PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1992 - MARCH
17 17, Sunday 1 March 1992, Aldershot Road
A and B have just left for Brighton. It pours with rain. I have Piaf playing on the tape. My first peace since returning from Antibes. This afternoon, I lay on my bed, after lunch feeling exhausted and, in an unguarded moment, found myself wondering, for the first time as far as I can remember, whether I don’t truly prefer the peace of being alone always as opposed to just some of the time. I know there is danger here but perhaps I cannot avoid it. The simplicity, the crispness of life alone has such attractions. (‘Non, je ne regrette rien’ comes on.)
On returning from Antibes last Thursday I went straight into the office. My lads were full of news. John has found a new flat, through ‘Loot’, in Turnpike Lane; Henry was off for a long weekend in Wales; Kenny had been to Paris for a weekend, and his wife Liz has got a job in Brighton at the university library.
Just before I left for Antibes I wrote a memo to my boss Dennis regarding extra production help for John and Henry; even while I was away he appears to have acted and given me a couple of extra days help. Also, a team briefing report stated that there had been a discussion about Management Reports and how my new one - ‘EC Energy Policy’ - had sold 46 in one day. Well, Kenny got out his calculator to work how lucrative that would be for me. But, when I rang the editor, Vivien, she told me it had only sold 20 in total, so that put me in my place.
These days, there always seems so much to do whenever I get into the office. Part of the problem is that John is inexperienced and I need to do a lot of rewriting and rejigging. Also, the moment I take any holiday, my time in the rest of our four week cycle becomes very squeezed.
HARE’S MURMURING JUDGES
B and I went to the National Theatre last night to see David Hare’s ‘Murmuring Judges’. This is the second in a trilogy of works about the British institutions - the first, about the church, we saw last year. Unfortunately, it is impossible to dampen expectations concerning a National Theatre production of a new play by one the country’s best playwrights, so I was somewhat disappointed. ‘Murmuring Judges’ was grand in scope, linking characters right through the judiciary system from criminals in prison to judges meeting with the home secretary, but failed, for me at least, to raise more than a compliment. And, thinking about Hare as a writer, I realise that I always feel the same after seeing a new work of his, whether a play or film. I am profoundly grateful that we have at least one playwright who does not have a political chip on his shoulder, is dedicated to serious theatre, and who is able to bring important issues of today, this day, to the stage in an entertaining manner. Yet, because he seems to be virtually isolated in document our times by theatre, I would want him to be a genius, and he is not. He is a good playwright, and he catches themes and weaves them cleverly into substantial plots, but he seems to miss bringing the magic of enlightenment. Nothing he has written has the stamp of a classic. But everywhere I look I see revivals, revivals, revivals, so please carry on, and please prove me wrong.
Monday 9 March 1992, Brussels
A set of highly-charged dreams last night but I cannot remember most of them now. There was one in which M appeared. I recall only that I turned round to see her standing naked and that she then embraced me. In another one, I was at a horse race meeting; there were many crowds but I (and maybe Colin) managed to find a place where we could see the horses come stamping past.
Wednesday 11 March 199, Brussels
I get this very itchy feeling when I haven’t written a diary entry for some time. More so now when I have kept away from the computer out of fear for my hand and arm than when I am too busy or have nothing say. The fact is that after returning from Antibes, where I had done a lot of writing on the Tosh, my right arm and hand were suffering from muscle pains somewhat similar to those I used to get when I was working on three different machines - the Tosh at home, the Sirius and IBM desktops at the office. The pain - which is more like a dull cramp, a thickening of the sinews, than a real pain - spreads out through one or two fingers and up through the wrist into the forearm. Since working on the Macs, I have been more or less free of such troubles. In the meantime though, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) has become more prevalent around me and more attention has been focussed on the problem because the NUJ-FT negotiations are currently at a climax. There are nine journalists from the paper who have serious RSI. The company has offered them a package of pensions and compensations and threatened to sack them if they do not agree; the NUJ has taken up the cause, though, and is playing it for all its worth. I know very little about the people who have permanent damage (there are many temporary RSI sufferers, too, taking long periods of time off work) except that some of them have worked most of their lives for the FT.
A bright morning here in Brussels. I fly back to London this afternoon - my regular 17.55 connection to Gatwick. I must leave the flat at 16.45 to get the 16.55 train to the airport which leaves me plenty of time. Tonight, I will go back to Kilburn; hopefully I will make it in time for ‘Morse’ which starts at eight.
