2012 - 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.

CHRISTMAS PRESENT FROM AUSTRALIA

Date: 31st December 2012

My beloved son sent me a Christmas present which has just arrived.  Not only did he pay 40 Australian Dollars to post and register it but I had to pay another £20.98 this morning in order to be able to collect my parcel.  Why!  The value was over £15 and therefore was subject to UK Vat as... Read more...


ST. THOMAS BECKET

Date: 30th December 2012

ST. THOMAS BECKET Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29th 1170 at the time of Vespers. His martyrdom, miracles and subsequent canonisation brought pilgrims in their droves to Canterbury. The City and the Church thrived for centuries on his memory. Fifty years after his... Read more...


CHRISTMAS CAROLS AT CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL

Date: 24th December 2012

There are many Carol Services at the Cathedral in the run up to Christmas but the one to which most want to come is the Christmas Eve Service for which one has to apply for tickets.  I was fortunate enough to obtain three and took two friends along with me. Last year my tickets were for the Trinity Chapel... Read more...


HUGUENOT CHAPEL - CHRISTMAS SERVICE

Date: 23rd December 2012

HUGUENOT CHAPEL We were 15 minutes into our Christmas Service yesterday when the door from the Crypt opened and a very embarrassed Virgir stood there (staff in hand) and said that the Receiver General had asked that we keep our service quiet – in other words stop using the Chapel Organ – bit... Read more...


BBC - WESTMINSTER ABBEY

Date: 21st December 2012

Last night the final programme was shown and again it was excellent .  I was particularly interested because for the past two years I've had the honour of helping with the Veterans at the Battle of Britain Remembrance Service and my heart swelled with pride when I watched the slow march to the Altar by... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Documentary

Date: 18th December 2012

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE – Documentary It looks highly likely that the transmission will be 14th January in the BBC South East Region Opt-out programme ‘Inside Out’.   21st Dec.   Just had an email to inform me that the Transmission date is now 28th January but it will be going out on... Read more...


MAGGIE SEMPLE - Christmas Gift

Date: 17th December 2012

MAGGIE SEMPLE – Christmas Gift I’ve just had the most unusual and interesting Gift. Earlier in the year I met the lovely designer Maggie Semple. She asked me if I had any ‘treasures’ in my wardrobe. From the days when I had a hectic diary and attended many evening functions, I have... Read more...


BBC - WESTMINSTER ABBEY

Date: 15th December 2012

BBC – WESTMINSTER ABBEY I have to admit that I find the Bill of Fare on TV these days is incredibly disappointing. Looking at the evening’s fare from 6.30 onwards there is very little other than reality shows, makeovers, soaps and various other downmarket fodder. It upsets particularly with... Read more...


KENNETH KENDAL R.I.P.

Date: 14th December 2012

KENNETH KENDAL - R.I.P Just heard on the news that Kenneth Kendal has died and it made me feel sad. Although we worked different shifts and didn’t see that much of each other, he was a colleague of mine in the 80’s at BBC News. He was a lovely gentle-man and we exchanged Christmas Cards for many... Read more...


GARY McKINNON

Date: 14th December 2012

What a great Christmas present for the McKinnon family to at last be relieved of the worry, anxiety and tension they must have suffered over the last few years. Frankly Gary should have been given a Congressional Medal for showing up the weak spots in the Pentagon's security.  It was obvious to all... Read more...


HUTCH - Art Exhibition in Woodbridge

Date: 7th December 2012

We are a very small family but my lovely cousin Celia has a gorgeous son-in-law and he currently has an art exhibition in Woodbridge.  So if you live in that area, do go and see the work of Hutch.  There was a great article about him in the Suffolk Magazine.  I can't copy it here but this link... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Searching for René - the Documentary

Date: 7th December 2012

Recently I went to BBCTunbridge Wells to record the Voice Over on my documentary about René Mouchotte.  They showed it to me in the 'rough-cut' stage with the VO recorded by the Producer.  Now I know I'm a bit biased but at the end I had tears streaming down my face and the Editor's... Read more...


SHOREHAM AIR SHOW - Don Bean R.I.P.

Date: 7th December 2012

Just heard of the death of Don Bean, MBE, organiser of the Shoreham Air Show for the last 23 years - a show he built up from small to being one of the best regional Air Shows in the country. On reading his Obituary, I was surprised to see that he was 80.  He had so much vitality and energy I assumed he was... Read more...


