For a start, my Mum turned 80. We celebrated with a Summer party on the Roof-deck, with family and friends from all over the place.
And one present for each of her eighty years - she had never received as many Birthday presents in total, during her entire life...! What a fun party, what a lot of laughs, love and living!
It also coincided with a visit from family from Australia, healing rifts that had caused a lot of heartache ..... sealed with a fantastic meal at the celebrity haunt and phenomenal luxury hotel in Ascot - Coworth Park. Happy Family!
PS ... on the same day that the Princes William & Harry were there to play in a charity Polo tournament! I guess that's just how we roll....!
We travelled to Stockholm early in the year and then to Turkey towards the end of Summer (well we hadn't seen much of the sun during the UK's Summer..!), as well as a few local jaunts around Britain.
And in August, we welcomed young Leo Michael Glenn-Jackson into the world and I became a fully-fledged Grandfather. Go figure!
There are not enough Blog pages in the world to explain what that feels like. I had no way of anticipating that, no history to base my expectations on - and I'm not sure I can even begin to describe it.
I even had to give-in (eventually) and get reading glasses; mainly because I couldn't see the little guy when I held him near my face...! :-(
Suffice it to say though, that little Leo has captured all our hearts. He is the most perfect little guy, so full of love and joy and happiness and he brings with him unbelievable joy. Just to see his little face crack into a smile, so dolphin-like, so life-affirming .... your heart just fills up and spills out over your cheeks....
On Saturday 14 November, I drove my wife to a local Restaurant (South African cuisine), situated on the banks of a Marina opposite the Windsor Racecourse. She was expecting to have dinner with our god-children and their mother Sheila. As we arrived, she was told that the table at the window was still occupied, so would we mind sitting at the Bar, inside the `Shebeen' (a local South African term for a township Bar/Pub).
As she walked through the door, she was met with a wall of sound from friends and family, from around the country - and beyond. Lauren & Ryan, Joe & Kate, my Mum, Julia's brother Andrew and his family, sister-in-law Paula and her daughters Elaine, Claire & Louise (with partner Dave), hairdressers Ali & her husband, old neighbours Helen & Martin, dear friends Debbie & Dave (Debbie had undergone a painful operation without general anaesthetic the day before, just so she could be there!), Gill & Alan from Hayling Island ... and many others.
Then came her present. A video containing messages from friends & family from around the world. Something to get the tear ducts working ... and it seemed to work.
If you have a spare 30 minutes and you'd like to see the Birthday Video (maybe you contributed..?), use the following link and YouTube should do the rest for you...!
Once Julia's video was complete and she was basking in the love and attention of her fellow celebrators ... she turned around to find a surprise guest - Annie who had flown all the way from Brisbane to be her `surprise gift'.
More tears and emotion ... it had been over fifteen years (if not more) and Annie had just come through months of battling Cancer.
A real trouper and a fantastic friend.
And, as it turns out, a fantastic present for a 60th Birthday Celebration!
The celebrations continued for the whole of the next week, with visits to Bath (Champagne Tea at the Bath Pump Room, Supper at Heston Blumenthal's pub the Crown .....
....... and a wonderful family lunch at Le Manoir aux Quat 'Saisons ... Raymond Blanc's two-Michelin Star Restaurant in Oxfordshire.
To round off the occasion, the birthday girl even got to meet the famous Chef himself, to say thank you for a wonderful gastronomic experience (after he had chatted to the Duchess of Kent, who was sitting behind us ... of course! You gotta keep the regulars happy..!).
And now it is time to start preparations for Christmas. Our second in the new home ... and the first for grandson Leo.
Life - its a funny old thing!