"So, what do you think of the Poll Tax?"
I’m not sure whether these were his first actual words to me, but they were certainly said within 5 minutes of meeting my future father-in-law.
20 years ago I had not yet studied philosophy at degree level, I had not yet had my spiritual, political and ideological beliefs challenged and turned upside down, I had not yet run my own business and dealt with awkward customers on a daily basis. And at that point I had no idea he would be my future father-in-law.
I was nervous.
20 years ago all I knew was the fact I didn’t have much opinion about it all, was probably the wrong answer.
John Simpson had been a gunner in a Lancaster Bomber during the war. Shot down over Germany, he spent the last year of WWII in a prisoner of war camp. All this had happened when he was younger than I was, standing before him, desperately not wanting to embarrass myself in front of my new girlfriend’s dad.
But for some reason, he and his wife took a liking to me and I was accepted as part of the family.
Today we attended his funeral. His ashes will soon join with Maggie’s mother, Elsie, who died last year.
John Simpson: 13th August 1921 to 21st December 2010
The world is emptier without him