DIARY 57: October 1997 - June 1998

Friday 3 October 1997

The last quarter of the year begins - inauspiciously as every other quarter of every year does. No rain for two weeks and I’ve had to water round the garden. Had my haircut today. At least I didn’t have to wait but I got the queen rather than the fat army type with the incredible laugh. The queen is hopeless because he always uses the trimmer for 90% of the cut, and the fat guy always smells of beer and works as slow as a 1970s trade unionist. There was nothing worth bothering with at the auction. Picked up the mail and biked home, stopping at Spar for milk.

I’ve been in Brussels this week. I went early so as to go to Angelika Riedl’s goodbye party at the Theatre de Monnaie. It was a good do. Loads of champagne. Talked to lots of people I knew, including Michel Ayral, the slimy Frenchman who ran the internal market Directorate at DGXVII and has now taken over the air transport Directorate at DGVII. I asked him if he had noticed the FT’s biased coverage of EU air issues recently. (I wrote three letters to the FT over their coverage of Boeing-McDonnell merger - the last of them was not intended for publication and received a reply from the editor himself. But he failed to answer my points. And then, just the other day, the FT had another poke at the Competition Commissioner Karel Van Miert over the BA-AA alliance for unwarranted reasons, and I sent another letter. That wasn’t published either, but it did seem to have a result in that the newspaper published an article two days later on the Lufthansa alliance.) Ayral said he noticed a slight swing to Boeing in the spring. I told him about my theory - i.e. that the FT had been swayed against van Miert, not only because of Boeing’s arguments but because they had been fed a line by Neil Kinnock’s press spokesperson, Sarah Lambert. To understand this it’s necessary to know that Kinnock and van Miert are at loggerheads over the issue of airport slot trading. Ayral smiled and walked away. I was drunk, and was probably ranting and raving.

I had a long chat with Daniel Cloquet from Unice. He’s always very interested in the climate change debate and so I told him he should look more carefully at the energy efficiency figures I published in the July issue. These figures, I said, had not been published anywhere else, and they indicate that the business-as-usual scenario, used by the Commission to calculate that CO2 emissions will rise by 8% by 2010, are flawed. In fact, according to Andrew Warren who gave me the figures, the actual increase ought to be predicted at nearer 15%. Add this 15% to the 15% reduction that the EU has committed itself to for the Kyoto talks and you get 30% - one helluva horrendous task. I published these figures and Andrew’s comment without fully appreciating their significance. They came in an answer to a question by MEP Eryl McNally. On Andrew’s instigation, she had continued to hound the Commission until they came up with the figures. The interesting thing was, though, that Andrew, when I spoke to him just prior to my trip to Brussels, told me that he had agreed not to go round talking about these figures. He had listened to the argument of people in Brussels and in the Labour government that it would do no good to frighten the public with a task greater than the apparent one. He has, therefore, agreed to hold off, but for how long. And what promises will he extract in the meantime. Oh, he’s such a cool operator.

I talked for a while to Hughes, who told me his second child is on the way. I met his pregnant wife, who works for a spirits lobby, and his young son. Eurelectric has completely overhauled itself, which is why Riedl is out, and Hughes says he can’t stand the new regime. He’s coming to London on Tuesday for an interview with a copper lobby. I think he’ll go far. He’s got intelligence, charm and energy.

On Tuesday, I sat in on a technical seminar about nuclear fusion in the European Parliament. I haven’t yet got to the bottom of what it was really about. It was set up by Parliament’s research arm STOA, on the instigation of the Finnish MEP (whose name I can’t spell and which I can’t be bothered to check) who is the rapporteur on the fusion RTD programme, or possibly Gordon Lake the administrator who’s keen on the subject. Neither the Finnish MEP nor Lake are that keen on fusion; and, also, I know there is a growing body in the EP against the high funding levels for the fusion programme. Since the seminar was most definitely not supposed to be a political one, I suspect that the aim was to try and show that there were good and solid commercial reasons why utilities would not be very interested in a fusion reactor. In fact, the room was full of fusion addicts, with the single exception, I think, of a representative from Friends of the Earth. Speaker after speaker spoke in favour of the research and appeared to be appealing to the Finnish MEP to realise how important the programme is. The Finnish MEP was not only a hopeless chairman, but lacked any real intelligence. With the exception of Gordon Adam who popped in for a while, she was not even supported by others on the committee. I think the whole thing was misconceived and a complete failure. Surely, if the socialists were going to have a go at blocking the programme they would not have allowed this Finnish MEP to be the rapporteur, they would have given the job to someone who can command support within the group and beyond.

