Jan Leeming Blog

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

Archives:

2017 - April (7)
2017 - March (2)
2017 - February (1)
2017 - January (9)
2016 - December (9)
2016 - November (7)
2016 - October (6)
2016 - September (11)
2016 - August (6)
2016 - July (2)
2016 - June (8)
2016 - May (2)


All - 2017 (19)
All - 2016 (107)
All - 2015 (52)
All - 2014 (112)
All - 2013 (143)
All - 2012 (109)
All - 2011 (119)
All - 2010 (85)
All - 2009 (85)
All - 2008 (49)
All - 2007 (2)
All - 2006 (3)


RSS

Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

BARBARIC PRACTICE - BLOOD EXTRACTION FROM HORSES

Date: 22nd April 2017

Last November I opened an event for Childline at Woburn  and was a guest at the Abbey.

The Duke included me on a list he must have sent to his large following - I'd no idea about this practice which is barbaric in the extreme AND FOR WHAT - to synchonise births of piglets!!!!!   You couldn't make it up.   And a dog walking friend told me that this is also done to Greyhounds when they are past their racing days.  Honestly, I despair.  What lengths man will go to for an extra 'buck' and the customer supports in the  pursuit of 'cheaper goods'

Please read this and if you are as incensed as I, then please sign the petition.

 

IDT Biologika, a German pharmaceuticals company, and the Swiss branch of MSD Animal Health in Luzern are profiting from the systematic torture of horses in South America.

Uruguay and Argentina produce blood plasma for the European pig-meat industry. It is a million dollar business, which has been running for 30 years and is beyond reach of any control from the EU and Swiss authorities. Thousands of horses are raised purely for the purpose of having their blood extracted and sold -- with dire consequences.

The blood is of interest to the European veterinary pharmaceutical industry, as it contains the hormone PMSG (Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin), which used by the European pig-meat industry; it induces sows to reach heat faster and by applying it to the whole herd of sows, it is possible to plan births synchronously. As a result, the pig business is more efficient.

Tens of thousands of mares are systematically tortured for this blood business.

Please consider signing the below petition against this.

Yours Sincerely,

Andrew Bedford

 

https://actions.sumofus.org/a/stop-the-horse-torture

With the absolutely delightful Duchess of Bedford last November at the Childline Event.

BARBARIC PRACTICE - BLOOD EXTRACTION FROM HORSES

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


BAWGATHEIDI HOTEL - BAGAN- Myanmar

Date: 19th April 2017

Better late than never.  Our trip to Burma last November with Just You Singles Holidays was so jam packed with sights and experiences that I really lost track of where we were and when and never seemed to have time to write in my notebook.

I have 30,000 photos on my computer and that is just what I've collected over the last decade!  Every time I try to trim them down, I give up.  However I have decided that the only way to really treasure the memory is to make a book and then have it published (only for my own satisfaction)  It has taken me many many hours to break down the 1,500 photos I took in Burma to a manageable 80 for publishing.  So I have had to go through the itinerary and get everything into it's correct order.

All the hotels in which we stayed were of the highest standard  but the one I liked best was the Bawgatheidi Hotel at Bagan.  (In future I shall collect cocktail mats so that I can remember where I stayed!!).  The staff looked after us so well and I promised the Manager that I would write about the hotel on my Website - as I don't 'Do' Facebook.  Having now sorted out one hotel from another - and they all have unpronounceable names to our western ear and tongue - I can keep my promise albeit 6 months late.

We'd had a long 5 hour drive from Mandalay and arrived at the hotel after dark.  I was totally entranced by the beautiful decoration on my twin beds.  I sleep on the right side of the bed but the bed on the right was so beautifully decorated and  lovely to look at that I didn't want to disturb the arrangement and slept in the other bed with the slightly less elaborate design.  There were flowers everywhere - on the bed, in the hand basin, in the bath, on the dressing table.  In fact I had to collect all the rose petals in the bath and set them to one side before I could take a shower - I think they'd have been a bit of a slippery hazard.

