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GoPro camera
GoPro Camera   GoPro Camera   GoPro Camera
Studio photo of bike   Studio Photo of bike   Studio photo of bike
Studio photo of bike   Studio Photo of bike    

March 31st 2011


Looking back through the few blogs that I have written this month I realise that I have not said anything in them about the time and effort that has gone into arranging the date and venue of the concert. I know that we have put some important details down elsewhere on this site but I thought I would let you know a little more about what has been going on here.

We had originally decided on the 1st June 2011 - I cannot remember exactly why we chose that date but it seemed to suit everyone at the time. Unfortunately, St. Paul's Cathedral was not available (in fact it is generally booked up for many months in advance) so we looked for another venue. St. James's Church, Piccadilly seemed ideal. Like St. Paul's Cathedral, it was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and it seats about 500 people which is the number that we are hoping will attend. At this point I would really like to thank Sarah Baxter, the Concert Manager at St. James's for her enormous support when we were trying to arrange all this.

Just when we thought everything was organised we found out that the date was no longer suitable for the choristers. Given their busy schedule, the only two possible evenings on which the concert could be held were the 22nd and the 29th June and, believe it or not, St. Paul's Cathedral was free on the latter of these two dates! It was obviously meant to be. Since then we have had the final go-ahead from the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's and we are soon to meet the Events Team to discuss the concert details. One of the major benefits of St. Paul's, is that a pre-concert reception can be held in the Crypt, which is a wonderful venue.

So, at long last, you can definitely put this date in your diary; please keep it free:

Wednesday 29th June at St. Paul's Cathedral

Pre-concert reception - 6.30pm

'Went the Day Well Concert' - 7.30pm

Those of you who read my last blog below will know that we are trying to put a video together for the site but that we ran into immediate difficulties when the handycam we had attached to the handlebars of one of our bikes malfunctioned. We have now acquired a HERO camera from GoPro which attaches to pretty much anything and looks as if it is just what we need - I cannot wait to give it a go this weekend. I expect to get a few looks when out on the roads but it's all in the name of art! Talking of art, on the left are a few shots of me sporting our new acquisition as well as a couple of studio photographs that we have been trying to take of one the bikes; they will get better (I hope!). We will try and get some video on line soon.

Red Tower
Olympic site March 2011   Olympic Stadium March 2011   Olympic Aquatic Centre March 2011
Olympic site March 2011   Olympic site March 2011   Olympic site March 2011

March 21st 2011


You will have seen elsewhere on the site that the date and venue of the anthem have changed. Everything seemed to be sorted for the Ist of June at St. James's Chuch, Piccadilly and then we were informed that the Choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral could not make that day after all. These things happen for a reason though, because when we then looked at alternative dates we found out that St. Paul's Cathedral was free on the 29th June! This is wonderful news for several reasons: first, it's St. Paul's Cathedral; who would not want to hold a concert there? Secondly, the Choristers will be on their home turf and will sing beautifully; thirdly, we do not have to look for another venue for the pre-concert reception as this can be held in the beautiful Crypt of St. Paul's. This reception will be held from 6.30pm with the concert planned to start at 7.30.

We have been trying to make a video for the site as a bit of light relief and thought that it would be good to have some action shots on the road. We therefore grabbed the Sony Handycam and attached it to the handlebars using a very clever contraption make up of a front light clip attached to the top part of a camera tripod. It looked great......but did not work. The transmitted vibration through the front wheel to the handlebars was too much for the hard drive on the camcorder. Not only would it not record anything at all but it also managed to corrupt all of the clips that we had taken previously of St. Paul's Cathedral. Fortunately we were still able to transfer these to a computer but then needed to reformat the hard drive to get it working again. It sounds as if we may need to get a special 'Sports' or helmet mounted camcorder if we are going to take this any further but they are not cheap. Anyone have any ideas or comments?

The photos I have posted today are of the new Olympics site taken during a recent cycle ride. There was no obvious vantage point from which it was possible to see the new velodrome which is what I would really love to have a look at. I will try another day. The red tower is going up as you can see and is, as yet, pretty unimpressive. But did you know that it is going to be 22m taller than the Statue of Liberty and more than twice the height of Nelson’s Column? It is actually called the ArcelorMittal Orbit and is named after the steel company owned by Lakshmi Mittal, the richest man in Britain, who is paying most of the cost of £19.1 million! I liked Boris Johnson's description of it:

“Some may choose to think of it as the Colossus of Stratford. Some eyes may detect a helter-skelter or a supersized mutant trombone. Some may even see the world’s biggest ever representation of a shisha pipe and call it The Hubble-Bubble. But I know that it is the ArcelorMittal Orbit. It represents the dynamism of a city coming out of recession and the embodiment of the cross-fertilisation of cultures and styles that makes London the world capital of arts, the cultural and creative industries.”

