1986

My scanning of old photos and diaries continues. L3 helped me in the summer for fees by scanning about 300 photos a day so we have done about 100 photo albums, that all done now.

Back to the diaries and now on to 1986. It is a very useful record of every day office life in the City (I was at a city firm) in those days and home life (L1  was 1 year old and I was pregnant). I forgot so much. Very interesting work. Hours much worse than I remembered. There seemed to be meetings all the time at the officel, with other law firms, at clients' offices, even up in Newcastle  where I am from - I am 1 -2 years PQE that year.  I do tend to look on the bright side which is probably why 30 years later I sitll love my work. Nice people at work.

 

We went to Spain for 2 weeks that summer with gorgeous little L1. We were constantly doing DIY at home, every room one after the other even plastering, painting, someting I'd forgotten  -I don't often forget words - called "sizing" something you do to the wall before putting up wall paper. It's a long time since we had wall paper now. Then so much gardening in our little garden. I was picking peas and carrots and raspberries with L1 that I had planted (we bought the house in 84). They seem to be doing a lot better than my pathetic raspberries here that I put in last Autumn. The house cost £40k and we wanted when and if we were rich a 200k one.  Those ratios are now £400k (that same house costs that today) and £2m I suppose. Interest rates seemed to be 13% going down to 11%. Lots of months we only just covered our costs - particularly massive childcare costs and London mortgage (nothing much changes...... it was so expensive to buy in even outer London that Mr XL's school had to put teachers up in school flats which we were in until we bought in 84. My pay seemed to go from about 7500 as a trainee to £10k and then up to £15 500 within just 18 months or so which helped as we were getting pay rises twice a year. I suppose that was left over from the 6% inflation rates of the years just before (and indeed 20% a year rates in the 70s). Mr XL's head of department teacher's pay was about £11,500. I mention a friend tells me a Lovells partner earned £60k a year - a massive sum I thought. Of course that figure may not be accurate, just rumours - less pay transparency in those days, no internet.

 

Lots of things took more effort eg often I had to queue at post offices at lunch time or go to banks to get cash out to pay for things, camera films to be posted off, visits to people selling second hand cots, constantly woken by the milkman arly although the biggest issue by far and away that year and the year before was having one of the least sleeping babies of all time. Again I had forgotten how bad it was, even at nearly 2 day after day up tuntil 10pm awake  1 - 3am, and that kind of thing both of us utterly exhausted with this gorgeous energetic non sleeping toddler. Unless you have a baby of that kind you just have no idea how it is.  I seemed to write letters all the time - to HMRC constantly goodness knows why, Mothercare - they replaced our broken buggy free afte rmy letters, loads of planning of schemes to buy a property to let out, a business, all sorts. Masses of singing. Eg assumption August went to mass at lunch time with a Catholic colleague, that evening sang at the C of E mass at Mr XL's church. I was quite in demand for paid weddings, city services and that kind of thing.   We seemed to do an awful lot of house cleaning as well as all the painting

I read that to the sound of the old Hovis advert.

I think I was about to start at Clifford Chance then, they had decided they needed a couple of marketing people. When I left seven years later they had fifty, now it probably numbers in the hundreds.

 

 

 

1986 was the year I came to London and started in the city.

i dont have any diaries but I do remember the paucity of shopping. There was a food M&S at Moorgate which was always mobbed. For clothes there was only a Richards Shops branch ( dreadful old fashioned cheaply made ladies wear) on High Holborn and that was that.

i lived off Lavender Hill and the walk up to Clapham Junction station took me past a fabulous newspaper seller who scanned the throng for his customers, whereupon he thrust a correctly folded copy of your paper of choice into your hands and with the other took the exact change from you. If you didnt have it you got the paper and paid double the next day, no time for change, the whole point was that you didnt even break your stride.

i was far too intimidated by this system to tell him I had changed my mind about the ( newly launched) Independent and wanted my old Times back, I had to put up with it until I moved house and changed my route.

In 1986 I was in the first year of junior school.  mrs smith.  that was the year a dog came into our classroom (trufax - it was my m7 dave's grandad's border collie).  i think there may have been a yoyo craze and garbage pail kid stickers.  

London 86 was peak Thatcher, with the big bang and every other car seemed brand new, usually an escort, metro, peugeot 205 or golf gti

I also recall getting proper rinsed when the teacher read Peter Pan and I loudly clapped when she read the line about believing in fairies.  Proper rinsed.  they don't do bullying like that any more.