I spent a useful afternoon in DGXVII talking about energy labels, the aftermath of the electricity Directive, the conflict over the d’Amato Act, and coal subsidies; unfortunately, my nuclear mole was away.

One evening, I went to see a fun film called ‘Contact’, by Zemiakis with Jodie Foster. Foster, an astronomer, is obsessed at finding evidence of life in outer space. She does; the aliens send details on how to build a space-ship to visit them; she visits them, and comes back. Most of the time, the plot stays together enough, and it delivers. I never thought, for example, she would actually visit the aliens, and then I never considered she could come back. And the story goes on after that. I think it probably ranks alongside ‘ET’ and ‘2000’.

In response to Adam’s poor school report last summer, I have written a long reply to the school. Barbara has signed it too, and I showed it to my Mum. Both of them thought it was worth sending.

Monday 13 October 1997

Only last night has the weather turned really autumn cool for the first time. All the leaves from the amelanchiers are nearly gone and the silver birches have started their leaf fall. No acorns from the oak tree to clear up this year, and no sign yet of its leaves turning yellow. All the vegetables are over, except for the runner bean plants which are still cropping. There’s a cherry tomato plant which has some fruit on too. I’ve got half-a-dozen scruffy looking brussels-sprout plants and winter cabbage planted.

EC Inform-Energy 53 and EC Inform-Transport 9 are safely tucked up at the printers. The week started well, with a reasonable energy issue to bed by Tuesday lunchtime, and some transport work under way in the afternoon. Indeed, by Wednesday lunchtime, we seemed to be a day ahead on Transport, so I decided to go to Brussels on Thursday for the day. There were two reasons: firstly, the transport ministers were meeting and we needed the news for the issue, due to go to press by lunchtime on Friday. It wasn’t an important Council, or one with much likely news, but I knew we would have problems getting the information from here. Secondly, there was quite an important energy seminar in the afternoon, which I thought I should attend.

I was tootling round the M25 at about 6:15am on my way to catch the 8:05 from Heathrow when I heard on the news that the transport ministers ‘meeting in Luxembourg’ - ah! ‘meeting in Luxembourg’. Silly me. I could have cancelled or altered my flight for a fee, but I reasoned I would still be able to get more information on the Council from the Brussels press office than on the telephone from Russet House. So, I decided to proceed. The day went relatively smoothly. I was able to talk to Patricia at the Commission at lunchtime and pick up Sarah’s briefing for the Council; I lunched with Brooks who I haven’t seen for ages; and I caught Ton in his room at the Parliament.

During the afternoon, I talked to a number of contacts at the Ener G8 meeting at the Borchette. George Vasconcellos was there, ex of Eurelectric and now running the electricity regulator in Portugal; Christian Egenhofer found me for a few minutes, as did Christian Bouix who runs the Euro-Asia energy round table. Papoutsis spoke, although there wasn’t much point in my being there since I already had the speech. A presentation by Christopher Jones was more interesting for the details about the implementation of the electricity Directive. The only problem for me, though, was that I’d interviewed Jones the previous week, and I had already written a story on the implementation of the Directive - now Jones was making the same information available to every Tom, Dick and Reporter at the seminar.

I went back briefly to the Commission where I found Patricia at a drinks party for six Press Spokespeople who were leaving. I didn’t really know anyone there so I just talked to Patricia for a while. She told me that Sarah had phoned to say that very little had been achieved in Luxembourg. I made her promise to ring me in the morning, or fax me Sarah’s post-Council briefing. (In fact she did neither because Sarah had nothing to say after the Council - it was that bad for the Commission.)

Then, finally, I went to the Council to try and get the press release before heading for the airport. This was, by far, the most important action of the day. There was one secretary who told me that the Council had not finished in Luxembourg and that she was leaving at 6 (in ten minutes) and that, therefore, there would be nobody to prepare the press release in Brussels until the morning. Fortunately, Michael was there, working on his background briefing for the Environment Council. He’s been very helpful of late, and, when I explained my problem, he rang through to the Luxembourg press office and asked them to fax me direct the whole press release that evening. I’m sure if I had rung they would never have done so, but because the request came from Michael, of course, they did. I rang Theo immediately to ask him to wait until it came through - partly so he could make a start on it, and partly to ensure the fax machine had enough paper and didn’t jam. I was mighty relieved to find, when I got home, that it had all got through correctly.

