February 1986

A month of bitterly cold weather (the worst since 1963 and probably for 40 years) and one that sees the family generally ill, but me fighting probably my worst threatening illness since my childhood acute appendicitis with minimal support which disrupts my supervision of the building project and results in us suffering the cold without any central heating for much of the time. Still much work is done as private and industry affairs take a back seat. The UK Government in crisis with industry and employment failures and radio-active leak scandals with Murdock still antagonising the print industry. However, The Philippines manages to make the transition to democracy under Cory Aquino from the corrupt dictatorship of Marcos. Some signs of hope also in South Africa with Mandela in talks amongst the slaughter of innocents and bad repression by the government of free expression.  Elsewhere, the Iraq//Iran war turns ever nastier, lives are lost at sea and safety concerns halt NASA space flights and restrict Boing 747’s

And so ends February – a wretchedly cold month with snow and ice, particularly bad in Northern England and Wales, as I protect The Lady from a severe frost as temperatures drop to -10degC, which froze the River Great Ouse in one go. This was variously described as the chilliest for 40 years, or the worst ever since the freeze up of 1947, or the coldest winter since 1963 but it was very cold and unpleasant by any definition.  We  have suffered most of it without central heating and were relying on open fires and fan heaters and this coincided with many family illnesses but none worse than my own.  It started with an infection of my urinary tract and ended up with a full fever with a back ache from kidney infection which my wife and the doctor did not seem to take seriously enough. Added to that, was a bout of the ‘flu that led to a very badly-organised visit to the doctor that ended up with me being left outside in the freezing-cold dusk for fifteen minutes and then suffering headaches and feverish flushes in the aftermath.