Saturday 29 September 2018


I explained about Bertie Barrett's part in the Jago Stone story in a couple of blogposts back in November and December 2016. Here are the links to them:

And here is a section from the second of these posts:

'I promised to put more flesh on the bare bones of the story of the Oxford discovery I told in the blog on November 13 a few weeks ago and now I have permissions. The enterprising teenager whose Peruvian adventure holiday is being partly funded by the sale of Jago Stone paintings is Bertie Barrett. Louise and I have had the pleasure of meeting Bertie in person, with mum and dad and younger brother. A lovely family! We wish Bertie well in his future and hope and trust that he follows his dreams and achieves his ambitions. Watch 

this space. My default position is to side with the young. Powerful people from my generation have failed the young in society in largely unacknowledged selfish ways. Bertie represents for me the potential that won't be wasted in his particular case but is most severely constrained in many others. The future is for the young and our responsibility is to leave a mark that makes it easier - not harder - for them to fulfil themselves.'

The young have been shafted by my generation and it is a national scandal.

This post, though, is a celebration of a group of young people and their success. In particular, the focus is on one member of that group - Bertie Barrett - who has now returned from his Peruvian Challenge 2018.

Here is an extract from the email he sent me this week on his return from Peru:

'Peru was the ultimate, culturally immersive experience I could ever have asked for … Peruvian people are some of the kindest I have ever met, and it was truly humbling to experience their grace and gratitude for our help and they did whatever they could to accommodate us … Our construction of a 6m x 7 m classroom in 50 hours is something I will be proud of for ever. This is not to say everything ran entirely smoothly; I was unable to complete my trek of the Ausangate mountain as I contracted a rather horrid stomach virus and had to be evacuated off the mountain on horseback! I hope you can understand the chain effect you … [and the Jago connection] ... had on me and on the families and wider community in the Peruvian town of Matarini.

I have returned to school [Cedars Upper School, Leighton Buzzard] for my final year as Head Boy - appointed by the student body and the headteacher.

Bertie will take his A-levels next summer and then there is University - the next exciting stage on the life journey.

What a brilliant cluster of memories and achievements to take with you from school to university!

I find the Jago connection in this story intriguing. The link pinpoints for me the part that unforeseen consequences play in our personal story. I'm back playing with the Cleopatra's Nose theory of history - see E.H. Carr (1961), 'What is History' and my blog post on Robert Tressell using this link:

Roman sculpture of Cleopatra VII now in a Berlin museum  - made around the time of her visit to Rome between 46-44 BC 

If Jago hadn't had his exhibition in The Chequers' pub on the Oxford High in 1972 and if Bertie's granddad hadn't called in on his official brewery business shortly afterwards, then the Newsom collection of Jago paintings would most likely never have existed. And Bertie's granddad wouldn't have been able to make his generous gift of his collection to Bertie over a generation later at a time when I was writing Jago's biography and in a position to buy the collection - and so help in the funding of the Peruvian Challenge.

One of the Jago paintings bought by George Newsom, Bertie's granddad, in 1972

Jago in his own lifetime loved the idea that he had become an international artist through the USAF Upper Heyford connection. He would have been pleased I think that he had played his part in helping a young man discover Peru and its peoples in South America.

And so to the video conclusion. Bertie has made a film that gives you 13 minutes and 9 seconds of Peruvian magic. Here it is:

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