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.



2018 - February (1)
2018 - January (2)
2017 - December (8)
2017 - November (2)
2017 - October (13)
2017 - September (4)
2017 - August (2)
2017 - July (2)
2017 - June (10)
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2017 - April (8)
2017 - March (2)

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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.


Date: 6th February 2018

Dear Friends

Some months ago I was one of the first signatories to a Petition to end the live export of animals - in good company with Selina Scott and Joanna Lumley.

On Monday there was a meeting in the Jubilee Room at Westminster and we heard from many speakers - Selina spoke for the Campaign, the head of the RSPCA addressed us, and we heard from people who actually police the Live Exports going out mostly from Ramsgate on small boats. The Ferry Companies stopped this trade in 2007.

I was surprised to learn that it isn’t the farmer who benefits by this cruel trade but the greedy middle man. Apparently a farmer gets £75 a head for a sheep - but when exported to Europe the middleman charges £150. I don’t think I need to tell you about the conditions these poor animals endure (including horses, donkeys, cows and baby calves) sometimes journeys of 16 hours crammed into lorries with no water. And of course there is the export for the Halal Market (least said about that the better or I’ll be done for PC).

I am not a vegetarian although I do not eat much meat but I believe that animals deserve to be raised humanely and slaughtered in like fashion.

We have 75,000  signatures so far and only till the end of February to get the other 25,000 to reach the magic number whereby there has to be a Debate in Parliament.

Please sign the petition and, if possible, pass on this email to your friends and family.

Petition - http://uk/petitions/200205

Love and thanks for reading.


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


Date: 18th January 2018


I don’t think I am unintelligent but having lost a lovely ring on my Birthday in Paris I was trying to make a claim and almost lost the will to live after a conversation lasting one hour and 2 minutes during which time the Call Centre operative repeatedly had to refer to his Manager.

Of course I appreciate that it must be proven that the claim is genuine and I do understand that people cheat. Sadly as happens so often these days the honest majority are penalised for the dishonest minority. Honestly I felt as though I were a criminal and as for all the questions asked, I couldn’t see their relevance eg. when did I make the Eurostar booking. I lost the ring in a Paris Restaurant not in the hotel and not on Eurostar.

Then I received a lengthy email telling me to go online with regard to documentation required. That was a total No-No. I really couldn’t understand the site and eventually had to have a CHAT with an operative who actually was helpful. In the end I send a large envelope of copies of bookings for hotel, Eurostar, valuation etc and so forth.

I never take my few bits of good jewellery with me when I travel but the ring I lost was one which I wore all the time so did not expect to lose it. I had flu at Christmas and must have lost weight - the ring was usually quite tight but the weight loss and the cold must have ‘shrunk’ my finger and I was very upset to discover it’s loss half way through my Birthday Dinner Celebration.

I learned a lesson many years ago when flying to Capetown. I was wearing some lovely black pearl jewellery I had treated myself to by selling something else of value. I put the ring, earrings, and pendant into a jewellery bag and into my handbag. On reaching Capetown they were no longer there - someone had stolen them out of my handbag whilst I was dozing. Of course I was able to claim a fraction of their worth and have never been able to replace them - hence the reason I only take costume jewellery when travelling. If I lose it, I lose it and don’t have to go through the rigmarole of a claim.

As it is, if my claim is approved, the maximum compensation is just over a third of the value of the ring so it is not replaceable. Still, much as I loved it, it is only a ‘thing’ and there are other things in life which are far more valuable - health for example.

I daresay the extensive rigmarole of making a claim would apply to any company but the one with which I've been insured for the last few years for travel insurance is #InsureandGo

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


Date: 17th January 2018

Dear All,

I apologise for my lack of Blogs but went down with a virus on Boxing Day and have been very under the weather.  Finally got to see a Doctor and I've a viral infection in the lower lungs - now being treated with steroids - No I'm not developing muscles.

I'm also preparing to move a few miles down the road to a New build little house with a garden for René so life is chaotic but I will write some Blogs about my experiences in Peru when I have the time.

Meanwhile, if you live in or near Manchester and you are wondering about a holiday - especially if you are single, I am giving a Presentation at Manchester Event City at 2.00 pm on Saturday.  I had hoped to go up by car and stay with my best friend at Barwick in Elmet but the weather looks dodgy so it is going to be trains instead.  I shall be talking about Canada and New England in the Fall, Peru, and briefly about short haul holidays in Tuscany and Croatia.  And, of course, I shall be happy to answer questions.  The Theatre holds 90 so I hope the seats are full - there's nothing worse in a theatre than to look out and see empty seats


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Date: 30th December 2017


Dear Readers of my Scribblings,

I really do try to answer all of you who are kind enough to write to me via my Website but I’ve got completely out of kilter recently. I received so many comments, questions, queries etc after Marigolds on Tour in Cuba that I’ve lost my way. I know I replied to many of you but I am also aware of some writers who needed longer replies and thus got placed on the ‘back burner’. Now I can’t find them among the hundreds of emails re business, unsolicited ones etc.

