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.



2017 - May (4)
2017 - April (8)
2017 - March (2)
2017 - February (1)
2017 - January (9)
2016 - December (9)
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2016 - October (6)
2016 - September (11)
2016 - August (6)
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2016 - June (8)

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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: 20th May 2017


Today we went to Zadar - badly bombed in WW2 but still showing some spectacular architecture.

The bombing exposed a Roman Forum in front of the 9th Century Church of St. Donat which was predominantly built from Roman remains - so recycling is nothing new. They say there is nothing new under the sun.

Visited a Benedictine Convent - the nuns are no longer an enclosed order although very small in number - 20 I think and mostly aged. It would seem that the Catholic Church doesn’t attract the men and women to a vocation like it used to do.

During WW2 this order of nuns hid the Church treasure in a nearby steeple knowing that the Airmen wouldn’t bomb it because it was used as a landmark. They have preserved an incredible heritage of Reliquaries. Sadly we were not allowed to take photos in the small museum. I didn’t mind thinking that it was because they wanted us to buy their own postcards but there were none of these priceless treasures so I cannot share the beauty with you.

One of the nuns - Mother Joan - told me, when I mentioned my associiation with Canterbury Cathedral, that Pope Augustine 111, who canonised Thomas Becket, made a visit to the Cathedral in Zadar and there is a plaque to this effect on the wall.

Very strange - I told the nun that her habit was very similar to that of the nuns who taught me - the Daughters of Jesus.  One of our party overheard this conversation and asked what Convent I attended.  When I said St. Joseph's, Abbey Wood, Coleen told me that she too had been there and we missed each other by a year.  She told me of the tragic death in a car crash of our headmistress, Mother Dominic and I, in turn, told her about one of our favourite nuns who'd renounced the order, Mother Mary David who reverted to her name of Evelyn Magold.  Isn't it a small world!

We also visited the Sea Organ which is played by Mother Nature. It is a series of pipes under the water with ‘stops’ in the paving like a real organ. Although it was a wet and windy day, our guide said we were fortunate because it is the waves which play the music and on a still sunny day there’s no concert. Sure enough a few of us went back that way a few hours later when the wind had dropped and the sun was shining - No music.

There was a Roman Museum which I’d love to have visited but time was against us.

As I’ve explained before, I can only put one photo in each blog so I will share with you a photo of the Church of St. Donat with the remains of the Roman Forum. And when I get home I will try to find time to put some photos of the Croatian adventure into the Photo Gallery http://justyousinglesholidays


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

BAFTAS 2017 - The Real Marigold Hotel

Date: 18th May 2017

We had a really lovely afternoon and evening and Two Four Productions really pushed the boat out for us. We commenced with a delightful cocktail party in the Drawing Room at the BFI.

The Addison Lee Driver dropped me at the Festival Hall rather than the appropriate venue even though he assured me he knew where he was going. I felt a bit silly in full evening dress at 4.00 in the afternoon and with clear blue skies and the sun blazing. Just inside the Festival Entrance a delightful chap in a High Vis jacket - Glen - offered to escort me the few hundred yards back to the BFI and then went inside to ascertain the proper venue. The Drawing Room is not an easy place to meet unless you know the layout of the BFI. Heartfelt thanks to Glen.

It was good meeting up with the other members from The Real Marigold Hotel series. I’d only seen Miriam a couple of times when she comes down to one of her properties not far from my home and more recently in Rubenstein at the Park Theatre (she was brilliant) and Patti and I were invited to the TRIC Awards a month ago. None of us could believe that our adventure in India was over a year and a half ago.

The BAFTA Ceremony was very enjoyable - lovely set, good short clips and everything appeared to run like clockwork. Our category was Reality and Constructed Factual (whatever that is when it is at home) and we were up against First Dates, the Secret Life of 5 year olds and British Muslims. Inevitably the latter won. It’s not sour grapes but I did watch the programmes in the hope that I would get a better understanding of Muslims in Britain and maybe what generates the hatred a small minority have for the country which has given them refuge and succour - and it is our country and though few of us practice our religion it is officially a Christian country.   I have to say I came away from British Muslims none the wiser - it was a programme of extremes with both a black male convert to Islam who was a total fanatic and refused to sit at the same table as his ‘sisters’ because they were not suitably moderately covered, and an elderly white woman convert who did cover her head but never really explained what had led her to convert.

However it was great to be in the running and to be at such a prestigious gathering. I am not very good at approaching celebrities - knowing how much I value my privacy - but I did tell James Nesbitt how much I enjoy just about everything in which he features. I didn’t have the courage to ask for a photo - damn!

