Category Archives: The Jacksons

What we’ve been up to

Jazzed up Sunday Lunch

The Apex Jazz Band

The jazz aficionado’s jazz band and veterans of genré, the Apex Jazz Band,were welcomed back by Greenisland Golf Club for another Sunday lunch engagement on Feb 12.

This is getting to be a habit and a fine excuse to forget cooking and washing up and enjoy David Alexander’s buffet and a bottle of vino collapso with all the old favourites playing in the background. The band was pretty good as well!

It is amazing how quickly 3 or 4 hours passes when in good company.

My thanks to David Graham for many of the photographs

Rogues Gallery

Captain Coroner and Sir Ronnie top the bill

Yet another golfing year coming to an end so time to don the penguin suit yet again for the annual Greenisland Men’s Dinner Night.  This is the occasion for the outgoing captain to say a few words and introduce his guest speaker. The vice captain gets to run about, ring bells and generally make sure things happen. Of course one has to indulge in a couple of warmers into the bank and “suffer” the usual high standard of catering that is the norm in the club.  And so it was again. The Sirloins were perfect, the apple crumble crumbly and the Stilton decidedly cheesy and of course the wine flowing copiously.

Our incumbent captain is John Lecky LLM, well known Northern Ireland Coroner, and his guest was non other than Sir Ronnie Flanagan GBE OBE QPM MA , of RUC/PSNI and other prestigious law enforcing appointments fame. He just happened to breeze in from Abu Dhabi, or maybe Dubai for the occasion.  He is an accomplished speaker and, as a contemporary if not a neighbour of a number of the club members there was scope for giving it an intimate flavour. He was not  helped by the PA system, which failed spectacularly, so no brownie points for Mr Vice, but a natural ability to be heard everywhere without electronic assistance overcame this minor obstacle.

Altogether a very successful evening which continued for some time after the formalities were over.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I so not have any photos of the event so this is a little dull by comparison to previous posts.

Sharm el Sheikh New Year 2011/12

Sun on the Alps

Now I know why we avoid travelling during the school holidays! Falcon flight Dublin to Sharm el Sheikh bit like a sardine can and, can you believe, it no bar service at all!!

Arrived in one piece and flew through immigration with no problems which is quite an achievement for Egypt.  There was a taxi awaiting us and we were whisked away to the Savoy. As one would expect reception was efficient, our luggage disappeared and we were escorted to our room.  The sea view from the balcony was not apparent; it being around 10.30 local so we made straight for the bar. It is a strange feature of Egypt, or Sharm in particular, that nowhere seems to serve dry ginger. Still we managed without. My one complaint is that the smoking ban has not caught on and although they have a no smoking area the fans ensure that the offending cloud is spread evenly around.

Soho Square

We left after one and walked up to Soho Square, the hub of the complex; dancing fountains and music ice rink, bazaar etc. etc.  Of course there has to be a bar called “the Queen Vic” with the mandatory English menu!  We found a small “cafe” and indulged in an Egyptian kebab and Lebanese spicy cheese salad washed down with the local beer.  Good choice.

The long day caught up with us and we returned to take a nightcap in our room. Discover that there is a “pillow menu” offering six different styles and fillings. Settled for what was already on the bed!

Friday morning and we looked out over the bay with the sun shining – intermittently it must be said – and the temperature a pleasant 24⁰. Breakfast was as good as one would expect.  In this part of the world it best to avoid bacon and sausages! Fresh dates, figs, oranges, all the eggs cooked while you wait and lots of those nice little pastries…yum!

The pools

We wandered past the pools and down to the beach and then back up to book our table for the New Years Eve Dinner.  It’s split up so that you can be at home in a Tux or with the kids in casual. We were in the Egypt Hall; all adults in DJs.

Josephine booked her wash and blow dry for the next day and I had a manicure. There was a bookies widow called Elaine from Glasgow having a pedicure and her first question was “Are you a Celtic or a Rangers supporter”.  Oh well, nothing much changes. We exchanged life stories whilst the girls worked away at our nether bits.

Would you believe it we are sitting next to the pool having a burger and a beer and it has started raining.  Well a couple of small spots.  They put the electric awning over the tables so no problem!

It's this big - Honest

Saturday, New Years Eve and all’s well. We spent a lazy day doing not a lot. Lunch at the Seafood Island restaurant and the rest of the afternoon on the beach couture watching. Then back to get Josephine to the hairdressers ready for the evening’s festivities.

