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Drummer Lee Rigby
         

June 16th 2013

James

Drummer Lee Rigby

Shortly after the horrific murder of Drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of Woolwich, we received an e-mail from a gentleman, Gordon Marshall, in Western Australia, in which he requested a CD of the ‘Went the Day Well?’ anthem as well as information as to how to obtain the sheet music.  We have exchanged correspondence since then and I have included some of this below, with his permission.

In Australia, there has been extensive media headlines and coverage, and understandable sadness as well as anger at the terrible atrocity committed in London this week on one of your soldiers who had served in Afghanistan, another hero.  The arrogance and brutality of the perpetrators made it even worse.  Then there was the counterpoint of the two very brave women who confronted the murderers in an attempt to give help to the soldier.  I believe they represented the thoughts and feelings of most people in the UK, Australia and the rest of the free world that we would not be intimidated by such savagery.

In regard to 'Went the Day Well?', my wife Rosemary and I first came across the epitaph in the churchyard of Tuddenham Saint Mary Church, Suffolk.  It was inscribed on the headstone for seven Bomber Command crew buried there.  Their story was not known to us – perhaps they were killed near the village when leaving or returning to their home airfield.  Visiting the grave for the seven young men and the epitaph was a very poignant moment for us and remains so to this day.  It made us contemplate who these young men were, their lives, their families, their dreams and their aspirations once they had served their country.  Perhaps one day we will know?  And so our attachment to your website and its significance to so many circumstances where questions are asked by the fallen and the returning heroes from so many wars, including those recognised by your Help for Heroes cause.  Tuddenham was an important Bomber Command base, one of many on the East coast of England that we came across and although the bases have mostly been returned to farming, there are still signs of them and they are remembered in many of the towns and villages that were close by, especially the pubs.

There is still a very close bond between Australia and Britain (and rivalry of course as we look forward to the two Ashes series later this year!), and many families in both our countries have strong ties to the tragic losses we shared together in the conflicts of the 20th Century and now unfortunately the 21st Century.  The anthem "Went the Day Well?" and the epitaph " For your tomorrows, These gave their todays", are simple but very powerful reminders of those heroes who were prepared to sacrifice themselves for their country, both the fallen and those who returned.  Now the anthem has been put to music it is a wonderful accompaniment to your "Help for Heroes" cause and I wish it every success it so richly deserves.

The website is very significant and very moving in all its aspects and a tribute and credit to those who made it possible, the composer and the choristers of St Paul's, the two young men and their epic bike ride, those who contributed their thoughts and inspirational experiences and most importantly, the Heroes. Once again many thanks for your responses to my requests and I look forward to the CD and to sharing it with family and friends.

As I have said before, we receive very little ‘real’ correspondence on this website – most is spam trying to sell us a particular medication for which we have no need – and I have occasionally thought of taking down the ‘Contact Us’ page; and then we are sent something that makes me realise how important it is to keep the page open.
 

 





 
A real Tough Mudder
         
Tough Mudder   Tough Mudder   Tough Mudder
Electroshock therapy   Electroshock therapy   Electroshock therapy

June 14th 2013

James

Tough Mudder 2013 - the official photos

I suppose that I should not be too surprised. A photographer presented with the option of a good-looking, fit teenager wearing a skin-tight lycra top showing his sculpted muscles to great effect, and a fifty-something old man, also wearing a skin-tight lycra top - which has the perverse effect of highlighting every ounce of extra fat - is likely to take shots of the former.

My official photographs totalled seven in every one of which Tom also starred, usually as the obvious subject on whom the camera was centred. Tom's photographs included my seven and an additional twenty (!!), in only two of which I happen to have been fortuitously caught in the peripheral field. I was pleased to see, however, that one of these does just catch my impressive leap into the water from the 'Walk the Plank' obstacle (see the central photo in the first line on the left of this page).

If there were ever to be another time that I tackled Tough Mudder (there won't be!) I would make sure that I ran the course next to someone even more unattractive than me in the hope that the photographers would occasionally direct their lenses my way!

 

 





 
A real Tough Mudder
         
Team Jackson before TM   The Tough Mudder arena   Team Jackson after TM
The Mohawks   Getting a Mullet   Warming up - Hoo-rah!

June 9th 2013

James

Tough Mudder 2013

Yesterday Tom and I took part in the London South Tough Mudder 2013 and are now officially 'Tough Mudders'. I feel a little embarrassed to be classified in the same category as Tom - who leapt effortlessly over each and every obstacle (after helping his Dad) - and prefer to think of myself as a 'Not quite as Tough as Tom' Mudder. For those of you who have not come across this form of self-mutilation before, I would suggest you follow this link, although you will get a good idea of what is involved by watching the video that Tom has produced using footage from his head-mounted GoPro. He has uploaded the same video to YouTube.

Highlights of the course were: the Arctic Enema - Tom has very kindly taken out the footage of me trying to climb out the side of the first ice bath not realising that I was meant to swim underneath the barrier, and getting a slightly worried look from one of the volunteers who was clearly concerned that an elderly contestant was having some sort of reaction to the cold; the Electric Eels - listen out for Tom's screams in the video as they bite; and the moment at about ten miles when a spectator shouted out, 'When did you start your race?', and a fellow competitor alongside us replied, '9 o'clock'; and we had started at 9.30!

We completed the 11.5 mile course in 2 hrs 20mins; Tom is looking forward to showing me just how much I slowed him down when he takes part again; I will not be joining him.

 

 

 





   
 
Oliphant Jackson
         
Oliphant Jackson   Oliphant Jackson   Oliphant Jackson

June 3rd 2013

James

Exams

I am not sure if I was ever quite as cool as my sons seem to be when sitting school examinations. I remember them as being extremely stressful but Alastair and Harry, who today started end of fourth year school exams and Common Entrance respectively, appeared to be positively looking forward to them when we all had a pre-exam dinner party last night. The difference may of course be that they have worked more diligently for them than I did or perhaps, unlikely as it may seem, they are brighter than I was!

Both Tom and Jono have also been hard at work with end of year university exams. Jono has recently had a number of third year medical school practical tests to get through and his longsuffering housemates have kindly been helping out by being patients on whom he can practise his clinical examination techniques; I understand, however,that there was a complete lack of volunteers before his recent digital rectal examination module!

I realise now that I did not put a new Wesley Roddie letter up on the site last month; I was clearly so excited by my nesting wrens that it slipped my mind. I have now put that right and have added 'Politeness', an article that stresses the importance of teaching children to be polite at an early age. There is always at least one sentence in each of Wesley's letters that I particularly like and in this article it is:

'....he, who from his childhood has been permitted to show a want of respect and deference to his parents and the members of his own family will not in manhood be polite to the rest of mankind'.

I am still trawling through the old family photographs and those that I have included today are some that I have found of my own father as a child. It is not inappropriate to include him on this particular blog; he was a keen believer in the importance of politeness.

 





  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010