That was it basically. I got thoroughly soaked on my way to the airport. I arrived a little early, caught an earlier plane, but it was then delayed by an hour; and I arrived home at about 10:30. I then worked for two hours making all the corrections - mine and Theo’s to the pages.

It was a bit of a panic on Friday, because not only did we have to write up all the material from the Council, but I had to find a way of presenting it within the space available. I was pretty knackered by the time we finished on Friday.

Our website has notched up 100 hits! and we’ve had four or five sample copy requests from the website form - about half have been students and stuff, but still, we’re pleased the thing is operational.

I have pulled a muscle in my calf. I am so angry with myself. I’ve been going to a volleyball session every Sunday for the last four weeks. I’m pretty hopeless, but I was starting to get into the swing of it a little. Most of the two hours are spent training, but there is usually a game for the last half an hour or so. Although the first week was at Spectrum, since then it’s been at Ash Manor School, which is just the other side of the Hog’s Back from here. I’m fairly shy but have talked, in the pub afterwards, to a few of the mostly younger lads. There seems to be a large contingent of Czech au pairs. But, last night, tragedy struck me down. We’d done the 20 minute warm up and a further 15 minutes of gentle hitting and digging, and were swinging around taking a few hits from the net, when I made a relatively slight movement, and something tore in my calf. I heard or felt it, and was immediately in pain. I could barely walk. I felt somewhat embarrassed and keen not to make too dramatic an exit, but most of all I felt so terribly disappointed in myself. I actually cried in the dressing room. I’m trying to give my life a little more activity and social opportunity, and it’s as though everything fails miserably. It’s as though my life is over and there’s nothing else for me to do.

There was also the shameful episode at line dancing; now there’s the volleyball; and then there’s the other little idea I had of doing a history of Elstead. Well, I went to Guildford library to look at two books specifically about Elstead. One of them was fine - it was written a hundred years ago and is about 10 pages long. But the other is only 15 years old and is a dense booklet covering just about every known fact on the history of Elstead, plus a very comprehensive description of the shops and inhabitants of Elstead over the last 50 or so years - clearly based on an immense personal knowledge, both directly and indirectly through those known to the author. I couldn’t hope to do as good a job on the recent history, and there’s nothing much I could bring to the more traditional history either. It looks like I’m back to square one.

Here’s a question: Why do I do I seek clubs and classes in areas about which I am a complete novice? Why don’t I, for example, joint a photographic club, or a writers’ circle? Why don’t I join a rambler’s club or a cycling or motorcycling group?

I am lightly entertained. I watch a drama called ‘Bright Hair’. I read a book by Dick Francis - ‘To the Hilt’ - identical with all his others except for the occupation of the hero and the clothes he wears. I go to the theatre with Judy and Rob in London. We see a Carol Churchill double bill called ‘Blue Heart’. The programme says they are new plays, but I bet she wrote them at college when she was unknown. They are both dominated by an intellectual idea. In the first, the characters play out a sequence of dialogues, repeating them over and over again, but each time with different endings. As soon as one ending becomes definitive, so the dialogue moves on to a new stage, with a new variety of endings shown. Sometimes the dialogue goes right back to the beginning, and sometimes the characters start half-way through so as not to make it too monotonous. But it was not really very good. The second play was even more naff, if I can use that word. It tells of a man that goes around collecting mothers, and pretending he is their adopted son. At first the words ‘blue’ and ‘kettle’ are only used instead of nouns in the dialogues very occasionally, but the frequency very slowly increases, until, at the end, almost every word being said by every character is ‘blue’ or ‘kettle’. Not very satisfying. Nice to see Judy and Rob, though, although I’ve not quite got to the bottom of why they haven’t been over to see us in Elstead for such a long time.

Tony Blair shakes hands with Gerry Adams. England draw with Italy in Rome and come first of their group to qualify directly for the finals in France next year. Italy must now play Russia for a place in the finals. Scotland are through also.

Wednesday 22 October 1997

A busy weekend, the first for many moons. It started on Friday afternoon with the memorial service to Rosy, held at the actors’ church in Covent Garden. It was packed, crowded even with many people standing at the back by the end. Andrew, Tammy and Jason had chosen Rosy’s most important/famous friends to speak at the service. The first was Ian Gibson, who used a few literary quotes to pepper his 15 minutes or so - he focused on the theme of getting the most out of every day, not waiting for the future. I met Ian, Rosy’s cousin, two years ago or so in the Sierra Nevada where he lives. (He wrote the biography of Lorca which inspired Ballet Rambert’s ‘Cruel Garden’ which in turn inspired my first sustained piece of fiction - I wrote about him at the time in my journal.) I think the memorial service must have been timed to coincide with Ian’s visit because his biography of Dali has just been published and he is here to publicise it and the accompanying TV/radio programmes. I watched some of his Omnibus programme and it was really quite interesting. He’s quite natural on camera, if sometimes a little condescending with his interviewees.