I was last year of junior school, I think. I remember running to lunch with other 10 year olds and a great big 18 year old chucking his bag under my feet so I fell sprawling onto the tarmac. I was wearing shorts. I had to pretend it didn't hurt, get up and carry on running while he and his mates guffawed.

Chambers are you sure CC have hundreds of marketing staff whilst it wouldn’t surprise me what the hell do they do all day ?

even better would have been his SCIENTIFIC CALCULATOR

which as you will recall were v expensive in those days

I guess he probably just used it to write in 55378008 and think it was funny

Peak Thatch indeed. Big Bang, streets swimming in lager, stonewashed jeans, people wanting to live in Clapham. Shudder. 

Docklands was being built ( or maybe nearer 1990) you could drive up there and look around.

the lloyds building was still the big architectural draw in the City, I got to work in there for a bit, loved the outside escalators, a new invention.

in 1989 I went to work for a real old skool stockborkers as an analyst, they were so old skool they were still hiring when everyone else was well into firing, I only lasted 3 weeks before the recession caught up with them. The brokers used to bring in quiz and colouring books for during slack periods, average reading age of about 8-9 years I believe.

The only other thing I remember is being taken to lunch by my boss, and odd old stick who took me to his very dark Club for lunch and told me about his wife’s suicide.

Well they probably helped it become the second largest law firm in the world Ebitda, according to the latest Lawyer report I just read.

The third largest in the world was the firm I susequently joined.

Maybe we were not entirely useless.

 

Yes the Lloyds building was quite the thing. And pre all the names going bust of course. Docklands as it was then known, also shudder. Red Ken called the first tower a ‘turd on the skyline of London ‘

boozy lunches all round. Happy days. 

Cant remember Dux but it wasnt St James it was in the city somewhere.

Hays Galleria- that was quite the thing too.

i have been trying to remember where it was that was THE place to go on a date. I remember Bibendum and Pont de la Tour but that was well into the nineties I think. In 1986 there werent any modern restaurants, Conran hadnt been invented. I think that rooftop bar on top of the Park Lane Hillton was as flash as it got.

Nouvelle kinda passed me by, I couldnt afford to eat in the posh places that served it.

my kind of a night out was the pub local to the office where the partner picked up the tab and ( if you were lucky) the bill in the curry house, bus home. As Lyds says, disposible income was something we didnt really have, certianly no more than 21-18 year olds today.

I think pret arrived in about 1990. The little italian sandwich shops squeezed into tiny spaces were brilliant, big loss. Yes you queued but got exactly what you wanted and usually great hot pasta option for hangover days and tbh if a 15 min queue was all you got away from your desk then amen to that.

Yes but Pret was a step up in quality. M&S led the way of course, in the 80s. Ham cheese lettuce and pickle. 99p. They should have rolled out food shops back then. 

A couple of pints down the pub at lunchtime followed by a steak sandwich and chips from the Italian cafe over the road.

Almost forgotten days.

 

I thnk Pret came later. I remember it coming out and the sandwiches being really nice. I was 24 in 1986 and food features a lot too - whether sometihng had free food, full description of all courses at work dinner dances, lunch with partners, if an event had food or not and loads about how much I liked growing mym fruit and some veg at home and taking baby L1 out there or todller L1 that we - she and I - did thing - we did the gardening, we did the cleaning (although of cousre it takes 5x as long when a toddler is "helping").

 

I have been looking up people since I started the task with the 1983 trainee/articled clerk first year and some are still going strong in other firms, harder to track the women though as their names change and I just spend about 1 min on each person so I am not really that interested. Some are retired now. Others are abroad. Some will be dead.

There was a shortage of good people and I think in the last couple of months I've been scanning two left the department alone which was a huge difference from about 1981 when I was making 140 applications, 25 interviews before I got anything. I do mention Canary Wharf as a lawyer friend had had a tour when looking for a flat and we nearly bought a buy to let there but did not have enough income to get a second mortgage and instead sold our terraced house and bought a semi in 1987 which must haev been quite sad as we had spent literally hundreds of hours on DIY both of us from loft semi conversion to paths, to gardens, patios, installtion of bedroom sink and painting and repairs. I haven't got to 1987 yet. I expect there were more meetings in 1986 as there was no email or at least I seemed to be in meetings all the time or may be no one else wanted to go up and down to Newcastle by train etc. My sister had just given up her phD after oxford and was involved with the group who were subject of that recent netflix programme  - led by the Bhagwan and my brother had got engaged to w Swedish girl on his gap year so both of those were worrying for our parents that year although he completed his first year at Cambridge perfectly well. We also had constant visitors and trips and events. I don't know how I managed it when we were getting so little sleep. One person would leave say Mr XL's mother and then 2 days later another friend was staying and then my brother preferred to be with us and his fiance rather than home in Newcastle with our parents so he was there quite a bit too.

