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In every day life, John Jackson, a former Ship's Captain now retired. He still retains an avid interest in the Hash House Harriers, Rugby, Food, Romantic Fiction, Philately, etc etc etc.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Year Ends – and a New Year Begins.

It's definitely time for a new blog entry. For many of us, 2016 has not been a year of unalloyed joy, and too many friends have left us. This includes a rush at the end of the year, so here's hoping for a better 2017!

I got my MS back from my New Writer Scheme reader with several pages of comments, all of which have been acted on, and I am STILL hawking it around looking for an agent. I have also submitted to a couple of the publishers who take direct submissions and entered a couple of competitions. All part of the process we must go through.

On a lighter and brighter note, it is Christmas, and we have both our daughters with us for the big day, and DD1s partner, Richard. Good bloke! The tree is up, and we are off to pick up a large piece of organic rare-breed leg-of-pork this morning. We never have turkey – because, if you go out in December or January, you ALWAYS have it elsewhere.

No sooner did I post the last blog entry in October than we got surprise tragic news when we lost Les Moriaty. Only 4 weeks before we had dined together with Glynis and Esther in Reading. We knew Les wasn't well, but we didn't see this news coming at all.

Les's Birthday in Reading, in October.
In a horrifying period of 16 days I also said farewell to Frank, an old friend in Holland and to the force-of-nature that was Carole Blake. So sad, and all of them much missed by their friends and family, and by me.

Frank, Anton and I in Chiang Main, 2006.

Carole at the HNS Conference, Oxford, Sept. 2016

Fortunately, life goes on and it is our job to enjoy it as much as we can, and I'm certainly trying to do that.

Sue Moorcroft's launch of the excellent "A Christmas Promise" was another cracking evening in Nottingham, and I got to take my long suffering OH along to meet several friends. There was also a goodly contingent of RNA Members there to support Sue.
Sue Moorcroft's Launch for A Christmas Promise

Seeing and chatting to Jo Baker and Tracy Chevalier again in Harrogate was great, especially showing Tracy the profile pic of another friend, Abbie Vandiver, who is spending the next 3 years working on the Girl with a Pearl Earring in the Mauritzhuis. (they now chat on FaceBook)

Abbie Vandivere

And so, the calendar moves on – to first, the RNA Winter Party, 

Some nifty planning took me to the RNA London Chapter Xmas Lunch and the Combined London Hash Xmas Party all on the same day.


The London Hash Xmas Party featured some EXCELLENT costumes!

This was closely followed by the BMPH3 Xmas Party over in Brussels. Another chance to top up on chocolate and beer.

I am not going to let the chance go by of giving a special nod-of-thanks to Jenni and Anthony Keer, for their hospitality, and for Anthony's expert skill in repairing and reconditioning our dining table. The table is about 300 years old, solid oak and made from old ship's timbers. Time had taken its toll and one of the hinges had wasted away. This is not something to be repaired via a quick trip to B&Q!

When we got the table unpacked at home Pam burst into tears in a totally good way. My sister is in the antique business so I know a little of what to look for, and this was an impressive job. Well done indeed Keer Antiques

Now I need some time to relax, plot the next bit of the book and enjoy Christmas, as I sincerely hope you all enjoy yours.



  1. Great photos, John. Wishing you good health and lots of writing success in the coming year. : )

  2. Lovely selection of pictures, John!

  3. Sounds like an excellent year, John, despite the sadnesses. As you say, we are here to live and that's what we all need to do for as long as we can! Here's to a successful writing New Year!

  4. Great blog John. Merry Christmas to you and yours x

  5. Awww, thanks for the shout out. So lovely to see you. Good luck with the book, my dear friend, and may 2017 be your year xxx

    1. And yours! Here's hoping you ALL have a great Xmas and New Year.

  6. Happiness in bulk loads is wished for you and your family, John. Hugs and enjoy the festive season! X

  7. And for you and yours, Glynis! Have a lovely annd peaceful Xmas and New Year.