I spent half of yesterday afternoon listening to Norman Lamont deliver his budget speech. It seemed to me there was barely an item next to which one couldn’t see the brackets with a count of votes the Tories were trying to woo. True, Lamont avoided the brash, vulgar, colourful give aways (with two exceptions) which would have been too vulnerable to Labour retorts of bribery; nevertheless it was a budget which set out to secure many middle income votes as well as tempting a number of working class voters. One of the commentators in the newspapers this morning (I hear on the radio) has called it a Rotary Club budget. Yes, that describes my feeling exactly.
The glossy centrepiece of the budget was a new 20% rate of tax for the first £2,000 of taxable income which, although costing the same as the widely-predicted 1% reduction in the general tax rate, targets the lower paid better. The Labour Party has, though, already effectively knocked this on the head by saying the tax benefit goes to everyone and the money would have been better spent on public services for the less well off. The other glossy item was a halving of the tax on new cars. Well who is that going to benefit apart from the car industry - only the well off. ‘The Sun’ has rightly published an article showing that you will save £12,000 if you buy a Rolls Royce.
ADAM LEAVES NURSERY, STARTS SCHOOL
Adam has started school full time. All last week, he went for the mornings and lunch only and loved it. I spent Tuesday in Brighton and took him in and picked him up. I watched all the children line up in the upstairs corridor after finishing lunch and then walk slowly down the stairs towards their classroom to put their coats on ready for the playground. They must have been told to hold on to the banister as they came down the stairs because Adam was holding on awkwardly with both hands. He didn’t see me at first but then must have done because I waited for him in the playground and when he didn’t appear I walked into the classroom to find him hiding - he didn’t want to go home. For a second, I felt embarrassed because this was almost my first appearance in the school and here was my son trying to get away from me.
For Adam the change must be enormous and I imagine that after the honeymoon period of a week or more, he might have a reaction against school. The plain fact is that at the nursery the children have such attention from the staff, but suddenly in school there is only one teacher for thirty kids and no time to indulge any particular one. I have sent a thank you letter and £50 to the Brighton Polytechnic nursery - it seems the least I can do. Overall, we were very lucky to have Adam in such an open, caring and warm environment.
Last night, I nip along to the cinema without much idea of what to see. I choose a film called ‘At Play in the Fields of the Lord’ which, as far as I can tell from the posters, is about Indians. I choose it largely because the director is Hector Babenco. Not that I am any great fan of Babenco rather that I know of him and he is, at least, an intelligent and interesting film maker - often there are films I’ve never heard of on release here by directors I’ve never heard of - then all I have to go on is a title and a picture. Sometimes, if an important or selective actor is playing then I assume the picture can’t be all bad - but that is not a very good guide.
‘At Play’ turned out to be a eulogy for the Amazonian Indians - rather similar in some respects to John Boorman’s film about the lost child which was on release four or five years ago, perhaps more. This film contained sumptuous photography of the Amazon and the Angel Falls (in Guyana) and some fine music but was overlong at three hours long. The story tells of a westernised US Cheyenne Indian (Tom Berenger) who, with his partner (Tom Waits), lands his plane at a frontier town airstrip in the middle of the Amazon. Here he undergoes a spiritual conversion and decides to join up with the Niaruna, an untamed and dangerous tribe of Indians, which are the object of attention of a local policeman and a bunch of missionaries. The policeman wants to get them out of the way so that gold miners and land seekers can move onto the land; while the missionaries want to get to them first in order to convert them and win over the land peacefully. Well, the Indians of course are the pure ones, the innocents (they are largely naked with a high preponderance of young girls - but not as many as in Boorman’s film - they are always playing in the rivers, they have feasts when the men bring home an animal on a stake, life in their isolated jungle encampment is largely idyllic); the police, the missionaries, and the gold miners are the evil ones. The story largely concentrates on the missionaries attempt to make contact with the Niaruna and the US Indian’s development with the tribe. In the end, Tom Berenger, despite doing all the right things and advising the Niaruna against killing whites, brings flu to the tribe which half kills them, and then the local police bomb the encampment so the Indians have to flee through the jungle. Yes, it’s all terrible isn’t it, but what should be done.
Although, I quite enjoyed the film, what most annoyed me was that I had to sit through ten minutes of credits at the end - one of the longest credits I’ve ever seen, before there was a reference to any of the Brazilian Indian tribes that had been featured in the film. At least one third of the film was only the real Indians (apart from Berenger) and yet they were not listed until right at the very end when almost everyone who ever sees the film will have left the cinema. For my mind, they were the stars of the picture and it could never have been made without them. I hope they exacted a high cost from the producers (both in terms of money and in terms of the image portrayed through the film), nevertheless the names of their tribes should have been much higher up in the credits.
