Sam and I were going from strength to strength attending the GSP Club Championship Show at Retford where Sam was "Very Highly Commended".
Sam and I were going from strength to strength attending the GSP Club Championship Show at Retford where Sam was "Very Highly Commended".

‘Flaming June’ proved to be a gloriously-hot and sunny month of gave political activity with more elections success but also two trips to Norfolk and domestic party challenges.

We commemorated our Fathers’ Days, sold the Rolls Royce and gave my Dad's old Escort Estate to Di’s parents. More property progress at The Hayling View and Cambridge Street, with the first tenants in the latter. I was still running the RHDRA and reviewing the Broads Plan for its impact on our dyke road.

Jim was taking a rest from dog training with Ben but Sam and I were going from strength to strength attending the GSP Club Championship Show at Retford where Sam was "Very Highly Commended". Apart from my visits and election work, we still managed some activities at home dining out, visiting the cinema and fetes.

News of John Major and the Tories suffering the poorest results ever in the EuroElection, losing half their seats and the Football World Cup took place without England who had failed to qualify.

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

The glorious weather continued through June with plenty of hot and sunny days and quite a few others where the alternative of hot and humid weather made nights very uncomfortable. It was fine weather for the successful end of the Hemingford & Hilton District By-election and start of the Eynesbury Town Council one. Also for Della's sports day and for Debbie's practice for hers but then cooler climes prevailed for the real event and for Lynn's 40th party when we shivered in the marquee. At least the occasional thunderstorms had abated by then but they came back with a vengeance to provide an almost theatrical backdrop for the dramatic showdown of the local LibDems AGM.

With the better weather, my Discovery and its garage were due for a Spring clean as I removed the car's waterproof seat covers and then vacuumed and cleaned it. Daniel joined me in sorting out the garage as we worked together on Father's Day and both he and the girls got me a card and a small present. I had let his friend, Jason, borrow my Dad's old Escort Estate after he had his car stolen in Bedford and, once back and cleaned, we gave it to Di's parents to replace their old rusty one. Daniel had failed to get the wing dent repaired but Charles paid to have this done himself and we were pleased to see the car used again and in good use. A principal achievement for me was getting the Rolls Royce out of mothballs and, despite not completing an MOT beforehand, manage to sell the car via The Exchange and Mart for £17,500; retaining the number YXD 1 for transfer onto Daniel's car.

More progress on The Hayling View as Pete further displays his handyman skills and decorates the outside of the conservatory having enlisted gardener Bill's help as a ladder man. Eventually reported the unauthorised houseboat on The Haylings for enforcement action and enquired about getting new trees planted to screen the sewage works now that the old Mill Meadow willows have been cut down. I was in touch with Nigel to oversee the final preparations for the occupation of 50-52 Cambridge Street as the first tenant occupies her flat for the last week of the month.

But most of the month was taken up with two visits to Norfolk and as many election campaigns. Our first visit was as a break from the Hilton election campaign with the whole family as the girls were on their half-term and Daniel had to go to have his automatic transmission fixed. He has been very pleased with his car but this was the main fault he had to get dealt with. He is doing all right these days with mainly male friends but he and Simon did take two girls from Milton Keynes to Alton Towers on an "each-person-pays-for-themselves-basis" and they all enjoyed it.

I had to get the RHDRA organised for their annual meeting and remained its Chairman after all and even researched the affect of the new Broads Plan on our neighbourhood and sent details to all my neighbours with plans for making up the road again. I would have achieved the latter as well if it were not for Arthur Edmunds being even more cantankerous that usual. Diana and I bought a new mower from Ibbetts and we took this over to Horning. With her at the controls and me manning the strimmer, we brought the garden there under good control and came back for another day trip to make it look nice after a season of neglect.

Our main trip to Horning had all of the usual visits and events; coffee and scones at Jarrolds, lunches at Pizza Hut, snacks at Horning Tea Shoppe, the Horning Leisure Centre and the Wroxham Riverside Cafe. There were trips to Pleasurebeach in Yarmouth where we found even more sand piled up in dunes at the Gorleston sea-front and the holiday caravans looking even thinner and more isolated than usual. The huge piles of granite boulders stored there were starting to be taken away for the coastal sea defences. The girls were pleased to be back in Norfolk's libraries again as a home from home for bookworms.

 I gave Jim and July a break as they were moving in to their news cottage in Suton. Jim was disappointed with Ben's performance and missed the dog training this time but Sam and I joined two other handlers for special tuition with Brian Botterman and shown how to keep in contact with our dogs for hunting at a distance and Sam was the best of the three. I spent time with him before the start of the fishing season in the middle of the month getting much better at entering water first time and his waterwork and blind retrieves have come on apace. We met a neighbour of mine and his Springer Spaniel, bought trained from Wales, and Sam was much better at his retrieving.

His obedience continues to improve and both Debbie and Della control him for walks now. His only event was the GSP Club Championship Show at Retford where Sam was "Very Highly Commended". This only meant coming 5th out of 8 but then he was still moulting out his orange shoulder patches and very much "out of coat". He also had another problem this month, as he suffered from a cough that I put down to the large quantity of pollen and seed in the undergrowth in this weather.

