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.



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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.

CREATE AN ACCOUNT - Anyone else frustrated

Date: 9th October 2020

Steam is coming out of my head - so frustrated at the amount of time one loses these days because you cannot talk to a person - fobbed off with a Bot or a chat IF YOU ARE LUCKY

My Apple Mac is 10 years old - it owes me nothing - but it is suffering from the beginnings of SENILE DEMENTIA.  I thought I was doing the most wise action by ordering a new one direct from APPLE.

Order placed on 29th September - Delivered assured for 8th October.  Not that many of us are doing much these days but I did cancel a social engagement, stayed in all day, and my little dog had crossed paws waiting for a walk ??

The deliverer was to have been UPS - Ugh.  I was unable to get updates on Tracking - WHY - I needed an account.  I don't like being hassled into setting up accounts for one item with a company I will probably never use again. However, I couldn't even set up an account because their website sent me round in circles - didn't have an account, couldn't create an account because I didn't have an ID and Password!!!!!  Eventually after a complaint on Twitter they DM's me - then it got even more bizaree.  In short they agreed the parcel had gone AWOL on 5th October.  Apple took payment on 3rd October

I couldn't take any more frustration yesterday so put on my brave hat and phoned Apple this morning. Very pleasant and mostly helpful but had to go through A - Z of steps I'd taken with UPS.  Having held on at the end of a phone for about 15 minutes I was informed that Apple now needs confirmation from UPS that the package has been lost (or stolen) as it got no further than the Dartford Depot.  Now I have to wait for a refund.

I wouldn't have bothered sharing my woes with you except that I've just come up against another of these darned 'Create an Account' scenarios.  In August I pledged a sum of money in order to get published for Born Free a book on Saving the Lions - a bit like crowd funding.  It's being organised by Kickstarter (suppose a bit like Crowd funding).  The money has been raised and the book will be published.  Tonight I received an email asking for my correct address etc. - and you've guessed they want me to create an Account!  Actually I couldn't so I hope that I do receive a copy of the book because I could proceed no further.

Why should we have to create accounts - especailly with companies with whom we are unlikely to do business again.  I'm sure it is just a cheap way of getting more names, addresses and details for their marketing.

The Internet was supposed to make our lives easier, personally I believe it has made lives, in the main, much more difficult especially if the Web design isn't fit for purpose. I want to talk with a person, not a BOT or an ALGORITHYM

FED UP from Kent.????

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


Date: 21st September 2020


Scams seem to be proliferating at the moment and I'm fairly sure anyone reading this blog would not be taken in by it but you might have elderly relations or neighbours who might be scared and press Button 1. I am elderly but reasonably savvy

I never pick up my landline or mobile if there is no Caller ID.  Today I had FOUR phone messages saying that there was an underpayment of  tax and I must press Button 1 to speak to an Adviser or they would have to take action to have me arrested!!!!!  Sadly I don't work much anymore and I know my Tax is up to date so I just ignored the messages.  Also I am almost positive that the HMRC would not deal with a matter in this way.   However, what was strange was that on the landline phone screen a number came up INTERNATIONAL and a full number which looked like a valid Mobile Number.  I haven't tried to dial it for obvious reasons!

I wanted to inform HMRC but my Accountant indicated that they wouldn't do anything and the Police have got better things to do with their time. But if it helps in any way just be aware.

I've had to change both my Bank Debit Card and my Mastercard Three times this year because of fraudulent activity.  I'm very happy that the Bank and John Lewis Partnership are so vigilant but it does cause problems when you have to give the new numbers to regular payees.


Take care,  Jan

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Date: 21st September 2020

Was taking a peaceful walk with my little Papillon on Friday in the fields near my home.  Rounded a corner and from nowhere this Staffie Bitch launched an attack on my dog.  I know you shouldn't but I had to protect my dog and in so doing got a nasty gash on my leg.  

My little one was very shaken up but seemed to be okay.  The man apologised and said his Bitch had never done it before.  I tactfully suggested that if she'd done it once she might do it again and should therefor be muzzled.  

We limped home but when we got there and I went to pick up René he screamed with pain.  He couldn't walk properly so I whisked him off to the Vet.  Apparently he had a very swollen thigh so antibiotics and pain killers were prescribed.  On Saturday he projectile vomited water 4 times so back to the Vet and more injections.  Only today, Monday has he finally had a meal.

I'm not a litigious person and believe in live and let live but friends have said I ought to report the incident in case there's another more serious attack.  I didn't get the man's details but met another dog walker today and when I described the dog, she turned out to be the neighbour and said  the Staffie was vicious and she couldn't let her dog into the garden when the Staffie was out.

The whole episode was very unpleasant but the most unkind cut of all was when he phoned his partner and said 'The Old Lady said she's okay". I know I'm ancient but no one has ever put it quite like that????

Fortunately I keep a well stocked medicine cabinet so I had Antiseptic wipes and Antiseptic spray and appropriate wound dressings and my Tetanus is up to date so other than a scar I'm okay.  When you are OLD, your skin thins and almost anything bruises and scars you.????