The New Year party was a great success.  To serve a buffet to 450 without having to queue  takes a bit of organising! The star cabaret act was the Chinese circus with Egyptian dancers being a close second. New Year was heralded in for the Russians at 10.00 and for the rest of us with a Brazilian combo at midnight local. The Disco proved too much and we bailed out about 1am.


They were serving breakfast until 3pm so we did not hurry and spent the day on the beach. We had booked the Teppanyaki for dinner and shared it with a Dutch couple and a Russian woman with her young daughter; later joined by an intensely English guy from Sussex with his American wife and with whom we were finally asked to leave so that they could start the second sitting. We decamped into the bar for another bottle of wine and to put the world to rights: as one does.

Finally got round to snorkelling along the reef on Monday: stunning corals and fish.  No underwater camera unfortunately: will have to get one of those waterproof cases for the compact. Life on the beach nearly as interesting.

We spent the evening in Soho Square.  There is food hall with various outlets and a cabaret.  Unfortunately neither the food or the cabaret lived up to expectations, still it was an inexpensive way of making a mistake! We went back into the main square and indulged in an Irish and Mexican coffee, which were as good as one gets, and enjoyed the girl band.

Sun worship

Tuesday and it is back to the beach people watching.  A bit windier today and only 22⁰! Just finished my second book of the holiday, Cold Comfort Farm, a real scream if you like parodies. The first was Evelyn Waugh’s “Handful of Dust”: I’m getting very literary!!


In fact the rest of the holiday was spent not doing a lot and soaking up as much sun as possible.  As the News of the World used to advertise “All Human Life is Here” and there was an amazing cross section of it at the beach and around the pools hailing from Ukraine to Yorkshire and Baltimore to Bangor.  Quite mesmerising in a number of ways.

There are a number of shots of the male form but it is sad to relate that they were in no way able to compete, either in number or esoteric form,  with the ladies. They did prove interesting though.

All too quickly it was over

Our taxi was booked for 5am Thursday morning but, in typical Egyptian fashion, it did not appear and my attempts at nonchalant indifference finally left me at 6 when the Desk was unable to raise any cab at all.  We ended up being taken to the main road in a buggy and the ever efficient Security Guard network finally trapped one.  Shouldn’t have worried we ended up in the check in queue three behind a couple who had been bundled into a coach at 4.30!

We will be back!

Christmas 2011

Well it’s all over now as the song goes.  Weeks of preparation gone in a few short hours.  The children enjoyed it so all worth the effort. We can safely take off to Sharm el Sheikh on Thursday knowing we have done our bit.

Photos of the various functions, with thanks to Linden for additons:


SOS Office Lunch


The Short and the Tall, Josephine and Naomi

Party Girl - Leah

Thank God it’s Friday?

I don’t work Fridays any more. I take an extra day off.

Today I got up at 6.50am

I fed the dogs whilst making a cup of tea.

I had a shower and dressed;  put the dogs in the car and followed my son to the garage to leave his car in for a service

I took him to work in the harbour estate and drove from there to Dundrod to leave my dogs in to be clipped.

Went home and picked up Josephine and took her to her hairdresser in Stranmillis for a wash and blow dry.  Did the FT crossword over a cup of until she was finished and drove into town to collect my overcoat from the tailors.

We drove home and grabbed a slice of toast whilst she changed.

Went to her pal’s house and took the two of them to Greenisland Golf Club for their Walker’s Club Christmas dinner.

On the way back went to B & Q to get fittings to plumb in daughter’s washing machine and tape to seal door to our attic.

Drove home and cleaned the garden of dogs poo and then sealed the attic door against draughts.

Went to New Tesco Superstore at Northcott and to avail myself of 25% offer on wine and sherry etc. (Last Day)

Got call from son and collected him from La Cuisine on Antrim Road.

Went to collect Grandchildren from school and take them home.

Drove to Greenisland Golf Club to collect wife and friend and run her home.

Drove to kennels to collect dogs

Got call from daughter to come and plumb in washing machine.

Plumbed in washing machine on way home.

Made stir fry and opened bottle of Montepulchiano and drank same!

Thank god it’s Friday!



Belfast Christmas Market

Why go all the way to Cologne or Salzburg when you can get the same effect in the centre of Belfast.

The Christmas Market is in full swing in front of City Hall complete with Beer Tent, Gluhwein and “Bratty” stalls, and yes, they have proper “senf”, German mustard, to go with them.