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS - Sandwich

Date: 1st December 2012

I had the honour this year of turning on the Christmas Lights in Sandwich ably assisted by a charming young lady called Eve who had one the honour in a Raffle.   There was a Carnival parade through the town which was absolutely superb. A tremendous amount of work had gone into the whole procession.... Read more...


BT

Date: 30th November 2012

When I have a moan, I like to be fair to the people about whom I'm complaining.  The BT business came down predominantly to a very helpful but slightly ill prepared Customer Service adviser.  The very pleasant young woman did admit that she hadn't  previously 'sold a YouView package'.... Read more...


KENT SPORTING LEGENDS - A Celebration

Date: 30th November 2012

I was asked to host the above event which was to take place in the Sports Hall of Canterbury University. I had not realised what a superb and moving occasion it would be.   Kent had more than its fair share of Olympians and Paralympians in the Games this year and the event was to celebrate Kent Sporting... Read more...


BT - Possible Mis-selling??

Date: 23rd November 2012

BT – Mis-selling?? I’ve enjoyed very good Broadband speed for most of this year after constant loss of my landline and repeated Broadband loss led BT to fit a new ‘Box’ stating that the old one to our flats was probably over 50 years old and well past its sell-by date. I had no... Read more...


NCIS - Navy Criminal Investigation Service

Date: 23rd November 2012

NCIS I absolutely love these series and am very sorry that I only discovered the programmes a few months ago. And now I hear that they are coming to the end of the repeats on 5USA. Only hope they will be repeated on some other channel which I am able to access. Why do I love NCIS – because of the... Read more...


SOUVENIR FRANÇAIS - St. George's Centre, Gillingham

Date: 17th November 2012

Another memorial service but this time to those Frenchmen who were imprisoned here during the Napoleonic Wars and died far from home and without the succour of their loved ones. St. George's Centre is a decommissioned Church which stands within what would have been the Dockyard and Naval Area.  That it... Read more...


ANDREW HEWKIN - Artist

Date: 13th November 2012

Andrew's show at the Cork Street Gallery has now finished and many of his work have been sold but if you look him up on the Internet, you'll get an idea of what was on display. Andrew goes abroad every year for a period of several weeks where he makes sketches and takes photos and then he returns and... Read more...


SOUVENIR FRANÇAIS - Maréchal Foch, London - Brookwood Cemetery

Date: 12th November 2012

SOUVENIR FRANÇAIS All manner of interesting pursuits have come my way through my research with regard to my documentary on René Mouchotte. I’m a Vice President of the Yorkshire Air Museum (Allied Air Forces) and more recently a Patron of Souvenir Français. The latter is an... Read more...


CALL CENTRES - BANKS ETC.

Date: 9th November 2012

BANKS, CALL CENTRES ETC. I would rather be happy wouldn’t you. But the source of much of my unhappiness, tension and stress is invariably down to Call Centres based abroad. One can never fault them on politeness but invariably they cannot sort your problem and often leave you on hold forever. I... Read more...


COME DINE WITH ME

Date: 1st November 2012

COME DINE WITH ME A friend phoned to let me know that CDWM was being shown yet again but this time on the main Channel 4. It’s nearly 4 years since we recorded the programmes and they’ve been shown repeatedly on cable so I’ve not watched it since the original. I’ve lost count of the... Read more...


FRENCH ORCHID - Find

Date: 25th October 2012

At the end of our filming last week and on the way from Middelkerke to Calais, we stopped off at a French supermarket.  I hadn't intended buying anything as I'm going over to Calais again with friends next week but a 'Special offer' caught my eye - a tableful of pretty small multi-headed... Read more...


LAST ROSE OF SUMMER

Date: 24th October 2012

Unfortunately I no longer have a garden only a few pots containing some plants.  I love flowers with a perfume and they appear to be getting fewer and fewer.  I understand that growers look for stronger strains which withstand disease,  and for flowers that will grow larger.  Along the way they... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Searching for René - Middelkerke, Belgium

Date: 20th October 2012

MIDDELKERKE Last year I visited Middelkerke in order to see the little Memorial to René which I knew was in the Town Hall. When I asked permission to take a photo the man in the cubicle came round and immediately took me to the office of the Archivist – a very young man called Simon. As soon as I... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - a tiny miracle!!

