2011 - 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.

CAROLS AT CANTERBURY

Date: 24th December 2011

Months ago I applied for tickets to the Christmas Eve Carol Concert at Canterbury Cathedral and was fortunate enough to be allocated three - just the right number for my two French friends and myself. The Cathedral was absolutely packed - I am not sure of the number but it must have been a couple of thousand and... Read more...


ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY - HUGUENOT CHAPEL at Canterbury Cathedral

Date: 18th December 2011

ARCHIBISHOP OF CANTERBURY – HUGUENOT CHAPEL at Canterbury Cathedral This is hot off the press but I will have to leave many other blog. subjects till after the Christmas festivities but really wanted to share this with you. One of the Huguenot Congregation, Rosemary Harridine, had requested that... Read more...


A TRIBUTE TO RENÉ MOUCHOTTE

Date: 16th December 2011

The Director of the French Museum in York, Ian Reed,  has been working flat out to help me with my René Mouchotte project.  He has unearthed a short clip of the News Film showing René and Jack Charles shaking hands and agreeing to share the prize for the downing of the 1000th Enemy Plane.... Read more...


HENRY LAFONT - Ceremony at Les Invalides in Paris

Date: 7th December 2011

I briefly mentioned that I am now in contact with the Director of the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington which honours the French bomber pilots. He has been running the Museum for almost two decades and has brought it back from near closure to be one of the foremost attractions in the country. (I only knew about it... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Interview with his sister

Date: 6th December 2011

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE – Interview with his sister I’d hired a cameraman to accompany me to Paris to film the interview with René’s sister. She celebrated her 101st Birthday on the Sunday and I was to meet her on the Monday. I’d worked long and hard on my questions bearing in mind... Read more...


PUBLIC SECTOR STRIKE

Date: 30th November 2011

PUBLIC SECTOR STRIKE None of us likes change especially when it hits us in the pocket. If I have my facts correct, many many years ago public sector workers were assured Gold plated pensions to make up for the fact that they received less remuneration than those in the private sector (that’s excluding... Read more...


RENE MOUCHOTTE - Wonderful News

Date: 27th November 2011

RENE MOUCHOTTE – and Wonderful news I had been unable to trace members of René Mouchotte’s family and my friends in Paris, having written to the Authorities at Pére Lachise Cemetery had drawn a blank. When I visited René’s tomb in July, I left a letter in English and... Read more...


THE PHILHARMONIA and JULIAN LLOYD WEBBER at the Marlow

Date: 26th November 2011

JULIAN LLOYD WEBBER and the PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA When I took my brave pill in May and booked one ticket for Top Hat, I wasn’t quite so brave about other bookings so reserved two tickets for the Julian Lloyd Webber performance and two for the Ice Ballet in February. I reckoned that I could either treat a... Read more...


CALAIS for the day - Au Cote d'Argent

Date: 22nd November 2011

 CALAIS for the day My friends Hilary and Geoff used to run a B & B and often went across to Calais shopping especially when the Euro was much weaker. They often asked me to join them and I can remember when the Euro was worth around 68p so buying our wine, cheeses, and other wonderful food in... Read more...


RIVER COTTAGE - Plymouth

Date: 20th November 2011

RIVER COTTAGE – Plymouth After my recent disappointment with regard to rejection of the proposal for a documentary on René Mouchotte, my friend/agent suggested I go down for the weekend and we’d brainstorm about different approaches to the subject. Simon and his partner Des live in a... Read more...


TOP HAT - Marlow Theatre, Canterbury

Date: 17th November 2011

The Marlow Theatre has recently re-opened after a 2 year and ‘heaven knows how many millions’ refit. In the past I’ve been unimpressed by the programme and hadn’t been there since seeing my erstwhile neighbour (Bucks) Rula Lenska in ‘84 Charing Cross Road’. Also I don’t... Read more...


ROLAND KLEIN - MAGGIE SEMPLE - Vintage Clothing

Date: 2nd November 2011

ROLAND KLEIN - MAGGIE SEMPLE and Vintage Designs. I really am becoming an old stick in the mud and don’t like having to go into London these days. However, I had an invitation to an event at the Ivy Members’ Club to profile Maggie Semple and her latest venture. If I understood the presentation... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - the end of the road?

Date: 1st November 2011

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - the end of the road? Well life is made up of successes and disappointments but I must admit I’m rather gutted by the rejection of the excellent proposal, put in by Quintessence on my behalf, with regard to a Documentary about René Mouchotte detailing my quest for more... Read more...


END OF BATTLE GALA DINNER - RAF CLUB

Date: 31st October 2011

Again this year I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Gala Dinner which is held annually to celebrate the ending of the Battle of Britain (July 10th - 31st October 1940). It’s a lovely affair with most of our remaining Veterans in attendance. We have very few left any more - there are around 70... Read more...


BT AGAIN

Date: 30th October 2011

BT AGAIN I believe that if you complain, you should also praise. Although I am sorry I had to go through all the hassle and tension of taking my grievance to the highest places, I have to say that I have had the problem dealt with in an exemplary manner. Without wishing to make work for him, Christopher... Read more...