The bulk of my time, however, was spent on the twin election campaigns with Sam not getting very much of a look in. It was the end game of the Hemingford Abbots and Hilton District Council By-election and my colleagues opted for a very aggressive and political final leaflet and I went along with them with some trepidation. I need not have worried as the re-canvas of "outs' was very positive and we could relax when it rained to plan polling day.

The flag boards went up, this final leaflet was delivered and then the "Please Vote Today" leaflets were bundled up into rounds on the eve of poll for delivery by key helpers the following morning. My 4/86 computer was 'borrowed back" from Wiggly to give us, with Mark Rainer's, two computers for polling day; one in each village set up in the committee rooms the day before. Polling Day itself was a great training exercise as the St Ives-area activists were used to a much more laid-back approach and they had to be chivvied up all day.

The "Good Morning" leaflets went out all right and I fired up the computers per plan but it was an enormous struggle getting knocking up done during the day. My technique calls for the elderly supporters to be given gentle knock-ups in the morning and then the properties occupied during the day to be started straight after lunch with a first complete knock up done by teatime. Then the evening can be used to really force them out. The Tories were trying hard as well and, Derek Giles returning in the evening, we really had the ward cooking by then as we achieved a 70% turnout between us.

We had to wait until the following day to confirm that we had won what the radio stations accepted was "the loss of the safest Tory seat in John Major's home district of Huntingdonshire". The newspaper did not pull any punches the next day when it headlined the report "No end to Major's Misery" and pictured our campaign team on the front page. This was all probably true as he was home in the constituency trying to rest from national problems, it being a Friday!

The celebration drink and then evening followed with Derek and I touting for help for Wiggly in her forthcoming by-election. Such euphoria was short-lived as I returned to my own branch to find that my colleagues were falling out with the whole Giles family incoherent over Ross McKay. His behaviour at the public meeting had led to a deluge of complaints and telephone calls and so I went with Percy to see him and we read the riot act as a last ditch effort to have him behave reasonably and co-operate.

We thought that this would allow the situation to be dealt with over time but then Sandy Giles and Michael Pope wrote a letter critical of him which was published in successive weeks in the local press. John Roscoe was then on the receiving end of Ross McKay's criticism for shutting him out of FOCUS publicity and accepting branch contributions for his publishing efforts. His failure to get a Policy Committee place under Percy's plans then sent him over the brink.

I soon was meeting all and sundry to head off resignations and then Derek fell out with Sheila Shorten over plans for a second St Neots Market Day! Wiggly was then "stood up" when scheduled to learn FOCUS publishing techniques with John Roscoe. All three Town Council husband-and-wife pairings also seemed to be going through a stressful time. In the end, I sorted them all out by getting proper Town Council Group meetings back and officers elected to deal with communications and relationship problems in the future.

Ross would thus be subject to proper group discipline and disputed policies could be voted on fairly. Percy and I headed off Ross being one of these officers by getting sufficient nominations and votes to select Rob Williams as Chairman, Michael Pope as his Vice-Chairman, John Scott as Treasurer and Wiggly as Secretary. Then the last move was to brief Sally on how to report to the meeting and run it as outgoing chairman. All this done, it was time to cast my mind on to the Eynesbury St Neots Town Council By-Election and the first problem was that an insistent Wiggly had filed her own nomination and got the numbers of the proposers all wrong so that I had to go over to Pathfinder House and conspire with Trevor Amis to correct them.

I had updated my campaign manuals and, once Wiggly's sister Joanne had read them and come down to help with the campaign; they were in stitches and found the copy and detail dead funny! I helped the to deliver some of the first leaflets and found them a hoot when together. I took up Sandy and Derek's offer and we used the late father's flat at 22 Luke Street as our committee room and this was ideal for rendezvousing for canvassing.

Daytime with Sandy and John and, in the evening with Wiggly, we started the canvassing in earnest. It was quite an experience working with Wiggly in her black leather miniskirt in the sweltering heat and we just had to have post-canvassing drinks in the Cambridgeshire Hunter and other pubs afterwards as she started to make her impression on me count. Whilst I was occupied with Polling Day, Diana had her cousins and sister-in-law to tea.

Apart from my visits and election work, we still managed some activities at home. There were Saturday visits to the Happy Eater and Bridge Hotel Restaurant, Brackenbury's coffees and snacks and a trip to Cambridge where we heard that Di's parents had sold their Spanish Villa at last. We had a nice trip to the Little Paxton School Fete with the girls and two trips to the cinema at Bedford to see "Naked Gun 33 etc." and "Angie".

Disaster of the month was another dishwasher fault leading to the kitchen being flooded. Elsewhere, John Major had the Tories poorest results ever in the EuroElection, losing half their seats and the main seat of "Essex Man", Basildon, to Labour and even the Liberal Democrats won their first representation despite the adverse election system. His comments criticising beggars went down badly, he was in conflict with Europe over the choice of a successor to President Jaques Delore and his government messed up the negotiations with the rail signalmen by crass incompetence.

No wonder three of his own MPs are calling for his resignation. It was a month of football news as Spurs received draconian sanctions for financial irregularity and the World Cup took place without England who had failed to qualify. We were also struggling at the end of the month with the start of the Test series against the cricketers of New Zealand but shared success in two exciting Rugby Union matches with South Africa, the first in front of new President Nelson Mandela.