I’ve never quite worked out whether we chose Jack or he chose us. We first met at the Manchester Dogs’ Home in Harpurhey in 2001 on a family outing to find a companion for Bingo, our other stray.
There were quite a few candidates for our canine affections, but they all looked depressed and — there’s no other word for it — hangdog. But Jack stood four-square in his pen and looked us right in the eye as if to say, “And…?”
As you can see, he’s an overgrown Jack Russell, or so we thought. A lapdog who had grown too big for a lap and then abandoned. In fact, he is more likely a throwback to the size that Jack Russells once were before breeders became obsessed with miniaturising them.
He can be a belligerent sod and was hard work for a year or two, but he has mellowed over the years and can be quite soft, particularly with Miss P who he adores.
The second jack is the blue hydraulic car jack in the centre of this photo. It is an essential component in the apple press constructed by my nephew to convert the hundreds of Discovery apples in our garden into cider.
It has been quite a performance with several aborted attempts at the pressing frame, not to mention the effort that has gone into extracting the 25 litres of juice now fermenting away and the cider should be ready by Christmas. I still say that it would have been easier and cheaper to buy a few bottles of White Lightning.
This J is Little Jack Horner, a pub in Stockport. It has been suggested that the rhyme is about Thomas Horner, who was steward to Richard Whiting, the last abbot of Glastonbury before the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII of England.
The story goes that before the destruction of the abbey, the abbot sent Horner to London with a huge Christmas pie in which were hidden the deeds to a dozen manors and that during the journey Horner opened the pie and extracted the deeds of the Mells Manor in Somerset.
All completely untrue apparently, but a better tale than that of a simple rhyme made up just to entertain children. While looking around for J for Jack inspiration, my son volunteered his bottle of Jack Daniels. Well I couldn’t say no, to a photograph I mean, not the whiskey. But what about a connection to where I live? I have two, although with Memphis, rather than Lynchburg where JD is brewed. Both Stockport and Memphis have pyramid landmarks — the Pyramid Arena and the Co-op Bank Pyramid. There is also a Hyde Park in Memphis and one in Hyde, unsurprisingly.
Speaking of whiskey, let’s finish with a double. A double J to be precise. This is a statue of Jack Judge, composer of It’s a long way to Tipperary.
Judge was a music hall artist and after a late night in a local pub, he accepted a bet that he couldn’t write, compose and perform a new song by the following evening. This was in 1912 when the five shilling stake would buy a bottle of whisky and six dozen cigarettes, so Jack burned the midnight oil to make sure he succeeded.
Although he was from Oldbury in the Midlands, his statue stands outside the Victorian market in Stalybridge because it was there that he wrote the song. Tipperary became an anthem of WWI and his statue is joined by a Tommy of the period. Whether he is accompanying Jack on the mouth organ or having a crafty smoke, I’m not too sure.
Julian Apple Days at Postmark California
Just Large Enough and Jupiter by Ramblin’ Roger
Japanese Gardens at Hood Photo Blog
Jocelynne Preciouse by Gerald
Jerboas by Ook, She Wrote
Jack and Jill at Amy’s Miscellany