Cat on a Hot Tin Loo

Date: 24th October 2011

It isn't Tin but I thought it a good title.  Goint to the Bathroom in the twilight and not putting on the light, I'm not sure who got the biggest shock - Tamby or me. I went to sit and came up against something furry - my cat had been helping himself to a drink.  I wouldn't mind but he has... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Open Evening 5th October 2011

Date: 16th October 2011

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL OPEN EVENING Where does time go? I hadn’t realised that it was almost two weeks ago when we had this most marvellous Open Evening at the Cathedral staged by the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral. Apparently an Open Evening is held every year but I’d never heard of it. It... Read more...


RYE

Date: 15th October 2011

RYE Rye is a lovely little town - very historic and great to visit out of the Tourist season. It is a very quaint town boasting cobbled streets, was a great haunt of Smugglers and some places are reputed to be haunted like the Mermaid Inn. A friend recently lent me the Mapp and Lucia TV Series of which... Read more...


LYDD AIRPORT

Date: 14th October 2011

LYDD AIRPORT When I was nineteen, I had a rather adventurous Francophile boyfriend who had a little Sports Car - I think it was a Frog-eyed Sprite. I can still remember the excitement of driving down to Lydd Airport, loading the car as well as ourselves onto a small plane and flying to Le Touquet from where... Read more...


SOLITARY GRAVE ON THE ROMNEY MARSH

Date: 14th October 2011

SOLITARY GRAVE ON THE ROMNEY MARSH I’d been told about a Grave by the side of a little used road on the Romney Marsh and, as I was going to Rye recently, I asked my friends from the BOBMT if they could fill me in with directions. I was delighted to have found it. This is the story of the grave of... Read more...


BT Saga

Date: 13th October 2011

BT Saga Or in the words of Victor Meldrew - ‘I don’t believe it’. I phoned India (of course) on Wednesday to try and get an update on my defunct phone and received the information that nothing was being done as the phone connection on Monday had gone down. I was phoning on my PAYG mobile... Read more...


THE DREADED British Telecom - AGAIN

Date: 11th October 2011

BT - AGAIN My BT  landline has gone down yet again for the third time this year.  I only stay with them because I've been told that if you go to a cheaper provider and there's a problem with the line (owned by BT surprise surprise) you could wait weeks for an engineer because you would not be... Read more...


JACQUELINE DU PRÉ ROSE

Date: 3rd October 2011

JACQUELINE DU PRÉ - ROSE Went to some friends for lunch on Sunday and on the dining table was a small bowl of what I thought were artificial ‘Dog Roses’ - but they were real and were Jacqueline du Pré Roses - large and delicate with a pinky tinge in the middle. I was given one to bring... Read more...


AMBER

Date: 1st October 2011

AMBER I have been walking on Walmer Beach for over eight years and, apart from the odd pretty stone or geode with some sparkling crystal and the occasional dead starfish, have never found anything of note until yesterday. When I came to live down here I was told that occasionally after the high Spring... Read more...


BLACK PRINCE'S CHANTRY/Huguenot Chapel - Canterbury Cathedral

Date: 27th September 2011

The Chapel of Prince Edward / The Black Prince’s Chantry. It was good to get back to my Assisting at Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday. The attendances fluctuate greatly and being a gloriously sunny day, we appeared to have fewer visitors but what we lacked in quantity was certainly made up for in quality -... Read more...


BANKS AND LOYALTY

Date: 22nd September 2011

BANKS AND LOYALTY Back in Grumpy old Woman mode. I have had a Bank Account with Barclays all my adult life - some 45 years worth. For some reason 25 years ago they awarded me a Premier Card which gave me access to a Bank Manager if necessary - (do you remember when we all had access to the friendly Bank Manager... Read more...


WESTMINSTER ABBEY - A Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication

Date: 18th September 2011

Whatever I've done for the Battle of Britain Memorial Fund has been more than repaid in shovel fulls of wonderful experiences. I counted myself extremely fortunate to be invited to the Service at the Abbey - a ticketed affair as so many wish to go.  I was giving a little help to the Veterans and their... Read more...


BIGGIN HILL CHAPEL - Concert

Date: 17th September 2011

Hardly had time to turn around and unpack my case than I was off again.  This time it was up to the lovely Chapel at Biggin Hill for a Battle of Britain Reception, Sunset Ceremony and Concert. Earlier this year I visited the Chapel to establish more facts and artefacts about René Mouchotte (my... Read more...


WILD GARLIC RESTAURANT - BEAMINSTER

Date: 15th September 2011

Ann and Henry very kindly took me out to dinner at the Wild Garlic Restaurant in Beaminster. The owner and chef - Mat Follas was an amateur who won Masterchef and has had a huge success with his lovely restaurant. The setting was simple and very much to my taste as was the menu. I can’t bear it when one... Read more...


LYTES CARY

Date: 13th September 2011

Another long drive down to stay with friends in Crewkerne. I must admit that I'd never been further than Cardiff when I worked for HTV Bristol and lived there - but my drive down from the North and then from Llanddewi-Brefi astonished me with the beauty of the countryside. My friends decided to visit... Read more...


