January 1992

A very wet and stormy start to a month that ended up chillingly cold with north-easterly winds from the Arctic but one when Della not only finally discarded her wheelchair and crutches but seems to have settled back into school with no real problem as far as the work or relationships were concerned. She was now getting on better with Debbie who needed my help with her school work and needed consolation over having to have her dentist fit teeth braces a few weeks' hence which was a shame but necessary. Daniel was very much the teenager finding his feet socially, having experienced his very disruptive car crashes and now caused panic when failing to return home with his friends after an amusement arcade session.

The health of Di's parents Charles and Norma, had been quite a worry to us, but they gradually recovered from their ailments for more Jackson and Fulton family events. I had not seen my family much since the New Year but at least Freda now seemed to be getting the alterations at Redgrave under way but told me of the rows between Freda and Alf over Christmas concerning their business and my loans.

I was spending time with Nigel looking at sporting opportunities and with Steven concerning boating preparations for the season but was also worried about my own health and trying to lose weight and avoid cholesterol levels rising on the eve of my nose operation. My investments were going well, and my writing and administration was up to date and there was still time for sporting and social events to keep Di happy.

The Paxton Princess was being serviced, renovated and improved at original maker. Barnes Brinkcraft to be made ready for the forthcoming boating season and, despite some opposition, there was also the great news about getting planning permission to redevelop Heronshaw such that I now needed to finalise my plans and get them drawn up by the architect.

Back home, I was still doing more local political and voluntary work than I would like and spent much of my time concentrating on the problems and priorities of others and a key day started and ended with Michael Pope's resignation. I was making good progress with my own local affairs with the successful organisation of opposition to the wild Little Paxton development plans, getting Police Inspector David Amps to confirm that constable Phil Moores was to be our village 'bobby', and fielding a lively special Little Paxton Parish Planning meeting discussing Cosy Corner and Bydand Lane plans for development after I had featured the issues in my Focus newsletters.

I put a lot of effort into designing, laying out, printing and delivering those Focus newsletters. I also convened a special Village Hall Committee meeting one evening to discuss the prospect of the Parish Council underwriting the costs of the building extensions and repairs. I had many busy office days of press and political telephone calls which reported these achievements and also my efforts on behalf of the museum and the Little Paxton Nature Reserve.

John Major's New Year's message was all full of discredited claims about the economy now getting better as the 30-year release of government papers shows MacMillan was facing much the same problems all that time ago. Sterling then came straight back under pressure and at the bottom of the EMS permitted range continually with the government and Bank of England desperately trying to avoid depreciation or interest rate rises.

All three political parties were getting into a state of hyperactivity over the prospects for a general election and there were damaging news stories about the failure of British Foreign Policy leading to the Falklands war and the Maxwell Brothers refusing to answer questions of the Commons Select Committee looking into the demise of the Mirror Pension Fund.

The conflict deepened in Georgia with a bloody stalemate, an EEC diplomatic helicopter was shot down by Serbian forces holding up the peace-keeping initiative in Yugoslavia and US President George Bush panicked the press corps by collapsing during a state banquet in Japan

After a very wet start, as stormy weather reported in the Highlands with severe gales and torrential rain challenging my Broubster forest, we had our own pouring rain down south such that the river flooded our riverside gardens. After this receded, leaving a thick layer of silt everywhere, it developed into a chillingly cold and damp month, with northerly and easterly winds from the Arctic such that the river was frozen and the frost was thick. On milder days, the fog was another problem.

This first month of 1992 has been quite exhausting but also rewarding as well. Our first concern was Della who, not only finally discarded her wheelchair and crutches, but seems to have settled back into school with no real problem as far as the work or relationships were concerned. She was still a big baby over food and being fussed but that is more down to Diana's mollycoddling than any trauma of the accident! I had the school bus arrangements under review so that she can go back completely to her normal routine.

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