I will try and take a few more photos over the next couple of months so you can see how it is coming on.

My Grandmother
Spring floweres   Spring flowers   Spring flowers

March 12th 2011


I have just returned from my Grandmother's funeral which was held at St. Peter's Church in Norfolk on the 10th. One of the few good things about her final illness was that it had allowed her to plan her own funeral service and it was wonderful as a result; a true celebration of her life. The church was packed with friends and relatives and the service started with a short introduction from the vicar, Reverend Les Wilman, who spoke with emotion and humour about my Grandmother, whom he clearly respected and loved, as did we all. We sang, in great voice, the hymns that she herself had chosen, and listened, in complete silence, to the readings that she had requested and to the words that she had asked my Dad to read out on her behalf and which I have included here:

‘Like most people with a scientific background I am not a conventional Christian and do not believe in much of the doctrine handed down the ages, but I was brought up in the Anglican Church by my parents, with a combination of a Roman Catholic Grandmother, a strict Methodist nanny and a Mother who lent towards the Quakers, and in my ‘teens suffered from the 40 minute sermons of the wonderful Olive Willis, the Head of Downe House School.  However unorthodox I may be, my God is the God of the Christian Church in whom I trust and with whom I talk.  The Church of England is a wonderful enfolding establishment which appears to accept those of many opinions, and I love the peace of old churches which have been used as places of communication with peoples’ idea of God for so many years.

For I believe in a Power, a spirit, - a God if you like that term – which is eternal.  It is not only the spirit behind the Christian religion, but that behind all religions, Muslim, Buddhist, the lot, for there is only one God, one power, the Power of Love.  I do not know what happens after death, but I firmly believe that that part of one that is Love carries on and can only be felt by those that love you and whom you have loved, for a considerable time……….. for Love is eternal.’

We could all feel my Grandmother right there with us at that point. There were relatively few tears, just smiles as we reflected on our own personal memories of her, and how she had enriched our lives.

And then Harry, my youngest brother, stood up to sing John Rutter's 'The Lord bless you and keep you'. I knew of course that he was going to do this but had not heard him before. In fact, none of us, Mum, Dad and my other two brothers, has ever heard Harry sing a solo as he does all his singing at St. Paul's Cathedral; we, and the rest of the congregation were all a little nervous for him as he made his way to the front of the church.

And then he sang: it was quite the most astounding revelation to us all and we were mesmerized. The most beautiful treble voice filled the church and we all delighted in the sound and the words of this wonderful anthem which my Grandmother had personally asked Harry to sing from her to us all. I don't know if Harry was aware of the effect that he had on the congregation, and the wonderful composure that was obvious during his singing was replaced by a slightly worried look on his face during the prolonged silence that followed the final 'Amen'....... and then, in spite of the solemnity of the occasion, we all broke out into spontaneous applause and Harry smiled.

'Went the Day Well?' It most certainly did. It was a joyous celebration of my wonderful Grandmother's life.

The Anthem has been written!
St James's Church, Piccadilly   St. Paul's Choristers   Blitz Memorial St. Paul's Cathedral

March 5th 2011


It's written! Ben Parry has just e-mailed me the following:

'We have an anthem! I've written a piece which lasts 4.5 minutes on the chosen text and for the appropriate forces (trebles - including a solo part, horn, percussion (tubular bell, cymbal, triangle and wind chimes) and organ)........ it has integrity, and is accessible and poignant.'

It sounds from that as if the Anthem is all that we had hoped for. Now all we need to do is practise it, record it to CD and perform it. Sounds easy!

As mentioned elsewhere on this site, the venue (St. James's Church, Piccadilly) and the date (1st June 2011) of the premiere performance are provisionally booked. We are still awaiting final confirmation from St. Paul's Cathedral that these are acceptable. If you haven't already done so, go to the 'Anthem' page on this website and have a look at the photos that we have taken of St. James's Church. It is a lovely building and, like St. Paul's Cathedral, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, which is very appropriate given that the Choristers of SPC will be singing the anthem. We hope to see you all there.


  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010