LLANDDEWI BREFI - Pantglas Retreat

Date: 12th September 2011

  After Workington I had a very long drive down to West Wales where some friends have set up a Yoga/Painting/Retreat at Llanddewi-Brefi or rather on a hill above the village with stunning scenery and wonderful walks. They bought a Welsh farmhouse and barn and have worked for a year and turned it into a... Read more...


LEEDS, WORKINGTON, WEST WALES AND CREWKERNE

Date: 9th September 2011

  I agreed to set off the Altzheimers Charity Walk in Workington again this year - and with petrol being the price of liquid gold, decided to make use of the journey to visit old friends. First port of call was Barwick in Elmet where my oldest friend lives. Sue and I shared a cottage in Sale when we both... Read more...


HEVER CASTLE

Date: 8th September 2011

HEVER CASTLE VISIT Went with the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral on a day trip to Hever Castle which I’ve not been to for about twenty years. It’s a small Castle and was the home of the Boleyn Family where Anne Boleyn grew up and where she was romanced by Henry V111. At the turn of the last... Read more...


DUXFORD AIRSHOW

Date: 3rd September 2011

  Went to the Duxford Airshow to help out with publicity for The Wing and raising funds to build this Learning Centre at Capel le Ferne. One of the Trustees whose business is Signed Prints/Books to do with Aviation - Vector Prints - gave us a section of his marquee to set up our ‘stall’. We... Read more...


ME AND MY FAMILY

Date: 2nd September 2011

MY FAMILY Every Monday I receive Analysis of my website and what surprises me is how many leads into the site contain questions about my family and even more surprising - my height. So here goes. I am 5’ 5” and a size 8- 10 depending on the maker. I weigh 8 stones and occasionally, after a... Read more...


ORCHIDS

Date: 29th August 2011

ORCHIDS I absolutely adore Orchids - I love their exoticism and now I learn that in the Victorian language of flowers Orchids are symbolic of ‘Refined Beauty’ - says it all really. I must tell you that in it is not always the most expensive which turn out to be the best buys. I went to the... Read more...


BERLIN - Day 5

Date: 26th August 2011

BERLIN - Day 5 Only had the morning as my flight was mid afternoon. We decided to try again and visit the Allied Museum which was almost on the doorstep. Words fail me - I had thought it would be mildly interesting but it was fascinating and extremely well laid out. There are two buildings - one enters and... Read more...


BERLIN - Day 4

Date: 25th August 2011

BERLIN - Day 4 We drove to Potsdam and were going to take a trip on the Lake but somehow or other we couldn’t find the correct road down to the shore - it is obviously a well guarded secret as we must have gone down 4 side streets to find the embarkation point. Tant pis - we stopped for a spot of... Read more...


BERLIN - Day 2

Date: 24th August 2011

BERLIN - Day 2 We went on an interesting river trip passing sites such as the Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament (Wow and wow again - very modern, very extensive and probably very expensive) which were quite stunning and I’m not usually a lover of much modern architecture. It’s also interesting... Read more...


BERLIN - DAY 3

Date: 24th August 2011

BERLIN - Day 3 We went to visit the Allied Museum only to discover that the one day it is shut is Wednesday - so after a rethink we went to visit an old Hunting Lodge in the Grunewald. Sadly it too was closed although there’s not a great deal to see by way of furnishings. However we had a coffee and... Read more...


BERLIN

Date: 22nd August 2011

BERLIN Having been invited to spend a few days with friends and never having been to Berlin, I was delighted to make the trip and to use a few of my usually unusable BA Airmiles into the bargain. What a treat was in store. I’d no preconceived ideas whatsoever but rather expected a newish city awash... Read more...


BT - BRITISH TELECOM and the ongoing Saga!

Date: 21st August 2011

BRITISH TELECOM (more like Telecom India) What an appalling service one gets from our oldest Telephone Provider with whom I have been a customer all my adult life. I’ve always had dodgy Broadband despite paying top whack for the lousy service. ( Also - This year, my landline has gone down twice and... Read more...


SHOREHAM AIR SHOW

Date: 20th August 2011

SHOREHAM AIR SHOW Hi folks. Just got back from the Shoreham Air Show and much about which to tell you but I am going off to visit friends in Berlin for a few days so my Blog will have to wait until next weekend. Got some super photos. Think I might even have managed to capture a few of the Blades (they are... Read more...


HAWKINGE - Battle of Britain Museum

Date: 6th August 2011

HAWKINGE - Battle of Britain Museum Went with a friend to visit the Museum at Hawkinge sited on the actual Airfield - although now surrounded by a housing estate. I cannot begin to tell you how much Memorabilia is there. There are replica Spitfires, Hurricanes, Messerschmitts, engines creased beyond... Read more...


JEAN MOULIN MEMORIAL - SALON DE PROVENCE

Date: 20th July 2011

JEAN MOULIN MEMORIAL - SALON DE PROVENCE With my ex we used to have a village house in Alleins and went there with the children every year for a decade. How I loved it down there - shopping in the market and at the Geant Casino in Salon - swimming and having picnics at the pool in Lambesc. Oh how I wish I still... Read more...