Date: 20th October 2012

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE – A tiny miracle! I know it wasn’t really a miracle but it was certainly an interesting happening. After leaving Middelkerke we were making our rainy way back to Eurotunnel. There are several memorials and plaques to René around the area. At Cambrai the French Air... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Searching for René - Westende, Belgium

Date: 19th October 2012

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE – Searching for René – Westende in Belgium In my researches I discovered that the Hotel was still standing, in front of which René’s body washed onto the beach. I suggested that we might stay there and be in situ for an early morning shoot. The Hotel was... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Searching for René - Paris

Date: 18th October 2012

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE – Searching for René – filming in Paris Many programmes are made on a shoestring these days and regional television is no exception – so the crew were only the Producer, Matthew, our cameraman Ben and yours truly. The day started with drama. I was supposed to... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Searching for René - the Documentary

Date: 15th October 2012

 RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Searching for René – the Documentary Apologies for there not being any blogs recently but I’ve had my head down working hard on scripts, permissions and suggestions for filming schedule. Have also written a half hour script for French TV and Ian Reed – my... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE

Date: 3rd October 2012

I've never worked so hard and been so persistent over any project in my life as I have over my desire to have a documentary made about René Mouchotte.  And finally my doggedness, many prayers, and some luck and coincidences, have paid off.  BBC South East are going to make a short programme for... Read more...


READER'S QUESTIONS

Date: 24th September 2012

On Monday mornings I receive Analysis of my Website and the key words by which people are drawn into my site other than specifically asking for me. It is interesting to see some of the questions posed there which brought folk into the site so I’ll attempt to answer some if not all of them. These were the... Read more...


IT'S NEVER TOO LATE

Date: 22nd September 2012

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE I have been promising myself for decades that I would improve my French but always something else intervened and then I made the excuse that my memory isn’t what it used to be and that I was neither a beginner nor advanced so I didn't fit any tailormade course. All that... Read more...


CIRQUE DU CIEL

Date: 18th September 2012

CIRQUE DU CIEL This really does have the ‘Wow’ factor and has you on the edge of your seat. Decades ago I saw Cirque du Soleil which I thoroughly enjoyed both as a spectacle and as an example of the fact that one can have a Big Top Circus without using animals. Obviously as a child I was taken... Read more...


ALLIED AIR FORCES MEMORIAL DAY - Elvington, York.

Date: 9th September 2012

ALLIED AIR FORCES MEMORIAL DAY - Yorkshire Air Museum I don’t know where to begin with the superlatives. First of all the weather on Sunday was simply gorgeous – hot and sunny without being too hot and, being on an Airfield, there was a lovely cooling breeze. I visited the Museum earlier... Read more...


ALLIED AIR FORCES MEMORIAL DAY - Elvington, York.

Date: 9th September 2012

ALLIED AIR FORCES MEMORIAL DAY Very much looking forward to my trip to York. Will be staying with my oldest friend, Sue McFarlane, whom I met when we shared a little house in Sale, Manchester. The house was one of several miners’ cottages owned by Pat Phoenix (a star of Coronation Street). I was in... Read more...


CHATSWORTH HOUSE

Date: 8th September 2012

CHATSWORTH HOUSE – Derbyshire Sue and I were going to visit Durham Cathedral but we decided instead to visit Chatsworth. I don’t know if you’ve heard the expression which we use down south of those who live in the north – where there’s muck there’s brass – and my... Read more...


PETTIT family - Ancestry

Date: 3rd September 2012

PETTIT – Ancestry When I moved down to Kent I was introduced to Rita Pettit who had carried out 20 years of research into the family – before the Internet!! She’d traced my branch of the Pettits back to 1562 and the family home at Coldred just off the main road from Dover to Canterbury still... Read more...


SPITFIRE FLIGHT

Date: 29th August 2012

SPITFIRE FLIGHT As time is marching on just thought I’d remind you about your chance to win a flight in a two-seater Spitfire as well as a visit to the Aircraft Restoration Hangar at Duxford. This is a must for any lovers of old planes. I know how fascinating it is because the owner and MD is a friend of... Read more...


