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Family Jackson July 2014

July 25th 2014


25th Wedding Anniversary song!

On Jonathan's return this weekend for a short visit the boys presented us with their Wedding Anniversary gift. Somehow they have managed to compose, perform, film and edit an Anniversary song without us having any inkling that they were doing so. The result – in the style of Flight of the Conchords but even better – is quite wonderful and incredibly funny and Mary and I love it.

It is clear that an extraordinary amount of work has gone into this and Jonathan, Alastair and Harry have been quick to point out that much of this has been by Tom. Thank you to you all.

The photograph that I have added to the beginning of the video was taken on the day of our anniversary this year – how different we look from the wedding day photograph chosen by the boys for the end of their film!




The Bride
Throwing the bouquet   The Bride and her father   The Bride

July 22nd 2014


25th Wedding Anniversary today!

Today is Mary’s and my 25th Wedding Anniversary and I am very excited as we will be celebrating at L’Enclume in the Lake District.  I would like to say that I had arranged this surprise for Mary but, as those who know me well will already have guessed, the opposite is true.  Mary also has plans – following our recent success on the Night-Ride – that we return via the Tandem shop in Shropshire with a view to ordering a bespoke bicycle, preferably one on which the back seat reclines and has footrests rather than pedals.

An anniversary is a natural time for reflection and it has been great fun looking back at the many photographs that have been taken over the years, starting with those of our wedding, but most showing our children growing up, many of which were of course hard copy images from a pre-digital era, stacked away in boxes in the attic.  I have spent the past several days picking out the most memorable of these and converting them to a digital format that I can store in the equivalent of an attic on my computer.  I cannot feel but immensely fortunate when I think back over Mary’s and my married life together and (with apologies to William Parrish from the film ‘Meet Joe Black’), if I had one wish it would be: that you would have a life as lucky as mine, where you can wake up one morning and say, “I could not have wanted for anything more”.  Twenty-five years.  Don’t they go by in a blink?

Mary and I have also enjoyed reminiscing about the day of our wedding.  Both the Best Man and the Bride’s father (I cannot remember what the Bridegroom said) delivered wonderful speeches.  Mary’s father sent us a copy of his speech after the wedding and I have written this out on this website under the Ian Roddie button.  It is worth reading, not only as an example of a perfect speech combining gravitas and humour but also to to see how he compared me with a neutrino.

Of Mary he said:
‘So Mary I would like you to know that in your father’s eyes, as in so many others both past and present, you are and have been a wonderful daughter in both good times and in bad, truly a daughter for all seasons. And if you can provide James with the same intelligent love, support and loyalty that you have given to your family, James will indeed be a fortunate man. May all your hopes and dreams come true.’

I am a fortunate man indeed.



Ballads for the Age of Science

July 12th 2014


Who's afraid of thunder?

The Wimbledon Tennis Championship heralded, unsurprisingly, the first summertime thunderstorm. The first clap of thunder was accompanied, as it has been every year since I have known her, by Mary bursting into song:

‘Who's afraid of thunder? (Thunder's just a lot of noise),
Who’s afraid of thunder? (Like the noise we make with toys),
When the thunder comes with a boom, boom, boom,
We get out our drums and we room, toom, toom.

When lightning flashes through the sky,
It heats the air as it goes by.
The air expands and rushes back,
And that’s what makes the thunder clap.’

(Repeat ad infinitum!)

This song is one of many from an LP called ‘Ballads for the Age of Science’ by Hy Zaret and Lou Singer that Mary’s father brought back from the United States in the early 1960s, and to which Mary and her siblings clearly listened intently and often.  Whether by accident or design the record was lost but not before many of the more annoying ditties had been committed to memory; since then, like Pavlov’s dog, particular acts of nature or scientific facts will bring forth the relevant ballad. 

The family has come to accept that the ‘Thunder song’ is as necessary a part of summer as Henley and Pimms and that, so long as there are not too many groans, it will soon go away.  My mistake earlier this year, however, was that I Googled the song and was surprised to find that the full selection of ballads has recently been re-issued on CD.  Mary’s delight on being presented with the boxed set and re-introduced to her childhood science lessons was wonderful to see but their effect on the rest of us has been less favourable.  Now, a comment or query from any one of us on any subject at all (and I do mean any subject!) will have Mary rushing to the CD player and putting on the appropriate song to which we have to listen.  Losing the boxed set is not an option – the ballads have been loaded onto Mary’s iTunes!




  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010