St. Guilhem le Desert - Ste Eulalie de Cernon - St. Jean d'Alcas

Date: 19th July 2011

SOUTHERN AVEYRON - a very short trip Mireille had planned a sort of ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ for us. Both she and Owen are extremely good at arranging trips and holidays and have made journeys deep into the heart of Borneo, chanced going to Burma and Vietnam and always doing it in a way which brings... Read more...


ROGNES & CUCURON

Date: 17th July 2011

ROGNES - and an interesting chance meeting - CUCURON - Vide Grenier (Empty your Attic) Owen needed to visit Rognes to collect some tickets for a performance of Manon des Sources - the sequel to Jean de Florette. There was a small queue in the Tourist Information Office and also it was mounting an Art... Read more...


MAUSSANE & ST REMY de PROVENCE

Date: 16th July 2011

MAUSSANE & ST. REMY DE PROVENCE We travelled to Maussane to see a Costume Parade. It was interesting but incredibly short lived so we were glad we hadn’t made the journey just to see that. I bought a Plateau of Nectarines (25) for 11 Euros - they were the biggest and best I’ve ever tasted in my... Read more...


AVIGNON FESTIVAL

Date: 15th July 2011

AVIGNON FESTIVAL The Avignon Festival is, I think, the oldest and largest in the world. It lasts for three weeks and there is so much going on, you’d have to be a millionaire to afford to go to everything. You could fill 21 days with four or five shows a day. There is the main festival and the Fringe -... Read more...


SIX DAYS IN PROVENCE

Date: 14th July 2011

SIX DAYS IN PROVENCE Just had a short holiday with very old friends who live mostly in Paris but also have a lovely home down in Provence. Actually Alleins is the village where my ex and I had a holiday home and I love it dearly. Just wish I could have a place there again. When we bought in 1987 the village had... Read more...


BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL DAY - Capel le Ferne

Date: 10th July 2011

BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL DAY - Capel le Ferne This is the fourth year I’ve had the privilege of attending this very special day. Last year was the 70th Anniversary of the Battle and Prince Michael of Kent was in attendance. I wondered how the event would stand up this year but needn’t have... Read more...


MUSTANG - BIG BEAUTIFUL DOLL

Date: 10th July 2011

R.I.P. Took a photo of this old Mustang on Saturday, watched her in the sky, and now read that she crashed on Sunday and is beyond repair.  Fortunately the pilots of both planes are OK. So an historic... Read more...


THE FLYING LEGENDS - DUXFORD

Date: 9th July 2011

FLYING LEGENDS AT DUXFORD. When I wingwalked at Shoreham in 2007, I made the acquaintance of a delightful man called John Romain who owns and runs Aircraft Reconstruction at Duxford. He has reconstructed many planes including Spitfires. This year he and his wife invited me to the Flying Legends show at Duxford... Read more...


YESTERDAY - Freeview Channel

Date: 29th June 2011

YESTERDAY - TV Channel. I must say how much I enjoy this Channel even though it is full of repeats - they are quality programmes and run across a full spectrum of subjects, from documentaries to nature programmes to old series like Sharpe and Tenko. I am currently watching a series of Natural History... Read more...


WALMER CASTLE - A lovely afternoon

Date: 28th June 2011

WALMER CASTLE - wonderful afternoon Can’t believe that for eight years I’ve lived a five minute walk from Walmer Castle and never paid a visit. Yesterday was blisteringly hot and I’d had enough of being inside so decided to go to the Castle. Walmer was built in 1539 as one of a chain... Read more...


FOR MY JAPANESE AND CHINESE READERS

Date: 26th June 2011

From the analysis I receive every Monday, I notice that there's a growing band of people from  Japan and China who tune into my Website. I'm not sure what brings you in but, through the email address given under Contact, do let me know if you wish for  more information about historic sites or... Read more...


NO NEWS

Date: 18th June 2011

NO NEWS Sorry not to be able to post anything of interest but I haven’t been well and also haven’t done anything much for a couple of weeks. However, on attempting to sort out my I-photo which now contains nearly 10,000 photos, I came across one which I obtained by fluke when on my Baltic Cruise... Read more...


BELL HARRY TOWER - Friends of the Cathedral tour.

Date: 5th June 2011

BELL HARRY TOUR Having joined the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, it qualified me to put my name down for a tour up the Bell Harry Tower. Unfortunately it is not something which can be opened up to the general public because of Health and Safety (and for once I can see the sense of it) and the fact that... Read more...


DINNER WITH RENÉ MOUCHOTTE

Date: 31st May 2011

DINNER WITH RENÉ MOUCHOTTE As I mentioned in one of my Blogs from Paris, Mireille, on my behalf, made contact with René Mouchotte in Paris. He was in London on business and invited me to join him for dinner. I took much of my research with regard to his illustrious cousin and I think he was... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL

Date: 29th May 2011

CATHEDRAL DUTY Went to the Cathedral today with a little more confidence than on my first outing. The main interest seems to lie with The Martyrdom, Henry IV and the Black Prince. Helped several Americans who’d actually come over to attend a wedding in the Crypt on Saturday and were taking full... Read more...


