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Current page: Concert Diary 2006

Current page: Concert Diary 2006

Concert Diary 2006

Bluebell Inn, Saffron Walden - 4th April

Linda Simpson writes - I'd just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who remember and ask about my father. There is little I can say but it helps to know that people are thinking of us.

Phew - what a mad time it has been these last few days!!

I got back from Guernsey on Sunday the 2nd of April to find Chris working frantically for the Skipton concert. It was for charity (NSPCC) so, to keep the costs down, Chris was handling everything himself, ticket sales, advertising, poster distribution etc. etc. It takes a lot of effort to arrange these things but, thankfully, Chris is very good at it so it was gathering speed but Chris was worn out.

I had only one day to get all the 'women's work' out of the way and then, on Tuesday, we were on the road down to Saffron Walden. We dropped Harvey off at Heather's on the way (the very first place he ever stayed); he was thrilled to bits to be there and I was pleased that he didn't seem to mind as we drove away - in fact I think I was more upset than he was!

On we went down the road and eventually we drove through lovely countryside and arrived at The Bluebell Inn. Dick Turpin certainly stayed there (we slept in his room) and he may have even been born there.

Not too far from us at home we have 'Turpin's Lair' - a house where he stayed when he was in the north of England, so it was nice to have the connection and feel that we had just travelled almost the same route.

At the back of the pub was the dining room, which doubled as an acoustic club. It was a lovely room with interesting corners, like all old places. We were treated to a huge pot of coffee each and then started the process of setting up the equipment.

Chris, George, and Jenny on stage

Halfway through this process George Norris and Jenny turned up. It's always great to see George - he always has a big smile and he just loves to play, as do we, so we have that and a fair number of Magna Carta songs in common. George met Jenny at the Cambridge folk festival and they teamed up to become a very tasty act. George had very kindly offered to open up the evening for us and we enjoyed watching them before we took the stage ourselves. Thank you George and Jenny.

The room was small, but the audience was smashing and included some people who had made more than a little effort to be there - one was an old friend we met in Abu Dhabi back in the eighties. At that time 'Scratch' was just a youngster and I loved him dearly for his crazy, self-effacing humour and big smile. It was wonderful to find that, twenty years on, he hadn't changed at all and is now happily married and surrounded by kids who must surely love him too. It's just so reassuring to find that some friends can be relied on not to disappoint you no matter when you pick up the threads. We are so lucky to know so many wonderful people, every one of them precious to the last.

The gig was good and, because we were staying over, we sat and talked for q uite some time afterwards. The owner, Ron, was a huggy-bear of a man who was very hospitable and fun to be with too. There were a few of us left at the end and Ron was relaxed and happy to chat to everyone until there were just the three of us. Even then he was in no rush and didn't mind that I helped myself to copious amounts of tea (I can't go to sleep unless I've had a last cuppa).

The bedroom floor sloped rather alarmingly and I was glad that I hadn't had too much to drink - I'm not sure I would have made the bed otherwise.

Ron was even kind enough to allow us a lie in the next morning - and then provided us with a great English breakfast - yummy. Thankyou Ron - that breakfast really set us up for the day - and what a day it was…

Just before going to Guernsey I had secured two lovely library chairs on e–Bay. The chairs were in Ipswich and we had arranged to pick them up that day so, armed with our computer print out, we set off to find the house. It was a lovely day and we had no problem finding the street where we met a very nice couple, saw the chairs and very happily concluded the deal. I was a little worried that we would have problems getting the chairs into the vehicle (especially with the guitars and amplifiers) but they fit perfectly and I was thrilled to bits that I had at last found exactly what I had wanted.

Full to busting, we then set off to say hi to Nigel in Bury St Edmunds, had a spot of good conversation a lovely lunch and then onwards to pick Harvey up.

Two hours later, Harvey was really pleased to see us but didn't seem quite so happy about the reduced space available due to the new chairs. There was still plenty of room to lie down, but he likes to have his own seat and that just wasn't possible. He grudgingly made himself comfortable and, after saying our goodbyes, we set off for Harrogate to see Chris's Mum. We arrived at Mum's at about 8pm and had a cuppa before heading for home.

It was after 10pm by the time we got back and of course we had to unload the vehicle. Chris told me 'not to carry anything heavy' but I couldn't wait to see what the new chairs looked like in situ so, convincing myself that they were awkward rather than heavy, I set off up the garden path with the first one. I held the chair to one side to see the steps, tripped and spun round before anding, bum first, in our pond. On the way down I had been more concerned that I might damage the chair but once in the pond I realised that that could have been a mistake. Luckily I'm well padded at the moment so apart from a few bruises to body and ego I was just fine, and so was the chair.

Chris checked the pond the following morning and found that in tact too so all was well. We could now concentrate on the Skipton gig…

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