I distinctly remember a very long ‘letter’ from a gentleman in Australia among others - so if I didn’t reply to you, please forgive me, write again and I’ll try to respond.

I don’t have a secretary so have to do everything myself and at the moment I’m trying to pack up my flat prior to moving into a house which is actually smaller than the flat with the attendant stripping down of belongings.

May I wish you all a Very Happy and Peaceful New Year, Jan 

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


Date: 21st December 2017

Marigolds on Tour - Iceland

Watched the second group of Real Marigold Hotel participants ‘On Tour’ in Iceland - Paul Nicholas, Dennis Taylor, Sheila Ferguson and Rusty Lee - and really enjoyed it. They were funny, witty, obviously enjoying themselves and I think genuinely liked each other as they explored retirement in Iceland. Actually I was rather envious and wished I could have joined them even down to the soaking they got as they approached the beautiful waterfall - and Sheila that was spray from the fall not smoke!!

Sheila said she’d see her date again - I hope she does. He seemed very nice and had travelled a long way for the date. And he spoke excellent English.

It was such a shame that my ‘date’ in Cuba didn’t speak English and I speak no Spanish. I’ve kept in touch with the Cuban actress Miriam so she passes on news etc. to Reinaldo.

The next and last programme in the series of four will go out after Christmas and they’ll be visiting Thailand. Called in there in the early 60’s on my way to Australia - in those days the planes couldn’t just stop for a refuel as they do now. I remember the beautiful Pattaya Beach which was just that - a couple of bungalows, sand and loads of Bougainvillea and nothing else - now it is just high rise hotels.

I understand that a third group of ‘Real Marigold Hotel’ folk went out to India in September so if ‘Marigolds on Tour’ is recommissioned perhaps they will mix the groups - here’s hoping but they will have so many from which to choose I may be well down the list as I’m not a 'character'.

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


Date: 15th December 2017

Dear Chaps

Am flattered that you'd like to meet me but, atthough you know a great deal about me and what I look like, I know nothing about you.


If you are seriously wanting to meet would you be kind enough to write to me via my Manager and attach a photo!!!!! simonwhittam@weareonshore.com 

And please let me know your age and whether you are divorced or widowed.

I'd like to know about your interests (I'm not at all sporty and have no interest in sport particularly football)

My interests are history, animal conservation, art, theatre and travel

Would like to know about your family - children, grandchildren, pets etc.  

I've a great love of animals

I don't watch soaps, loathe pubs and admire manners.


That's just a very brief run-down for starters and should sort the men from the boys??????

Best wishes,  Jan


People are amazed that I am on my own - perhaps I'm too choosy but as a friend once said First Class Loneliness is preferable to Second Class Company.   Think about it!


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Date: 15th December 2017

Hallo Dear Ladies

I wore three white tops in Cuba

The pintuck one I wore shopping with Wayne - bought in Australia 3 years ago

The one I wore on my 'date' - bought at an Outlet Centre in Dover so I'm sure there'd be none left

The other one with the frills at the bottom - Joseph Ribkoff (last season) but I did see two on the rails of the shop where I bought it - Collections of Sandwich

Sorry I cannot be of more help.  My wardrobe is usually a mix of some relatively expensive clothes and others which are definitely not.

Happy Christmas from Rene and Me

Best wishes,  Jan


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

MARIGOLDS ON TOUR - CUBA - BBC1 - 11th Dec. 9.00pm

Date: 10th December 2017

Obviously I couldn’t write about Cuba and Marigolds on Tour until all was announced. So prior to the transmission on Monday, I am able to tell you a little about Cuba and Havana which is where we did most of our filming

After the programme I’ll be able to expand a little more but, like all good mysteries, I can’t give too much away.

Visiting Cuba was an interesting experience. We really only saw Havana so I don’t know what the beach resorts look like or how well developed they are. To me, Havana seemed to be in a 50’s Timewarp - and most certainly was in so far as the cars were concerned. They do have some small new cars but you mostly see the old American gas guzzlers from the 50’s. They are either held together with string and household paint or they are in magnificent condition and these are the ones used as Taxis or on display for the public to be photographed with, by or in.

Down by the waterfront a large majority of the once beautiful Spanish buildings are in a state of decay as are many of the ones in the leafy suburbs. I asked why so many of the large and hitherto beautiful buildings were either empty and/or in a state of decay and the answer was that the owners had fled the revolution, never returned and the Government does not have the finance to do them up and offer decent homes to many of their people. And sandwiched in between these once glorious buildings, you will find little shops opened by the entrepreneurial Cubans who are trying to add a little to their finance.

Apparently every one is able to buy, monthly, five staple food items very cheaply but, as always those with money are able purchase a great deal more.

