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London Letter: The Loving Trio

...Strong hot coffee appeared and we struggled to our feet and walked back together slightly unsteadily. Madeleine tucked my hand round her waist and Marie-Francoise tried to rest her head on my shoulder which was impossible.

We were the loving trio and other men from the party stared at us as we passed. In envy...

Ah, but what else happened following that champagne dinner in France.

The irrepressible ninety-six-year-old Henry Jackson brings hope and good cheer to all men everywhere - particularly those of senior years.

To sample more of Henry's unique weekly reports from the world's leading city please click on London Letter in the menu on this page.

Battersea Power Station that has been idle for 25 years is to return to producing power again. Plans costing £4bn for the derelict 25 acre site submitted by the Irish owners also include the construction of 3,200 new homes, new offices, a shopping area, an hotel and a six acre park. Work will begin in 2012.


William Atkinson, headmaster of Phoenix High School, Shepherds Bush, West London, received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for turning round his school and restoring community relations. Sir William was born in Jamaica and came to England at the age of seven. Other Londoners in the Honours List include comedian Victoria Wood and presenter Des O’Connor who become CBEs and the architect Lord Rogers who becomes a Companion of Honour.


The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated the Queen’s official birthday, she is 82, with the Trooping of the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade on Saturday. More than 1,100 troops took part. The Royals later watched one of the biggest RAF fly pasts in history to mark the 90th birthday of the Royal Air Force. To fend off a chill in the air the Queen covered her feet and legs with a blanket.


About 27,000 cyclists took part in the annual 54 mile bike ride to Brighton on Sunday starting from Clapham Common and ending on the Brighton Promenade. Last year the event raised £3.9m for the British Heart Foundation.

Londoners now make more than 500,000 cycle trips every day.


A handbag made of platinum and studded with 2000 diamonds is on show at Hatton Garden Jewellery Week. It is the world’s most expensive handbag and is valued at £1.1m. It was designed by a Japanese jeweller.


Dollis Hill House in Gladstone Park, North West London, a 180-year-old historic mansion, has been saved from demolition by a grant of £1.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. William Gladstone, former Prime Minister, spent several week-ends there as guest of the owner and in World War II Winston Churchill used the house for several Cabinet meetings. Mark Twain, the American writer, also made a visit. After restoration the house will be used as tea rooms.


Deborah Voight, the American soprano, has returned to performing at the London Opera House after leaving four years ago because she was overweight. She has now slimmed down and is appearing in the opera “Ariadne”.


Planning consent has been granted to build the first example of modern architecture to be seen in Westminster for more than a decade. The Silver Building in Beak Street will consist of five floors of office space, six apartments and a roof garden and the exterior will be clad in reflective tiles giving it a futuristic appearance.



Eight men and a woman have been arrested following investigations into an alleged immigration racket ring run by a bogus London language school.


Poems for Posterity

Hostile Women
by Henry Jackson

If when she kisses she turns her face
You will never get to first place,
If she is soft and coy and meek
She will keep you waiting for a week,
If she is brash and full of smart talk
You may as well go for a walk,
But if there is hostility in her eyes
She will be yours before sunrise.
---March 15 1999


The London Underground is facing a strike by cleaners over pay.


Abu Hamza, the radical Muslim cleric who operated from an East London mosque, lost his appeal against extradition to the United States where he faces terror related charges.


The Women in My Life---6

(Last week I told how on the first leg of a wine tour of France I met a stunning French lady named Madeleine, a friend of Marie-Francoise).

It was an early start next morning and as I entered the Shakespeare Hotel dining room at 7am for breakfast I found the two women already there and wearing shorts. After bacon and eggs we went out into the car park where they made me stand still while they walked round me.

“Like my outfit?” asked Marie-Francoise. I liked, especially the flash of long, smooth tapering legs.

“And what about me?” challenged Madeleine. She was wearing white shorts and a white blouse that revealed a wide gap of tanned body. The blouse was silk and flimsy and there was a hint of rampant nipples. I looked hard but could see no bra so I swallowed and nodded approval.