John Major must have timed his appearance on the doorstep of No 10 so as to catch the Radio Four one o’clock news. The news began with the presenter saying that John had been to see the Queen earlier than expected, and was due to make an announcement any moment. There were a few minutes of inane chatter from the reporters in Downing Street (well the excitement hasn’t so much been over when the election will be but over exactly when John Major will make the announcement . . . ) and sure enough, on cue, out he came (as if he himself were fed up of the inane chatter he was hearing on Four) and told the nation the general election would be on 9 April. He said he would take a few questions, but what questions can one ask that won’t allow him to say what he wants to say about the Tory campaign? He took just enough to ensure he said everything he wanted to say. So, finally, after all the dithering we are actually on our way to the next election. It should be exciting.
Tuesday 17 March 1992, London
The last couple of mornings, Mark has woken me up by slamming his door on the way back from the toilet, sometime between five and six. This morning, I couldn’t get back to sleep so began editing some pages for ‘East European Energy Report’. I’m likely to be in the office today until after six so that will make a fine twelve hour day!
I still have not found a second lodger. It is well over three months now that the upstairs room has been vacant. The market is awash with places to rent and each time I advertise I rarely get more than half a dozen phone calls and one visit. Last night, Karmel came round, but I didn’t like her eyes, or the fact that she said she would have to get the money together. I don’t mind so much about not having the income, but I mind about not having a friendly female in the house, and about the house being empty a lot at the weekends. I have decided to try increasing the rent from £50pw to £60pw since I am beginning to think some people may be put off by the low rent, and that others are attracted by it being the lowest on offer.
Saturday 21 March 1992, Brighton
A bright, sunny but cold day. Daffodils and crocuses are out in the park, cherry blossom blooms along the streets; in our yard here, the quince has already flowered. I went down to the beach with Adam and he ran around with joy while I crouched behind a breaker to keep the bitter wind off my back.
Adam complains of ear ache a lot these days and his hearing seems to be slightly faulty at the moment; of the few children we know, two are currently due into hospital for ear operations as a result of glue ear. Adam had his ears tested six weeks back and, periodically, I test them too, but I’ve been unable to demonstrate any deficiency. When we go out, he wears the bobble hat I brought back from Denmark some years ago.
When we go out to the shops on Saturdays now, he always asks me to buy a comic. Most places have a wide range for Adam’s age - ‘Sesame Street’, ‘Barbar’, ‘Postman Pat’, and ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’, for example, all at a little under a pound. They have a variety of stories, games and educational tidbits. Sometimes I buy him one and sometimes I don’t. As I sit here, I think about, perhaps, giving Adam a pound a week with which he could buy his own comic.
B works all day on her projects - she has just a few weeks left before all her course work must be handed in, thereafter its revision for the finals in June. And that’s it. I have booked a flat in a small village called Studland near Swanage for the end of April, running through from the Saturday before Easter Sunday to the Saturday after. It wasn’t an easy decision to go for the holiday but I felt, on the whole, I could manage the time off, I would enjoy being in the country for a week and near an empty sand beach, and that the break would be excellent value for Barbara. The one bedroom flat cost £152 for that week, while the following week it would only have cost £92 - such is supply and demand in a holiday world dominated by school schedules.
The election dominates all our lives now, although the world one-day cricket cup in the antipodes and royal scandals are doing their best to compete. The party campaigns are just a week old but the newsmen have already identified phases, and the parties have begun to react to criticisms of those phases. The Tory campaign, for example, was judged rather lacklustre, but now Major is out in the crowds and has sharpened his tongue in attack of the Labour party. And Kinnock, who has been reprimanded for not meeting the people in the street, promises walk-abouts soon. The campaigns certainly have stepped up in the last couple of days with the most amazing rhetoric flying backwards and forwards. The reds and the blues are dragging up everything they can think of from the history books to blacken the names of the other side, while Paddy and his liberals walk softly on the gentle turf of the high ground refusing to be soiled by the mud-slinging of the other two sides.
The pollsters, of course, are raking in profits; there does seem to be a trend emerging out of the first week with a 2-3% lead for the Labour party; but it is such a tight contest and there is so much at stake that mistakes are being made by both sides. Interestingly, the Liberal Democrats may gain out of the necessity the two major parties feel for attacking each other. On the other hand, in a close election more people feel obliged to ensure their vote counts in electing their favoured candidate and therefore less likely to take a risk with an ideological vote.
