was receptive to my ideas for targeting the seats in a three-way deal with the Greens in the forthcoming District Council Elections and avoiding the danger of cancelling one-another out in our opposition to the Tories. He is also keen on presenting the motion in support of "Parents-against-Smoking" which I had suggested.

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Monday 15th January 1990

After a slow start to the day, I called the A1 Bluefields site owner and rejected the purchase due to their asking price after which first Percy and then Joy Standen arrived to discuss Council tactics. I ended up spending the morning discussing planning procedures after which I found the main issue could wait after all!

A row with Diana over taking phone calls as we ate our lunch and then the afternoon learning how to install my new boat battery chargers that arrived today and then this evening's meeting of the Kimbolton School Society's Committee

I slept well enough but was still not ready for the others at breakfast. When I am called as early as 7.00am, it takes me half an hour just to become sensible and drink my morning tea. I was ready soon enough afterwards and then settled down into my office and re-created my action list hoping to get some work done. I called the owners of the land near the A1 (Bluefields) and discussed a purchase price but they wanted some £30,000 for it when I was only willing to pay £18,500 based on my valuation. They say that they have others willing to pay more and so they must be advised to take that if it is true. Then comes Percy Meyer to do some photocopying for the press releases etc. and he stayed to chat for a while until we were interrupted by the arrival of Joy Standen, a fellow Little Paxton Parish Councillor.

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Sunday 14th January 1990

On a strangely mild and damp day after a very frosty I took Della horse-riding for the first time for several weeks, but I led her, and she managed to walk and trot aboard. Then before and after fine roast chicken lunch, distributing delivery rounds and meeting my constituents until home to rest and take some long phone calls with briefing and training our new councillor Derek Giles the longest.

Unrest in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, turning into anarchy with 30 killed and mobs rampaging, 43 die in a Spanish discotheque fire, 100 are feared dead in yet another Dhaka Bangladesh ferry sinking as back home Northern Ireland Minister, Brian Mawhinney, denies there is a Shoot-to-Kill policy

After it started very frosty last night, the early morning was quite mild and damp which was strange. It soon dried up and made a nice day for doing things and I had quite an active day physically. We had not gone to bed until after midnight and I was still groggy when woken at 8.20am. I was still lying in bed at 8.45am when Di broke the news to me that I was supposed to be taking Della horse-riding this morning and so it was all a bit of a rush. A nice fried breakfast and then off with our riding pupil. Our lesson was at 10.00am, but we were there early, and I got Della to pet "Minty" so that she would not be too nervous after several weeks without riding. Then Fiona gave us the news that she would be riding "Muffin" which came as a bit of a shock and she had a little cry! Muffin (I call him "Ragamuffin") is an hairy old thing that looks more like a donkey or an astrakhan coat, with hair so long. At 25, it is an old animal and so is very quiet and gentle. I led the pony during the lesson and Della rode as it walked and trotted, and she soon got used to the sensation again.

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