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December 18th 2023

James

Christmas letter 2023

Dear All,

“You do realise, don’t you, that this year will be one of the wettest on record if you do go ahead with having a water bore drilled to irrigate the vegetable patch and garden?”.  Mary’s prophetic words came back to mind as I watched the rain falling in late July during our final preparations to host Tom and Yuri’s wedding.  Norfolk’s famous lazy wind (it goes through as opposed to bothering to go around you) was also having fun with the floral decorations on the wedding breakfast tables, waiting until they were set up in vases and then blowing them all over.  Like an impish child, it would then stop for long enough for the tables to be mopped up, vases refilled and replaced, before repeating the process.  Yuri appeared the least concerned of us all saying that it would be very romantic if her wedding was accompanied by the torrential rain that occurs one of her favourite films, About Time …... but we weren’t fooled.

The day was, of course, perfect.  In front of about fifty of Tom and Yuri’s friends and relations, Robin Roddie, who participated in Mary's and my wedding just over thirty-four years ago, officiated during a short service consisting of an exchange of vows and rings, a blessing and some sound advice regarding a lifetime of marriage.  A short bout of heavy rain thrumming loudly on the marquee coincided beautifully – as if by arrangement – with a poem called 'Everything I know about Love' by Dolly Alderton read by the three bridesmaids, which starts with the lines: "I know that love can be loud and jubilant. It can be dancing in the swampy mud and the pouring rain......".  Then the sun came and stayed out.  

A cake with flowers on it  Description automatically generatedAnd the cake?  A triumph though I say it myself, largely due to Mary’s wonderful home pressed floral decorations that covered up my many icing imperfections.

Tom and Yuri are now settled in London.  Tom is in his final year at medical school and has applied for jobs in the west country to start in September 2024.  Yuri is a Physician Associate at St George’s Hospital in Tooting and is thoroughly enjoying the post despite the uninformed bad press that her specialty is currently attracting.  Mary took the bold step of giving them two cats, since christened Bertie and Wooster, who have proved to be much loved, and loving, members of the household.


  Alastair (25) completed his first full Ironman in Vichy, France in August in temperatures of 30-35°C.  For the uninitiated, this consists of a 2.4mile (3.8km) swim, a 112mile (180km) bike ride and a 26.2mile (42.2km) run.  Unbelievably, he wants to do more.  Only just less of a shock is that he has now decided that he wishes to study medicine and is hoping to hear soon that he has been accepted for interview by his medical school choices.  In the meantime, he has been successful in his application for a research co-ordinator post at Imperial College, to which he is applying himself with his usual gusto.


A person and person posing for a picture  Description automatically generatedHarry (24) passed out from Durham University with a First in Engineering and his very proud parents attended the Graduation ceremony in Durham Cathedral in June on a gloriously sunny day.  He is now enjoying living back in London and has a very disciplined working week with an early morning gym session followed by his work in central London as a structural engineer.   Weekends, and many weekday evenings, are spent catching up with friends, playing golf and revisiting a previous hobby of photography during which he appears to spend as much time making new acquaintances as using the camera. 

In March, Jono and Georgie managed to get to Japan for their honeymoon, three years after their previous attempt was postponed by the pandemic.  As usual Georgie had put together a wonderful itinerary (Jonathan: “I just turned up”) which we were able to enjoy vicariously via photos and videos.  They have spent much of the remainder of the year living in a building site as they renovate their house, principally the kitchen and bedroom, in Nottingham.  The work has been beset by the unpredictable complications that seem to occur with all building projects including, in their case, the collapse in the early hours of the morning of their back garden wall.  As I write this letter, however, an end to the mayhem is in sight.

Mary and I both remain well.  Mary’s semi-retirement means that she puts in more hours of work than she did when in a full-time post, but she continues to enjoy both her NHS and Royal College of Radiologist’s roles.  Twice weekly drives between London and Norfolk have been made more bearable by Audible which allows her to enjoy a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction. 
Every year when I write this letter I struggle to think of anything worthwhile that I have achieved personally and that I wish to share, and this year is no exception.  You can rest assured, however, that I am very contented.

With very best wishes from us all.  We hope that you have a lovely Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2024.

 

 

 

 

 

The Jackson Family (minus Mary who is behind the camera)

 

 

 




 

  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010