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John Mauceri, Harry and Danny Elfman
Harry and Chris Dee   Harry and Danny Elfman 2013   Harry and John Mauceri 2013

December 11th 2022


Nightmare before Christmas

Nine years ago, Harry was the treble soloist in a series of concerts performed by the Maida Vale Singers, led by Chris Dee, and the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by John Mauceri, celebrating the music of Danny Elfman and his collaboration with Tim Burton in films including Alice in Wonderland, Sleepy Hollow, Batman, Batman Forever, Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish and The Nightmare before Christmas. It was a very exciting time for us all as described in the October 2013 blogs.

For the first time since then, Danny Elfman returned to London's OVO Arena, Wembley in two performances of the Nightmare before Christmas with the same choir, orchestra and conductor, and Mary managed to get tickets for yesterday's performance for herself, Harry, Jenny and me. Danny, with a new hairstyle since we last saw him in 2013 (see photos above), was on fantastic form as Jack Skellington, and had some very special guests including several of the 'voices' from the original film production and, to Jenny's delight, Phoebe Bridgers singing the part of Sally.

Chris Dee put the icing on a wonderful evening by arranging a reunion immediately after the show with both Danny Elfman and John Mauceri who were delighted to see Harry again, although the latter was disappointed to hear that Harry had not chosen to pursue a career in the performing arts. What is more, whilst Harry was talking with them both, Phoebe Bridgers brushed shoulders with Jenny in the dressing room corridor backstage - how wonderful was that?!






December 25th 2022


Merry Christmas

Dear All,

In a moment of Bake-off euphoria earlier this year, Mary and I volunteered to make the cake for Tom and Yuri’s wedding next July and, all I can say is, thank goodness we have a long time to practise, because we need it.  The kitchen is now overrun with baking and icing tools including cake tins of varying size, a revolving cake stand, angled palette knifes, cake side scrapers and icing bags and nozzles.  The latest addition to our ‘essential’ miscellany of implements is a Thermomix, which we did not realise we needed until it arrived.  For my sins I have been put in charge of the cake decoration and have been experimenting with various forms of butter icing.  My technique needs to be improved but both Tom and Yuri have been very encouraging and say that they are impressed with my efforts.  No handshake yet though.

There have been mutterings from some younger members of the family that they are always left to last in the Christmas letter and consider that this somehow suggests that their achievements are less impressive than those of their older siblings, so this year I will deal with them in reverse order.

Harry and Jenny summer 2022Harry (23) has decided to pursue a career in Civil Engineering.  His summer break, following a week-long holiday with his girlfriend Jenny in Greece, was spent in consecutive eight-week attachments with two large engineering firms in London and he is now back at Durham University for his fourth and final year.  He and Jenny, who is now working full time as a client analyst for a sports marketing agency in London, have developed an enthusiasm for golf over the past year and spend a fair amount of their spare time together improving their game.  They are both hugely competitive, however, as we found out during Mary’s annual Easter egg hunt (won by Jenny), and I doubt that an excellent drive, chip or putt from either (albeit rare) is greeted by the other with as much enthusiasm as it perhaps should be.

Alastair in Scotland 2022
Alastair (24) has impressed us all with the number of half Ironman Triathlons he has participated in this year.  We all find his love of these gruelling races somewhat baffling, particularly those in which the swimming component involves battling through weeds, swallowing a great deal of goose poo and getting kicked in the face by other competitors.  It is also not a cheap hobby when the cost of travelling to the venues, overnight hotel accommodation, bicycle maintenance and entrance fees are taken into account, so it is fortunate that he now has a full-time post in the Private Patients department at Charing Cross Hospital, an interim measure whilst applying for jobs in Finance and Accounting.   He is now learning to horse ride and spends many a happy hour most weekends hacking and cantering around Richmond Park.

Tom and Yuri in Italy 2022Tom (29) is in his penultimate year as a graduate medical student at St George s Hospital.  I remember colleagues like him when I was at medical school, who always seemed both supremely confident and knowledgeable, and whom I used to admire greatly and envy in equal measure, but maybe all graduate medical students are like that.  Yuri has been a Physician Associate at Charing Cross Hospital over the past year and has just landed her dream job of a post at St George’s Hospital accident and emergency department, which she starts in the New Year.  She is looking forward to bossing Tom around during his casualty attachment.  Both she and Tom joined us for a lovely weekend visit to Belfast recently to celebrate Robin Roddie’s birthday and are delighted that Robin has agreed to officiate at their wedding next year.

Jono and Georgie in New York 2022Jono’s (30) major achievement this year has been becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists.  There are few better feelings than passing the last ever post-graduate examination that you need to sit.  He now has a couple more years of training before he can apply for a consultant post.  Georgie decided to leave BBC Good Food and has managed to secure a job in Nottingham as a Digital Content Specialist, a role that involves her helping brands improve their online presence through content and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation of course!).  What makes the workplace ideal is that it is dog friendly so that Hazel can accompany her to the office on a couple of days a week. 

James whispering to Mary during Code NamesMary and I are both well.  We have what some might describe as an ideal lifestyle as Mary still divides her week equally between London and Norfolk whilst I am in Norfolk full time.  We are, therefore, forcibly separated for several days each week which as we all know makes the heart grow fonder or, put another way, allows us to recover from the several days that we spend together.

With very best wishes from us all.  We hope that you have a lovely Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2023.

The Jackson Family (minus Yuri who is behind the camera)

Jackson family in Norfolk 2022




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