How’s the book going?
I’m glad you asked! This last Christmas, my dad received the proof copy of his book, Petrol in My Blood. Exciting! I have a copy in front of me and it’s fabulous. As you can see from this website, we have some great photographs – I think the first one was taken in 1931.
That’s my dad, Eric Jackson, Marathon Man himself, on his horse, Flash. Bareback, notice. (Shameless plug – you can read about Flash in the book). Oh yes, the book. We are in the closing stages! (Special stages, even ) So ever since the end of December my dad has been chuckling at the book, changing bits, correcting (my) typos, adding bits, generally messing with it … and calling me to point out my errors, naturally.
EJ: Jackie, that photograph is in the wrong chapter. Can’t you tell the difference between a Cortina and a Corsair? Blimey.
JJ: Dad, of course I can but all you can see of the car is a tiny bit of the boot. I admit that I’m not an expert at identifying cars that were made when I was nine years old just by looking at a tiny section of the boot. Flippineck.
Or occasionally, he wants to ask me something.
EJ. Jackie, I’m just writing a new bit. How do you spell Clark/e – with or without the ‘e’?
JJ: It depends whether you mean Roger or Jim, dad.
See how good I’m getting? There have been transatlantic phone calls just about every day and I enjoy them immensely. I sit on the dock in Florida watching the boats go by and he sits and watches the snow / fog / drizzle / wind / sleet / occasional sunshine in his garden in Yorkshire. One of my favourite conversations was when we got talking about Stanley Holloway. (Don’t ask. I’ve no idea). I happened to mention that I can still recite Albert and the Lion throughout because he taught me when I was a little girl. That set him off. He said:
Now there is a place called Blackpool
That’s noted for fresh air and fun
And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.
So, I had to go on, hadn’t I?
A grand little lad was young Albert
All dressed in his best, quite a swell
With a stick with an ‘orses ‘ead ‘andle
The finest that Woolworth’s could sell.
Well, that was it. We recited the whole damn thing. In unison. Every word. Transatlantically. On the phone. The whole thing. (Thankfully, he was paying for the call).
Then he said “Do you know what? There must have been some pretty important transatlantic calls over the years, don’t you think? Churchill and Roosevelt, Thatcher and Reagan, whatsit and thingummy – but there has never, ever been one as important as this!”
He’s right. too.
Written on Father’s Day, 2012.