 

We will get to the birth of L2 soon but certainly in the middle of the year things were good because the morning sickness was over and I was mostly enjoying the workand L1 was so gorgeous and cute. Toddlers are hard work but so lovely as I am sure RoF posters with toddlers will remember. My father's brother wrote me a letter which he had never done in his life but it doesn't say what he says and I don't still have that one. he was never in touch very much.

I never really got the obsession with looking back Lydia. We're the same age, I remember the important stuff and other bits and bobs, but otherwise move on.

Welllll, it's all about being proved right innit. Which is tied closely to religion of course. It must be possible to live a good life, or at least to try to, without fear of damnation and expecting a pat on the back at the end of it.

1986, eh?  That was the year I turned 10, moved to the Isle of Wight (for four years - managed to escape thank god), got my first racing bike (with drop handle bars and derailleur gears, no less) and started buying Smash Hits magazine (developing a worrying obsession with Debbie Gibson and Betty Boo along the way).  Halcyon days.

I just find it interesting to look back and what we remember and don't. I am just clearing out old boxes of stuff, that's all and doing the family tree which interestingly my father also worked on at this same age.

 

Where we come from can affect how we are but I don't think wishing things in the past were different gets anyone anywhere (and I don't do that and don't tihnk that). A lot of things never change - love of parents for their babies, intreactions between people (although MrXL throwing my whole meal on the floor including the plate I hope is not standard practice in most RoF homes today (or then for that matter) - I certainliy had not remembered that one).

I remember a documentary about cooking and on nouvelle cuisine Anthony Worrell Thompson said something to the effect that they could not believe their luck in that the less you put on the plate the more money you could charge. they couldn't believe how rich they were getting for selling almost nothing and his restaurant did away with main courses, selling only first courses and puddings. The cherry on the cake was the realisation in the 1980's that you could get people to pay for having water on the table. Until nouvelle cuisines brought Perrier water along, no one in their right mind would pay for water.

My Dad tried to do a family tree but didn't get much further than his dad, who was in the army. Army records are usually pretty good but a bit sketchy in his case. I never met him, my Grandfather that is.

My Dad tried to do a family tree but didn't get much further than his dad, who was in the army. Army records are usually pretty good but a bit sketchy in his case. I never met him, my Grandfather that is.

I don't get the fuss about paying for water. You still have to pay for the staff serving it and besides water isn't a free commodity. You pay rates/a meter. 

If you're shelling out obscene amounts for fancy "foraged" food with "jus", who cares about an extra £1.40 for a bottle of water? Get a grip. 

heh.

just caught the end of a top of the pops from 1986 on bbc4, and the no1 was the chicken song by spitting image...

I only drink tap water at home (and when out).

My father had badgered his parents in about 1940 to give him some family tree information - i found one he drew up then in pieces which I am afraid my mother probably tore up to hurt him sadly but he also did a later one too. he had pieced the torn one back into one piece. His biggest problem was his father was 49 when he had him (last child) and his father's father was the last of 10 children too so my great grandfather was born in 1932 - they almost had just 2 generations where most people have 4 and what happens with that is you never know your grandparents as they are dead before you are born. he did have one letter written in 1865 which I have from Felix Morgan on the farm (he applied to buy the freehold in about 1829 it looks like) to his son in Lincolnshire.

 

On my mother's side her grandfather who died of war wounds in 1916 leaving 10 children, had army service. I subscribed recently to a newspaper archive and there is an article in a series "Letters from the Front" written by him giving details of his service in South Africa in 1900. In 1902 he is reported to be presented with 5 others with "watches and alberts". What is an albert?

A Prince among men, Lyds.

----

I believe an Albert in that context is a type of pocket watch chain, with a bar at one end to hold it in a waistcoat or jacket button hole and a swivel at the other to connect it to the pocket watch. 

Ah, thanks. So they got a watch plus the chain that went with it. That's nice to know.

"Private Patrick Solan of the Durham Light Infantry writing home to his wife in Ryhope from Maritzburg said  "I have not got into action yet as I have been left at Maritzburg to carry the sick and wounded from the station to the Hospital. If we go on as at present I expect to be home about April or May.  I don't think they will send me any further up the country as I am attached to the Army Hospital Corps.

