River Great Ouse frozen in February 1986

On the coldest winter since 1963 and another 7degC frost tonight, I hear the revelation that I was being treated with the wrong antibiotic for my urinary infection and then Debbie keels over with sickness to make domestic life even more difficult as Philippine rebels take over the government TV station, Marcos marines guarding the Presidential Palace are hemmed in by massed humanity but open fire and Reagan opposes Marcos. The UK government cuts Social Security increases, 8,000 Land Rover resist the foreign takeover and Head Teachers back school boycotts


A restless start to the night that soon dispatched Di to sleep in the lounge. She said I was continually scratching her legs with my toenails and prodding her in the ribs! I cannot honestly remember this, but I must have been restless. Awake to feel much cooler and did not have a temperature this morning. Daniel got ready for school and then came back again as he and Di had got the dates wrong! Managed to sit up in bed and read the FT in reasonable comfort, but still had a headache. Before lunch, Di came up and phoned the Doctor’s to make my appointment for Friday, but the results of the urine test were already to hand. It transpired that I had been diagnosed the wrong medicine and, in place of the antibiotic Septrin, I must now start on an anti-bacterial medicine – Negram.

Lunch and then Di went off to get the new prescription. Before she went, we also got a call from Little Paxton school and Debbie was sick. Once she was home we really had our hands full. Earlier, Di had driven to Jordan’s in Biggleswade and bought some more grain for the doves and ducks, and while she was out the plasterers arrived and also the gas fitter to inspect the central heating for contract acceptability. A quieter afternoon following the hectic morning, but a quandary as to whether I should complete my course of antibiotics before starting the others. Only at 6.00pm could we speak to a doctor to get our instructions. Poor Debbie is sick several times and eventually falls into a deep sleep for the evening. I manage to get up later, so that I could wash whilst Di changed the bed. News today was all about the Philippines. TV film of the rebel takeover of the government TV station, and also of the rebel helicopter gunship attack on the Palace surrounds and airport. Marcos tries to declare a curfew, but little notice taken of it. President Reagan has formally come down on the side of Marcos stepping down. As Marcos marines guarding the Presidential Palace were pressed by massed humanity tonight, they opened fire for the first time. Tomorrow will see duplicate inauguration ceremonies for the rival Presidents. It now only seems a matter of time before Ferdinand Marcos goes – a pity he cannot aspire to doing it with grace. Back home, the government have announced piffling increases in social security benefits by taking the last 8 month inflation (1+%) instead of 2/3rds of the year’s average (3+%). They draw criticism from opposition parties and voluntary organisations alike. At least Norman Fowler made the House of Commons announcement in person and thus took critical questions, instead of the government’s recent practice of written answers to placed questions. 8000 Land Rover and Freight Rover workers have voted overwhelmingly to resist takeover attempts. Two women threw eggs at the Queen during her New Zealand tour, but she was determined to carry on her people ‘walkabout.’ The Head Teachers Association have been balloted and are in favour of school boycotts to support their claim for more generous terms and a national agreement to cover lunchtime supervision duties. The weather forecasts for the rest of the month are unchanged, with a 7degF frost tonight and near zero temperatures for day time. If these forecasts are fulfilled, it would have been the coldest February for 40 years and the second coldest this century. The only other colder years have been 1685, 1740, 1855, 1895, 1947, 1963 and, now, 1986.