J is for Jack

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…?”

JackieHere is a photo of him in the snow. I’ve tried to get other, more appealing shots of him, but he seems to understand what a camera is and suddenly sits up alert when he spots that you’re holding one.

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.

ABC Wednesday Round 7

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

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

6 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 22nd September 2010

    J is also for Jurex. Pity that more Mancunian fathers didn’t wear them!

  • rog 22nd September 2010

    I may have some Jack Daniels on the premises right now!
    I KNOW that WWI song!
    The dog chose you.

    ROG, ABC Wednes­day team

  • Jay from The Depp Effect 23rd September 2010

    Well that was an interesting post! Love the little dog – he is indeed much like the old style Jack Russells – over here, they’re known as Parson Jack Russells. Longer legs, slightly less stocky build, but still that good old assertive terrier temperament!

    And now I know who composed ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’, and why!

  • Denise 23rd September 2010

    This reminded me of a current TV advert for a well known charity re rehoming a dog! Made me smil! Yes I quite fancy a Jack Russell! Although we currently have 2 dogs – both german shepherds, Elsie is very much Jon’s dog whilst Freida is most certainly mine, yet a playmate on the beach would be great! Yes —must give this some thought!

    Thanks so much
    ABC Team

  • Katherine 24th September 2010

    Well, what an pleasing post. Plenty of interesting particulars there. I thought it time I came to pop in to your parrot perch.

  • Polly 24th September 2010

    YP: Only in Yorkshire is J for Jurex!

    Rog: I think you’re right about Jack. We kept walking past his pen to look at other dogs, but I’m sure he drew us back to his with his eyes.

    Jay: “Assertive terrier temperament.” That is putting it politely!

    Denise: I grew up with shepherds and my dad still has one, but I think we’re stuck with terriers now.

    Katherine: Thanks for calling by. You’re most welcome at any time.


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