A year notable for its extreme weather. The UK started with a big freeze then turned very wet except for April which had the hottest day for 38 years ,75degC. Fatal floods and heatwaves plagued many parts of the world, we had the October ‘hurricane’ which felled countless trees and such natural disasters were matched by man-made ones with the AIDS epidemic, The Herald of Free Enterprise sinking, the Hungerford massacre, bloodshed in Ireland and South Africa with more air crashes and mining disasters. The NHS was left in a continuing financial crisis through underfunding, there was The Cleveland Child Care scandal. Thatcher’s popularity sags during a year of high unemployment, major industrial unrest and huge stock exchange losses linked with ‘fat cat’ City financial scandals. These accompanied by repression of Civil Liberties and gagging of the BBC and then by the introduction of the Poll Tax, the ‘last straw’. They lost a by-election to Rosie Barns of the Alliance which party then approved me as a local election candidate for next Spring. At home, there was a new Daimler for me, Little Lady for Daniel and more plans laid for a conservatory and koi carp pond. We had to outings to Brighton, then on the boat and came back to plant and landscape the new games lawn. Debbie joins Daniel at Kimbolton and the children all do well at school and we go to Disneyland in Anaheim. After the November Fireworks and Fayre, the year closed with December church services. The East West arms limitation agreement was the year’s political highlight, Reagan rising in the end over Irangate; but the Irish conflict, the Iran/Iraq Gulf attacks and Tamil persecution were lowlights. The world is the poorer for the loss of Cello player Jaqueline du Pres and elder statesman Harold McMillan, Bob Geldorf tries to highlight African starvation whilst South Africa and Israel defy world condemnation
The year of 1987 started in a big freeze, with bitterly cold weather in January a dry, cold and icy month which froze the Medway and cut-off villages throughout Southern England and led to widespread traffic chaos. Daniel braved his school narrowboat trip and Debbie her horse-riding but the Range Rover came into its own for our London Boat Show visit and other trips. We had been relatively healthy but our extended family suffered more. I was interviewing older Little Paxton residents and making progress with my researches and writing the book and not responding to soundings from John Lamb about returning to business. Harold McMillan died in February, one of the many famous personalities whose lives end during this freezing cold and fairly wet month which also saw some family ill-health but some family celebrations as well. Daniel gets ‘Little Lady’ for his 15th birthday; I got a new Daimler and hatched plans for a new conservatory and koi carp pond, and tried to bring my Little Paxton History project to a conclusion We turned to outside pursuits in March as Spring took its time to come.