I've said before that a Just You Singles Holiday is more a Voyage of Discovery with little time to draw breath but at this hotel we did have time to enjoy the facilities which included a superb swimming pool. We only had breakfast at the hotel so I cannot comment on the cuisine but at least I've now kept my word and have written about this charming hotel and the delightful staff.

A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL AT THE BAWGATHEIDI HOTEL

BAWGATHEIDI HOTEL - BAGAN- Myanmar

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


DR. MAX PEMBERTON

Date: 13th April 2017

I've never met him but how I would like to.  Because he is a Medic and gay and writes superbly, he's allowed to get away with so much we ordinary folk would not dare to say.

I buy the Mail on Saturday - and for the rest of the week I don't take a paper because it is all too depressing and i've better things to do with my time.  Why do I take the Mail on Saturday - mostly because the Television Supplement is excellent with a clear run down of programmes on terrestrial TV, Freeview and Sky but also because I don't have to pay for a TV Mag full of articles about who is 'bonking' who, who is having whose baby, who is cheating etc. and so forth.

But also I can't wait to read Dr. Max because he sees it and says it as it is.

He's written about foreign care workers who simply do not speak English well enough if at all.  Not only are they depriving their own countries of their services but they aren't really helping us.  My mother was in a Care Home (costing £4,000 a month) for the last 18 months of her life.  Initially I thought the Home was doing a good job and wrote a glowing report which I now cannot eradicate on the internet.  Gradually I saw the very evident cracks.  Apart from the Manager, nearly all the staff were foreign and though they were charming and well meaning, the accents and lack of conversational English were a great drawback.  On the penultimate visit to my mother, a very sweet and I'm sure kind girl came to ask Mother something.  Three times Mummy said 'Pardon' until I finally translated - the carer was asking my mother if she wanted a drink but the accent and poor hearing on Mother's part meant that she needed an 'interpreter'.  There were two English Angels who worked in the home for pittance wages and they were both studying hard so that they could go and work as nurses and who could blame them.  They were very caring to my Mother and at Christmas I sent them some Gift Vouchers.  They were overwhelmed because no one had ever thanked them before. And they really were Angels.  I watched them as they spent an hour lifting, hoisting and moving the inmates in the sitting room to the dining room - a process which had to be repeated all over again after lunch.  They really did have the patience of Angels and they were paid an insulting wage as 'non qualified' workers.  

Mother had items 'purloined' on a regular basis because the residents could not be kept in a room with a shut door.  They did have 'ropes' which could be put across the entrance but these were never used. Folk wandered willy nilly and several times I had to ask a patient to leave Mother's room.  Her clothes were always a major concern.  I'd find clothes to fit everyone from Mini-Mouse to an Elephant - and Mother's clothes (all marked) would disappear or look like rags within weeks of being bought for her. And as for the food - it was diabolical.  You couldn't tell whether the offering was fish or chicken as I suspect it was the bits processed and pressed together like tinned Ham.

But I've wandered away from the lovely Dr. Max who has also said - quite rightly - that people should stop expecting the NHS to sort out everything and should be more mindful of health tourism (an old article) and taking back aids like crutches. I think the problem is predominantly that there are too many chiefs (management consultants and the like) and not enough indians (staff).

Last week he addressed the compensation culture which costs the NHS a huge amount of its budget.  As he said, we all make mistakes and in some cases all the patient wants is an apology which the NHS seems incapable of doing.  He quoted a case of a swab being left after a woman's operation.  Initially the surgeon found  nothing  wrong but when it was proven he actually went to her and apologised and said she had every right to sue.  She smiled at him and said 'We all make mistakes and all I wanted was an apology - which I have now got'   And that was the end of that.

SORRY - when truly meant is one of the best and biggest words in the World.

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


THE REAL MARIGOLD HOTEL - Series 1

Date: 13th April 2017

The Series has won several awards and now has been nominated for a BAFTA in the Reality Category!