Marie-Francoise got into the car and I started the engine.

“Follow me, I know the road”, Madeleine called from her car.

The ferry was only a short distance away. At Boulogne we disembarked and drove to the Town Hall where the Mayor gave us a champagne welcome. Geoffrey responded in French in the first of a series of impeccable speeches of thanks and we were on our way.

It was easy driving because all I had to do was follow Madeleine who pushed the Prefect to it limits and we made swift progress. The countryside was perfect, the girl sitting alongside me filled the air with perfume and Madeleine waved occasionally as she led the way.

We stopped once at a little wayside bistro for coffee and croissants and pushed on. Once or twice we met other rally cars and had a glimpse of Geoffrey and his wife in their stately old Humber limousine. His wife was driving and Geoffrey appeared to be giving instructions. When we arrived at Epernay, in the heart of the champagne country, the Humber was already there and Geoffrey directed me to the Mercier establishment and to the hotel.

“Dinner at eight in the banqueting hall”, he called out.

The hotel was close by and I parked the car and we registered three persons on the same floor. The hotel looked like a large private house and was surrounded by gardens in full flower. Half the rally was already there and the place was buzzing with English people speaking bad French and French people speaking perfect English. We went inside and agreed to meet again in an hour.

I showered and changed ad wandered down into the lounge where the Jaguar team leader sat next to me and announced that the team had averaged 63 mph and were the first to arrive. I congratulated her but discouraged further conversation and stood up when first Madeleine and then Marie-Francoise appeared. Madeleine was wearing a green dress that swept the floor but swelled out at the top because she swelled out at the top. Her shining jet black hair was piled high and her lips, fingertips and her shoes were blood red. Marie-Francoise had lost her slightly schoolgirl look and captured attention with golden hair that cascaded down her back, a black blouse, a tiny miniskirt and golden slippers studded with stones that glittered as she walked towards me.

I escorted them to the bar and ordered Dry Martinis.

“How do you know if I want a dry Martini?” challenged Madeleine.

“All beautiful women like Dry Martinis”, I replied.

“Who taught you to talk like that?”

“A beautiful woman in Taormina”.

“You are a bastard, but a very nice bastard”. She touched my hand with her fingertips and Marie-Francoise looked on smiling but out of her depths.

We drank up and walked slowly to the banqueting hall set in the heart of the Mercier village. I was happy and relished the fact that I was with two of the most beautiful women in the world. The reception hall was filling rapidly and in the corner I could see Geoffrey talking to Jacques Mercier. The only drink available, of course, was champagne.

At 8 o’clock a trumpeter wearing a brown leather jacket appeared and sounded a call and we took our seats in the torch lit hall next door. I was flanked on either side by a beautiful woman. Then the trumpeters sounded again and a line of men in brown leather jackets appeared carrying large trays of champagne bottles. They filled the glasses and celebrations began.

Then yet another announced new supplies of champagne. In between we talked and we ate.

Geoffrey stood up and in his usual impeccable style gave thanks to the Mercier family and then Jacques Mercier stood up and thanked Geoffrey for bringing guests from London, and “some beautiful ladies” (pointing in our direction). Madeleine glowed and Marie-Francoise blushed and I felt like a father and a lover at the same time.

Strong hot coffee appeared and we struggled to our feet and walked back together slightly unsteadily. Madeleine tucked my hand round her waist and Marie-Francoise tried to rest her head on my shoulder which was impossible.

We were the loving trio and other men from the party stared at us as we passed. In envy.

Back at the hotel Madeleine packed Marie-Francoise off to bed and sent me to my room with an invitation for a last drink in ten minutes. I washed my face in cold water, cleaned my teeth, removed my tie, then walked down the corridor and knocked on her door.