Me, I’m an out and out Liberal Democrat. I have no problem at all with choosing. Thatcherism was desperately needed by this country in 1979 and in 1983, but Thatcher, herself, bribed and wangled the electorate and, ultimately, was allowed to stay in power for one whole term of office too long. Now the country badly needs a counterweight to the crude forces of the free market - it needs investment in industry, in training, in education, and probably in the health service too (although I find health a more difficult subject). I admire the visionary aspects of the Ashdown regime, although in some cases he’s probably gone too far in his quest to be voted in on the basis of being truthful (it does seem crazy to admit that he would bring in a big rise in petrol taxes for example, when he could show his green hat other ways.)
Following the government budget and the opposition phantom budget most people around me seem to be counting up whether they will be better off under the Tories or the Socialists. Well, that shows such a lack of understanding of how politics works. At the extremes, it is clear that a Labour government would spread wealth more than a conservative one which would give the rich the chance to be wealthier. But all the undecided, those in the middle of the spectrum (as far as it can be squashed into two dimensions), cannot rely on the information given them in the manifestoes - so much is left unsaid - to the extent of calculating their income in post-election scenarios.
As for the other news - England play South Africa tonight for a place in the final against Pakistan who, last night, beat New Zealand. Our lads, led by trooper Gooch, with magician Botham in attendance, have had a marvellous tour so far, beating the Kiwis in almost all the matches and then having a glorious run through the round robin stage of the world cup. However, towards the end of the eight game cycle, injuries hit the team badly and we lost two games, once to New Zealand and once to Zimbabwe, a team which hadn’t picked up a single point otherwise.
If the referendum held earlier this week is anything to go by, president de Klerk has convinced the white electorate in South Africa that change must come, the franchise must be spread to blacks and whites, and the blacks must have a seat in government. Indeed, this evening I heard Nelson Mandela being talked about as the next President of South Africa. I cannot believe that the whites aren’t emigrating as fast as planes can leave - the blacks are going to shit all over them as soon as they get a taste of power; they have to. Having been shat on all their lives by the whites, the blacks will not be able to help themselves.
And, last but by no means least, our poor dear royal family. Sarah Ferguson, dearly beloved of Prince Andrew and mother of Beatrice and Eugenie, direct descendants to the throne of Great Britain, has decided she can take no more. After a party lasting five years, after being a world star, she’s decided to quit. The Queen’s press secretary in talks with the palace correspondents quietly tried to blame Fergie but the tabloids called his bluff and ran headlines like - the Queen has the knives out for Fergie - and so on. Of course, the Queen couldn’t be seen to be saying such things, so the PR had to take the blame and apologise publicly to Queenie and Fergie. Fergie’ll want lots and pots of lolly - after all if she’s to keep quiet and not accept $2m dollar for her story from an American publisher she’ll need reasonable compensation. Shame on her, I say, I’m with you Queenie; send her to Coventry; how dare she play around with the very history of our country as well as set such a poor example for the married folk of our society!
14 48, Monday 23 March 1992, London
STARTING MY OWN BUSINESS?
I begin to do some real sums concerning the possibility of starting my own business. Doing the sums has made my ideas clearer - for example, the only real future for ‘EC Energy Monthly’ is for the FT to sell it to me. A price of between £30,000 and £50,000 would allow me a reasonable income in year two and a good one thereafter. However, I cannot hope to launch a competitor to ‘European Energy Report’ and ‘East European Energy Report’, especially as Kenny would prefer to stay with the FT; commercially, much the most profitable course would be to buy the newsletters. Although I can see my future with the EC fairly clearly, were I to concentrate on that, I find looking into a future with ‘European Energy Report’ and ‘East European Energy Report’ far more difficult. Much would depend on, firstly, a decision in principle to allow me to buy them, and, secondly, the price tag. I must do my sums yet more carefully. I need to add in the cost of borrowing money, for example, and have a look at cash flow in the first year.
I have tried to think some of these things through a little more carefully because John McLachlan has called me for a meeting tomorrow. Ostensibly it is about a memo I sent to Dennis (but copied to John and Will Gibson) on strengthening the editorial relationship between the FT newspaper on the one side and newsletters and management report on the other. But, in reality, it is a matter to be discussed largely with Dennis as John’s responsibility on editorial matters is limited. He could be calling me in to tell me off for copying Will in on my memos but that seems a little far-fetched when he could do that by telephone or memo. So I am left wondering what else he might want to talk to me about - perhaps he wants a non-Dennis view of what’s happening at Tower House, with regard to the computers, or RSI or who knows. In any case, I intend to ask him what prospects there might be within the FT organisation.