ARVO PÄRT - kissed my hand

Date: 27th May 2011

Arvo  Pärt– kissed my hand As I was leaving the Cathedral on Friday, someone called my name and it was Paul Edlin, arranger of the Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival whom I’d met a few weeks ago at a friend’s house. On that occasion he’d mentioned Arvo Part (sorry I... Read more...


MIDDELKERCHE - René Mouchotte

Date: 25th May 2011

MIDDELKERKE – René Mouchotte A friend who wanted to do some shopping in Calais (one of the few perks of living down here in the deep South East) very kindly agreed to take me along and drive up the coast to Middelkerke in Belgium so that I could see and photograph the tribute to Rene Mouchotte... Read more...


MIDDELKERCHE - Simon Vosters

Date: 25th May 2011

MIDDELKERKE – Simon Vosters I couldn’t believe it. The day after our visit, Simon sent me around 20 photos of the inauguration ceremony many of them showing Rene’s mother and sister. The documents I saw at the Town Hall were very blurred – being carbon copies of originals and the... Read more...


VEURNE

Date: 25th May 2011

VEURNE We stopped for lunch at Brasserie Christophe in the Market square. After a very good lunch (their Coq au Vin is almost as good as mine!) we went to look at the Cathedral. Although very austere, I immediately recognised the style of the vaulting and knew roughly when it had been built – thanks to my... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Silver Lining

Date: 24th May 2011

A SILVER LINING I was rather surprised when on Tuesday, my agent phoned to say there was a story and pictures in a Daily newspaper about my being a Volunteer Assistant Guide at Canterbury Cathedral. Not so surprised about the story as that has been lurking since Easter when I was commissioned to write 1,500... Read more...


BLOGS FOR MAY

Date: 23rd May 2011

I've written so many blogs this month that they don't all show up when you click on the page.  So please go to the left hand side and click on May and all the blogs will come up in shortened form - you can then click on any you wish to read in fuller detail. As I can post a photo per blog I'm... Read more...


BIGGIN HILL - The most famous fighter station in the world and its wonderful chapel

Date: 22nd May 2011

BIGGIN HILL - The most famous fighter station in the world At the winding up dinner to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of The Battle of Britain, Wing Cdr. Andy Simpson suggested that I should visit the Biggin Hill Chapel - apart from anything else Rene Mouchotte's name is emblazoned on the Oak Reredos on... Read more...


CELEBRITY GHOST STORIES

Date: 18th May 2011

CELEBRITY GHOST STORIES The series started on the Biography Chanel on Thursday last week (12th May) and the programme in which I took part opened the series. I didn’t see it on two counts – I don’t have Sky and I was in lovely gay Paris. The producer has promised me a copy. However as a... Read more...


MESSAGE TO MY READERS

Date: 16th May 2011

Two messages for you lovely people who click in and make my writing and photography a worthwhile venture. For some reason I cannot get my Ipad and computer to link up so the Blogs I wrote in Paris I haven't yet been able to transfer (the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Place de la Republique was too mean to... Read more...


DIE FLEDERMAUS - Opera Della Luna

Date: 15th May 2011

DIE FLEDERMAUS – Opera Della Luna Some friends asked if I’d like to go with them to the lovely little Theatre Royal in Margate. It was established by Royal Patent in 1786 and opened on the 27th June, 1787. It is the second oldest theatre operating in Great Britain and is also the oldest... Read more...


PERE LACHAISE & MONTMARTRE - again

Date: 13th May 2011

PERE LACHAISE & MONTMARTRE - again Visited Pere Lachaise again - it was a beautifully sunny day and having realised that I’d over-estimated distances in the cemetery, was determined to go back and find the ones on my list which we’d missed and I also wanted to see Rene’s tomb on a sunny... Read more...


MUSEE CLUNY

Date: 13th May 2011

MUSEE DE CLUNY – MUSEE NATIONAL DU MOYEN AGE I think I last visited the Cluny about 15 years ago, so either my memory has dimmed (quite probably) or the place has smartened itself up somewhat. It is very well laid out although the Audio Guide is not good at all. The rooms have numbers and then in the... Read more...


MOULIN ROUGE

Date: 12th May 2011

MOULIN ROUGE Again a very touristy thing to experience and something I’ve never done before. The Show was enjoyable. I’ve heard that the costumes cost a couple of million and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. The two entre-acts were absolutely excellent – Mario Berousek -a... Read more...


EGLISE REFORMEE DE L'ORATOIRE DU LOUVRE

Date: 12th May 2011

EGLISE REFORMEE DE L'ORATOIRE DU LOUVRE I wanted to see this building because in front there's a large statue to Gaspard de Coligny who was a leading Protestant and the first person to be murdered on the Eve of St. Bartholemew massacre of the Huguenots in Paris. (Catherine de Medici is reputed to have... Read more...


PLACE DES VOSGES

Date: 11th May 2011

PLACE DE VOSGES The expectation of this square was not quite met. It is a beautifully uniform perfect square and all the buildings are the same - which at the time it was erected was quite unheard of - but the fountains weren't playing, the road around the park was full of cars and the rubbish bins were... Read more...


