Sidney in the 1980s

1980 Mount St Helen erupts in Washington - no, not that Washington. And now, exactly according to plan, our second daughter, Ruby, is born. A shy retiring girl - show us your tummy, Ruby. I start teaching at Lewisham College. Mum dies in hospital.

1981 Ronald Reagan elected president - how cool can it get? Now it's Ruby's turn to go through the various methods of being carried on a bike. First on a nice plastic child seat, then on the tandem.

1982 CDs introduced - now all those people with LPs have to spend loads of money again. Not me though - I'm going through my tape collection for the third time, updating to stereo. I learn to read music and play the recorder. About time too.

1983 America has a 'Star Wars' missile plan - now that's what I call believing your own advertising. We're still going to Coverack every year, but the railways ain't what they used to be.

1984 Reagan elected again - no comment. I pass the Open University Maths Foundation course. We move to Hither Green and we buy a car again, this time a beaten-up VW Beetle. It's a long way to Cornwall in a Beetle - we make it with bikes on top.

1985 Gorbachov takes over in Russia - now what's going to happen? I pass the OU Pure Maths course. Ruby graduates to tandem.

1986 Glasnost and perestroika in Russia - know what I mean? I pass the OU Applied Maths course and get my BA degree.

1987 World population passes 5 billion - the more the merrier say I. At Lewisham College I start to teach A-Level maths. Some of the students are much cleverer than me. Thank goodness they don't know that. Meanwhile it's our fifteenth year at Coverack.

1988 George Bush elected president - things look pretty grim. At the college I am persuaded into teaching computer-aided draughting on the basis of having been a draughtsman. Nothing for it, we have to get a computer. Mary gets a 286 'cheap' through her job.

1989 The Berlin Wall comes down - to celebrate Julie and I ride our bikes from John O'Groats to Lands End. It turns out to be the holiday of a lifetime.

Ruby decides it's time to change - again

Ruby and me in Cornwall

I like this OU lark - where's my mortar-board?

Ruby and me outside No 88 in Catford