It is at this time that I like to reflect over what, if anything, I have achieved over the previous year. I consider the high and low points of my year, and there have been both.
I have, sadly, lost several friends during the year but I have been able to come to terms with it. At my age, it’s to be expected and on the plus side I have met so many wonderful, interesting, and well-motivated folk especially when I have gone to give talks to them.
I have seen parts of the North of England I’d never visited before. I’ve had the chance to see new stretches of countryside and the flora and fauna there. I have delighted in watching birds of prey and other wild creatures hunting and scavenging, as well as the birds in my hedges that have raised many chicks, helped a little by the bird food I put out.
My cat, Bhan, that has been kept healthy by the careful expertise of my wonderful vet is still fighting fit, as a result of five tablets every morning. I hide these in chicken liver pate, and have used quite a lot over the year. Now the other cat, Bhur, needs a tablet every morning as well, but all my animals are well and I think quite happy.
The campaigning leading up to the Brexit vote was hectic, and took a lot of time and energy. It was, I think, quite a shock to those in power and hopefully they will now learn to listen to the voice of the people. What has shocked me is the behaviour of all the political parties since that time, especially the leaders. Having asked the country what they wanted, and having received their reply, then they should respect it, as should those who were on the losing side instead of trying to change it back to what they wanted. I think some valuable lessons need to be learned. I just hope that in the next year we can move this country forward to make the best of the situation. I hope that the very nasty divisions that were caused by the whole affair can be healed.
On a personal note, I have been able to give my house an update. It has been decorated, and I have a proper kitchen and utility room as well as a practical lounge and dining area.
Another high point for me was being asked to, and opening, the Cawood Craft Fair, and speaking at Airmyn Grange. I also enjoyed many visits to Harrogate to talk to the blind there.
I have managed to raise quite a bit for my animal charity, West Yorkshire Animals in Need while my latest book, Operation Cain, has been published. I am now working on the next!
There have been downsides too. I have not been very well for much of the year and have found it very frustrating that I can no longer do as much as I did. I think it is called being older. It won’t stop me trying however! I am much luckier than many people.
Another memory that will stick with me is singing in the premier production of the Battle Cantata for the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Stamford Bridge. I will not forget meeting the Archbishop of York either, or meeting the Bishop of Selby.
I have enjoyed singing with the Pocklington Singers and celebrating the events of the year. Most of all I give thanks for the kindness of friends and strangers, and for having reasonable health. There is always someone worse off than you are.
I have seen nature at its best and most remarkable. I have been privileged to have the love of my animals and walk in God’s country and see the wonders of Yorkshire. For this, I will always be grateful.