I would not like to be a judge as the four nominated programmes are as different as chalk and cheese.

So whether the BBC and Two Four will walk away, with this coveted award, remains to be seen.

 

So far we've not received invitations because seats are at a premium but it would be very nice to attend a BAFTA - one of the few award ceremonies I've never experienced.

THE REAL MARIGOLD HOTEL - Series 1

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


TRANSPORT OF LIVE ANIMALS TO THE CONTINENT

Date: 11th April 2017

I am totally against this barbaric practice and what for!  Our abattoirs are predominantly of a higher quality and more rigorously controlled than many on the Continent.  And why should people demand that the animals be transported 'on the hoof' - put to a great deal of suffering and anguish  which is totally unnecessary.  The animals are packed into containers very often without sufficient water and what happens when there is a hold up at the Ferry - a regular occurence.

I am supporting a petition which is attempting to gain 100,000 signatures which then makes it mandatory to be debated in Parliament.

Even if you are a meat eater, I'm sure you wouldn't want the animals to be mistreated - and don't get me onto the subject of Halal!!

So if you would support the cause and have the creatures slaughtered humanely (hopefully) in this country and then transported, please sign the petition.

http://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/170885

Thank you - with loving thoughts for your kindness- Jan

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


American - JONATHAN DANIELS - Modern Day Martyr

Date: 7th April 2017

During my Sunday Cathedral duty a few weeks ago, an American Pastor asked me if I knew of any mention of Jonathan Daniels - a Modern Day Martyr who gave his life to save that of a young Black Woman.

The Chapel at the East End of the Cathedral near the Trinity Chapel is called the Chapel of the Saints and Martyrs and there is a book on either side detailing the Modern Day Martyrs with a brief history.

I took the gentleman to the Chapel and sure enough there was an entry for Jonathan Daniels who died in 1965.

The Pastor thought that some of the details were incorrect as he believed that Daniels was shot by a shopkeeper and not the Deputy Sheriff as stated in the book.  In fact the Deputy Sheriff was also a storekeeper.  You can read the full story on the Internet but in brief Daniels had been helping the Campaign for Civil Rights in Alabama.  Along with a Catholic Priest and a young black woman, Daniels was held in Jail but on release far from anywhere they needed transport.  They approached an isolated store - the storekeeper aimed his gun at the Black Woman whom Daniels pushed out of the way and took the shot himself.

So Jonatha Daniels is honoured and remembered in our Cathedral.

American - JONATHAN DANIELS - Modern Day Martyr

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


KARAULI - RAJASTHAN - Real Marigold Hotel

Date: 5th April 2017

The Real Marigold Hotel - Series 1 was filmed in 2015.  As with most filming, the crew always have to cover themselves and very often shoot far far too much.  This happened when we were in India and one of the most interesting visits, for me, was our trip to Karauli where we stayed in the New Palace (built in 1938) and celebrated the Maharajah's birthday.  We did 9 hours of travelling and shot for a whole day.  The family could not have been more welcoming and helpful and I was very upset that all the Karauli film was dropped from the final edit.  However I have kept in touch with the younger elements of the family and was delighted to be able to host them to lunch recently at the RAF Club.

The family live in and welcome visitors to their 'New Palace' which is interesting in itself but what really captivated me was the old palace, parts of which date from the 13th Century.  The family are working to make the old palace a place which can be visited by tourists - a mammoth task but a very worthwhile one.

I asked the Maharajah's son and daughter in law for some history with regard to the Royal family of Karauli and here it is.   We had no time to explore the surrounding countryside but were told that there are beautiful waterfalls etc.  So if you are holidaying in India and are anywhere near Karauli, do either book in for a night or enquire as to whether you could visit the old Palace.  I cannot describe how lovely it is and was knocked out by the wonderful fresco work undertaken by Italian painters in the 16th Century and still as vibrant today, 400 years later.

