Thursday 31st May 1990

Another hot and sunny day spent trying to cut back vegetation overhanging the games lawn, a meeting of Liberal Democrat Councillors; Percy, Sally and Michael after which I leapt into the swimming pool to clean and cool off. The buyers of The Lady have got their loan, US President George Bush is supporting Gorbachev and giving backing to his reforms. During appalling racial violence in Pakistan, 157 people have lost their lives.              

I had a little lay in this morning but was soon up and ready for breakfast with the family as I had been away from them for some time and needed the contact. I then fed the fish and re-filled the food containers that Diana had used up, before back-flushing the pond filter to see how well it had been managing. Daniel had been looking after this whilst I was away and seemed to have been doing it correctly. The grass was quite parched with the lack of rain and had not grown very much and so I left the lawns and started on the hedges. The first was the Leylandii that was overhanging the games lawn. I started with the hedge trimmer but then needed a bow saw and mine seemed to be at Heronshaw. I went to borrow one from John and Pat but found a chain saw that needed attention and so I took that instead and this started a whole process that took me off into log cutting. I drove off to Arthur Ibbett in Great Paxton and got them to sharpen the saw and came back to have a go at the logs that have been getting in the way since the oak tree was lopped for fear of falling in the gales.

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Wednesday 30th May 1990

Packing up and leaving Paxton Princess and Heronshaw on another hot and sunny day after receiving a visit from the latest builder who casts doubt on the viability of rescuing the building and getting Chris’s help to measure the boat dimensions for bridging etc. Back home to a mountain of post and phone messages.

A major earthquake situated in northern Romania, affects many Eastern European countries,  the Gorbachev/Bush summit starts today and France unilaterally implemented a complete ban on the import of British Beef due to the "Mad Cow" disease

I spent most of the morning packing up my things and tending to the Paxton Princess. I filled up the water, charged the batteries and locked the boat up ready to be left for a couple of weeks. My visitor arrived today as arranged. It was Colin Lingwood, a senior manager with one of the larger construction companies, who looked over Heronshaw and gave his views as to how to proceed. They could do the piling to modern standards and bring the equipment in by water that would save the unmade road, but they could not specify the piles unless we had a structural survey on the construction and condition of Heronshaw. The project would cost about £1000 per pile, for 10/12 piles, and then some £20,000 for galvanised steel interlock sheeting for making the bank protection permanent. The numbers are making the restoration of Heronshaw unlikely. I am beginning to bow to the inevitable conclusion that this money is better spent on complete demolition and building of a new property to make best economic use of the site. I have tried my best, but the builders are against me.

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Tuesday 29th May 1990

A lay in and breakfast courtesy of Freda on a hot and sunny day as I successfully completed a day of varnishing but there was no sign of builder Amis. Freda's daughters went to Great Yarmouth today and then thoroughly enjoyed it with young Sharne enjoying the rides at Joyland which left only Freda and Alf at Heronshaw for a sandwich lunch.

A combative chat with Alf, one of life's elderly "angry young men" and somebody who is full of ideas but of no thoughts as to how they could be implemented. Alarmingly, he regards the Redgrave venture as being totally down to Freda and wants to play no part in it and, as she also cooks and house-keeps for him, it will depend upon Chris to help Freda succeed. I tidied the boat before going home tomorrow.

An IRA car bomb attack was thwarted today when a Semtex bomb was spotted by a police officer under his car and Boris Yeltzin has seized the leadership of the Russian Federation and Gorbachev now has a serous domestic problem on his hands prior to his summit with U.S. President George Bush

After the efforts of yesterday, we all had a lay in on but were together for breakfast courtesy of Freda again. Today was hot and sunny for most of the time. There was a slight smattering of a shower later but not before I had successfully completed a day of varnishing. I first took some time stripping off and sanding the retaining blocks on top of the cabin roof, and then, after lunch, gave these their first two coats of varnish and a further two more for the rubbing strakes. I had waited in vain all day for the builder, Mr Amis, who did not come and I could only assume that he is not interested in doing the work. Freda's daughters, after some argument, agreed to go to Great Yarmouth today and then thoroughly enjoyed it after all. Young Sharne enjoyed the rides at Joyland.

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Monday 28th May 1990

Bank Holiday Monday – I drove the Butterfield family to Stanton for a day trip to visit Mum and, in a party atmosphere on a nice sunny day before showers later, we trimmed the hedge, cleaned Dad’s car and took it for a trip to see Stanton Windmill. It was sad to see my old Dad’s beautifully kept tools and fishing tackle, never to be used by him again, which I took home. We stopped off at Redgrave Stores for Freda to agree things with the vendor Mr Whitmarsh and show her family around the property.

News from home was of the family being better but Fiona being mean to Sarah Morbey and the other riders at Offord stables such that Debbie’s Sundance was the only pony allowed to go to the event. The Lady had now been sold subject to finance and survey. Gorbachev's internal rival, Boris Yeltsin, wins a key party ballot and is talking of a pact with the Conservatives to seize the Presidency itself and The IRA kill two Australian lawyers on Sunday in Germany, "mistaking them for British servicemen"

We were all up and ready early by arrangement for a day trip to visit Mum in Stanton. After breakfast, I drove Freda, Chris, Stacey and Sharn there whilst Alf stayed at Heronshaw as he did not fancy the journey (and probably the company as well if the truth be known). It started a nice sunny day and the journey went very well. Once we arrived, we chatted all morning, drinking coffee and eating biscuits etc and then had a sandwich lunch. This afternoon, I got out the hedge trimmers and started on the long hedge that Dad used to keep neat and tidy but it was some time before I could find the extension lead in the shed. Whilst I was looking, I was sad to see all his tools, beautifully kept, and the fishing tackle that was kept ready for a another trip that was never to come. I got Chris started on cleaning Mum's car and then Jane and John arrived so that all of the Butterfields (apart from Alf) were there.

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