Vivien Korn took me for lunch the other day along with Julian, the marketing person on my Management Report. They tell me, the report has sold about 80 so far, which is good news. They think it will have a limited lifetime, so sales need to run at 50 a month if we are to reach a target of 400. We talk about ways to increase sales, but also how, since these kind of management reports are bought unsighted, the FT name is particularly important in promotion. As far as the energy world is concerned, FTBI has such good in-house lists that this resource is equivalent to free land rights to a gold mine.
Brian Jensen rang me on Friday from Brussels to firm up an arrangement whereby I will proofread and anglicise copy he has written. The Commission (Michael Gowen to be exact) has commissioned a Danish company to prepare a brochure on the Thermie programme. This is to be distributed widely across Europe (some 20,000 copies). The Danish firm has sub-contracted the job to Brian, who, in turn, is further sub-contracting to me. He is to write the copy for 30-40 pages but, although his English is good, he is not a native speaker, and therefore wants me to make the language fly, so to speak. He has offered me the princely sum of Ecu2,000 for what seems a small job - FT Management Reports pay their proofreaders ten per cent of that figure for reading (although no rewriting is involved) a manuscript twice as long. What a nice little earner these Commission consultants must be on.
I am working at home today. Ho ho. ‘Scarlet’s Magic Computer’ needs finishing and I was determined to get it done this quarter. January for thinking, February for writing, March for polishing. I’m a bit behind on my schedule but I find it so hard to do any creative writing without a solid break from the concerns of my work. This week is the free one in my four week cycle - the last free week I was in Antibes and did the bulk of the writing.
B and I have had a couple of flawed weekends. After one argument we were sitting down for lunch and B was getting the food out of the oven when four year-old Adam quizzed me quietly: ‘Do you think Mummy is a wonderful mummy?’ I answered ‘Yes, I think she is wonderful Mummy.’ Then he said: ‘But is she a wonderful Mummy to you?’ I answered that she wasn’t a Mummy to me, Grandma Barbara was my Mummy. And then I watched his face as he tried to find the thing he so wanted to say ‘but do you think she is a wonderful woman?’ This was just glorious - he said it so urgently, so sweetly, so caringly, and he had managed to ask the absolute thing he wanted to ask. In any normal family he would have used the word wife, but in our family he doesn’t really know that word very well. Of course, I said, she is a wonderful woman. And I explained carefully that even people who love each other fight sometimes.
Three theatre visits in the last few weeks: an adaptation of ‘Anna Karenina’ by Shared Experience at the Tricycle Theatre and ‘Angels in America’ and ‘The Night of the Iguana’ both at the National. I took Mum and B to the latter, O’Neil’s play. We enjoyed it, I remember, but we didn’t half pick it to pieces afterwards. The staging was dull, the casting poor, including Alfred Molina who didn’t quite fit as the tour operator; and even the play seemed to have been tampered with to make it more accessible to a mass audience. It was a full house that Saturday night.
‘Angels in America’ was more inspiring with its mix of exotic dream and harsh reality. It is a new US play, largely about AIDS. I don’t think it told me a whole lot about the disease and coping with it; and I was disappointed to find that homosexual values were transparently promoted rather than being debated - there was no condemning, for example, of anonymous gay sex in the park.
Most inspiring of all was the ‘Anna Karenina’ adaptation by Shared Experience. I’m pleased to say Shared Experience appears to continue with the kind of high quality work I grew addicted to under the directorship of Mike Alfreds (and when my old friend Luke used to be the administrator). The story-telling tradition has been preserved, as has the use of minimal props. This Russian classic can hardly have been an easy work to bring to the stage and yet it was done so smoothly, and so entertainingly. It reminded me much of Thomas Hardy or George Elliot, in its understanding of human frailty combined with a moral forcefulness.
A novel: ‘Tygers of Wrath’ by Philip Rosenberg. A thriller set in and around a New York Bronx school. A very good read; although it does rise above the standard pulp thriller it does not match Scott Turow’s ‘Presumed Innocent’ to which it has been compared. The writing of Turow, like Le Carré, can be classed as modern literature, as well as thrilling.