“Entrez!” she called softly.
I did not know what to expect but I knew I would be surprised. And I was. On the table below the window was an ice bucket and Madeleine was pouring champagne. She was relaxed, smiling and naked. When she finished filling both glasses she turned and handed one to me.

“Sante, dangerous man!” she said in a low voice.

“Sante, Madeleine! I don’t think you are a dangerous women but I know that you are a beautiful woman.”

“Don’t say things like that to me”.

“Why not?”

“You make me forget that I am a married woman”.

“Then why do you invite me in for a drink and stand there naked and beautiful”.

“Because I want you very much”.

“So what is the problem?”

“I can’t let you f--- me”.

The word hit me like a sledgehammer. I never used the word myself and no woman had ever said it to me before. And such a beautiful, outrageous and desirable woman. I tried to answer but could only mumble.

She came to my rescue.

“I can’t let you f--- me because I belong to Anthony. Yes, Anthony, my husband. Anthony, who leaves me alone while he travels round the world on business, Anthony, who never fucks me and never wants to f--- me”. Tears were streaming down her face and dropping on her breasts.

I drained my glass and made a movement towards the door.

“Don’t leave me”, she pleaded. “I need you with me. Please stay for a moment”.

I started saying things to her that I could not believe I was hearing.

“Why don’t you put on some clothes? Why do you stand there naked and beautiful and make me want to cry?” It was my voice but it did not seem to belong to me.

“I never wear anything at night when it is warm and I am alone. And I like looking at my naked body---it is so beautiful. And I want you to look at me, too”. She started caressing herself. But as I began to move towards the door she tripped across the room and turned the key.

“I will make it up to you. I know what will please you”, she whispered fiercely biting on each word. She took my hand and led me to the bed and then slowly and deliberately took off my clothes.

“Lie down, darling”, she cooed and patted the bed. “French women know how to make a man happy without being unfaithful”.

I disappeared in an ocean of feeling and emotion. I knew that somewhere Madeleine was conducting an orchestra and the music played louder and louder until I could not cope with the turmoil. Through a misty veil I could see her unleashing her body on me and her fingertips and her tongue led me along a path of pain and ecstasy into the clouds. But I could also feel an undercurrent of anger in her lovemaking. She was taking revenge on Anthony and on the world for making her a captive slave with no way to escape. She lashed me with words and phrases smouldering with anguish and despair. Then when I could take no more and shuddered into oblivion she burst into sobs and tears that ripped her to pieces.

Two hours later her soft lips brushed my forehead. I came back to life slowly and found her kneeling by my side with a tender look of compassion. After all the turmoil I was still aware of the deep blue lustre of her eyes, the silky smoothness of her tawny skin, the beauty of her jutting breasts and the tiny mole at the bottom of her belly just above the gateway of desire. I smiled back.

“Wake up, darling”, she whispered softly. “It is time to leave before the world catches up with you”.

She padded out to the kitchen and came back with coffee.

“Drink, darling”, she pleaded so softly that I could only just hear the words.

I drank and got back into my clothes. How I achieved this I don’t know but when the task was completed she unlocked the door and pointed down the corridor to my room.

“Au revoir, darling”, she whispered. “See you at breakfast”. She hesitated for a moment and added: “Please don’t tell Marie-Francoise---she is in love with you”.

I fell into my own bed wondering the exact meaning of unfaithful.

(More next week)


Famous Quotes

Please don’t retouch my wrinkles---it took me so long to earn them.
---Film actress Anna Magnani

It’s not the years in your life that matters---it is the life in your years.
---Abraham Lincoln
Well done is better than well said---Benjamin Franklin


This Week in History

1000AD. Gunpowder invented in China.