Second up was Cedric Smith (a famous Canadian folk singer) and Loreena McKennitt who sang a song together. Third was the priest, who had dressed as a clown and acted like one. He told a fable story, but at a pace and on a level more suited to a Saturday afternoon kids’ show at Lauderdale House. Fourth was David Berglas, president of the Magic Circle. Rosy was proud of her membership of the Circle and regularly went along to the club nights, so I understand. Berglas spoke for all her Magic Circle friends. His speech was a catalogue of Rosy’s achievements, all of which were cobbled together from obituaries, including all the errors. He quoted honestly from the ‘Irish Times’, but also in his speech I recognised phrases from the obituary I had written for the ‘Guardian’. David Berglas was a close friend of Sasha. He came to our house in Hoddesdon once or twice, and I lost my fingernail in his car door. After the service, I went up to speak to him. I didn’t like him or his wife very much.

There was then a piece by a string quartet led by Joyce, someone else I don’t like, she who wrote the story about Jamal. Is obsequious the right word for her? Then Raoul spoke. He spoke very informally, more than I expected, but perhaps a little coolly. He described Rosy as a mass of contradictions; terribly extrovert but also introvert, with many friends but often lonely, and so on. He focused largely on the early South Kensington days, and explained how Rosy used to feed visitors to her flat by collecting food which had been discarded from a shop for being out of date. I thought it was a little tasteless! Elizabeth Harty (never heard of her) gave a short reading, and Steve Rubie (of the legendary 606 club that Rosy and Andrew used to frequent in the King’s Road - I remember going there just the once) played the saxophone (‘Love me Tender’).

Mandy Davis described in great detail the astonishing events that led up to Rosy winning the women’s trophy of the International Brotherhood of Magicians event - not through any skill but because the audience thought all the errors in her show were deliberate! I can’t believe that story does Rosy any credit. She should never have accepted the trophy, and, once accepted, she should have kept quiet about it. Finally, there was a short reading by David Drummond, chairman of Clowns International, and a blessing by the priest.

Afterwards, hundreds of people retired to the Theatre Museum where Andrew had organised food and wine. It was just a big party and there were many people I hadn’t seen for years. I talked for a long time to Annie - I’d forgotten what good fun she can be. She tells me she may get a job as a professor at a South African black university. She’s terribly scared and excited by the prospect. Then there was Judy from Brighton, one of Rosy’s closest friends, and the lady from the Sussex forest, whose name I always forget; and Rachel, the mother of Zula, Richard’s daughter. Zula is now 15, and very attractive and conventional-looking. Rachel has lived in the Forest of Dean for the last ten years, and works as a physiotherapist.

All the while, there was a rolling cabaret, in a stage area, of performances by people with something to say or do vis-a-vis Rosy, but I was talking most of the time. I forget parts of the evening now for I got quite drunk. At the end of it all, I waltzed north with Harold and some girl, I know not who. We bussed to Camden Town, where we left her, and then I took a cab, dropping Harold at West Hampstead (he’s staying in Patrick’s flat), and from there to my Mum’s where I slept only until six.

I spent Saturday morning chatting with Mum, and shopping at Brent Cross. She helped me choose wallpaper, curtains and carpets for two of the upstairs bedrooms at Russet House. At 1pm, I met Harold at the Cosmo on Finchley Road. The restaurant still exists 45 years after my father lazed around there. Harold is little changed. As far as he volunteered, he has earned money over the last 15 years, partly through leading the same kind of actors’ workshops over which I fell out with him, and through a strange relationship with some rich guy for whom he has been selling valuable furniture. He still rabbits on about nothing and everything, and is still chock-full of pretension. We swapped stories for a couple of hours, and then I left for a marathon trek across London to Tulse Hill. I’m usually so good at working out logistics, but I failed to suss out I could have got a train from West Hampstead directly to Fiona’s new house, to wet her new baby’s head. Apart from Mark, Freddie’s father (Freddie is a girl), there was only one other couple there. They had prepared lots of food. I gurgled over Freddie and looked around the house. It’s a typical terraced house, but unlike Aldershot Road, it’s stretched out over four floors.

