There were many topics which could have formed the basis for this week’s blog.
I considered apprentices for National Apprenticeship Week, but I have already interviewed Chloe who has just finished an apprenticeship with us and in any event, she is photographed and quoted in the Chronicle this week so I guess my blog would be rather an anti-climax after that. Suffice it to say, on that subject Jacksons as a firm, is very supportive of apprenticeship programmes and will be looking to take a new apprentice soon.
Naturally, I thought about International Women’s Day last Thursday but I am proud of all of our staff, both male and female, and have already used this blog to discuss at length, Jacksons’ family friendly policies and its female role models and we are proud of these every day, not just once a year.
For a brief moment I even considered National Pie Week but in our house, following on from when my children went to school in the U.S, we celebrate Pie Day on 14th March (Pi Day 3.14), so I was, until late in the week uncertain as to what I would write about when three things caught my attention, all relating to Teesside and I felt compelled to write about them.
The first, was when Redcar hit the BBC News. In recent years, Redcar has appeared on the BBC when job losses hit, but this time the picture showed hundreds of people on the beach looking at fossilised tree stumps from 10,000 years ago. This had clearly aroused much curiosity including mine, so at low tide on Saturday we went for a look. What an incredible sight! In recent storms, sand had been blown and swept away from a large section of the beach and in its place, there was left the remains of a fossilised forest which once would have covered the ground in the days when there was no sea between North East England and Denmark. What however was even more amazing, was the number of parents on the beach exclaiming to their children in wonder at the sight, and pleased as punch, that this phenomena had occurred in our region and their home town. There was a note of pride along with the wonder, and why not.
This got me thinking about conversations in the office on Friday, and the joy and pleasure that had been given when after their initial scorn, the MasterChef judges declared a version of the Teesside Parmo, scruffy but delicious, and the North East contestant with the imagination and courage to put forward this dish with regional pride, and an explanation of its origins sailed through into the next round. Everyone laughed at the disbelief and bewildered faces of those judges to a local delicacy, much loved by many around here but when one judge declared the simple parmo could be the next big thing, the healthy eating advocates were probably groaning but Teesside cheered.
Finally, catching up on some reading over the weekend, I read the story of the revamped Middlesbrough Town Hall gaining National Portfolio Organisation status, which comes with £1million of extra funding between now and 2022, and is going to give this iconic building a new lease of life as a major regional facility for music, comedy and entertainment – more good news for our area! The report stated that the former court room, which I did not even know was in the building and which has been used as office space, will be totally restored and I thought that probably some of our predecessors at Jacksons, over the last 140 years, will have appeared in such court representing the people of this region for one reason or another.
And so as I write this late on Sunday afternoon, I am thinking aren’t we lucky to live and work here and what a great week it has been for our region in quite surprising ways. Jacksons is only just over 140 years old – that is nothing compared with the tree stumps on Redcar beach, but our actions today and yesterday show we are all linked with our heritage however old, and we should be rightfully proud of it.