Diary entry: May 28th 1981
‘Mum’s forty three today and we’ve got Jean, Jane, Mark and Grandad coming over for drinks tonight. Karen and Martin might come too. Work was really boring today. I went out with my camera lunchtime and took some photo’s down by the River Thames. I went all the way down Queen Street and over Southwark Bridge near that disused power station. Didn’t hang around for too long as it was a bit deserted and I had to be back by one o’clock. That tasty policeman was outside Wood Street nick again on his horse, he’s so sexy. One day i’ll pluck up the courage to ask him for a ride 🙂 They keep playing that Quincy Jones song ‘Ai No Corrida’ on the radio, I might buy it when we’re paid ‘cos it’s really good. So glad all that John Lennon shit is finally out of the charts! Got my face a bit sunburnt today as it was really hot.’
During the hot August of 1981 Mum and I went on a two week holiday to the Amalfi Coast, not particularly good timing as Karen had given birth to my niece Kelly only two week’s prior. She remained at home with Dad as Mum and I made very good use of our time, visiting Rome, Capri, Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, Positano, Salerno and many of the other beautiful coastal towns in that region. We had a ball, a very good time both day and night, wandering around the mountain road above the sea as the sun went down, finding places to eat, drink and socialise. It was great being on holiday with Mum, and for a decent period of time. Mornings were spent up in the hills behind the hotel, walking through lemon groves and resting under pine trees as it was scorchingly hot by 10.00am most days. As great as it was I never went anywhere hot during the peak of summer again.
Diary entry 21st August 1981:
‘We woke up early today as we had booked the boat over to Capri. What an amazing place, so beautiful. Augustus Gardens at the very top is incredible, i’ve never seen such exotic flowers. We took a ski lift to the very top of the mountain and the view was breathtaking, and later in the afternoon we visited the Blue Grotto which Mum and I loved more than anything else. We had to lie flat on our backs on this skinny boat in order to pass through the cave to the inside. I was in a bit of a panic with claustrophobia but couldn’t come back out once we had started. During the summer months the light shines through a small gap and creates the intense blue glow in the water. Wish we had something like that back in England! The driver who took us from the port in Amalfi back to the hotel was really sexy – his name’s Getano and i’ve already got a crush on him. Might just have to try and make it obvious without Mum noticing.’
Diary entry June 11th 1981:
‘Went on the train with Sharon this morning, she’s working part time in Selfridges at the make-up counter. She should go back to modelling, surely it’s much better money? Maybe she’s bored of getting her tits out. Anyway, I saw the Queen today as she was officially opening the Nat West Tower. She’s really small – I was quite close and wish i’d had my camera. Dad took me to the top of that last year – he was working on it doing the dry-lining and plastering. It’s my favourite building after the Empire State Building, I think. Me and Robert have been looking at it through my telescope from Pat’s flat in Dagenham whilst it’s being built. Also saw Lady Diana this afternoon, she was at St. Paul’s for a wedding rehearsal or something. She ran from a car straight up the front stairs. She’s really tall and skinny.’
So, it would seem that I was a bit of a royalist back then. I did see several members of the family over the years, whilst working in the heart of the city. There would always be events and functions at places like Ironmonger’s Hall, Draper’s Hall, the Mansion House and the Guidhall. I have to say I was always impressed, despite my reluctance to admit it now. I even went so far as to revel in the huge street party held in London’s Fleet Street the evening before Charles married Lady Diana. It was a great night, spent with Sue, Jenny and the gang. I found it thoroughly exciting watching the fireworks in Hyde Park before making our way towards our spot in Fleet Street, where we camped for the entire night. The atmosphere was incredible – the thunderous roar of the horses pulling the gleaming royal carriages on the way to St. Paul’s at 11.am the next morning is something I will never forget. Jenny and I took a stroll in the wee hours, walking over towards Waterloo Bridge where I took a photo just before dawn that day. Quite incredible to see how the skyline has changed in the last thirty years. No Docklands, no Lloyd’s Building, no Swiss R.E. Tower, as well those which no longer exist: Draper’s Gardens, Barclays 168 Fenchurch Street, the Kleinwort Benson Building, the old Stock Exchange. I remember vividly how it was as I spent several years working in the heart of it as a messenger boy. How times have changed in terms of security – no CCTV back then, very little security around the royal family – I was often quite close with my camera, certainly close enough to have been a threat.