Later, at the excellent dinner, I did take a discreet photo of Benedict Cumberbatch and posted it on Twitter. He is a superb actor but doesn’t float my boat but he must be the heartthrob of a huge number of females. My simple fuzzy photo got over 25,000 hits. I also tweeted a photo of lovely Sylvester McCoy and that got over 6,000 hits - obviously from his Dr. Who fans.

I don’t engage in Facebook but when I became Ambassador for Just You Singles Holidayshttp://justyouholidays they wanted me to sign up to Twitter - so I did. Actually I have a lot of fun with it and enjoy passing on beautiful photos taken by others especially James Kitto who is a superb photographer living in Cornwall and we have become friends through Twitter.

Back to the BAFTA Evening. From my heyday I have a wardrobe full of lovely evening clothes so I didn’t need to buy a dress for the occasion but as I’ve aged I find I can’t spend an evening tottering around in stilettos. So I went for a pair of ‘kitten heels’ and the only ones I could find were satin in white. I had them and the matching bag dyed black. Although our day commenced with bright sunshine, by the time we got to the Red Carpet it had begun to rain - and you know what is coming don’t you. I got inside the Festival Hall and wondered why my hands had streaks of black all over them! And when I got home after the event, my feet were similarly streaked. Thank goodness my dress was black or I would have been in a pickle.

So huge thanks to TwoFour Productions for giving us such a splendid and memorable evening. Sorry we didn’t win for you but at least we were in the race. And also thanks to my Knight in a Shining Vis Jacket - Glen. 

And thanks to the Catering Company and the staff who gave us the very best meal I've ever had at a gathering of such size. There must have been at least 2,000 people sitting down to a three course dinner.

In The Drawing Room at the BFI at our private cocktail party with the lovely Sylvester McCoy - so sartorially dressed.

BAFTAS 2017 - The Real Marigold Hotel

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


Date: 18th May 2017

Where have the years gone?  It seems like yesterday that you came into the world on an unseasonably hot and sunny May day.

We've had our ups and downs; our tears; our laughter but I wouldn't change you for the world.

Happy Birthday my Darling Son.

A few years ago at Stavangar.  I was giving talks on a Norwegian Cruise and Jonathan joined me.  His grandmother is Norwegian so it was a particularly interesting visit for us.


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

ISIS - The Origins of Violence

Date: 18th May 2017

I really really do want to try and understand the ghastliness behind the whole ISIS movement.  And no one could have presented a programme better than historian Tom Holland.  He has a quiet authority and doesn't wave his arms round like a demented windmill.

The programme was very moving indeed and at one point, walking through the rubble of a ruined town, Tom was seen wiping tears from his eyes and I had a lump in my throat. He examined the interpretation of jihad and the caliphate and questioned the assertion that the group had nothing to do with Islam.

Obviously not many people would have been happy to talk to Tom but those who did found themselves with a listener, not a confrontational interviewer.  His very quietness  and what he didn't say in the interviews  'Spoke Volumes'

The whole programme was a credit to Channel 4 and to Tom Holland.

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

BAFTAS - 2017

Date: 24th April 2017

We have now received invitations from the TwoFour Production Company and I really am quite excited.  I don't go to many events these days and when I do, most people don't bother to Glam up for the occasion.  Two Four are hosting a cocktail event before the actual ceremony and we've been given permission to 'Glam Up' - so I shall drag one of my many evening dresses out of the wardrobe. (I've given away most of my evening wear but there are one or two favourites I simply cannot bear to part with and as they still fit me just, I've kept them.  They are either Gina Fratini, Zandra Rhodes or Roland Klein designs and were superbly made and finished off and were not fabricated in China or India)  

In my Newsreading days I went to so many functions that I used to long for an evening in just eating boiled eggs with soldiers - but it was fun and everything passes eventually.  However 30 Years ago, people did Glam Up for events and that was part of the fun especially for we women.  Award Ceremonies were very special as were Charity Functions but nowadays there are so many they've lost much of their appeal - well to me they have.

I'd forgotten that I did attend the Baftas during my Newsreading days.  I think someone must have dropped out because, at the last minute, the BBC asked me to represent them and present an Award in the Scientific category. I'm always up for a new experience or an adventure so gladly accepted and found myself sitting at a table next to Michael Caine.

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


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



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


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


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.



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


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.


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.


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


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.


Thank you - with loving thoughts for your kindness- Jan

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