February 1990

Exceptional warm weather brought violent storms, torrents of rain, killed 14 in this country and 35 across Europe as flooding inundated some areas of Wales. I badly scalded my foot when working on my new boat in Norfolk and foot injury then dominated my month as it need constant hospital and doctor’s examination and re-dressing. Daniel helped drive me around for appointments and I still made some engagements on my own and used rest periods between times to catch up with writing and administration.

All the children went back at school this month after Daniel's and Della's illnesses and Daniel was told he needed to buckle down to gain his grades for university entrance and Dan was preparing for his driving test and Debbie as her Kimbolton Entrance Exam. There were worries this month over Debbie’s treatment at the Offord riding stables, which did not seem to welcome them anymore. We sought advice again about Della’s urinary infection. Freda now had an idea of buying a P.O./General Stores in this area to be able to look after Mum.

Later this month, after my foot had mostly recovered, we saw our first family holiday aboard the newly named ‘Paxton Princess’ for which I had also used my lay-up time organising her equipment manuals and administration. We cruised locally and then down the Bure, via Acle, to stay in Great Yarmouth for our normal family seaside fun and then drove home via Mum’s in Stanton to discuss future plans.

My political campaigning forged ahead with our new plans for a wider circulation of even better Liberal Democrat Focus newsletters, now half financed, outside election times, by advertising revenue. I was chairing campaigning meetings, helping colleagues from neighbouring areas, but still resisting offers to stand for parliament! There was still the unending round of Parish and District Council meetings , with Little Paxton now getting well-organised and, together with Labour opposition, the District Tories were being subjected to a very effective opposition with development and the costs and complications of Thatcher’s Poll Tax being easy prey.

The world's exchanges looked very shaky again, which was the background to Abbey National put their mortgage interest rates up by nearly 1% to 15.5%, with most public professionals getting 9 to 11% increases but no decent money yet for the ambulancemen. There is controversy about the under-cover role of the security services in undermining former Prime Ministers, but Thatcher resisted pressure for a fuller enquiry. She was circumventing sanctions against South Africa against international wishes but the month's news event was of the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, with a possible end to the State of Emergency which I saw live on the T.V.

Gorbachev is trying to reform Russia by removing article 6 in the constitution that gives Communism supremacy and agreeing troop reductions in Vienna to make the Warsaw Pact becomes less of a threat to the West. A tanker chartered by British Petroleum has shed 320,000 gallons of oil off of a sensitive part of the Californian coastline. All 14 A320 Airbus aircraft in India have been grounded following safety fears when one crashed, killing 90 passengers

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