 

THE STORY OF KARAULI AND THE ROYAL FAMILY

Any study of Indian historic tradition, from religious mythos to recorded history is incomplete without Karauli- both the area and the family who’s military, spiritual and artistic contributions are woven into the fabric of the country’s cultural ethos.
While the foundation of the current city of Karauli was laid in 1348 AD Raja Arjun Pal, the city is only the last of the several capitals founded by the family in an impressive martial and administrative history over thousands of years. The relics of this are still present in the many forts and citadels scattered across the Braj area from the Bayana fort in present day Uttar Pradesh, to Timangarh, Devgir, Utgir, the magnificent Karauli City Palace, and the Art Deco Bhanwar Vilas Palace, the present home of the Karauli family.

The Karauli royal family are the head of the Yaduvanshi Jadauns (literally-the descendants of the Yadus) and the historic rulers of Brajbhoomi, the land sanctified by Lord Krishna. They trace their lineage to Lord Krishna, from his descendant Vajra Nabh who was said to be the sole survivor of the massacre of the Yaduvanshis. This indeed, makes them among the oldest consistently ruling families in the world.
Raja Bijai Pal, the founder of the Bayana fort, and a great conqueror was said to be 88th in the line from Lord Krishna.

The Yaduvanshis, who have nearly always remained around the area of Braj near Mathura, at one time held a formidable territory encompassing Alwar,Bharatpur, Karauli and Dholpur upto Gurgaon and Mathura, the greater part of Agra west of the Yamuna,and portions of Gwalior lying along the Chambal.
The great ruler, Tahan Pal ji built the magnificent historical fort of Timangarh about 1058, which, with its stone carved bazaar was considered to be a veritable paradise. It was also a strategically significant fort that fell to Babur as one of the biggest of his Indian victories before being regained by the Karauli family later.
In the time of Kunwar Pal, Muhammad Ghori captured much of the Yaduvanshi territory However, one of Kunwar Pal's courageous descendants, Arjun Pal, was determined to recover the territory of his ancestors and embarked on a successful campaign to accomplish this. In 1348 he founded the present capital Karauli. Raja Arjun Pal also built the original fortress ramparts of the Karauli City Palace.

Gopal Das ji, among the most famous of the chiefs of Karauli is known to have laid the foundations of the Agra Fort at Akbar's request. Legend goes that the foundation stone of the fort was repeatedly washed away by the Yamuna till Akbar was advised that the river would only permit a direct descendant of Lord Krishna to lay the stone.
He is also revered for bringing the likeness of Gopal ji to the Madan Mohanji temple, having been miraculously guided to it hidden in the pillar of a fort at Daulatabad, while on his Deccan campaign.

Maharaja Ganesh Pal Ji, the ruler at the time of Independence was among the most forward thinking rulers in the country. His expansion of infrastructural facilities in the state including bridges, roads, city circles and sports clubs combined advanced engineering with a contemporary decorative aesthetic. He was also a keen sportsman, who instituted tennis, volleyball and cricket in the state armed forces and built several sports clubs and courts. He also built the uniquely Modern Bhanwar Vilas Palace in 1938, which has been converted by a heritage hotel by the present family.