The concept of ‘Marigolds on Tour’ is to look at the way other countries treat and deal with their old people. And certainly the oldies in Havana had a much happier way of life than so many in our country. Mind you it is much easier to be happy when the weather allows you to be outdoors to exercise, dance or simply to meet and chat with your friends.

Cuba boasts that there is no illiteracy and that all are eligible for excellent health cover. Of course for decades the Cubans were financed and supported by the USSR but all that disappeared decades ago and they are now on their own. Our crew were not allowed to film in either a school or a hospital and when I enquired the reason, finally (and it was like drawing hens’ teeth) I established that the infrastructure in the buildings is in a state of decay and they don’t want you to see it.

I couldn’t find anyone who would openly talk about the Revolution - neither ordinary folk nor the better-off. But I am led to believe that the Country is still controlled by the military.

I can’t give everything away, prior to the Transmission on Monday 11th at 9.00 pm on BBC 1 but I can tell you that my lovely hostess went to 7 different food outlets to try and buy ‘milk’ for my coffee and tea and she failed. There is milk but it tends to be available in those ghastly little individual packs in hotels (which I think are under Government control). You see cows and beef is readily available so why no milk? Either they don’t have many dairy cows or else (my theory) they don’t have the refrigerated lorries to transport milk. Virtually everything you see is ancient and I didn’t notice any of the latter.

I’d never heard of the Buena Vista Social Club before but was charmed and excited to visit one of their old haunts and where they practised in the 1940’s. It was once a magnificent palace which, during the Revolution, was taken over and turned into over 40 very very small apartments. ‘Strawberry and Chocolate’ a well known film was shot in the Palace. There’s an old photo of a large expanse where the inhabitants hung out their laundry and where the Social Club rehearsed.
I took this from the Internet for you - Buena Vista Social Club is an ensemble of Cuban musicians established in 1996 to revive the music of pre-revolutionary Cuba. The project was organized by World Circuit executive Nick Gold, produced by American guitarist Ry Cooder and directed by Juan de Marcos González. They named the group after the homonymous members' club in the Buenavista quarter of Havana, a popular music venue in the 1940s. To showcase the popular styles of the time, such as son, bolero and danzón, they recruited a dozen veteran musicians, many of whom had been retired for years.

This is the National Flower of Cuba - the Mariposa (not unlike the Tuberose) with an exquisite perfume. I was told that during the Revolution young ladies carried messsages wrapped around the stem of the flower and tucked into their hair.

If I’ve wetted your appetite, then do tune in on Monday 11th to BBC1 at 9.00 pm

MARIGOLDS ON TOUR - CUBA - BBC1 - 11th Dec. 9.00pm

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


Date: 9th December 2017

Jennifer Buxton RIP

I am a self confessed romantic and hoarder and find it very difficult to throw away correspondence - that was in the days when people actually wrote letters not emails.

I’m intending to move and although I’m not exactly downsizing, my prospective new abode has far less storage space than the spacious flat I occupy at present. Months ago I began my attempt to ‘clear out and throw away’ much of my accumulated paperwork. The task is proving next to hopeless as I can’t just throw away a pile of papers without looking through them.

Today I came across a stash of letters over 30 years old which had been written to me after I was mugged within the old Television Centre in February 1987. Needless to say I’ve discarded very few.

Coincidence is an odd thing because only recently I was thinking about a delightful woman I met and interviewed when I had my own programme at HTV in Bristol. It’s title ‘Women Only’ wasn’t very imaginative but it became popular enough to be syndicated round the regions for many years. One of my guests was Artist and Miniaturist Jennifer Buxton who executed a miniature on ivory of myself and also others of my pets at the time - a lovely Apricot Standard Poodle called Fleur and a cheeky black miniature poodle, Sheba. Jennifer captured theirs and my likeness superbly. When I look at Fleur and Sheba, I can almost stroke them such is the execution of Jennifer’s craft.

In the pile of letters was one from Jennifer and I decided to look her up on the Internet. So sad to discover that she died in January this year and delighted to see that she had given great support to the Brooke Sanctuary which looks after Horses, Donkeys etc in the East where they not only care for them but educate their owners so that the result would be reciprocal - a better life for the animals and a longer working life for their owners. Earlier this year I took part in a “Money for Nothing’ programme. The money raised was small but I donated it to the Brooke in the hope that the TV exposure would heighten their profile and thus further their cause.

I’m so sorry Jennifer and I never met again after my HTV Days but was delighted to read in what high esteem she has been held by the Art World and particularly the World of Miniaturists. 


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


Date: 8th December 2017

Thank you for reading my Blogs and for your support throughout the year.

Can't believe I've had René for 15 months - it is as if he has always been with me.  He's a dear little chap with so much character and intelligence.  Have to admit he's got me wound around his little paw.

A Happy Christmas to you  and may we all have a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful 2018.


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