Monday 20th August 1990

After Daniel had reported a lack of attendance by our gardener at Paxton, we found out by telephone that he had been accepted at UEA for his Computer Science Degree. I worked on all evening servicing the boat and ran into great difficulty but I finished the job and then I stayed up and wrote up my logs and journals before turning in, very tired, at 11.00pm.

All the news is of the Iraq conflict and the UK and USA are out on a limb with their blockade until they can get UN backing. Bush warns that Iraq will be held responsible for the safety of US citizens.

We had another slow morning on with Di laying in and Della coming into my bunk to play before we could get going. After having my drinks, I enjoyed a shave, hair wash and bath in Heronshaw and then telephoned Daniel again after breakfast. He worried me again by reporting that he had seen no gardening activity and no writing in the gardening book. We set off to Wroxham for morning coffee and shopping. I had a melancholy interlude; a bit depressed about the non-performance of the gardener and concerned about Daniel's chances of getting into university with his low grades. Once back at the boat, I made some organising telephone calls and tried to arrange for an electrician to come and fix the thermo-stat on our immersion heater as well as get the forms for registering our "Jolly".

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Sunday 19th August 1990

Debbie was soon awake and pining for the company of her pony Sundance but, by arranging for her friend, Helen Cranston, to come and keep her company, she was happy again. Later, the girls watched videos whilst Diana washed and cleared up Heronshaw.

I sat and fished from the river frontage and caught half a dozen roach using bread paste as bait to avoid the eels. Daniel was all right at home this morning but complaining of having no food or drink. Iraq orders foreign embassies in Kuwait to close. 

Despite the exertions of yesterday, I was first awake on and then Diana joined me and made the morning drinks. Debbie was soon up and about and wanting to know when she could go home to see Sundance. Diana was doubtful as to whether we should stay any longer. I persuaded her and Debbie that it was a good idea to stay and that Debbie's friend, Helen Cranston, should be allowed to come tomorrow to keep her company. Being Sunday, the girls watched their favourite TV programmes ("David The Gnome" and "Ramona") and then Debbie telephoned the Cranston’s to see if Helen wanted to come. She did indeed and her parents agreed to bring her to Horning this very day which pleased Debbie immensely.

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Saturday 18th August 1990

An early start from Paxton to arrive at Heronshaw at 8.15am, much to Diana’s surprise! Then to take the family to The Swan for a fine breakfast before a brief foray to Norwich for some shopping and transactions before we all went on to Fritton Lake and Country park. The girls played on the adventure playground, but we were disappointed that there were no longer any pony rides.

I took the scenic route back by car, crossing the Yare at Reedham on the old car ferry. Iraq offers to release Westerners if US forces withdraw from the region but this is rejected. 

Poor Debbie seemed to have a migraine and began crying uncontrollably with a headache, so I consoled her. Before writing up my diaries this evening, I finished the book I was reading about Horning in the olden days and read all about the famous Horning pleasure wherry Arcadia that was once moored in our boat dyke there and whose wind vane (or "Jenny Morgan") still flies on our Heronshaw flagstaff. The news is of the deteriorating situation in Kuwait as Iraq take over the country

I decided to make an early start to avoid the holiday traffic and, after waking at 5.30am, I showered and shaved quickly before pumping up the trailer tyre for the journey. I was pleased to leave at 6.15am and found the roads refreshingly quiet at that time of day so that I amazed the family by arriving at Heronshaw at 8.15am - just as Diana was waking up after a lay in! I was a bit disappointed with her because I had told her I would be getting there early and had planned to take them out for breakfast. Still, they were ready in half an hour and I managed to get The Swan Inn to accept us as non-residents for a full English breakfast. This meal was very good indeed and the girls thoroughly enjoyed it. Although the meal was a little slow to arrive, they had obviously cooked it freshly which made up for it and we were well satisfied.

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Friday 17th August 1990

A truly madly busy day staying at The Hayling View with hardly any facilities as the electrician, decorators, heating engineers and office fitters were all working and the house was in dust. I got them all to cooperate and make the necessary access points etc and then interviewed my gardener Mark Bowles to ensure he properly fulfilled his responsibilities whilst we were away.

Breakfast with Daniel at The Little Chef and tea at The Happy Eater before a long evening sorting out my office and working on bill-paying, accounts and bank reconciliations. The Iran/Iraq situation has turned into a full-blown crisis with war threatened. Iraq announces move to place Westerners at Iraqi military and economic locations to act as a human shield


This was truly a mad and busy day. We had no water overnight apart from the mains drinking water tap in the kitchen. This meant that we could only flush each toilet once as the closet could not be replenished. I boiled a little water and had a shave and wash anyway and then woke Daniel up by taking him half a glass of apple juice which was all we had! We then went to the Little Chef for a nice breakfast before the action started. Once we had returned, the electrician came first at 8.40am and brought the Myson kick-space heater that was to be needed later. With his mate, he then pulled through the computer cable that was to connect one of our new desks to the other and then, as a bonus, had the correct tool to terminate the ends and secure the sockets to the wall. We also discussed the provision of low-voltage down-lights for the office as well.

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