Then, another long trek to Shepherd’s Bush to Andrew’s House, where a party had been organised for his birthday. I was pretty knackered by this stage, and I wasn’t in a mood to drink much, which meant my tolerance for conversation, smoke and crowds was less than the previous evening. Still, I talked at length to Helmut (about his dance project in Senegal) and to a teacher, whose name I forget, but to whom I had talked a long time at Niema’s book launch. She first met Jeff, the drug runner, when she was a prison teacher. She met Niema because Niema was Jeff’s prison visitor. Subsequently, Jeff got out of jail, left the country and became very rich (I wonder how) and lived in Rio, where I visited his house once. He and Niema still communicate and, every now and then, he pays for Niema to take some amazing holiday across the world to see him. The lady herself has a single daughter by a Venezuelan man, whom she lived with in Venezuela before returning to the UK. We talked a lot about schools and children. I left about 10:45 to catch the last train from Waterloo and was in bed a little after 1:30.

Saturday 25 October 1997

The first frosts hit. I’ve cleared all the remaining summer plants from the garden - the love-lies-bleeding, the nasturtiums, the tomatoes, and the beans - because they looked so messy after ice had cracked up their cell structures. Unfortunately, I left a few non-hardy geranium cuttings outside and I think I’ve lost them. Already the cold is getting to me, I can tell by the tiredness that affects me from here on through the winter.

A wasted trip to Farnham, ‘Broken Sword’ with Adam, discussion over schools with B, ‘Casualty’ and some silly American murder film on TV.

I’ve booked a decorator to do the upstairs bedrooms, and I’ve ordered wallpaper, carpets and curtains. On the same day, I also got round to ordering a range of plants by mail order from several different nurseries - having received their catalogues some while back.

The Labour government has run in to stick over the way it controls news - the spin doctors are accused of having more power than the politicians. There are also troubles over EMU. The FT ran a major story several weeks ago saying Labour might sign up, then another story said they wouldn’t. Brown told everybody last week that he wouldn’t tell anybody (what the government line was) until he told Parliament next week. One story going around suggested the leaks were designed to test public opinion.

More interestingly, the US has scuppered the Kyoto talks on climate change by saying it will not stabilise CO2 emissions by 2000, and needs a further 15 years. Japan says it will only reduce 5% by 2010, which leaves the dear old EU out front with a 15% reduction. But that figure was only put forward for negotiation and was linked inextricably to a Kyoto deal. Without it, what will the EU commitment be? Even if no one follows suit it is going to be very hard for the EU to back track and say it will reduce its target.

Finished Gould’s ‘Dinosaur in a Haystack’. I still do enjoy his essays, but sometimes now I find them a little forced and repetitive. Have started reading ‘A Merry Heart’ which is a collection of Robertson Davies’ speeches and essays, put together after his death. They concentrate on literature itself and are a pleasure to read. Also dipping into Tony Benn’s diaries which Julian bought me again for my birthday (he’d already bought me a book with some of the same material in for an earlier birthday). Also reading Oliver Rackman’s ‘History of the Countryside’, which is fascinating.

I am astonished to find that my 1984 diary, which I am still typing up during odd moments, is awash with loneliness and rantings about my inability to keep a social life going. During one period I am distraught for not having had a single social evening for 10 days. This has been an enduring theme throughout my life more or less since I took up full time work as a journalist. If my social life was poor then, what is it now?

A trip up to London to see ‘Closer’ by Patrick Marber. This is a play that the National moved from the Cottesloe to the Lyttleton, and it was still full. I saw Marber’s earlier play, ‘Dealer’s Choice’ which I seem to remember grew on me. But ‘Closer’ was a different proposition altogether. Put simply it was the story of four people and their changing relationships with each other. But Marber packs a lot of emotion into the affairs and marriages and lots of talk about sex and orgasms. It was naturalistic stuff, touching core parts of people’s behaviour, and was also very funny. There was a lot of adultery in the scheme of the play, but all of it was exposed to those affected, which was quite interesting because, Andy, who was with me, has been an adulterer for most of his married life without Rosy ever finding out.