RAF CLUB

Date: 27th August 2012

RAF CLUB I’m very proud to have become an Affiliated Member of the RAF Club. I’ve stayed at the Club and been to many functions there including several dinners marking the end of the Battle of Britain. I stay out of London as much as possible – is it an age thing? Whereas, when I lived... Read more...


BOMBER COMMAND MEMORIAL - GREEN PARK

Date: 27th August 2012

Over the weekend, saw the Bomber Command Memorial at Green Park.  It is very admirable.  Loved the sculptures of the Crew - comprising a complement of seven men all totally reliant on the other.  There was a terrible attrition rate with the bomber crews and one out of every two didn't make it... Read more...


ACCUSED - Tracie's Friend

Date: 27th August 2012

ACCUSED Tracie’s Friend - Just in case you think I’m being totally negative, I’ll make another case for ignoring the critics. I understand that the Sunday Times critic rubbished the first programme of four in the short series ‘Accused’. I don’t know the individual but I can... Read more...


ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS

Date: 25th August 2012

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS Whilst on the subject of unintelligibility – Parade’s End last week – the same accusation can be levelled at this play which I saw on Saturday evening. Let me make it quite clear that I have excellent hearing but more and more I find that performers/actors are... Read more...


PARADE'S END

Date: 24th August 2012

PARADE’S END Well what a disappointment. I held back writing anything because I thought it must be me but having spoken with some academic and highly intelligent friends of mine who share my opinion, as well as reading some articles about it, I will launch forth. I thought the programme was totally... Read more...


URBAN FOX

Date: 23rd August 2012

URBAN FOX I had a very rude awakening in the early hours of the morning. My cat was howling/screetching. I leaped out of bed and saw Tamby cowering on the landing. When I went to investigate I was confronted by a very scared looking fox – not sure who was the most scared – him or me. Trouble... Read more...


CATS PROTECTION AWARDS - SAVOY

Date: 16th August 2012

CAT’S PROTECTION Months ago I was invited to be a judge in one of the Categories at the National Awards for Cat’s Protection which took place on August 16th at the Savoy in London. I was allocated – Rescue Cats and only had to judge the winner from the final three contenders. It’s... Read more...


BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL DAY - Capel-le-Ferne, Kent

Date: 15th July 2012

This is the fifth year that I've been honoured with an invitation to Memorial Day.  We all thought that after the 70th Anniversary, interest would drop away.  On the contrary, interest is growing and there were more than ever in the Luncheon Marquee.  We were full to bursting point and I... Read more...


BASTILLE DAY - London

Date: 14th July 2012

Last year at the Battle of Britain Memorial Day, I was seated next to the French Air Attaché and his wife.  He has been incredibly helpful with the Medal Presentation in Paris and also managed to get me a very last minute invitation to the Bastille Day Celebrations at the French Ambassador's... Read more...


MOUCHOTTE AND LAFONT FAMILIES - Battle of Britain Medal Presentation - Paris

Date: 13th July 2012

In case you haven't been following my 'Search for René' - a very brief resumé. In 2007 I sponsored the name of the Free French Pilot René Mouchotte on the Wall of Remembrance at the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel le Ferne. Discovering that he'd written diaries... Read more...


A WEEK IN TURUNÇ

Date: 9th July 2012

The development on which my friend's villa is situated is a delight.  It looks as though it was built yesterday it is all so beautifully kept with lovely villas and gorgeous gardens. I was quite shaken because of the blowout on the motorway and didn't really want to do very much for a few days... Read more...


BLOWOUT - and the holiday that nearly wasn't

Date: 2nd July 2012

A friend of mine is a  Holiday Property Bond holder and she very kindly invited me to spend a week with her at  Turunç in Turkey. As she was going for two weeks, it was decided that I should drive us to Gatwick and then either I'd pick her up or she would get a taxi back from the... Read more...


FLYING LEGENDS AIRSHOW - DUXFORD

Date: 30th June 2012

My friend John Romain owns  the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford.  He maintains and services all manner of privately owned aircraft but, I think his passion is rebuilding Spitfires. Last year when he and his wife Amanda invited me to the Flying Legends Day, he had time to take me to his hangar... Read more...


