Tuesday 18th September 1990

Tending to inside tasks on a rainy day, a trip to Mr Osborne who lectured poor Di about her dental care, to St Neots for morning coffee and a haircut all before arriving at Grove House for my meeting with Ian and Margaret James, of On-Site Training, negotiating my investment. This evening, I had to chair a meeting of the Little Paxton village Hall committee and learn that many of their activists were leaving.

Winnie Mandela was arrested on charges of kidnap and assault over the treatment of ‘Stompie’ who had his throat cut by her bodyguards. The International Olympic Committee have selected Atlanta Georgia, USA for the 1996 Olympics, even though it would be the centenary for Athens and the games were held in the USA eight years ago; it seems that money rules everything these days 

I had a fairly busy day ahead of me and so I awoke on time and got down to breakfast, insisting that Daniel also wake up and come down too. It was raining this morning, in fact teaming down, which was very welcome as far as the garden was concerned, but prevented the decorators from starting on the house again. I tended to such tasks that did not need me to go outside and then updated my journal to yesterday before it was time to leave for a dental appointment. My departure was slightly delayed by the gas board who were here again to continue the work on the heating system. They do not exactly inspire confidence, but I resolved to put the system to rights. Diana insisted on taking the wheel for our car journey to Kimbolton and says that she is not comfortable with my driving anymore. I drive as I always have, but she thinks that my reaction times may not be what they once were!

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Monday 17th September 1990

Tending my plants and things first thing before the decorators arrive and soon left on a showery day but the gas board also came and got on with my installation after a briefing so that I could spend the day on administration.

The US sacked their five star general Michael Dougan, a decorated war hero, for intemperate remarks as Britain and other European Community countries expelled not only the Iraqi military attaches based in Europe and their staffs but also student activists.

Another UK army recruitment sergeant is shot and seriously wounded outside his office in the Prime Minister’s Finchley constituency and the Liberal Democrats have opened their conference with a radical package of measures to improve the environment and reform the political system

I slept well enough and then made sure I was up in time as we were expecting workmen first thing in the morning. I did my morning round, although it had already started showering slightly and I did not really need to water the hanging baskets. I used fertiliser for the conservatory plants as they had only been fed but not watered this summer. It was strange to see the showers this morning after so many weeks and months without rain. I had put the sprinkler on a lawn earlier and had to turn it off; although it was questionable just how much good the light rain was doing. It was just our luck that this was the first day that the decorators come to paint the outside of the house and all they could do was to bring their equipment and had to go away again. Still, they have had a good summer for their trade. The gas board came again, and I had a long discussion with the supervisor and engineer about the finer aspects of how the heating installation would be done, before leaving them to get on with it.

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Sunday 16th September 1990

After some gardening chores, we set off to attend the seventh national rally of the British Ambulance Preservation Society, collecting Mum from Stanton and Freda from Redgrave so that Mum could present the Fred Broad Memorial Trophy to its first awardee, an owner from Northern Ireland.

At this Kilverstone Wildlife Park venue the girls were particularly taken with the miniature Falabella horses bred from South American stock. Back home via Redgrave where we saw the latest renovation work after which I relaxed for the evening, tired from my exertions.

We had not got to bed until after 1:30am this morning and had a bit of a lay in, myself not waking up until 8am, which was just as well for me to recover. Diana still made a nice fried breakfast this morning, which we all enjoyed, but it did mean that I had been eating far too much lately. I went out to do my chores and was struck by how much the garden had sprung back to life with our watering and care. The roses, in particular, were flowering nicely and smelling quite sweetly as well. Della helped me by watering the conservatory and feeding the fish, and then I updated my journal until it was time to get ready for the journey. We were committed to go to the seventh national rally of the British Ambulance Preservation Society, collecting Mum from Stanton and Frida from Redgrave on the way.

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Saturday 15th September 1990

After deploying a sprinkler on my lawns, the day ended with a clear, starry night leaving a damp slippery ground as we left this late evening’s autumn supper and dance of the Great Ouse Boating Association in Ely. The day updating my investments, rushing before midday to get into St Neots to do building society transactions and then on to Great Paxton and to buy a new petrol 2-stroke strimmer which worked well later on my slipway and riverside frontage.

More escalation of the Western military presence in the Gulf was announced today but there were also more indications that the blockade was working. Food and medicines are now being allowed in for humanitarian reasons.

A better night and then a more normal routine. We still had to get Debbie out to school on Saturdays, but she seems to catch the bus quite happily. I did my morning chores, put the sprinkler on the lawn in the riverside garden, and then settled down quite happily to my office paperwork. I was updating the investments – particularly National Savings Certificates and building society accounts – and then filling in reams of new forms for new issues etc. I carried on until coffee break and then had a bit of a rush before midday to get into St Neots to do building society transactions and then on to Great Paxton and to buy a strimmer. Having suffered in the past with a variety of electric strimmer’s, all of which either wore out just failed to do the job, I decided on a petrol 2-stroke machine which had the necessary power and durability to do the job in good time from one week to the next.

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