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Date: 20th September 2020

The madness of #Lockdown & #Quarantine. Stepfather has opted for a care home. He is still ambulant He is allowed one #Namedvisitor per month outside the home. YET if he wishes he can call a taxi, go in to Windsor - shop, have a coffee and return to the Home. Unless the Care Home has misinterpreted the rules - this is sheer MADNESS.  If he goes into town, just think of all the people he will mix with, all the surfaces he will touch as well as being in a taxi which has been used by heaven knows how many people.

No wonder people are flouting the Rules - or simply not being able to make head nor tail of them.

Interesting that Sport and Racing are allowed to go ahead - but I suppose they bring in large Tax revenue even though there are no Spectators.

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


Date: 19th September 2020

As I've said on Twitter, I may be the only person to think like this.  Or maybe it is because I don't have grandchildren and a large family  to care for and to care for me, but I'm in the Winter of my years - and will die in the foreseeable future.  

Lockdown has put the country on its knees economically, the young are suffering badly and so many have lost their jobs.

Covid is predominantly attacking and killing the old with underlying health problems - it is hastening the deaths which are inevitable anyway.

I feel that the young should have to obey the rules with regard to wearing masks and not attending raves or large gatherings but to subject them to another raft of Lockdown is unnecessarily cruel.

I don't think any Government could have handled a Pandemic like this with any great deal of success but lurching from one set of rules to another is asking people to question and not obey.

It seems mad to me that you can go to a pub and be cheek by jowl next to a load of strangers, or to a restaurant and many other public places but, in your own home (with traceable contacts) you are limited to 6.  What if your household comprises more than that number - do they get pushed out to sleep in the garden??  Is Christmas cancelled this year?

This is a modern day 'Plague' - which in the past wiped out huge swathes of the population and maybe acted as a balance between people and nature.  We have too many people in the world - in days gone by, large families were the norm because, sadly, so many children never made it to adulthood and those who were left were the Insurance policy for looking after their parents.  Today that doesn't happen especially in the developed world.  So, at one end of the scale, we have more people being born and surviving, whilst at the other end the old are living longer and longer.  But what kind of a life?  We can't all be Captain Sir Tom - a fantastic grand old man at 100.

I feel we should try and get on with as normal a life as possible and let Nature take it's course.

I wonder how you feel about this subject.




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Date: 27th August 2020

Those of you who might have followed my blogs for a long time will know how hard and passionately I worked on research about Cdt. Squ. Ldr. René Mouchotte and after 6 years of trying, finally had a short documentary broadcast on BBC SE. Proud to say the viewing figures for 'Inside Out' that Monday trebled. The programme was then given to and shown by BBC South and BBC North - so probably a million people saw it. I didn't set out to make a documentary but after sponsoring René's name on the Battle of Britain Memorial Wall and then discovering so much about him, learning more became a passion which took me to Middelkerk in Belgium, Dunkerque near Calais and to Paris - to meet his sister the day after her 101st Birthday and to visit the family tomb in the amazing Necropolis at Père Lachaise Cemetery.

My quest began when I discovered that Mouchotte's Diaries had been published in France 6 years after his death and then translated into English. I obtained a copy and couldn't put it down - I've since read it 6 times. René was an amazingly good man who, despite longing to be in his homeland, sacrificed all by escaping from Oran Airfield (closed down by order of the Vichy Government) in a stolen light aircraft and making his way, with 5 others, to Gibraltar. From there he and his friends were transported to England. He quickly won acclaim for his excellent battle and flying skills and headed up an all French Squadron.

I'm writing this today because it is the Anniversary of his death a mere week after his 29th Birthday. His Wingman - Pierre Closterman abandoned him and his final words were 'I am alone with the Bombers'. Contact was lost and his body washed up on the beach at Middelkerk in Belgium a week later. This beach had the sad accolade of receiving 90 bodies washed up during the war because of the tides - soldiers, sailors and airmen.

René's body was laid to rest in an unmarked grave in the Commonwealth section of Middelkerk Cemetery. After the war and extensive research, his remains were exhumed and his name was found on a vest. He was repatriated and given a Military Funeral at Les Invalides in Paris.

His family and I have discussed his death. His body was found intact but without his heavy flying boots .We can only conclude that his aircraft was shot down, he baled out into a dingly but wasn't located. Perhaps the dingy deflated and René would have jettisoned his heavy boots. Of course there was no autopsy so no one knows if he died of exposure or drowning.

I have made several pilgrimages both to the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel le Ferne and to his tomb at Pére Lachaise.

His Diaries make for interesting reading. They aren't stories of Derring-Do - he was a very modest man - but of his longing to return to his homeland and his desire to do his duty as well as very human reactions to the barbarity of war and seeing his best friend die as his plane is sucked into the sea.

Writing this blog has made me realise it is time I read 'The Mouchotte Diaries' again. The man is an inspiration - if only there were more like him.

RIP - René Mouchotte


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OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES - Children's Funnies

Date: 26th August 2020

Dear All,

Thought I'd lighten the mood and post this which I did find hilarious.  Couldn't post it on Twitter - wrong format so ENJOY


Pay special attention to the wording and spelling. If you know the Bible, even a little, you'll find this hilarious!
Children were asked questions about the Old and New Testaments. The following 25 statements about the Bible were written by children. They have not been retouched or corrected. Incorrect spelling has been left in.