MONTMARTRE

Date: 10th May 2011

People turn their noses up at the 'Tourist Route' but in days gone by the rich went on the Grand Tour - nowadays the high spots are open to all. We all know that Montmartre is touristy but I have to say, the cafes were not charging more than anywhere else in Paris and indeed our drinks were less than... Read more...


BATEAUX PARISIEN

Date: 10th May 2011

RIVER TRIP ON THE SEINE - BATEAUX PARISIEN I mistakenly mentioned a trip on the Bateaux Mouches - in fact my friend had booked on the Bateaux Parisien - quite a different 'kettle of fish'. To begin with our taxi driver took us to the right bank when we knew we had to be on the left bank and then we... Read more...


SACRE COEUR

Date: 10th May 2011

SACRE COEUR AND MONTMARTRE We were fortunate to arrive at the top of the Fenicular to hear the strains of Rodriguez's Concerto di Aranjuez (if I've spelled it correctly) played on a Paraguayan Harp. We sat and listened for quite a time. And yes we did buy the Cd's. The harp and guitar are my... Read more...


RENE MOUCHOTTE'S BIRTHPLACE

Date: 9th May 2011

CHATEAU DE VINCENNES . RENE MOUCHOTTE - ST. MANDE On leaving the Chateau our gallant Tom Tom directed us a few miles down the road to the Birthplace of Rene Mouchotte. To my English eyes it looked like a house built on the lines of a very small chateau. Sadly it is now divided into many flats and showed... Read more...


PERE LACHAISE - RENE MOUCHOTTE

Date: 9th May 2011

PERE LACHAISE My long awaited visit. I wanted to go immediately to the Tomb of Rene Mouchotte - I think I could have found it with my eyes closed. But I had a friend with me who very much wanted to visit several other tombs and it seemed only fair to go there first. Pere Lachaise Metro Station is an old one... Read more...


CHATEAU DE VINCENNES - RENE MOUCHOTTE

Date: 9th May 2011

CHATEAU DE VINCENNES Yet another famous French landmark which my friends had not visited - mind you it has been under renovation for a decade. I had two reason for wishing to go to the East of Paris, wanting to find the Birthplace of Rene Mouchotte at St. Mande and to visit the Chateau de Vincennes. There was... Read more...


LOUIS JAVET - THEATRE ATHENEE - Dido and Aeneas

Date: 8th May 2011

THEATRE LOUIS-JOUVET Last night we went to the Louis Jouvet Theatre - Athenee - and what a fantastic little gem of a fin de siecle building it is.   It really had the WOW factor. And nearby there was a great sculpture of Pegasus ridden by a Poet sculpted by Alexandre Falguiere (1897) We took the bus to... Read more...


RENE MOUCHOTTE

Date: 8th May 2011

RENE MOUCHOTTE Owen and Mireille have worked so hard to help me with my researches a propos Rene Mouchotte. Mireille spent half a day researching the Grave Number and phoning the Department which oversees the Tombs/Graves in Pere La Chaise. Sadly after all her efforts we were told that information was blocked.... Read more...


BASILICA CATHEDRAL OF ST. DENIS - PARIS

Date: 7th May 2011

BASILICA DE SAINT DENIS It was only after a friend at Cantebury Cathedral told me about Saint Denis - the Necropolis of French Royalty - that I added it to the itinerary. I felt quite brave taking a long journey on the Paris Metro - St. Denis is at the end of the line. I'd had lunch with two charming people... Read more...


MONTPARNASSE CEMETERY

Date: 6th May 2011

MONTPARNASSE CEMETERY One of the main reasons for my visit to Paris, apart from staying with very dear old friends, is to visit the tomb of Rene Mouchotte in Pere La Chaise Cemetery. Yesterday on arrival and after a light lunch, Owen suggested we go to Montparnasse - which he and his wife had never visited... Read more...


WISLEY - Pansy orchid

Date: 5th May 2011

WISLEY - Pansy Orchid Last week I returned to Buckinghamshire to attend a reunion of my old 'Exercise Class'. When living in Penn I joined Jenny Hopkirk's little band of 'girls' (she is married to Paddy the Rally Driver) and was with them for 12 years engaging in a wonderful form of exercise... Read more...


MAUNDY THUSDAY

Date: 25th April 2011

MAUNDY THURSDAY I had the privilege of being one of the twelve recipients of the ‘foot washing’ ceremony performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and found the experience rather humbling. Dr. Williams began the washing of feet at the other end of the semi-circle and I felt a lump in my throat... Read more...


COMPTON ACRES GARDENS - Poole, Dorset

Date: 19th April 2011

COMPTON ACRES GARDENS – Poole, Dorset Compton Acres was built in 1924 and is a wonderful example of an historic garden in the UK. It is of late Victorian Mixed Style design with seven distinct gardens to wander around and enjoy, including the Italian Garden and the Japanese Garden. ? Again we were... Read more...


St. NICHOLAS CHURCH - MORETON

Date: 18th April 2011

St. NICHOLAS CHURCH – Moreton Whilst staying with one of my oldest friends, she expressed a desire to visit St. Nicholas church. We were fortunate enough to visit on a gorgeously sunny day which displayed to perfection the etched glass windows. They are the work of Sir Laurence Whistler (brother of Rex... Read more...


LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

Date: 17th April 2011

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA I suppose this is how most of us will always remember his name but his grave is a very simple one in the new graveyard a stone’s throw from the church of St. Nicholas at Moreton. There’s a short but informative link as to why he is buried so inauspiciously in this little Country... Read more...


WELLS CATHEDRAL

Date: 16th April 2011

WELLS CATHEDRAL Went with my friends to Wells Cathedral and had a most interesting time. Wells is very different from Canterbury in appearance although it’s history is somewhat similar. A church was founded c. 705 by Aldhelm and was given Cathedral status in 909. The present cathedral was begun in... Read more...


RHS WISLEY - ORCHID EXHIBITION

Date: 15th April 2011

RHS WISLEY – ORCHID EXHIBITION Fortunately I heard on Classic FM that there was an Orchid Exhibition on until the end of April. So, on my way to my sister near Maidenhead, I took a slight detour to Wisley. And what a reward – the Orchids were in the Glasshouse. Having not been to Wisley for years, I... Read more...


ASSISTANT GUIDE AT CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL

Date: 14th April 2011

ASSISTANT GUIDE – CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL I did it! Passed the Assessment and am now officially an Assistant Guide for Canterbury Cathedral – and the learning will never cease. Am reasonably confident when it comes to ‘stories’ about The Martyrdom of Thomas Becket – the Tombs of... Read more...


CELEBRITY COME DINE WITH ME - SPRING and Cameras

Date: 10th April 2011

I always now know when Celebrity Come Dine with me has been repeated because the hits on my Website shoot up by an amazing amount.  Only wish we got repeats but there's a one-off fee and then it's repeated ad infinitum.  Read this week that the BBC can't afford to repeat some of it's... Read more...


APOLOGIES

Date: 1st April 2011

APOLOGIES Apologies for not writing up the Blog recently – have been too-ing and fro-ing to the Cathedral. I’ve got some lovely photos and information to share but simply haven’t had the time to sit down and write. The blogs and loading photos is quite time consuming. SO PLEASE... Read more...


BITS AND BOBS

Date: 27th March 2011

BITS AND BOBS Have just had an email from one of the nice folk who follow my meanderings asking if there was anything amiss as I haven’t written for a while. This is partly to do with the Cathedral Course which is totally absorbing – partly that I get so little feedback that I feel as though... Read more...


BUTCHER & BOLT - David Loyn

Date: 10th March 2011

BUTCHER & BOLT – by David Loyn A friend invited me to attend a talk given by David Loyn, the subject being Two Hundred Years of Foreign Engagement in Afghanistan. As I’ve never understood why we are even over there, I thought it time I found out. You couldn’t have asked for a better... Read more...


CAPEL LE FERNE MEMORIAL - and Rene Mouchotte

Date: 9th March 2011

CAPEL-LE-FERNE Went to Capel again this weekend. They had a replica of the very first Spitfire made at Castle Bromwich – so this is actually the 75th Anniversary of the Spitfire. There was a group of very pleasant school children who’d been brought down to see the Memorial and also the... Read more...


SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE

Date: 3rd March 2011

SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE I am thrilled to bits. My son has landed a really good job in Sydney,  Australia. He gave up his job in the UK last June and went traveling. He loved New Zealand and thought of staying there and when he met me in Sydney over Christmas, he wasn’t too enamoured of the place. Mind... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Guided Tour

Date: 2nd March 2011

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL – Guided Tour Went for my second guided tour of the Cathedral and had an excellent guide – Ann, wife of our first excellent tutor on architecture, Robin Westbrook. was a superb guide, full of information and also anecdotes. I regard little anecdotes as a valuable aid to... Read more...


BIG BROTHER SOCIETY

Date: 2nd March 2011

BIG BROTHER SOCIETY. I haven’t had a rant for a while and here I go. Having phoned my sister this morning, she nailed it in one by saying we are living in a ‘Big Brother Society’ and indeed we are. I am totally enjoying my Guides Course at Canterbury Cathedral and spending hours looking up... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Assistant Guides Course - cont.

Date: 24th February 2011

And another guided tour tutorial last night - again absolutely fascinating but oh! those dates. I could probably give you a talk for fifteen minutes on the Cathedral touching on its architecture, history, tombs and of course The Martyrdom but doubt I could furnish you with the correct dates. I promised you a... Read more...


NEW ZEALAND EARTHQUAKE

Date: 24th February 2011

NEW ZEALAND EARTHQUAKE I began my TV Career in Christchurch. I traveled there in the 60’s with Owen Leeming whose name I took by Deed Poll and have used from that day to this. Owen is probably my friend of longest standing and we’ve kept in touch over the years. He and his lovely wife Mireille live... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Assistant Guides Course - cont.

Date: 23rd February 2011

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL – Guides Course cont. The course continues and is so interesting but goodness knows how I’ll remember even half what we are being told. Our excellent tutor – Alan – was again very interesting and brought so much of the Cathedral and its history to life for... Read more...