20 02 Friday 27 March 1992, London
I’ve let Adam stay up and play a little because Martin is coming to visit in a few minutes. He hasn’t seen his uncle (or second cousin I suppose) for some years. I have had a reasonably productive day - I’ve taken receipt of a new fridge (one always has to be at home for half a day or more to await deliveries); I sold Whisky, my beloved orange Marina; and I’ve picked up my new car - a Ford Escort 1600 GL from IMI. Whisky went for £75 to an old codger who came over from Manor House and begged me not to sell it before he got here - ‘I’m goin’ to ‘ave that,’ he told me on the phone. I doubted whether he would bother with getting the MOT, or any other document for that matter. RIP Whisky, she served me so well over the last four years or so. My new car is just four years old and looks spick and span inside. But it lacks character; I doubt if there is a more common car on the road. It has all sorts of mod cons normally way beyond my humble lifestyle - a decent radio, a small sun roof, central locking. A bargain for £1,500 from Julian’s company.
The election campaign has taken on a life of its own following a Labour Party election broadcast featuring a sick little girl. Labour were trying to recreate a success they had during the 1987 election on the health service issue but this time the Tories counter-attacked and claimed the case presented in the broadcast was fiction. Subsequently, the name of the little girl came into the public domain and a three-way war has waged since then, between the Tories, Labour and the media, over who exactly released the name. The whole issue has taken on an extraordinary life of its own, with ostensibly adult politicians and presenters spending their entire allotted time talking about the intricacies of the case - who did what when, who knew about what and when, and so on; and the leaders, themselves, spending valuable air time condemning the other side. As I write, the final links in the chain have still not become clear; although one theory gaining credence is that certain journalists discovered the name by slyly looking at papers in the possession of the Labour leader’s press secretary during a press conference. No wonder the ‘Daily Express’ and ‘The Independent’ etc. are reluctant to reveal their sources. What a wrangle.
And England lost the World Cup final to Pakistan. There was no fire in their play, and the batsmen let them down something terrible. We peaked too soon, playing so well in the round robin, while Pakistan lost their first match by 10 wickets and were only in the final because their match with England was rained off for a draw.
11 32, Saturday 28 March 1992
We have just returned from Lauderdale House where Adam watched Simon the magician and I sat in the cafe reading ‘The Guardian’. I was impressed yet again by Adam’s memory: when I asked him if he remembered Simon - the second ever show that Adam saw, in December 1990 - he said, yes, Simon was the one who does shows at home if we want; and Adam reminded me that he’d given us a ‘ticket’, a visiting card after the show. On the way to Highgate (in my new car) we talked about whether Adam would want to go on stage. He said he wanted to and wondered why the performers never ask him to help. I told him he should just put his hand up and wait. But I felt funny about him being chosen if I wasn’t watching, so I kept jumping to my feet in the cafe and looking through the glass door to see if he was on stage. I didn’t actually see him put his hand up, but he assures me he did.
One development at work to report: my interview with John McLachlan lasted well over 90 minutes, he is such a natterer. We talked about my memo on profiting from the synergies between newsletters and the FT, and he promised to make an actual effort to set up a meeting to discuss such an idea. We moved on to talk a lot about the new computers, the RSI problems and the new NUJ assault on Tower House - his thinking being much in line with my own on that topic. Then, he asked me what my plans were. I wondered if he would, and he did. I had already decided (thanks to advice from Dad) that I would mention my half-formed plan to try and buy a newsletter or two, but I think he dismissed this idea from his mind believing I wouldn’t have a clue as to the cost of such a venture. He was more interested in discovering if I had any managerial ambitions and it was clear from what I said that I had. The fact is I am already a managing editor without formal recognition of same.
19 52, Monday 30 March 1992
The first quarter is almost done. If I draw back on plans to set up my own business then I will be seeing the year slip away without any concrete action.
We joined up with the rest of the family at Julian’s on Sunday afternoon, largely to be with Mum on Mother’s Day. Sarah had put on a good spread of sandwiches, scones and cake so we all tucked in. Mum told the story of how she had lost her jewels. She was recently up north for an evening celebration at a restaurant on the Yorkshire moors with relations from near and far, all gathered to celebrate step-grandmother Cissy Todd’s 80th birthday. Cissy and Mum got back to Cissy’s bungalow at two in the morning to discover the theft. Professional thieves had not caused much damage, only tipped out drawers and such like. They hadn’t take gadgets but selected jewels and a few bits of silverware. Mum, thinking to protect her most valuable jewels in case of robbery at Hodford Road, had taken them with her. Poor Mum, only one ring was insured to the tune of £1,500 (her large aquamarine). She has added up the value of the rest to be around £4,000.
Paul K Lyons
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