Maharaja Krishna Chandra Pal of Karauli, the current head of the dynasty, the 181st of an illustrious line remains as invested in the local culture and philanthropic works as his ancestors. At present he is heading two religious temple trusts where he has employed five hundred people, through which he is running mobile hospitals, the MadanMohanji, and Kailadevi schools, a hundred bed hospital and also hosts medical and surgical camps. He also runs the Maharaja Ganesh Pal Ji Charitable Trust, named after his grandfather, which is working towards water conservation projects with the help of a Dutch foundation called Stichting Karauli. The Maharaja is a former member of the State Wildlife Advisory Board and the Game warden of the Kaila Devi sanctuary. He has been particularly active in tiger conversation in the Kaila Devi Wildlife Sanctuary as well as a dedicated campaigner for the independent development of the Sanctuary.
Maharani Rohini Kumari of Karauli is the first lady in the family to determinedly enter the public sphere as a politician. Having successful contested the 2008 elections, she represented Karauli in the state legislature till 2013. She has also been at the forefront of the historical conservation movement in Karauli having discovered and restored several forgotten monuments in Karauli and having single-handedly undertaken the mammoth task of restoring the magnificent Karauli City Palace. She also undertook the conversion of Bhanwar Vilas into a heritage hotel, restoring and decorating its period interiors in a completely authentic manner while modernising its luxuries.
Maharajkumar Vivasvat Pal is the son of Maharaja Krishna Chandra Pal and Maharani Rohini Kumari.
He is very passionate about both his very disparate occupations-art and hospitality. As the scion of a family that has long patronised one of the foremost schools of miniature painting in India, the Karauli school of art, he has inherited its influential cultural tradition as well. Having studied at the Heatherly School of Art in London and exhibited his portraits at the Schallaburg Castle in Austria, he continues towork on his own paintings and sculptures, while training the hereditary palace artists of Karauli to restore the intricate 14th century murals at the City Palace. He is also a practitioner of restoration techniques in paintings, sculpture and porcelain. He is also active in local youth organisation his father in the management of the family’s social and philanthropic concerns.
His wife, Anshika is from the ancient taluqdari of Ramnagar-Dhamedi in Uttar Pradesh and is the grand-daughter of Digvijaya Singh of Raghogarh.
She brings with her the literary traditions of Awadh, and having graduated in English Honours from the Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi is a great believer in the significance of critical academic thought in simultaneously constructing and sustaining historic traditions. She also loves vintage children’s literature and is working with several publishing houses as a writer and editor.
Since their wedding in 2014, he and his wife have been managing Bhanwar Vilas Palace, completely hands-on, handling everything from cuisine and decor to interacting with guests.
With their combined artistic and literary aesthetic the couple is uniquely fitted to breathe new vigour into ancient cultural concepts and to present the heritage they have been blessed with, in a rejuvenated form for the future.

Bhanwar Vilas was built by Maharaja Ganesh Pal, in 1938 and its unique architecture and interiors that veer from Bauhaus to Colonial completely fit the avant-garde aesthetic that the family subscribes to. Stylistically, it rather resembles an English country house in its eclectic yet harmonious melding of Oriental and Art Deco forms. My parents converted it into a hotel in 1992, making it one of the oldest heritage hotels in the country. Bhanwar Vilas is very unique in that none of the rooms are newly constructed, they are all part of the original edifice and with antique furniture in each room to present an authentic, and not merely simulated, heritage experience
The City Palace, approached through the twelve entry gates of the ancient citadel, with temples on each side, looms up over the winding lanes, an edifice of immense proportions. As you pass the massive cages that once held tame tigers, you are struck by the foot-tall adjacent dwars, one covered inintricate stone carvings, and the other in fine Radha-Krishna paintings, outlined in crushed blue lapiz.
Recovering from this first glimpse of structural magnificence you are lead through an enchanting series of vast courtyards surrounding by trompe l’oeil windows on the surrounding wall, the durbar hall completely covered in miniatures and gold mirrors, the zenana balconies with painted floors, and terraces of stone carvings and magnificent views of the city. At the back are the the red stone medieval towers-part of the palace, and the huge zenana area with a bewildering array of rooms and carved and latticed jharokhas. The palace akhada, with friezes dedicated to Lord Hanuman and the underground sauna and bathing area are also remarkably unique examples of palace architecture.
The palace compound is also blessed by the famed Madan Mohanji temple whose vaulted, frescoed walls house the Gopal ji statue, and the powerful statue of Madan Mohan ji and Radha- Rani. The statue of Madan Mohan ji was removed from Vrindavan for safety during the Mughal conquests, and taken to Jaipur. In 1737 AD Maharaja GopalSingh ji regained the deity and established him in the Karauli City Palace. While both the City Palace and Bhanwar Vilas are living museums in themselves, vibrantly showcasing the best of medieval Indian architecture and colonial style respectively, the City Palace also holds a museum with a curated selection of medieval weaponry, 8-9th century statuary, and a unique collection of palanquins and howdahs.
The Kailadevi temple, revered across North India, is a family temple, 21 km from Bhanwar Vilas worshipped by millions of pilgrims every year. The goddess Kaila Devi is considered to be a form of the Mahamaya who had taken birth as the child of Nanda-Yashoda, and with whom Lord Krishna was replaced as per the ordinance of Lord Vishnu. When Kansa tried to kill the girl child, she transformed into her Devi Roop and informed him that the one he attempted to kill was already safe and sound. She is now worshipped as Kaila Devi, and as Vindhyavasini and Hinglaj Mata at other places.