PORGY AND BESS - Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

Date: 29th June 2012

PORGY AND BESS – Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury Porgy and Bess has to be one of my all time favourites with such memorable numbers as ‘Summertime’ and ‘I got Plenty of Nuttin’. A few weeks ago I watched a documentary on George Gershin and found it sad that he died without knowing... Read more...


LONDON UNDERGROUND STAFF

Date: 24th June 2012

LONDON UNDERGROUND STAFF As you know, I can be a Grumpy Old Woman – GOW – but when there is something to praise, I hope I do it justice. In this case it is a very big thank you to the three Underground Staff members who were so kind and helpful to me on Saturday. I was going to the Albert Hall... Read more...


FELICITY KENDALL'S INDIA

Date: 22nd June 2012

FELICITY KENDALL’S INDIA I had recorded this programme and managed to watch it last week. What an absolute joy and the kind of programme at which the BBC excel. I was particularly interested in Felicity’s India because my own father was born there in the Nilgiri Hills. In fact, Father’s... Read more...


GREEN MEN

Date: 16th June 2012

GREEN MEN No not the aliens from outer space but those one sees in churches and Cathedrals. If one is a Friend of Canterbury Cathedral, there is a Friends’ Day when various delights of our wonderful Cathedral are shared with us – some readily available to the public and some not. Last year I... Read more...


PEAS IN THEIR PODS

Date: 13th June 2012

 PEAS IN THEIR PODS I saw for sale the other day some peas in their pods. With memories of my mother and aunt sitting in the sun (what’s that) in the garden ‘shucking’ peas and the thought of their taste and succulence led me to making the purchase. My memory tells me that my... Read more...


R.I.P. Madame Jacqueline Quentin-Mouchotte

Date: 7th June 2012

I had the honour and pleasure of meeting this lovely lady on two occasions. After leaving my letter in the tomb of her brother, the WWII Fighter Pilot René Mouchotte, and the subsequent meeting with her and some of her family in December last year, it was then discovered that René and Henry Lafont... Read more...


TELEVISION - TIMES THEY ARE A'CHANGING

Date: 4th June 2012

TELEVISION - TIMES THEY ARE A’CHANGING They aren’t just a’changing, they have done so beyond all recognition. In the old days when one went out filming, especially with an ITV team, there would be a cameraman and assistant, lighting man (sparks) and assistant, a PA and if you were very... Read more...


DIAMOND JUBILEE - Our lovely Dean

Date: 3rd June 2012

DIAMOND JUBILEE – Our lovely Dean A very old friend from Australian theatre days was over with her husband for the Diamond Jubilee and asked me to join them at their hotel to watch the Water Pageant. Much as I would have liked to go, I didn’t fancy elbowing my way through the crowds from the Tube... Read more...


BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL - French Students' visit

Date: 31st May 2012

BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL – FRENCH STUDENTS' VISIT I live quite close to the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne. On Wednesday I was asked if I could go up to the Memorial on Thursday to help out with a very large party of French students. I agreed on condition that I was allocated the... Read more...


BOB THE CAT - Marmalade Tabbies

Date: 29th May 2012

As far as I am concerned Marmalade Tabby cats are highly intelligent and seem to be able to very much land on all four paws. Any of you who’ve heard about, or read the excellent book by James Bowen- A Street Cat named Bob – will know how the marmalade tabby, scrawny and with cuts and scratches and a... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Gardens Open Day

Date: 27th May 2012

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL – Gardens Open Day I woke this morning feeling very down because my son flew back last night to his home in Sydney. He absolutely loves it there, just as I did in the 60’s and he’s no intention of coming back. I’m so pleased for him but I do miss him so very... Read more...


THOMAS BECKET - John Guy

Date: 22nd May 2012

THOMAS BECKET – John Guy I recently remarked to a friend that I didn’t know why I bother with my Blogs as I get so little feed back though I can see from the Analysis that people are brought into it from all over the world – not because they know me but they google a subject and if it is... Read more...


SHARING and caring

Date: 22nd May 2012

I had a half hour to spare after Jonathan and I parted so I visited Smith's at the station.  Knowing my interest in history and accurate historical novels as opposed the the popularist variety, several friends recommended that I read Wolf Hall.  There it was on the shelf and I let out a delighted... Read more...


