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MJ’s Poppy Appeal Socks

£1 donated to Poppy Appeal, plus save £1 on hunting reds during November
£1 donated to Poppy Appeal, plus save £1 on hunting reds during November

Lest we forget.



This November we will donate £1 for every pair of Hunting Red MJs bought online.  You will also save £1 on every pair of Hunting Reds you buy during November.




In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

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British Family Fayre: Prince’s Trust Auction

The wonderful British Family set themselves the challenge of buying only British made products for a whole year.

It’s been an exciting time and we have thoroughly enjoyed seeing their progress and watching their adventure!

They are now hosting a British Family Fayre. As part of this there is an auction in aid of the Prince’s Trust.

Bid for some fantastic British products, and support this brilliant cause. Check out lot 7…


The Prince’s Trust is, this year, celebrating 30 years of it’s Enterprise Program, a scheme aimed at helping young people start their own businesses.

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme supports disadvantaged and unemployed young people, aged 18 to 30 years old, by offering expert mentoring support and much needed low-interest funding.

The Enterprise programme has helped 80,000 young people to set up in business since 1983.

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Made to Make

Here at Marko John’s we (as you’re probably aware by now!) take socks seriously. We are proud of what we do and for me personally there is a particular joy in the fact that our socks are made by hand by actual, real-live people.

Today, most of the things we use in our daily lives are not made by hand, or even probably in the same country you’re reading this in. This is of course not all bad. But something in me still wants to celebrate the handmade things. Not only because the quality far exceeds what is possible in mass-production, but because of something inherent and essential in the process of making.

Lately I’ve been reading Tolkein on Fairly Tales (available from Amazon here). His apologetic is interesting and he has useful things to say about various art forms and their respective achievements.

What really struck a cord, however, were his thoughts on the making of art and things generally. Why we do it. Why all societies, all peoples, always have been fascinated by, indeed preoccupied with, making things, even those that do not have a daily ‘use value’, but are there just because.

There is something in us as humans that drives us to make, to create. Tolkein calls such activity ‘sub-creation’ and I like that phrase. His term reflects the fact we are made to be makers by our maker, in His image and likeness. Our desire to make is part of our deepest identity and purpose.

This all seems a bit grand to then speak of socks! But at the smallest, lowest level, even the craft of making socks is, according to J.R.R., a minor act of sub-creation. Made by makers made by a maker.

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Uganda MJs in Uganda

Uganda MJs in action

Last summer a World Challenge group from Lawrence Sheriff School spent a month in Uganda.  They all wore Uganda MJs, and took extra pairs with them to give away as thank-you presents. Going on something similar? Please let us know! They kindly sent us some stunning photos of their trip (all photos courtesy of, and copyright James Riley).

From James:  Enjoy! P.S WHAT a country!!

Uganda MJs nr Budadiri


Uganda MJs atop Mt Elgon


Uganda MJs Elgon


Uganda MJs


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British Sport, Team GB, and three facts about the Olympics we didn’t know

The Olympics are being held in London this summer. It is a great thing for the nation and in a time of economic difficultly, the investment of billions of pounds in developing East London and improving the infrastructure is good –  good for business; it creates jobs and buildings, tubes and stadia for us to use for many years to come – as are the billions the millions of visitors will spend while they’re here. But, talking about sporting achievements in Great Britain is always a difficult subject. We invented some of the best sports but seem to perpetually underachieve. This apparent underachievement may of course be due in part to the scale and grandeur of the expectations we hold over our sportsmen and women’s heads. Either way, we seem to have a sporting history of not quite doing it, of being next best, pipped at the post..Except perhaps for the years, 1966 and 2003, which were indeed magnificent and glorious and majestic and, ah, well, perfect. And, truth be told, have in themselves the power to carry us through at least another 50 years of missed penalties, ill-disciplined rucking and what-ifs.

dark times….

The World Cup this autumn was dreadful and I don’t intend to dwell on it. None of the participants, I suspect, are fully satisfied with their team’s performance. Even the eventual victors, the home side, are aware they were far from perfect. Perhaps even, feel a little fortunate.  But, the one thing which I found more painful and more annoying than just losing, was the absence of any sprit or passion for the shirts our boys were wearing. We just didn’t seem to fancy it. Losing is one thing, but not putting every single thing you have into every match is unacceptable. I can’t imagine the rush of adrenaline and the excitement and the sense of duty one must feel pulling on one’s country’s jersey. It is an honour and it is a privilege. Failing to make that absolutely clear every single time one wears one’s colours, is disrespectful and frustrating to watch. We left the world cup with very little honour, very little to be proud of. And, unfortunately, that is true for the team and for each man. I do feel for Martin Johnson and bow to the greatness of what he achieved in his years on the pitch. But he probably just wasn’t the right man for the job. Anyway, I digress, despite the feeling of general underachievement; Great Britain has a very distinguished record in the Olympics – more so than I was aware. Here are three things I found out recently:

1. Team GB is the only team ever to have one at least one gold medal at every summer games!

2. We are one of only five countries to have participated in every summer Olympics since 1896!

3. Hosting the games this summer makes London the only city to have hosted three games! (1908, 1948 and 2012).

All of which are excellent things and things we can be proud of.

I have always enjoyed watching various bits of the games on television and can basically watch any kind of sport or competition. I have lost countless hours engrossed in bowls, darts, curling, snooker. I even watch American Football, if there’s nothing else on (US readers: jk, jk.. Go Giants!) This summer will be a bit different. The games are in London for the first time in my life (we last hosted in 1948) and while I wasn’t successful in the ticket lottery last summer, I will watch the games with extra interest this year. Team GB’s best medal haul ever was in the 1908 games which were hosted in London so hopefully we are in for another great year on home turf in 2012. I hope London becomes a festival of sport, a carnival of competition next summer.


I’ll be watching everything I can, from fencing, to wrestling, to, ahem, beach volleyball, if it happens to be on.  I’ll enjoy watching the world’s best push the boundaries and break the records. I’m looking forward to Great Britain playing host to visitors from around the globe. I’m looking forward to our guests reveling in the heritage and history of our great nation. I’m looking forward to watching Team GB bring in a good haul of medals. And, more than all that, I’m looking forward to Team GB putting in some performances both we and they can truly be proud of.