The arrival of the goddess's likeness to this destination is a fascinating story. The statue was being carried on a bullock cart by a Yogi to protect itfrom the siege of Nagarkot. The bullock stopped in the central part of the hill amid the dense forest and refused to budge. By divine ordinance the statue was established at that very place.

With the blessings of Kaila Devi, the rulers of Karauli have always maintained a deep connection with the temple.
Maharaja Gopal Singh Ji laid the foundation of the temple in 1723. He also established the statue of Chamunda Ji, bringing it from the fort of Gagraun where it had been placed by the Khinchi ruler Mukund Das Ji (the ancestor of Digvijaya Singh of Raghogarh). Since then each successive ruler of Karauli, has served the goddess, expanding and improving the facilities from Maharaja Bhanwar Pal ji who had the temple reconstructed with more modern architecture to the present Maharaja Krishna Chandra Pal whose tireless work has seen several radical modern facilities added to the temple, as well as the establishment of the 1000 strong Kailadevi Senior Secondary School and hostel, where quality education is provided at nominal fee. The school is remarkable for the number and achievements of its girl students.
The family’s ingrained social conscience and their sustained efforts in developing and maintaining the monuments and infrastructure of the area have established Karauli as a prime historic, artistic and spiritual destination.
As the historic heads of the whole of the ancient area of Brajbhoomi, a visit with the family offers not simply a slice of history but a composite understanding of the entire history of this area. 

 

One photo cannot possibly do justice to the wonderful old palace of Karauli

KARAULI - RAJASTHAN    - Real Marigold Hotel

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


Misleading Journalism

Date: 20th March 2017

I owe you all some Blogs and I have got interesting matters about which I will be writing soon but have been under the weather and also rather busy so will get down to writing later in the week.

But for now I will just blow my top about 'shoddy and misleading' journalism.  And this is the second time, to my knowledge that my photo has been used and linked to an ex-husband whom I divorced in 2002 - that's 15 years ago for heaven's sake.

Christopher Russell was the head of Astor School in Dover when I met him - now Astor Academy.  We had a relatively short lived marriage and I won't wash our dirty linen in public but suffice to say I haven't seen him since 2002 and have absolutely no wish to do so.

On Saturday the Daily Telegraph carried a story about Abuse Claims at the Duke of York's Academy and at the top of the article was a photo of myself and Mr. Russell taken a good 19 years ago.  I have absolutely no connection with him and his headship of the Academy - indeed he made another marriage after ours and I understand that she was treated in the same cavalier fashion.

It is upsetting for me to be associated with this story - by association through the photo - especially because this man had a very adverse effect on my life in all manner of ways.

You cannot trust much of what you read in newspapers or on line.  Another example was The Guardian on Line.  I'm not a Guardian reader but was asked to take part in a film about AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration) - and willingly agreed because I thought I'd bring some hope to other sufferers. I was in Burma when this went 'live' and I was horrified to see the Heading 'I am going blind like my Father'.  I am not going blind although I do have AMD and have had for 15 years and my sight has, thank God, not been affected thus far.  I contacted the director of the film and asked him if he realised what an adverse effect this could have on any people wishing to use me for future work either in Television or in the Corporate field.  At least they did me the courtesy of changing it to 'I watched my Father go Blind' - not quite accurate but certainly more so than the original.