ST. PANCRAS - Meeting and Dining

Date: 21st May 2012

ST. PANCRAS  as a venue for lunch My son is over briefly from Australia. His visit is to see the chums he hasn’t seen for 2 years, his father and the oldies – most of his grandparents and step-grandparents are still alive. (Isn’t he lucky – my grandparents were dead by the time I... Read more...


PÈRE LACHAISE - Héloïse and Abèlard

Date: 13th May 2012

After our visit to St. Denis, I very much wanted to go back to Père Lachaise but the rain persisted and a visit was abandoned. Being an incurable romantic, it was the story of Héloïse and Abèlard which first took me to the cemetery of Pére Lachaise over two decades ago.... Read more...


MONTMARTRE - Jean Jacques de Launay

Date: 12th May 2012

MONTMARTRE – J J  de Launay If you’ve only got one evening in Paris, I think it is obligatory to go to Montmartre. Yes, it is touristy but it is also romantic, artistic and delightful. Ian Reed and I were staying on in Paris in order to take some still shots in Père Lachaise and... Read more...


BASILICA ST. DENIS

Date: 12th May 2012

BASILICA ST. DENIS Friday morning – and the heavens opened. Last December when I intended taking photos at Père Lachaise it poured with rain and once again the elements beat me. We had to fill in five hours and keep out of the rain so I suggested a visit to the Basilica St. Denis – the... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Presentation of BOB medals to his sister in Paris

Date: 10th May 2012

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE Just a recap of the story if you haven’t tuned in before or are not aware of my on-going researches into the René Mouchotte story. René was the first Free French pilot to become a Squadron Leader in the RAF. Among other duties he commanded the FF Squadron... Read more...


THE BRIDGE

Date: 24th April 2012

Yet another great 'Detective' series - a Swedish/Danish co-production.  I've been totally gripped by all the ones I've watched recently.  (Didn't see The Killing but a friend has the lot and is going to lend them to me - that should keep me quiet for a weekend).  This current one... Read more...


THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

Date: 24th April 2012

I mentioned recently how I'm watching many old films, finding them better entertainment than so much on offer on Television main channels these days.  I don't have Sky - although if I did there are some channels I know I'd enjoy - Discovery, History and National Geographic.  It's is such a... Read more...


RICH by Melvyn Bragg

Date: 23rd April 2012

RICH by Melvyn Bragg Although I was given this weighty tome over 20 years ago, I’d never got around to reading it. Having made a recent visit to the Old Vic in London where I saw Richard Burton and John Neville in ‘Othello’ I decided to get the book down off the shelf, dust it off and read it.... Read more...


BECKET- by John Guy

Date: 23rd April 2012

BECKET – the film starring Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole is a most enjoyable and interesting film and keeps fairly closely to the historic detail apart from portraying Becket being as much a womaniser as Henry II. He certainly was not and from the latest book ‘Becket’ by John Guy it would... Read more...


DAVID NIVEN - Michael Parkinson Interview

Date: 23rd April 2012

I missed Parkinson's interviews first time round - possibly working or doing something but on Saturday (21st April) I watched an old interview with David Niven repeated on BBC 4 (a Channel I like very much).   What a fantastic and entertaining raconteur was David Niven.  I was laughing out loud at... Read more...


DOUWE EGBERT COFFEE

Date: 23rd April 2012

DOUWE EGBERT COFFEE I have used Douwe Egbert Ground Coffee for as long as I can remember – buying for cafetières and also filters as I have a lovely silver coffee pot which takes a filter bag. I’ve often had compliments on the coffee from dinner guests. And it is not the most expensive on the... Read more...


A STREET CAT NAMED BOB - by James Bowen

Date: 21st April 2012

A STREET CAT NAMED BOB – by James Bowen A friend alerted me to the This Morning interview about a young busker who’d befriended an injured stray marmalade tabby cat. Having watched it and been very impressed I then watched some of the clips on YouTube. Couldn’t wait to buy the book and had... Read more...


ROCHESTER CATHEDRAL

Date: 20th April 2012

ROCHESTER CATHEDRAL It is the second oldest Cathedral in England having been founded in 604 AD. The present building dates back to 1080 and the French Monk Gundulf. It has one of the finest Romanesque facades in England and became a place of pilgrimage after the murder of a Scottish baker, William of Perth... Read more...


