February 1988

A busy and eventful month of stormy weather with natural tragedies in Brazil and the UK and oil rigs being cast adrift as I weathered a chesty cold to take the family on a number of outings and progress a number of projects.  I take delivery of my historic 1939 Reliant van and worked on it, also arranged the acquisition of a 1972 Rolls Royce Convertible and updated my Range Rover, buying the registration marks VXD-1 and YXD-1 for them to look good. Debbie was riding well, Daniel is enjoying his own boat and getting good career advice after some satisfactory mock GCE results and Della was playing tricks and annoying Di. The games lawn was completed and we have changed our conservatory plans slightly, to appease the local planners, and now hope to get approval and this project underway. I was progressing my boating plans before getting too embroiled in the Council elections but my history project had slowed and needed a conclusion but I gleaned information about two former important riverside properties. Thatcherism becomes daily more extreme as prescription charges soar by 8%; now even the suppliers of electricity are being sold off and the ILEA is controversially abolished amongst worsening economic news. Nurses are demonstrating and striking over their pay reduction and the parlous state of the NHS and are joined across industry in a TUC day of action, The Pit Deputies shuts down the coal industry, Fords and Vauxhall do the same for the motor industry and the NUS seamen halt the ferries until they have to back down and negotiate after their union is fined. The government loses the latest Spycatcher case and now that John Stalker has revealed details of a ‘Shoot to Kill’ policy in Ulster they are accused of murder by the Roman Catholic Primate of Ireland. The Lords, banned the promotion of homosexuality despite ‘lesbians abseiling from the balcony’, as the House of Commons votes to televise Parliament. Iran and Iraq trade missile attacks at one another’s capital cities and terrible atrocities being perpetrated by Israel over their occupied Palestinian citizens are filmed and broadcast. South African police shoot dead a young man accusing them or torture and then tear-gas his church funeral but arch-bishop Tutu lead anti-apartheid services in defiance. Better news as the USSR are withdrawing missiles from East Germany

This 29th day of February in a leap year brings an eventful month of weather to a close. Torrential rain and mudslides precipitated mountain avalanches in Brazil which were then followed by horrific floods in Rio de Janeiro such that nation sought international help to cope with their disaster which leaves them with 540 dead and 10,000 homeless. Westerly hurricane-like gales killed two women in Northumbria and a girl is blown under a lorry and two more die as trees fall on cars. Two North Sea oil rigs broke their moorings in high seas and blustery gales. Dry but colder and wetter weather follow until the month ended on a mild but dull spell. The family have been healthy but poor Diana is very overweight and had to return to her weekly slimming club to try to get back under control. I have returned to my body target weight of 13st 5lbs, but I had caught the family cough, then felt poorly had a bad night and a poor start to the following day but I took some aspirin and carried on work.