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Chris at 70 - portraite by the late Hans Veen

Chris Simpson wrote his annual ‘write up’ near the end of the year… here it is:

Now we come to one of those moments that Harry in his wisdom suggests I confound you all with some jottings and pithy resumes from the trajectory of the year…. aagh, here he goes again I hear you cry. If it has to be then so be it and the Lord and the powers of the heavens be with you all.

In fact it has been such a strange conglomeration of events that I had to give the diaries the occasional look over and I find much of it is hard to believe.
I had been thinking of a follow up to the Visitor, which people seemed to like and it was then that Fate decided to take a hand.
I felt that we had something really good with the box set which we recorded live at Ripley, a beautiful village in North Yorkshire complete with a castle, a cobbled square, a lake and the remains of Cromwell’s depredations in the churchyard.
It was sold out relatively quickly.
A hard one to follow.

Repertoire agreed one of the discs should be on DVD, the rest… classic MC.
For sure when you put something like that together you find yourself nit-picking, but in the end we made up our minds and it went out to rapturous acclaim world-wide..
The Summer crawled along as English Summers tend to do and there came a time when we had the knowledge we had taken it as far as we could.
We did have welcome diversions

Up next to our boat, we have a vegetable garden and that produces superb runner beans; next we found the potatoes were the best I’d ever grown; then came the onions; and in the greenhouse the best tomatoes ever; and rounded off with the leeks. It was all quite wonderful.
Occasionally we were warned that COVID was still lurking around but as it happened it missed us.

In July I had to wake up to the fact that I was 81.
I had never been 81 before and it was a strange feeling and as ever the good wishes came from all over the planet.

I love the Autumn.
The Swallows ceased their aeronautics and set off for the Sahara; the leaves put on their Autumnal colours and the rooks built the platforms for their nests in the Sycamores.
It can produce a feeling like no other. Woodsmoke dribbled up against the lowering sky and here and there solitary fishermen trolled for the pike that had a habitat of hiding under our boat.
It was a perfect world.
Or so I thought….

One time I locked up the boat and as ever took my bags and a guitar up to my Land Rover.
Strange. It was a strange feeling as if walking on eggshells.
I put my bags in the LV.
I was aware of people I knew who looked after horses and it seemed as if they were communicating from far away …. something seemed very wrong…
One of them was a doctor. The next thing was the ambulance.

I was in the Airedale hospital. Shortly afterwards
I was in superb care for four to five weeks and ministrations beyond belief.
I had Delirium or so they told me, and that was just the beginning…
Cathy took on the guise of being an angel and I looked for her face around the door every day.
She never failed and was wonderful…
No point in wondering where it all came from… it just did and I owe so many people thanks and love in lumps.
So thank you one and all and everyone in the Airedale that made me able to get around to pay some people back.
I always wanted to meet an angel…..never thought I would actually meet one but there you go, life is full of surprises.

Chris, December 15, 2023.