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A yard of orange juice!
Going....   Gone!   Celebrating my Birthday

September 14th 2011

Me again

Happy Birthday Tom: The Musical

It was my 18th Birthday last Saturday and I had a great day that included receiving my Dad’s yard glass from which I drank (or, more accurately, spilt down my front) about two and a half pints of orange juice.  It should have been beer of course but I did not feel that that would have been the right way to prepare for the rugby game I had to play in the early afternoon.

 Jono’s present was tickets for a comedy improvisation act called ‘Baby Wants Candy’ that he had come across at the Edinburgh Fringe a few weeks ago, and which had subsequently transferred to the Leicester Square Theatre.  Auntie Catherine and Uncle Neville are over in England for a couple of weeks so we were a group of six that set out for the centre of London that evening. 

I had little idea what to expect as a group of seven actors bounced onto the stage with a backing group consisting of a pianist, guitar player and drummer but it soon became clear that they were going to perform a completely improvised musical, ‘for one night only’, and all they needed from the audience was a title.  Uncle Neville was onto this like a shot and, way louder than the other punters, boomed out, “Happy Birthday Tom”; and that is how ‘Happy Birthday Tom the musical’ was born!  My initial excitement at being the subject of the entire show was dulled, briefly, when Tom, the hero of the story, turned out to be a (very politically incorrect) deaf nerd with a ‘funny accent’, which my family, and especially Jono of course, found absolutely hilarious.

It was the most glorious show made even better by the presentation to me of a T-shirt at the end with ‘Happy Birthday Tom, the musical’ printed on the back.  I think that the act ‘Baby Wants Candy’ has now finished in London but if you ever have the chance to see them, do so; and remember to shout out loud with your suggested musical title if you want the evening to be even more enjoyable! 

Many thanks to Michael Toedman, the Managing Director of Soho Syndicate and Garrett Palm who have said that they will send me a video of the show.  So long as they give their permission, I will post a short section up on-line as soon as it arrives. In the meantime you can see some examples of their previous musicals on youtube.


Firefighters' memorial
Firefighters' memorial   Firefighters' memorial   Firefighers' memorial

September 11th 2011

Me again

'Grief is the price we pay for love'

These words are a quotation taken from a message from Her Majesty the Queen, read at a memorial service for the British victims of 9/11 held at St. Thomas's Church, Fifth Avenue, New York on 20th September 2001. They are also inscribed on the memorial to British Victims in Grosvenor Square, London. They have now been put to music by Nico Muhly in an anthem commissioned in memoriam 9/11 by the music Patrons of St. Paul's Cathedral and today, they were sung by the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir at a service to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States of America and the twentieth anniversary of the Firefighters' Memorial Trust.

My parents were at the service and tell me that it is a quite beautiful and moving piece of music.

Yesterday was my 18th birthday and I had the most fantastic time, which will be the subject of a subsequent blog. But today was 9/11.


Remember our soldiers
Aled Jones   Wootton Bassett   Wootton Bassett

September 4th 2011

Me again

Aled Jones Show

For those who were unable to hear the Aled Jones Good Morning Sunday show on Radio 2 this morning I have recorded what Aled said and you can listen to this below. Very fittingly he used the anthem to commemorate the 345 service personnel who have been repatriated through Wootton Bassett in the past four years.


Listening to the anthem again this morning really brought home to me what a wonderful piece Ben Parry has composed to the words written by John Maxwell Edmonds and what a wonderful tribute it is to our soldiers. I know of several people who are planning on using the anthem at Remembrance Day services this year and I do hope that others will do the same. How lovely it would be to hear it at the British Legion's Remembrance Day Service at the Albert Hall! I have written to the British Legion suggesting this and I am looking forward to their reply.

If you listen to Aled Jones' introduction to the anthem you will hear that he mentions Lynda Beaven who has set up a project called 'Teardrop Time'. She has come up with the lovely idea of a 'Crystal Teardrop' to decorate Remembrance Day Poppies to show our appreciation to Wootton Basset. Please go to her website by clicking on the link above to see how you can obtain your own 'Crystal Teardrop'. Lynda has written a poem called 'They came, they saw, they wept', and has sent this to us. You can read this on our Went the Day Well page.

I have another person to thank. The money raised by Tom Benyon, one of the teachers at St. Paul's School in Barnes, at his production of The Canterbury Tales has been donated to our JustGiving site. Thank you to him and the cast. I am overwhelmed by everyone's generosity.


Dreamtime at anchor
Catherine, Al and Neville   Al on board   Getting close to a stingray
Moorea   Neville and Al   The English loo seat position
Learning to snorkel   Belly flop time   Stingray again

September 1st 2011

Me again

The anthem is going to be played by Aled Jones on his Good Morning Sunday programme on Radio 2 this weekend just before 7.30 am! Thank you Aled.

I hope you have enjoyed Harry's natural history blogs. I have to say that I have learnt quite a bit myself and will probably be using some of his photographs for my A level biology projects over the course of the next year!

It was back to school day today. I cannot believe how rapidly the summer holidays have gone by. It seems only yesterday that we were setting off from school at the end of term in the famous yellow van to go up to John O'Groats but that was almost exactly two months ago!

Unsurprisingly the donations to our JustGiving site have slowed down a little but there have been two people whom I have to mention both of whom have raised £500 for us. The first is Alex Mackinder whom I first mentioned in my blog of July 15th; he has raised money by cycling around Richmond Park whilst we were pedalling from John O'Groats. The second is Debbie Molyneux, a senior nurse at Hammersmith Hospital, who has raised money by running coffee mornings and by pestering friends and relatives! I will be taking photos of both of them soon and will post them up on subsequent blogs. Thank you to them both.

You might remember that I have had a great deal of help setting up this website from my Uncle Neville. He also designed the artwork for the concert posters, the concert flyers, the CD cover and booklet and the yellow van graphics. One of my brothers, Alastair, was fortunate enough to go and visit them in Tahiti for three weeks over the summer holidays and I have posted a few photos from his trip up here. He wrote a blog on Uncle Neville's and Auntie Catherine's website which is well worth reading via this link. I am so envious!


  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010