July 1990

House renovations, local affairs, hot weather and our epic boating voyage -  The month had started spending time at Heronshaw when I chaired a meeting of local residents and then continued later with my first solo voyage round the coast from Norfolk to Paxton before ending with my family cruise back round to Norfolk again, cruising downstream to Denver, out into the Wash and then around the coast, stopping for a few days in Wells-next-the-Sea before arriving in Great Yarmouth and cruising up The River Bure to Horning.

In between times, I did manage to attend a Huntingdonshire District Council Policy Committee meeting and also a Finance seminar and I was present to officiate at the Little Paxton Village Hall Fete, but boating was the first priority as I missed other Council meetings to make two trips. The hot weather was quite something and as July came to an end, it seemed to be getting hotter and hotter so that August might well see some record-breaking hot days as well. The water in the Great Ouse was low and we heard that they had to close some stretches of navigation after we had left. In Norfolk, it was also low but there were no levels to keep up and so we were safe.

The boat was working out very well and we were enjoying our holiday and intend to repeat the experience each year. The family are well with Debbie recovering from her finger injury although poor Di is suffering with eye irritation and has now arranged to be fitted for new contact lenses. My sister Freda and family have settled very well into their new house and business venture and are in the middle of the second visit of Mum who likes being there for the company. The rest of Diana's family are also all right, but her brother is out of a job at the moment ("between contracts") which is a worry.

Back home, we were in the middle of another building and renovation project as Debbie gets a new bedroom fashioned out of two and I get my office completely redecorated, furnished, and fitted. At least we were on our boat away from all the disruption!

Nelson Mandela was visiting the UK and plunged into a controversy by suggesting the government have talks with the IRA which started and stalled as Tory MP and Thatcher confident Ian Gow was killed by an IRA car bomb. The worst housing market for 36 years severely affected The Prudential after its acquisition of estate agents, but Chancellor Major is still ruling out reductions in the interest rate although Sterling has risen to above the three Deutschmark barrier.

The Soviet Union and Germany reforms go on apace as Mikhail Gorbachev was having to defend his reforms from attacks by his more conservative colleagues but he was re-elected as leader of the Soviet Communist Party by the huge margin of 3411 votes to 501. His domestic rival, Boris Yeltzin, President of the Russian Parliament, has quit the Russian Communist Party and it seems that multi-party politics is on the way.

US President, George Bush has proposed that Gorbachev address a meeting of NATO ministers and has proposed a joint peace declaration with the Warsaw Pact to formally end a decade of East-West hostility. 4,500 Albanian refugees sought refuge in western embassies and 50,000 Romanians were on the streets again protesting about their government. Armed police were clashing with rioters in Nairobi who are demanding the end of one-party rule.

The economic summit in Houston looked like being threatened by expected discord over agricultural trade but then western nations agreed a formula for future progress on reducing agricultural subsidies which pleased both the USA and the EEC. An Israeli air raid on the southern Lebanon bases of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah would delay hostage releases but Israeli Premier, Yitzhak Shamir, is only interested in surviving domestic challenges before the pending election.

** "Read More" BELOW for the complete story **