1898. Erich Maria Remarque, German novelist, born. He wrote the war novel “All Quiet on the Western Front”.

1898. Writer Emile Zola was sent to prison for accusing the French government of anti-Semitism.

1900. First Badminton club opened in Newcastle.



June 19 (1999). Michael, my eldest son, died at the early age of 62. After school and the Army he worked for me in publishing then for Haymarket Publishing and left them to start a company supplying newsprint to big publishers. It was an instant success and he made a fortune. He bought a large house in Sussex and went on to buy and run racehorses and had big wins at Ascot, Goodwood and New York. In contrast, his home life was troubled. He had married twice and after his death his widow, a former showgirl with no children, and his two sons from his first marriage, took his money and vanished. I have not heard from any of them since. Michael left me nothing.


I went to the Schools Art Exhibition at the Cumberland Day Centre on Friday. It was crowded with parents and there was music and dancing and a lot of noise. I was greeted by the shrewd and smiling super Cumberland boss Marina Wilson, dressed in a stylish but revealing black gown, who enveloped me in a crushing embrace and gave me a smacking kiss. She then escorted me to a table where a lady of 81, a weekly visitor to the Centre, was sitting with her two daughters and we were soon talking as if we had known each other for years.

Then my favourite carer from the Centre arrived, a shapely and stunning brunette, and greeted me with an embrace from behind that repaid me for my efforts in making the journey. Then she departed for a few minutes and returned with a plate of goodies and a cup of tea.

I made a trip round the exhibits and found them to be mostly camera shots and was disappointed because I wanted to see how the young students were doing in creative drawing and painting but there was almost nothing on show. But there were some brilliant examples of sad but exciting writing that touched my heart.


I had a long talk with Christine Bowden, Deputy Mayor of Newham, and asked her if the next Mayor of Newham would be a woman and she modesty refused to make a forecast. I offered to write her campaign speeches at the next election and I think it gave her food for thought.

Lorraine picked me up after two hours and we went to an Indian restaurant where Giles and the children were finishing off a meal. By a strange coincidence they were sitting next to one of the Hedgerow carers and we were surprised and there was a lot of laughter. The owner of the restaurant treated me to a glass of port that kept me warm while Lorraine drove me home.


Friends & Family

Gillian (Totnes)
Has just enjoyed a fabulous break aboard a motor boat with husband Alan and she writes about it as follows:

Alan borrowed a 21ft motor boat with a double cabin, loo, hob (for cups of tea) fridge (for the wine) and a big engine.

We picked the boat up at Totnes and cruised down river to Dartmouth before heading out to sea and round to Salcombe for our first night. The weather was glorious and remained so for the entire week. We couldn’t believe our luck. After a peaceful night on a buoy we headed off again to Fowey stopping on our way at a beautiful beach named Lantic Bay where we rowed ashore and made lots of footprints on a pristine stretch of golden sand---it was only accessible by boat.

Alan had sold the idea of a “culinary cruise” article for “Motor Boats Monthly”, the premise being that with only one hob we would have to eat ashore. We chose three highly recommended restaurants and proceeded to eat like kings for the next three nights. The first and best of the restaurants was called “Nathan Outlaw” (Yes, that is actually his own name) in Fowey, who achieved a Michelin star at each of his previous restaurants in Rock and Padstow and is now a rising Two-Star chef.

We had a truly delicious meal and the best table in the restaurant overlooking the river. I had lobster risotto followed by skate, followed by apricot tart ratin with brown bread ice cream. Yum……...

The next day was a long but very enjoyable ride back to Dartmouth where some friends came down from Totnes and joined us for dinner in a restaurant named “The Seahorse”. Dartmouth was looking splendid, crowned by tall ships---Jubilee Sailing Trust vessels. It was passing out day at the Royal Navy College so the town was full and we enjoyed a low but incredibly noisy flyover by a Sea Harrier to mark the occasion.

Our next stop was scheduled to be Torquay but by Thursday the wind had picked up and when we headed out to sea it was a bit too rough for comfort so we came back into Kingswear and took a taxi to our final restaurant, The Elephant, overlooking Torquay harbour, where we had another fantastic meal.

On Friday morning we pootled back up the river to Totnes to hand back the boat. I am now on a diet to make up for all the calories I consumed last week!


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