Andy, in fact, was looking quite rough and tired after all the exertions of the weekend’s festivities in Rosy’s honour. There was a lot of planning involved for the memorial service and the party, and then there was another party on Saturday and lots of people on Sunday. Ian Gibson’s book launch (Christ he’s everywhere - in the papers, on the radio, on the TV) on Monday, Rosy’s father to the airport on Tuesday etc. And, on Friday, the following day after seeing me, he was due to spend the evening with one girlfriend and then fly out to Turkey for a week’s holiday with another. He seems to be having a wild old time.

Wednesday 29 October 1997

It is half term, so I have Adam at home. Very cold at night, and hard frosts already. Despite the dry sunny weather, the cold has kept us from any outdoor pursuits. Theo is in Brussels for three days, so Adam feels it is his duty to disturb me every five minutes. He works and reads mostly in the morning. He’s spent a lot of time on a collection of stamps brought him by Lucy on Monday. He’s patiently soaked them all and tweezered them off the envelopes; and he’s sorted them by country and placed them in envelopes begged from my office. Last night, I showed him my collection of Hungarian stamps, given me by Frederic, and the collection of First Day Covers and Commemoratives that I collected so studiously in my teens. Fancy spending all that money on those stamps and never getting any return for them.

Also I read Adam a passage from Tony Benn’s diaries. In one of his first government jobs, under Wilson, he was made Post Master General. He had a real bee in his bonnet about persuading the Queen to allow commemoratives to be designed without the Queen’s head. In an extended passage he explains how he charmed the Queen into agreeing to see designs without her head. Later, though, she regretted it and Wilson, who wanted her favour on some other issue, promised to tell Benn to back off. We checked the most recent stamps, and, yes, they do still have the Queen’s head on, although it is only a small silhouette.

We watched Prime Minister’s question time together. Hague is having a tough time scoring points and Tony Blair is certainly settling into the job, even to the extent of acting quite presidential at times, even if he’ll never look the part. He’s very able, too, at switching from sharp schoolboy repartee to the information/explanation-giving leader role.

Unfortunately, the Labour Party and Gordon Brown have decided, more or less definitely, that Britain will not enter EMU in the first wave, this side of the next election. Brown, in a speech on Monday, confirmed that the government was keen to progress towards EMU, but only when the economic criteria were right. I think this is a cop out. The economic criteria might well be right before the next election, and Britain should be there at the outset. The government, and the Euro-positive interests in the country - not least business and industry - could easily have swung public opinion in favour, if it had wanted to do.

There was a bit of a stock market crash this week, but it’s righting itself reasonably well.

I listened to the World Service a few nights ago, when I couldn’t sleep. By chance, it was a programme called ‘Messages to Myself’. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this is exactly the programme for which I have sent off my diary extracts. I only know because I got a letter the other day, from the production company, thanking me for the second lot of extracts and telling me that it now had to discuss the next series of ‘Messages to Myself’ with the BBC. I was astonished to realise that the programme is not a compilation of extracts, but a whole half an hour devoted to one person. The one I listened to was about a woman who had lived through most of the century and, at one point, had had a six-year correspondence with Bernard Shaw. It started because she wrote to him for advice about how to resolve a problem over the fact that she had been given the wrong newborn baby in hospital. There was more of her speaking than from her actual diary. And, overall, it was a little light in content, I thought, but then who am I to judge the diary of another.

Lucy Walker came on Monday for a few hours with her six-week old baby Eliza. We went to the Woolpack for lunch but Eliza needed quite a lot of attention. Adam was well behaved, and, at one point, went all the way home to get the baby seat from the car so that we could rest Eliza in it. Lucy looks very well on motherhood, and seemed far more natural with her child than Fiona did (the babies are contemporaries within a week or two). She’s cut her hair to shoulder length, which is a big change for her. Eliza is due to be christened in St Paul’s on 23 November. Apparently, there is an OBE chapel there which OBEs (such as Lucy’s mother) can use for happenings. We talk ever such a lot about babies; a bit about Tim, who is getting photographic work, but not always enough, and about how Lucy will manage when she goes back to work at the World Service. They have bought a terraced house in Hammersmith. I don’t talk much about work although I introduce her to Theo; and I show her round the house. Although she hasn’t been to visit in the two years since I’ve been here, I’m glad she came with Eliza. I hope we’ll stay friends as the years progress.

After struggling with general environmental policy last week, I have been putting together the Single Market chapter for my new energy book report this week. I have found it difficult to get down to work so far ahead of a spring deadline, but, nevertheless, I have managed to get started. I find myself logging on to the Commission’s server several times a day in search of documents and material. I don’t know how I ever managed without the internet before!

November 1997

Paul K Lyons


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INTRO to diaries