We have plenty of work to do as we are scarcely off our feet all the hours of the night. Remnix and myself are together, but our regiment is up at the front. We had a very good reception coming from Durban to Maritzburg and were treated very well indeed. We are very nearly starved to death at night with the cold for we have only two blankets and no bed to lie on, but we will stick it as well as we can for the sake of dear old England."   "

(Sunderland Echo 12 Jan 1900)

"we are very nearly starved to death at night with the cold"

 

that's deffo your forbear Lyds ink that branch in

He seems to have done better than his brother John  (if dying in 1917 of war wounds with  a baby son born 1917 and  7 other children at home is better  - he was obviously in some working order at least by 1917  but in 1916 was reported as missing in the next war WWI)

 

His brother had got crushed by rocks in the mine and died  in 1891 - 9 years before the 1900 letter from the front.

Durham County Advertiser Article published 14 August 1891

Regarding death of John Solan

The Fatal Accident

At Framwellgate Moor Colliery

 

On Saturday morning an inquest was opened by Mr John Graham, H.M. Coroner of the Chester Ward at Granby Inn, Framwellgate Moor, touching the death of a miner named John Solan, who was injured down the pit at Framwellgate Moor on Thursday noon and died whilst being conveyed home. The inquest was adjourned till Saturday night, evidence as to the identification of the deceased only having been given. On Saturday evening the inquest was held at Framwellgate Moor, Mr Anthony Thompson having been chosen foreman of the jury. Mr Walker H.M. Inspector of Mines, was present at the inquest. The following evidence was given:-

 

Hugh Durning state that he was a deputy employed at Framwellgate Moor Colliery. At about noon on Thursday the 6th of August, he was working down the pit in company with the deceased, who was a coal-hewer. He had just finished filling a tab with coal and was pushing it out when he observed the roof moving. He immediately seized the deceased by the shoulder and attempted to drag him out of the way.   About a ton of stone, however, fell down so suddenly that they had not time to get out of the way and the deceased was knocked down, some portion of the stone falling on the witness’ legs. Witness shouted for help and was shortly released by another man who helped him to get the stone off Solan. He was very much injured and was at once removed to “bank” and from thence was conveyed home in a spring cart. The unfortunate man, however, died on the way.

James Adams, a miner appointed by a deputation of men to examine the place where the deceased received his injuries, stated that there was sufficient looser timber about the place, and with regard to the working of the pit thought everything was in a satisfactory condition. In his opinion it was a pure accident.

This was all the evidence given.

Mr Walker said he had visited the pit and found the place in good working order. From what he saw there, and from the evidence given,  he was quite satisfied. The jury returned a verdict that  the deceased was accidentally killed by a fall of stones whilst following his employment as a cola hewer down the pit at Framwellgate Moor Colliery.

THE FUNERAL

The body of the unfortunate man was interred at the Catholic Cemetery, Red Hills, near Durham on Saturday afternoon. The cortege  left Framwellgate Moor at three o’clock, the body being carried shoulder high through the village. The Framwellgate Moor Brass Band, headed by the Framwellgate Moor Colliery banner, preceded the coffin. The band played “The Dead March in Saul” from the village to the cemetery. About 400 persons attended the funeral to pay their last respects to the deceased, the road from Framwellgate Moor to the cemetery being lined with spectators."

The deceased was well known in the colliery, and leaves a widow and two children to mourn his loss.”

[These would be Margaret Solan his widow and his children  Patrick and Mary Solan. His wife was then expecting a baby Bridget Ann Solan who was born 2 months later]

His nephew, my granny's brother, was prosecuted in WWII for refusing to go back down the mines. He preferred to go to prison than return  down the mines due to the health problems he had which were caused by the mining he had been doing.

Heh, muttley I guess you also thought you were posting on page 1 of this shambles when you made the same joke  as four previous posters.

Thank you. That is very helpful. Everyone's posts are useful but particularly nice to see my great grandfather's brother remembered.

 

I am not sure dear old England was that grateful and my father's father managed to avoid WWI service which is probably why I am alive today. Nor did the British do that well in that second Boer war around 1900 when my great grandfather was fighting out there. My grandmother was born in 1899 and the soldier had only been married a short while.

I keep getting so many phishing emails. Here is another today which seems to be from Iran as many of them are .ir or may that is somewhere else.

 

"Please kindky view attached our quotation as prepared by our IT person.
please make the invoice in excel format, have also attached a drafted sample of our invoice with quotation.

I await your feedback.
Regards
Gary John."