ROCHESTER CASTLE

Date: 19th April 2012

ROCHESTER CASTLE Decided to pay a visit to Rochester Castle – really only a Keep – and the Cathedral. It was very interesting to compare the Rochester Keep with that at Dover. Dover Keep had a 2 million pound makeover a couple of years ago which brought it back to the relative splendour it... Read more...


BITS AND BOBS

Date: 18th April 2012

Apologies for the lack of Blogs but life has been rather quiet of late. A friend took me for lunch at Reads on the outskirts of Faversham. A delightful setting and interesting menu. We had a lovely lunch which I thought relatively good value when you consider what some up-market restaurants charge. There is a... Read more...


YORKSHIRE AIR MUSEUM - Yorkshire Post Supplement

Date: 24th March 2012

When  visiting  the Museum a couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed for the Yorkshire Post Saturday Supplement - partly because it is now the 30th Anniversary of the Falklands war and I was one of the Newsreaders at that time and partly because of my involvement with the Museum. As my son has posted a... Read more...


WESTMINSTER ABBEY

Date: 23rd March 2012

WESTMINSTER ABBEY Why is it that so many of us are familiar with iconic landmarks elsewhere in the world and yet neglect to visit those ‘in our own back yard’. I’ve never really devoted time to a comprehensive visit to Westminster Abbey – the last time being eleven years ago when we... Read more...


BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL - Westminster, London.

Date: 22nd March 2012

BATTLE OF BRITAIN MEMORIAL – Westminster, London. Of course we have our iconic memorial down at Capel le Ferne plus the Sir Chrisopher Foxley Norris Memorial Wall, but for ages I have wanted to see the relatively new BOB Memorial in London. Some have commented that it was disappointingly small. Perhaps it... Read more...


YORKSHIRE AIR MUSEUM - IWM AWARD

Date: 21st March 2012

YORKSHIRE AIR MUSEUM – IWM AWARD The Imperial War Museum held their London Film Awards on Wednesday and guess what – the Yorkshire Air Museum walked off with the first prize. As a Vice President of the Museum I feel able to share in their pride. The entry in ‘Conflict Related... Read more...


BLOGS AND USAGE

Date: 11th March 2012

Do forgive me if I am 'teaching grandmother to suck eggs' but I do sometimes wonder if folk who visit this Website know how to go back and catch up with 'yesterday's news'.  I only ask because even I had to ask my Website creator how I could go back in time to older Blogs. If you just... Read more...


YORK MINSTER - Memorial to the Groupes Lourds - French Bomber Squadrons in WW2

Date: 8th March 2012

YORK MINSTER – Memorial to the Groupes Lourds – Guyenne and Tunisie French Squadrons based at Elvington during WW2. As I had a long drive ahead of me, our visit to York Minster was brief. What an imposing edifice. Can’t wait to have time for a more comprehensive visit. York Minster is very... Read more...


YORKSHIRE AIR MUSEUM - Allied Air Forces Memorial

Date: 7th March 2012

YORKSHIRE AIR MUSEUM – Elvington. What a day! I can’t begin to tell you what fabulous Aircraft and exhibitions are all around you. The Director of the Museum, Ian Reed, guided me around the sites for best part of a day – there’s so much to see, feel and experience. They have a... Read more...


MIDDLETHORPE HALL

Date: 6th March 2012

MIDDLETHORPE HALL Having been elected a Vice President of the Yorkshire Air Museum (Allied Air Forces Memorial) it was encumbent upon me to familiarize myself with Elvington. Was looked after right royally (literally) and booked into Middlethorpe Hall – a National Trust Property – on the... Read more...


NOISES OFF

Date: 3rd March 2012

NOISES OFF Went to London on Saturday for a lunch with the Museum Director of the York Museum and Geneviève Moulard. Geneviève has written a superb book on the WAAF in two World Wars and Ian and I were able to help her in a very small way. Unfortunately it is only in French at present but we are... Read more...


THE ARTIST

Date: 1st March 2012

THE ARTIST Went to see The Artist the other night. What a delightfully innocent, charming and totally enjoyable film. But I was surprised to see it won so many Oscars. It just goes to show that you don’t have to have gratuitous violence, blood and guts, graunchy sex, and computer generated wonders to... Read more...


