Friday 14th September 1990

On a still, mild and dry day, gardener Brian Tee starts early, housekeeper Joan advises us of her plans to leave the following week, and the regional service manager of British Gas (Eastern) visits to promise rectification after poor service. A long day for me working on a range of administrative matters.

The British government is sending 6,000 troops and 120 tanks to the Gulf by diverting an armoured brigade from West Germany to Saudi Arabia to divert attention from the latest increase in domestic inflation which is 10.6%, the highest figure since the early 1980s, and we now have a record balance of payments deficit, high inflation, and rising unemployment as well as a shrinking economy in real terms!

I had a little trouble getting to sleep last night because of the heating trials making the house too warm and was then very reluctant to wake up. When I came down to breakfast in my night things, I found that Daniel had not come down at all! Brian Tee, the new gardener, arrived earlier today at 8am but fortunately I had just asked Diana to open the shed for him as I have not heard anything from Mark Bowles and am therefore lacking the spare key. I was dressed soon after and tending to the plants, fish and doves in turn and was then well at work in my office when Joan came. I chatted with her as she had told Diana she was leaving as our housekeeper next week. Diana was quite pleased as he wants to try to have a go at keeping the place clean herself and now wants the additional privacy. Joan will be working on a full-time basis at an underwear manufacturer in St Neots as a ‘presser’ as she needs the extra money. It is sad to see her go after nine years with us.

** "Read More" BELOW for the complete story **

Thursday 13th September 1990

The new gardener Mr Tee starts and the electrician commissions my office downlights as Diana had Chrisula to visit with her three girls. Sally and Michael arrived to start on their FOCUS copy and they were here all afternoon. Rather tired, I worked on my investments and journal in the evening as Debbie had quite a bit of work to do after just starting in Kimbolton main school but Daniel seemed more preoccupied with his car again

I had started my sleep rather late last night and I was still very tired when I was woken with my morning drink. I was the last down to breakfast and was still in the midst of my chores when Mr Tee, our new gardener, called to start working at 8:30am. I showed him around the gardens and went over the tools and machines and then left him to get on with it as the electrician was next to arrive at 8:45am. He set to work in my office, commissioning the floor space heater and then continuing by installing the downlights in my office architrave which took him until lunch.

** "Read More" BELOW for the complete story **

Wednesday 12th September 1990

It was quite chilly with a heavy dew this morning but became quite sunny and warm again as the day went on as we first went across the dyke in The Jolly for a fine English breakfast in The Swan and then a look around the shops before cruising along the Horning waterfront and looking at the riverside thatched bungalow designs.

The day working on my old thatched garage walls and replacing the rotten woodwork just stopping for a sandwich lunch looking over the dyke to see an old boy fishing and two cock coots fighting over a hen. Home to find Daniel had looked after his sisters well and then typing up this last couple of days’ journal entries before bed.

The Gulf situation seem to have started to deteriorate with Thatcher planning to send British armour to the area in what I take as her opening gambit for the forthcoming election campaign

I was keen to get on, but Diana persuaded me that we should take The Jolly across to the Swan for a nice English breakfast and so we had to take time out accordingly. The engine started all right in the boathouse, and we were soon over there moored up. The Swan was very quiet as well with only four or five rooms occupied and plenty of capacity to serve ‘walk-in’ breakfast to non-residents. In fact, we had four large rashers of bacon as well as the sausage, egg, mushrooms, fried bread and tomato all accompanied by toast and coffee. We took a little look around the shops, me buying a morning paper and Di some provisions and a half-dozen pansies to put in one of the Heronshaw tubs. We met Dolly Edwards, busy doing her own shopping, and again the shops were as quiet as the other places. We extended our return across the river by cruising along the Horning riverfront to look at the thatched bungalow designs and then hurried back, changed and got down to work.

** "Read More" BELOW for the complete story **

Tuesday 11th September 1990

I was up early as usual doing my chores but Diana accompanied me for this latest trip to Norfolk and delayed me with refreshment and shopping stops so that we encountered more traffic than usual and was late to see our architects in Coltishall about the future of Heronshaw. We accepted their advice that Heronshaw needed to be demolished and rebuilt. We arrived at Ropes Hill Dyke during road maintenance work but managed to get parked up after which I worked on repairing the garage as Di shampooed the carpets.  A fantastic seafood meal in the Wroxham Bridge Restaurant this evening, which left us full even after an evening walk. With everyone’s children having to go back to school, it is startling to witness just how quickly the ‘Capital of the Broads’ quietness down.

I arranged to take Diana with me on my latest trip to Norfolk, but I still got up at 7.00am and did my chores as usual. I gave the fish and doves plenty of food and the plants plenty of water as I was planning to be away overnight. I loaded up the Range Rover with a full range of tools as well as our personal things together with a host of furnishings that Diana turned out of the house for me to take to Heronshaw. Once Di had taken Della to school, we could set off but we had to soon return when she had found that she had forgotten her contact lens things. Being later than I usually go, the roads were full of cars and lorries and it was quite a slow journey and was made slower still by our stopping twice – once for ‘elevenses’ and again at the garage where Di loitered to buy some provisions and then presents for the children.

** "Read More" BELOW for the complete story **