One with an old password came in yesterday adddressed wanting bit coins - well known scam - saying they had used my recording devices to take pictures of me - yet I don't even have a webcam on the computer so that's obviously a lie. The Linkedin hack  a few years ago got my then password so it must be out there on the dark web.

Have you checked whether Dux has used your box brownie and suspension wires, fin de siècle crossed with Mission Impossible-style?

Fascinating stuff, Lyds.  I was 15 in 1986.  My first grad job was at a big advertising agency in 1983 earning £6.5.  It was low even at the time.  Went up quickly though and accelerated in the coke fuelled late 90s.  

As a teacher these days I read the HOD salary from 1986 and weep.  It's not that much more 30 years on. 

PT, yes, at one stage Mr XL was going to stop teaching as his net pay was about what we paid for childcare and it is a hard job  but then teachers got from memory something like a 25% pay rise sometimes in the 80s so he carried on although it was never that well paid and never will be unless you become a very rare superhead. Mind you if you add in almost free school fees and accommodation it is not always a bad deal. We knew one couple mother at Mr CL'sd prep school 3 children free school (or rather just paid 15%), fee house at the husband's boarding school where he worked and the children went on to free boarding school. So age 4 - 18 free education and free board and lodging is not that bad a deal.

 

I haven't got much further due to work, but by March 1986 I was wanting to buy a "word processor" but they were too expensive. I compromised by buying a sewing machine and did a fes sets of curains but the cute sweet baby L2 and very energetic L1 made it very hard. I keep getting in meetings late on so nothing changes there and we moved to our scond house in Feb 1986 which was semir not terraced. Let us see if I can find boht houses. I know the first is worth about £400k now.

 

That's interesting zoopla says the first house is worth  £384k now ( 3 beds, terraced, zone 5) which will reflect falling London house prices. I wonder if all those plants we put in including the pine bushes and my walnut tree are still in. After 30 years the walnut might just be starting tobear  fruit. We paid about £40k in 1984 and sold in 1987 for about £62k although the rise of course didn't benefit us as the next house up had gone up evevn more.

 

Okay the first which we bought before L1 was born has not been sold so no deatils on line but next door is this one ( in fact i think you can see ours on the left with the rather nice brass handle and letter slot Mr XL put on as noted in the diary   https://www.zoopla.co.uk/property/63-hillside-crescent/south-harrow/har…

 

Then we moved to a semi detached which involved my cycling even when pregnant from there to the tube twice a day - ah our second also has not sold  for years - ,may be both purchasrs are still in it. Anyway a few doors down this is a  similar house   - seems to be worth £510k now. We paid £87k in 1987. Then hought 2 buy to lets in 1988 (which we sold in the 90s recession at a 50% loss etc but I am not on to that  yet and I am still stuck in 87 which daily isuses over where to express breast milk, how many times L2 fed in the night, how many times L1 woke in the night and the one through night of the month in 1986 (babies never change).

https://www.zoopla.co.uk/property/37-st-andrews-avenue/sudbury/wembley/…

Sorry. it's not. I did 1984 a few months ago. That was a busy year too. Wen into my second year of "articles" so was starting to know what I was doing more, gave birth to the gorgeous L1 and we bought our first house together just before she was born and had a constant stream of visitors  just as well we boarded and did out the loft as we often had people staying in just about every room over night. Then up to Yorkshire for L1's baptism as that suited the extended family better and my brother after 7th term \oxbridge went off on his gap year so my parents had their first year without children at home for a very long time. (which sadly made them get on even worse)

Yes but I'd better not go into that.

I have also voluntarily very occasionally watched a child doing sport - sports day actually although the twins would remind me of the year I thought I was the fittest mother, got set to win the race anad pulled a muscle and had to get to hospital.

I am on to 1988 now. Ketp being kept late at home in the mornings day after day by hte person who looked after the toddler so L1 and I were late for her nursery school and I was late into work although we then changed things and found a cleaner who could do the morning drive to school which made it easier.  That was hard. No one answered the ad in the paper. The agency culdn't find anyone for ages - often cleaners don't have a car etc. I am then at my third law firm and L3 is expected. He is kicking a lot and the firls (3 and 1) are very cute. I think they were some of the worst sleepers in history but without doubt once L1 went to morning nursery school tihngs were better so I suspect they were being given long naps at home and hence up a lot in the night.

 

I erected a green house and hut and some thugs have broken a window over the fence of it and I replaced it and the next night they broke it again. What is interesting a policeman came to my hosue about it. I am not sure they would bother doing that today.

..ah base rates have risen to 8.5% oh dear. I had just had  an annual pay rise to £27,000  (12.5%) £400 extra net a month).