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Friday 1st February 1991

A day working at home, catching up with calls and arrangement as Steve Bloom visits with his bad news before reconciling my political colleagues dispute and managing some gardening in between. The Gulf news is both confusing and worrying with Iraqi manoeuvres on the Kuwait/Saudi border

I was tired today from a series of late nights and also from the tension of giving the history talk yesterday evening. Slow to get up this morning and so had breakfast with the family in my dressing gown so that I could see the girls off to school. Some reading and the televised news on the Gulf War and then I got showered and dressed before getting down to some work in my office. A number of calls and visits today during which I organised the work that needed doing for both the Paxton Princess and The Hayling View hall/utility area.

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January 1991

The start of The Gulf War was regrettable this month as the war-makers won over the peacemakers with the weather in keeping with very high winds and rainstorms followed by steady chills with bronchial infections widespread.

I struggled to get over a bad cough and poor Diana had her ear and throat infection and continued quite deaf. Della passed her Kimbolton School Entrance Exams and, like Debbie, who enjoying her much more satisfactory Staughton livery was doing well at horse riding as well as outings with Di and I. Daniel was enjoying his UEA Computer education, his own room and receiving passionate letters from Angela and visiting me in Horning to help and do his washing. Just Freda was a cause of concern in her new retail role as Mum seemed to be managing.

Plans for completing The Hayling View were proceeding and I was visiting Heronshaw to carry on work there, first with Di and then alone as Daniel also visited and helped. I visited the Boat Show with Stephen Bloom. I was still leading the opposition to my local Tory Council over their Poll Tax plans, with radio and press interviews, attending all manner of Parish, District and Constituency meetings whilst still finding time for the local Little Paxton Cubs history project. This whilst still undertaking my administration and upgrading my alarm system and recovering my fitness after illness and witnessing the demise of my Onsite Training investment.

There was a fatal rail accident at Cannon Street with a growing death toll, but the Iraq War was dominating the headlines. The Gulf War began with a US warship off-shore firing a Cruise Tomahawk missile fusillade and hundreds of Allied warplanes attacking strategic Iraqi targets opposed by just surface to air missiles and gunnery.

Iraq retaliated by attacking Israel with Scud missiles and the true aircraft casualties were kept secret on both sides. Iraqis were then able to launch a total of 10 Scuds at Saudi Arabia, three at the eastern military bases of Dharhan and the rest at the capital, Riyadh which wrong-footed the Allies who were defending Israel, but they could not prevent Scud attacks killing 100 Israelis due to the collapse of a two-storey apartment building as the air war continued.

Soon, following the mass exodus of 100 Iraqi war planes to Iran, Iraq was suffering land and sea attacks without their air cover. Then a huge oil spill started growing and spreading southwards along the western coast of the Gulf from an off-shore oil terminal and scuttled tankers with this oil slick then threatening the regions drinking water by clogging the Gulf sea-water intakes of its de-salination plants. At Al Khafgi, some 5,000 Iraqis and around 50 tanks took the Allies by surprise and occupied it

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Thursday 31st January 1991

Late to bed and to wake up this morning as I followed the Gulf war news and the Saudi ‘Liberation’ of Al Khafgi as over 1000 Iraqi military vehicles mass on the Saudi border. Di went shopping in St Neots as I waded through Council papers and then we prepared more of my books for sale.

A talk later to Little Paxton cubs and their parents on the history of the village for their "Historian Badge". Labour attacked the Tories on their economic policies and John Lewis went into receivership today due to high interest rates in the middle of an economic recession.

I was late to bed and even later to get up. I was anxious to hear the news of how the Gulf War border clashes were going and find the television and radio broadcasts quite compulsive. The Saudi's were claiming the liberation of Al Khafgi this morning and will not specify the number of casualties it took. It seems that the original Iraqi "reconnaissance in force" occupied the town and then was relieved by another, larger, armoured column which helped them to withdraw north of the town where the skirmishes continue. There is talk of a huge massing of over 1000 Iraqi military vehicles on the Saudi border and the Allies just do not understand the tactics of leaving fortified positions in a situation where the allies have total air cover. At least the Allies no longer question the bravery and commitment of Iraqi troops.

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