Sometimes all we need is a little kindness.


Dear readers –

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I haven’t been writing for my local newspaper for a few weeks now – given that they kindly granted me a period of leave to write my book. Besides, I was no use to anyone, popping out of the office to do radio interviews, taking half days off to zip up to the City for interviews!

I visited my office today, and was surprised and delighted to find a PILE of letters and parcels beside my desk. Of course, many came anonymously or without contact details, but I do not want to seem ungrateful, so I hope I do not embarrass anyone by thanking them publicly.

The first I opened was a copy of Fi Glover’s article in Waitrose Weekend magazine – which is now hanging on the makeshift ‘washing line’ of pegs and string and clippings.

The next, one of my favourite childhood books, Esio Trot by Roald Dahl, and a book about dinosaurs for Small Boy. I have put them in his ‘book box’ and will introduce him to the delights of Roald Dahl this evening at bedtime, with a cuddle.

Julie – I have been longingly looking at a ‘Carnet Recettes’ for a long time, and it is the organising push I need to finalise my book contents and maybe even hand write a ‘first edition’ of it! It is beautiful, and I am a long time lover of notebooks. It is sitting on my desk now, all new and exciting and whispering possibilities.


To Linda – I am speechless. The ‘I Spy’ quilt for Jonny is absolutely stunning, and will be placed on his bed as soon as I get home. He loves it as much as I do – and the time and care it must have taken you, for us, virtual strangers, is a humbling thing.


After yesterday’s ‘wobble’ in the spotlight, I feel very much as though the world has given me a great big hug – and I thank you all. For the exciting parcels, the cards, the tweets, the emails, the Facebook messages, the blog comments, the virtual pats on the back – I feel as though my Magnum-boot-clad feet can stand firmly on the ground and walk tall again.

I am blessed to have such kind people in my life, and touched, and humbled.

For once I am rubbish with my words, because I am truly overwhelmed, so I leave you with these words by Jackie Oates:

“May the kindness, that starts with you
Turn full circle, when it’s due.
And the flame that burns your heart,
Burn with love that holds us now we part.”

Jack. X

A Girl Called Jack is available to order here:

Categories: Blog


  1. What ever random acts of kindness come your way are richly deserved, finding your blog has enabled me to see the need in my local area and shown me how to help. Never mind that your recipes are delicious and have saved me time and money.

  2. Jack, there’s a lovely quote by the author Jonathan Maberry in his modern fairy tale ‘The Cobbler of Oz’.

    “Goodness…is always rewarded. Not always in ways you can see, not always in ways you know or expect, but this world loves goodness. It is a thing that many people think is as rare as dragon scales, but believe me…goodness shows everywhere.”

    I love that quote, and I think it applies here. You’ve added a huge amount of goodness to the world and the ripples are still expanding outwards. Enjoy the rewards for that, big and small. You deserve them.

  3. I think you are an inspiration to many. Your little boy is so lucky to have you as a mummy!
    Don’t let the idiots get you down.

  4. everything you get jack you deserve you are an inspiration to us all especialy to your son take care.xx

  5. Hi Jack, I wanted to let you know how inspiring you are to me and many out there. And I am so glad that you see that from all the messages and gifts that you are getting from people across the country. I write a blog and did a post on your salmon pasta, amongst other things- I concur that it is a startlingly good dish! Please keep doing what you are doing, in these bleak days we need more like you who are able and willing to stand up and be counted. I value your social and political comment as much as the wonderful recipes. A big thank you from me, Jo

  6. I’m so glad to read you are feeling better Jack, maybe you did just need a big cuddle, like we all do from time to time 🙂 Your inner strength is remarkable and thoroughly deserve all of your wonderful gifts. Best wishes.

  7. What lovely and thoughtful presents! I am a huge fan of Roald Dahl and love introducing his work to the kids I volunteer with.
    Each letter and gift is richly deserved, don’t forget how many ‘virtual strangers’ you help every day. Some are helped by the knowledge that they’re not alone in the dire straits they face, others are helped to make ends meet by following your recipes and more still are helped by seeing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    The letters are people’s way of saying ‘top job!’ ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry things are so tough’.

  8. thank you for your informative, clearly written, much welcome blog. I discovered through link at Penniless Veg.

  9. Hello Jack, I was so delighted to turn on the radio just by chance the other day and hear you on the Food Programme. You were so articulate, engaging and passionate. I have since read more about you, and found your blog and twitter account – & I am just really blown away by you and all that you have done. The energy you have put into helping others to be able to eat decent food – it isn’t easy to find that kind of spirit and energy when one feeling low or depleted – and needing energy to manage their own life – yet you did this. Also the way that you describe your parenting and your son, are just so inspiring – there is such love, warmth and wisdom. It has been a real pleasure to find you. I wish you so well – I have just pre-ordered your book – congratulations to you. Thank you. Warm wishes, Sarah

  10. Shirley Goode has put a post praising you on her blog today – I’m so pleased you’re getting so well known, guess some crap comes with that. Really pleased you got those lovely presents, things like that can make you feel so much better. Keep going but rest too, the world will always wait while you have some time to yourself.

  11. Would you like a copy of the article from this month’s Waitrose Kitchen, too ? Another gorgeous photo of you and the Small Boy 🙂 You really are a girl of the moment – everything I open, you seem to pop out of it – I brace myself every time I open a tin of spuds 😉

    So pleased though that your talents and what you have achieved through this blog are being recognised – all the praise is well deserved !

  12. Hello Jack, I found your blog through Frugal Queen. I am in the US and I’ve been saying how every item of food here is so expensive now. It’s hard to keep within a budget. You’ve done it so well. I wish you the best and hope that you will be happy and have a huge success with your new book. Congratulations and best wishes.

  13. I’m guessing youve probably seen this, seeing as it’s an Echo story, but I’m interested to know whether putting poisionous chemicals onto bread so people can no longer eat it, after they can’t sell it is common practice for Greggs the bakers? if this was to stop theives selling the bread on, does that mean it is technically ok to eat and therefore could be of use to people who dont have any bread?

  14. They want a pause for thought person for chris evans radio should be you..please apply ..

  15. Erm, I was just a teensy bit embarrassed to get a mention, but in a good way. Actually, I should be thanking you. It really brightened up my day to know that I had made a difference to someone. I’m so glad that the notebook has found a new home with you. It was feeling quite neglected here!

    One morning last week, my local radio station did a feature on food banks. I never realised that more people used them in the school holidays because there are no free school dinners. I see it now. What a huge problem that must be for families.

  16. You are most welcome. I am glad to be able to repay you in some small way for the good influence your blog has had on my life.

  17. I was so shocked to read as your parting note. May the kindness that starts with you. Etc. By Jackie Oates. Its the most beautifull song and lyric combination possible ( in my view ). Fact bring Dave Wood is the composer and lyricist to this amazing piece. My brother too.

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