1. In the first book of the bible, Guinness. God got tired of creating the world so he took the sabbath off.

2. Adam and eve were created from an apple tree. Noah's wife was Joan of ark. Noah built and ark and the animals came on in pears.

3. Lots wife was a pillar of salt during the day, but a ball of fire during the night.

4. The jews were a proud people and throughout history they had trouble with unsympathetic genitals.

5. Sampson was a strongman who let himself be led astray by a Jezebel like Delilah.

6. Samson slayed the philistines with the axe of the apostles.

7. Moses led the jews to the red sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread without any ingredients.

8. The egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up to mount cyanide to get the ten commandments.

9. The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.

10. The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.

11. Moses died before he ever reached canada then Joshua led the hebrews in the battle of geritol.

12. The greatest miricle in the bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.

13. David was a hebrew king who was skilled at playing the liar. He fought the Finkelsteins, a race of people who lived in biblical times.

14 Solomon, one of Davids sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.

15. When Mary heard she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the magna carta.

16. When the three wise guys from the east side arrived they found Jesus in the manager.

17. Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.

18. St. John the blacksmith dumped water on his head.

19. Jesus enunciated the golden rule, which says to do unto others before they do one to you. He also explained a man doth not live by sweat alone.

20. It was a miricle when Jesus rose from the dead and managed to get the tombstone off the entrance.

Jan xx

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Date: 26th August 2020

A friend sent me this link - with much of it I would agree.


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Date: 26th August 2020

I've been appointed Ambassador for Miracles Mission - a Charity aiming to set up in the UK  a Centre for Disabled Animals.

Like all charities they are desperate for funding - even the price of a cup of coffee would be gratefully received.

You can donate here https://youtu.be/VpPDHxLjTPY

If you would like to see some videos of the animals they've helped so far - and a little 1 minute appeal by your truly https://t.co/dSIpfqDwIZ

One of their fundraising events is regular Auctions.  Earlier this year I appealed for funds for the Koalas hurt in the Australian Bushfires and donated various items - My Eurovision script from 1982; various books and the Akubra I wore when I took part in 'I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here' in 2006 (wow - a lifetime ago).  A very generous man called Nigel Grant bid £500 for the Akubra and had now offered it back for one of the Miracles Mission Auctions.  It might be raffled within the Auction so if you are interested please visit https://t.co/dSIpfqDwIZ I've got quite a small head?? and it says Size 53 - is that millimetres, can't be inches or centimetres.  The price of a genuine Aussie Akubra is around £150.

Would be most grateful if you could help in any way.

Thank you,  Jan 


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THE BROOKE - Charity

Date: 18th August 2020


I support many charities and sign petitions to stop the abuse of and cruelty to animals - Particularly the cruel business of Trophy Hunting.

All charities are hard pressed at present with so much uncertainty about the future and fundraising events cancelled.  

One of the reasons I support the Brooke is that they use their funds for the wellbeing of the Horses, Donkeys and Mules used by so many poor people.  As a consequence the Equines have improved conditions in which to work.  With education the lives of the Equines are improved and as a consequence so are the lives of the people who rely on their animals.  I believe in the adage 'Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day: Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life'.

Recently the Brooke launched an initiative to help with their fundraising and one of the ways in which I could help was in Videoing a Virtual Tour of my Garden.  You are at liberty to watch it for free https://youtu.be/kzORN6T1AZs  but the Brooke have set up a Crowd funding site linked to my garden with a very modest goal of £500 https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Bloom-For-Brooke-Jan-Leeming

I'd be so pleased if you could donate the price of a cup or two of coffee.

Here is what £500 could do for The Brooke

£10 helps bring vital support to two hard-working horses, donkeys and mules. From access to Brooke-trained vets and farriers, to support for owners so they can care for their animals better, you are making a real difference in the lives of working animals.
£20 could help to train a saddler, so whole communities can benefit from well-made saddles …. And healthy animals. No more saddle sores! Ill-fitting saddles and heavy loads are a recipe for back problems and painful wounds.

£27 could buy a first aid kit

£35 could buy five water troughs

£37 could help us to train owners on preventing, spotting and treating illnesses and injuries, so you’d also be shining a little light on the life of a coal mine donkey

£42 Mules working in brick kilns endure injuries and very harsh conditions - from extreme heat, to heavy loads and dusty air. This gift could give owners the opportunity to learn how to prevent and treat common illnesses directly from a Brooke vet, improving their mules’ wellbeing

£62 could train a vet who will be able to provide better healthcare to the horses, donkeys and mules in a community. It will equip them with equine expertise so they can earn a living and provide excellent support to animals in need.

£110 could trains a team of local animal lovers to go from village to village spreading animal welfare messages. They work with community leaders to help set up workshops and meetings, helping owners to learn more about their animals’ needs.

£112 helps to train a farrier to trim and balance hooves properly. Better hooves can reduce lameness and protect animals from needless pain.

I do hope you will give a donation and thank you in advance

Jan xx


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