THE COMEDY STORE and Cancerkin

Date: 22nd February 2011

THE COMEDY STORE I am so glad I did the trek into London for the Cancerkin Evening at the Comedy Store. (Incidentally I got it slightly wrong and said that the evening was to raise money for Cancer Research – in fact it was to raise funds for Cancerkin which exists to give help and support to those... Read more...


CATS AND DOGS

Date: 21st February 2011

CATS AND DOGS Whoever wrote that ‘you own a dog’ but ‘a cat owns you’ certainly knew what they were talking about. For most of my adult life I’ve been the happy owner of dogs – mostly Standard Poodles. Then eight years ago when I had to downsize and had lost the last of... Read more...


THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Date: 18th February 2011

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY Well I couldn’t think of a title which would encompass all I want to write down. A very new friend read my Blogs and commented that, despite having strong opinions, feelings etc about current issues, I never write them down. I had to explain that, in my opinion, we no... Read more...


DECORATED BRA AUCTION FOR CANCER RESEARCH

Date: 17th February 2011

BRA AUCTION FOR CANCER CHARITY Lovely Debbie Chazen contacted me and asked if I’d decorate a bra for an Auction she was helping to organize. Six of my friends have had Breast Cancer and thankfully they’ve all survived but it really is a wake-up call to know so many within one’s own circle... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Assistant Guides Course

Date: 12th February 2011

This week’s tutorial was on History and Architecture and took place in the Cathedral. We were divided into three groups and our tutor was Alan Bowman who was absolutely fab. He so obviously loves Canterbury Cathedral and is so enthusiastic you couldn’t fail to be enthused. My two best subjects at... Read more...


THE MILL AT SONNING - Love is in the Air

Date: 3rd February 2011

My sister isn’t a great theatre goer so I was a trifle surprised when she asked if I’d go with her to The Mill. I used to live not far from there and went often. It’s a lovely venue - a restored 18th Century Flour Mill on the banks of the Thames and works as a Dinner Theatre. (I’m... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL -Assistant Guides Course

Date: 3rd February 2011

I love Canterbury Cathedral which has surpassed Winchester and Salisbury which were my favourites until I came down to Kent.  The Cathedral is, of course, the oldest in the UK and totally steeped in history.  Not having my escape route from the English Winter and wanting to make myself useful, I applied... Read more...


BOOK, TV, FILM et al

Date: 28th January 2011

BOOKS, TV, FILM et al SPITFIRE WOMEN of World War 11 Have just finished reading this excellent book by Giles Whittell – written from the perspective of a generalist and not an ‘aviation specialist’. This is probably why the book is so readable. You don’t have to be interested in... Read more...


ODDS & ENDS - Throwaway society, credit and a piece of history

Date: 16th January 2011

Although it goes against my principles, I now understand why we have become such a throwaway society. It is hardly worth ever repairing anything. I took a pair of shoes which needed re-soling and nearly fell over when told that the cost was £25.99. Over the years I have cut down and compromised over many... Read more...


Sharon Penman - Eleanor of Aquitaine

Date: 15th January 2011

SHARON PENMAN – Lovely surprise Quite a few bits and pieces to tell you about but I wanted to share a delightful moment with you which restores my faith in human nature. After the experience in Celebrity Five Go To……….. – it was refreshing to be in touch with a highly talented... Read more...


AUSTRALIA - Splendid Fairywren

Date: 13th January 2011

AUSTRALIA – The Splendid Fairy Wren Just before my  almost new NIKON camera gave up the ghost I caught a lovely little group of Wrens. The Splendid Fairywren is an absolutely gorgeous little thing which looks as though he dipped himself in Ultramarine Blue Paint. I can hardly believe that in bird... Read more...


SYDNEY - THE FIRST EMPEROR

Date: 7th January 2011

SYDNEY – THE FIRST EMPEROR I totally forgot to mention that my son and I went to the Exhibition at the Sydney Art Gallery – The First Emperor – China’s Entombed Warriors. It was superb to have the opportunity to see this beautifully staged exhibition particularly the life size... Read more...


CELEBRITY FIVE GO TO ..........

Date: 6th January 2011

CELEBRITY FIVE GO TO ………….. The programmes I mentioned back in October are going to be shown as from Monday 10th January through to Friday 14th at 5.00 pm on Channel 4. I’ve just been asked to write 1000 words about the programme for the Mail on Sunday. Why do they always... Read more...


AUSTRALIAN VISIT - OVERVIEW

Date: 3rd January 2011

OVERVIEW OF AUSTRALIAN TRIP It has been wonderful to catch up with old friends and to meet my cousins. By a strange coincidence, the film on ABC last night was 'Strictly Ballroom' with my erstwhile acting colleague from the Young Elizabethan Tour in 1965 - Peter Whitford. I've seen the film several... Read more...


PERTH

Date: 2nd January 2011

PERTH Arriving in Perth, I don't know which was warmer, the weather or the greeting from my cousin and her daughters. I was totally embraced by the family and they've put themselves out enormously for me. My cousin Daphne and her husband John live south of Perth at Jarrahdale in a lovely house in a stunning... Read more...