Thursday 29th March 1990

After a slow start to make the boat warm enough for Diana to rise (!), I cleaned the outside of Paxton Princess which made a great transformation. Then a meeting with RYA instructor Tom Phillips about a trip for my RYA Day Skipper Certificate, a visit from Jack Edwards and lunch with Di at the Wroxham Bridge Restaurant. A trip on the boat for fuel and a pump out and on to St Benedicts Church, Horning and back.

At a Cambridge meeting of Thatcher with West German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, they agreed to differ on the need for a closer form of European integration but found compromise in a plan for air-based nuclear weapons

We were up early but a little slow to start as I had to get up and put the heating on and boil the kettle before I could arouse Diana. I really wanted to finish off my shed today, but Diana wanted me to clean the outside of the Paxton Princess and so I relented. I went outside straight away and there was no doubt that the difference a good clean made was stunning. It was a great transformation. I had a telephone call from the Wroxham-based RYA Instructor, Tom Phillips,  and when I had nearly finished cleaning the boat, he dropped in to visit me and we looked over the boat and discussed the question of a 4-day period of tuition on my boat to the syllabus of the RYA Day Skipper Certificate. The Jack Edwards, my caretaker, dropped by with the metal braces and nails for the shed and, by the time I had introduced him to Diana and had a chat, it was quite late for our trip to Wroxham for lunch. I still took Di to the Wroxham Bridge Restaurant where we thoroughly enjoyed a roast dinner cooked and presented impeccably as usual.

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Wednesday 28th March 1990

After an early start on a rather cold and slightly showery day, , we dropped Della off at her Grandparents' house in Bar Hill on our way to Heronshaw in Norfolk. Upon arrival I repaired the old utility area floor an installed a washing machine and tumble dryer. England beat Brazil in a friendly 1-0 and only rain stopped us beating the West Indies in the second cricket test.

More publicity proving the innocence of ‘the Birmingham Six’, Relations are deteriorating in Lithuania as the fate of an estimated 1000 Red Army deserters is disputed and five Iraqi agents are arrested in a Heathrow sting trying to buy electronic triggers for nuclear bombs.

We were up early at my instigation and had packed and got ready in short order. In fact, I had loaded most things the night before which helped. We decided to have breakfast on the way and dropped Della off at her Grandparents' house in Bar Hill at 8.00am to find them both in their dressing gowns having breakfast. The journey went quite well with me trying not to speed and get too close to the car in front as Diana doesn't like that! We stopped at a Little Chef at Snetterton and had a lovely fried "early starter" breakfast which we both enjoyed. Once at Heronshaw, we unpacked the car and unloaded the automatic washing machine that we brought from home. Di was impressed with the work that I had done on the shed and in the boat-house.

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Monday 26th March 1990

After very late to bed and settling Debbie down to sleep, I took Di out on a cold and blustery day to an early lunch and some shopping afterwards as she had been rather depressed and was quite inconsolable at first and was still in tears later. When Nigel visited later, I helped him with some artwork for his sponsored Fun Run and then I decided to take Daniel and his car into St Neots to DAB Autos who generously offered to repair it for £300 and could start straight away. Some work in the conservatory later and an eaerly night with Diana who was still tired and depressed.

The US threatens the Soviet Union over Lithuanian intervention, South African police open fire on several thousand black anti-apartheid demonstrators and 8 were killed and many more injured.       Lloyds of London have done well to avoid underwriting losses after London's largest U.S. liability underwriter has been banned by the DTI due to having overcommitted assets.

I had been very late to bed last night but had stopped by to see Debbie who was having trouble sleeping over the excitement over her school trip to Holland that starts this morning. In the morning I was late up, washed and dressed; undertaking the normal ablutions that are needed after a few days on the boat. I then had to have breakfast somewhat late as a result. After this, I took Diana out to an early lunch and to do some shopping generally and for Daniel's birthday presents. She has become rather depressed and was quite inconsolable at first. We had an early snack at the Happy Eater and did my shopping first. Duck food from Avenue Fisheries, large plant pots, peat and seeds from Bickerdike’s and then we set off via two other garden centres for seed trays before we got to Bedford at about 12.30pm. We shopped around for things for Daniel, bought him a Filofax diary and wallet and some revision folders and then argued over what else to get. I did not want to spoil him and thought of a calculator, but Di was convinced that he already had one and she ended up in tears again.

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Sunday 25th March 1990

Mothering Sunday as the clocks go forward – A social day as I visited Mum in Stanton on my way back from Norfolk after welcoming the Jackson family who visited Heronshaw. The weather was cold windy and showery, but I could still tidy the garage, clear out the boathouse, fit more mooring rings to secure the dinghies as the water rises with the flooding.

Daniel had crashed his car again, forgotten Mother’s Day and Debbie had fallen out with Fiona at the riding school. Thatcher faces a rebellion in Parliament over the Poll Tax, A New York nightclub fire has killed 87 people and arson is expected and Soviet troops are on manoeuvres on the Lithuanian border as the Baltic Republics pledge solidarity in their fight for unconditional independence

I had made the decision yesterday to go back home later today, the weather being cold, windy and showery and visit Mum on the way back and so I tried to bring things to a conclusion. I stayed a while clearing things up after having been on the boat for several working visits, making a mess. I had just about started outside when the Jacksons arrived. There was Norma and Charles Jackson, Snr, and Chris and Charles, Jnr, together with their daughters Catherine and Natalie. I showed them the buildings first - the garage and shed - and Heronshaw itself. They could not have seen it in less favourable circumstances, but they still felt that it was well worth renovating and saving. Then I showed them the boat-house which they entered with some trepidation before I invited them into the warmth of the Paxton Princess for cocktails for the grown-ups and cola, peanuts and crisps for the girls.

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