2nd November 2021
Jonathan is a member of our agriculture team and Reservist Army officer, fell runner, chocoholic… and frustrated farmer!
Why did you decide to specialise in agriculture?
Having set upon a legal career, it was very quickly clear to me that my chosen field (poor joke) was agricultural law - even though my training contract was at a firm without an agricultural department.
Really, I'm a frustrated farmer and I’m passionate about food – but I also like the mix of legal, technical, commercial and emotional issues that arise in the work that we do.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Getting very muddy! I love being outdoors, be it walking the dogs, fellwalking or running (especially in my native Northumberland) with my family. I am married and have three children, so chasing after them is another (lovely) pastime. I really enjoy photography, particularly landscape and light. I am also a Reservist Army Officer; my current role is desk-based, although it has allowed for getting extremely muddy in the past.
What is the best place you have ever travelled to and why?
China, and in particular, a rail journey through it in the mid-1980s when I was 11 years old. My late father was a doctor specialising in pain relief and acupuncture. He was invited to Peking University to lecture on how acupuncture works: talk about ‘taking coals to Newcastle’, especially when you are a native Geordie! The travel arrangements went awry: we ended up on a three-day rail journey from Canton to Beijing, in a second class carriage with 60 other people. It was a lifetime’s education about a different country and its people and dynamics in a short space of time. Subsequently I am also more forgiving about rail travel in the UK!
Which three people – living or dead - would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
The Venerable Bede, who was a seventh century monk in what is now Newcastle-upon-Tyne (my degree was Religious Studies); my favourite author Allan Mallinson (he writes nineteenth century historic fiction about an army officer who starts his career at the sharp part of the deep end at the Battle of Waterloo) and T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). So, a bit of a mix of history, politics and theology, just like my degree.
Describe yourself in three words.
Enquiring. Enthusiastic. Chocoholic.