Of course there are plenty of other stalls to attract one and by the number of people braving  the not too clement weather on Saturday morning it is as popular as ever.

Black Tie Bash at Greenisland, 19 November 2011

Saturday 19 November brought the GIGC annual Formal Dinner Dance. One the shrinking number of occasions at which one can break out the black tie and drink too much in an orderly fashion.

As is usual the maximum number of participants had been reached within hours of the booking sheet going on the board. The reason is simple, guaranteed excellent food and Rosie Hunter providing the dance music.

We dully arrived at 7pm for the sherry reception and were fortunate to get a table in the corner before the bulk of the members arrived.  There was a photographer from, I assume, the Carrickfergus Times to capture us for posterity, or something of that ilk.

We were called in to dinner at 7.30 and following a welcome from John Lecky, the Club Captain, Norman Walker said grace and dinner commenced.

As one would expect from David Alexander the meal was outstanding and finished with a selection of cheeses, of which to my mind the Stilton was  away the best, and a glass of port. Memories of Sergeants Mess Dinners popped into my mind.

This left the Club Captain and Lady Captain, to take to the floor for the first dance. The great  strength of Rosie Hunter is that she knows the music that will get the members on the floor, and keep them there. This is exactly what happened and the floor was fully occupied for the rest the night.

Due to licencing laws the bar closed at 1am and the company duly dispersed in various levels of euphoria.  A great evening having been had by all.

Thanks to Margaret McKeen and Derek Cosby for the photographs

65th Birthday Party at Greenisland Golf Club

The Rankins kindly invited us to the Golf club for a celebration dinner in honour of Helen’s 65 Birthday.  Her sister Jenny and chum Sue had flown over from Cheltenham and daughter Christine from Alicante.

A goodly crew assembled for a Bucks Fizz reception before being ushered into the dining room.

As is usual at Greenisland the food and service could not be faulted and the wine likewise.

Dinner was followed by a short introduction by Trevor Rankin and then Helen took over to thank everybody for coming and to include a few bon mots on the assembled guests.

Brian provided the response and Norman Walker the toast to the Birthday girl.


A very enjoyable evening al round.




It was almost a BBQ but for once the weather forecast was right on the mark and at 2pm precisely the rain started and the BBQ became a buffet.

Held in honour of Jennifer’s birthday a goodly crew assembled for a Sunday afternoon of philosophical debate. This was abandoned after a couple of glasses and we got on with putting the world to rights.

The Society has elected to split into  ladies and gentlemen’s  sections which hold their discussions in separate rooms where possible (or opposite corners of the bar) thus obviating any requirement to moderate their observations in terms suitable for the delicate ears of the fairer sex.

The spread laid on was worthy of a royal banquet with fish pie, lasagne with and without garlic, curry, breads with and without garlic; followed by a selection of home made sweets.

The gentlemen formed a quorum to discuss serious matters pertaining to the well being of Norn Iron but were hackled by a couple of dissenting back benchers.

Another afternoon and evening completely wasted in the best possible manner.

Thanks to Roy and Jennifer for hosting, Linden for the photos and everyone else for subscribing.


Unable to organize a Royal Wedding Street Party, due to the necessity of keeping the Upper Road open to traffic, the Social Committee plumbed for a Garden Party complete with the Downshire Brass Band and competitions for young and old.

We were welcomed with a glass of very Moorish Pimms, or Orange for the younger participants, on arrival.  An excellent way to being a social Sunday afternoon.

This being Norn Iron all attending were encouraged to emit “positive waves” and banish the threatening rain clouds.

Sgt. Oddball would have been proud.  Except for a couple of very minor attempts to spit a few drops the afternoon remained resolutely rain free.

There were plenty of games to keep the children occupied whist the adults indulged in their favourite pastime of talking golf and nonsense!

The chefs produced the usual high standard buffet lunch and then the serious business of judging the ladies hats began.

the winning hat

The Best Dressed Hat

I must admit that I cannot remember the exact categories but the Best Dressed hat was won by Rosemary Greer and the most amusing by Annie Walker (the fact that Norman was compere had no influence on this).


Golden Oldie Hat

The men’s competition was won by a ornamental Fez!

Needless to say, to avoid any distress, all the children were awarded a prize for their efforts

A smart Fez

The Children's competiton

Generally a most enjoyable afternoon was had by all.