So whichever your political colour and whatever newspapers you take, do remember to take much of what is written with a grain of salt.

Decades ago when I was a reporter I was concerned about inaccuracy in a story I'd filmed and went to my News boss  - a man I much admired and still do.  His words to me were 'Don't bother me with the facts, I'm writing the story'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Must get on - filming 'Money for Nothing' tomorrow - I've now got to tidy the flat big time but at least a little money will go to Charity.

Promise I'll get down to the Blogs soon - had a fascinating meeting with an American who was looking up a modern day American martyr - more soon.  And I will give you the fascinating story of the Karauli Palace and the royal family who trace their ancestry back to Vishnu

Bye for now

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


MEDIA HYPE

Date: 4th March 2017

Thirty years ago I was a newsreader and though I did not write the material I was aware of how stories were 'manipulated' and this state of affairs has in my humble opinion got far worse.

Look at the Media Hype over the shortage of and expense associated with Broccoli, Courgettes etc.  Well last week over two days I visited  Tesco, Sainsbury and Waitrose  stores.  There was plenty of Broccoli in all the stores and it didn't seem to be more expensive than usual.

Then we read all the dreadful press about the N.H.S and our Hospitals - and yes there is a problem - too much demand and expectation and not enough staff or funding - but having recently been a day patient at a hospital which has received more than its fair share of adverse publicity, I saw none of the problems we so often read about.  The area of hospital which I visited was clean, and  the staff were courteous, kind and helpful.

I understand that much of the problem is in overcrowding in A & E but much of this is occasioned by the habitual drunks and druggies and people abusing the system by going to A & E because they cannot get an immediate appointment with their own doctor.  Whatever happened to self reliance - do we live in such a Nanny state that we really do believe in everything being done for us?

Nearly two decades ago I was rushed into A & E at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital suffering from chest pains and almost unable to breathe.  (The cause was never identified)  After an hour my pain subsided and I couldn't help but listen to conversations going on around me and one in particular has remained in my memory.  It was obviously an habitual drunk who was being treated in such a kind manner by the nurse/orderly who obviously knew the man quite well.   Afterwards I asked why nothing could be done for this unfortunate person and was told that, in the old days, there would have been somewhere to which he could have been sent but today there is nowhere and he has his cuts and bruises attended to and then goes back on the street.

Next to me was a foul mouthed woman who was cussing and swearing at the people who were trying to help her.  Again she was an habitual drug taker and quite a regular in A & E.

In one area I do think 'they've got it wrong' and that is in all the 'paper qualifications' which nurses need these days and very often at the expense of the 'hands on' treatment and relationships they used to have with patients.

A few of my regualr readers have written to ask why I'd not written any blogs for a while - I haven't really done anything interesting enough about which to write but there are a few items in the diary for this coming month.

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.


THE N.H.S.

Date: 20th February 2017

I am sick and tired of all the criticism, marches and demands of the Government with regard to the N.H.S.

When I was born there were around 58 million inhabitants in the UK - in the last decade alone the population has grown by 4 million to 65 million.  At its inception the N.H.S was formed to deal with relatively simple ailments, broken bones, tuberculosis etc.  Over the last half century medical knowledge and expertise has grown beyond imagination.  

The N.H.S. is now expected to deal with highly expensive and intensive treatments of Cancer and other life threatening illnesses whilst also dealing with Sex Changes, IVF etc. and so forth.

The Government does not have an orchard of money trees which it is too mean to shake and gather the fruit.  It is our taxes which pay for the N.H.S. and also for those on Benefit.  There is not an endless pot of money.

I do feel that there are far too many Bureaucrats in the N.H.S. and not enough people working at the coal face.  In the past, I've had experience of being in hospitals under the watchful eye of the Matron - you could have eaten off the floor, visiting times were limited, and everything was regimented and worked like clockwork.  Matron was the equivalent of the Sergeant Major in the Army - she was God.

Throwing money at the N.H.S. is not going to solve the problem of over administration and Trusts which fail in their duty.  How often do we read of Trust executives on huge salaries (larger than that of the Prime Minister) who fail and yet sail off into the sunset with a handsome payoff and a large pension pot and sometimes they then re-enter the system.  

If we expect so much more from the N.H.S I believe that we should have to make a small contribution when we receive treatment - a contribution based on our financial circumstances with the poor and long term sick receiving treatment for free.

And I return to my Blog a few weeks ago when I asked why we can't have ID Cards - that might go some way to halting or at least cutting down on Health Tourism.

I am also tired of the constant Bashing of the N.H.S by the Press.  Typical of the Media is when they promote an unfortunate story and make it appear as though the whole of the N.H.S. is riddled with incompetence.

Kent has had it's fair share of Media bashing.  I recently needed a minor 'procedure' at the QEQM in Margate.  The ward was spotless and the staff couldn't have been more kind and helpful.  I don't know what my procedure would have cost because my days of paying for private cover are well behind me but I would imagine it must have been somewhere in the region of £2,000.  

As a freelance worker I paid into Private Medicine from 1969 until 4 years ago.  If I needed anything done I had to choose my moment because if I didn't work I didn't earn - and actually I was paying twice not only the regular  N.I deduction but also the payment into the private scheme.  And I stopped because as one gets older and possibly needs more treatment, the costs of private cover rise exponentially and I am no longer working regularly (unfortunately??- I love working because it gives me a sense of purpose and the feeling that I am still worthwhile)

Where the Government could be spending our taxes more wisely would be in making it a more attractive proposition to encourage people into the professions of nursing and medicine.  And I don't know if doctors have to sign some sort of indemnity that they will give back years of service in exchange for their highly expensive training but if they don't, they should have to instead of qualifying and then going to pastures new in places like Australia.  If we are training them, surely they owe the country and I feel the same about  foreign doctors - many of whom come from countries which desperately need them to stay put.  You can't blame people for wanting a better life but whatever happened to integrity.

Addendum

I wrote this before I bought my Saturday 'Mail' .  As I've often said I don't buy a paper during the week - all too depressing and I rely on my weekly copy of The Week which dessiminates news from around the world.  I buy the Saturday Mail because I like the Weekend Supplement which sets out the TV programames so that I can easily choose what to watch and, more often than not these days, not to watch on Mainstream TV.  I don't have to wade through who is having who's baby or having the latest breast enhancement or who is cheating on who - I can read interesting articles about mainly interesting characters.  However the paper is worth buying just for the Saturday column written by Dr Max Pemberton who writes without fear on subjects many of us would be too scared to talk about.  

And today he happens to have written about the crisis in the NHS and the unrealistic pressures brough to bear on the service including his views on IVF for same sex couples.  I know they are isolated cases and are made to look as though they are happening every day but there was the recent case of a girl who wished to be a boy and was being given treatment on the NHS.  But then he/she was told that there'd be no more help in the way of IVF funded by the N.H.S if that was a requirement later on.  So what did he/she do - temporarily stopped the hormone treatment, obtained sperm online and self injected and there he/she was, in a two page article, proudly displaying a pregnant belly .   Has the world gone mad - I rather think so.  Having a child is not a 'Right' - it is a 'Privilege'.  It is difficult enough bringing up children in today's topsy-turvy world without being the product of a knock on the door and the handing over of sperm.  Poor poor child.

I really do not think the majority have any idea of the huge cost of treatments and medication.  We have too few beds and an ageing population - how often do we read of the 'bed blocking aged' who can't be sent home because there is no one to care for them. Nothing can alter the fact that we are an ageing population with the attendant failure of health which goes with age.  We, the elderly have paid in all our lives to a system which in so many cases can be used and abused by folk who've not contributed a penny or who have come as health tourists to take advantage of our advanced and 'free' service.  Enough said!!!!!!!

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.