THOSE WHO KILL - ITV 3

Date: 24th February 2012

THOSE WHO KILL – ITV 3 What is it about these Swedish and Danish Programmes which makes them so good and gripping. In the past I avoided programmes with subtitles. These days I often use subtitles on British and American programmes because either the accents are too broad and/or the speech is garbled... Read more...


ELIZABETH TAYLOR - GINA FRATINI WEDDING DRESS

Date: 18th February 2012

ELIZABETH TAYLOR – GINA FRATINI WEDDING DRESS I enjoy reading Biographies and Autobiographies and recently began Melvyn Bragg’s Autobiog. of Richard Burton published many years ago. There are copious photos in the book and on perusing them I came across a b/w photo of Burton and Taylor’s... Read more...


AUSTRALIA DAY - TO THE FREEZING UK

Date: 11th February 2012

Back in the UK and wish I weren't.  The jet lag was the worst I've ever experienced, I was missing my son and then woke to a white world last Sunday and my Goodness it has been cold.   Nothing much to write about.  However, I spent several hours uploading photos onto the Gallery so I... Read more...


AUSTRALIA DAY

Date: 26th January 2012

I don't remember us celebrating Australia Day when I lived in Sydney. Maybe I've forgotten or maybe in the intervening 40 odd years it has grown into a much bigger event. Jonathan had arranged to meet friends down near the Opera House for brunch. Because of the usual sun, most of the restaurants have... Read more...


COFF'S HARBOUR

Date: 25th January 2012

When I lived in Sydney in the 60's I met a girl - a very good make-up artist trained at the BBC. Funnily enough we both remember the party at which we met and also both remembered that our host - Roger Murray Leach had the bath filled with ice and on top were dozens and dozens of oysters! My friend came back to... Read more...


HENRY LAFONT

Date: 20th January 2012

I had the lovely experience of being able to put two elements of a family back in touch. If you read my Blog regularly you'll know that in December I hired a cameraman and went to Paris to interview the sister of René Mouchotte and whilst in Paris received an invitation from the Director of the... Read more...


ODDS AND ENDS

Date: 20th January 2012

Once again I apologize that my blogs come out in one lump when I'm away from home and working on an Ipad - I'll correct this when I return, reluctantly, to the UK. Travel. Our trip up to the Rainforest was a flight there on Virgin Australia and return on Quantas - what a huge difference in comfort etc.... Read more...


EL CIRCO - SYDNEY

Date: 20th January 2012

Last night Jonathan and I went to El Circo - it is an evening of Entertainment part Circus, part Cabaret and part Burlesque and a Degustation Menu taking place at Slide in Oxford Street, Sydney. It was a superb evening - can't say I have enjoyed anything so much in a long time. Having been to Le Moulin... Read more...


RAINFOREST TOUR

Date: 15th January 2012

Claire, a receptionist at Thala Beach, recommended that we take a trip with Daintree Safaris owned and run by Nicholas Fox. He is a one man band so that you actually get the Boss who is one of only 4 accredited Rainforest Guides. Other companies are accredited because of their facilities but Nicholas took a one... Read more...


PORT DOUGLAS - QUEEENSLAND

Date: 13th January 2012

Having been horrified at the cost of simply everything in Sydney - and not just because of the weak pound, Jonathan and I decided to go for broke and treat ourselves to 4 days up in Queensland. We had wanted to go to Ayers Rock - but its really too hot at this time of the year and we were told you get a... Read more...


SYDNEY - The Marble Bar

Date: 10th January 2012

What a wonderful find although by accident. When I lived in Sydney in the 60's I was an actress and worked in several lovely theatres among them the Ensemble, the Philip Theatre and the Palace Theatre in Pitt Street. Someone told us that the Palace had been torn down but that some of its iconic architecture had... Read more...


SYDNEY - HARBOUR TOUR

Date: 10th January 2012

Yesterday we went on a Hop On - Hop Off Sydney Harbour Tour. You pay your money and can get on and off the ferry at any one of numerous stops. To take full advantage of the ticket, you'd need to be on the water early in the morning but as my son has always liked his lie-ins (how many cold cups of tea have sat... Read more...


JACKIE LAWSON E-CARDS

Date: 8th January 2012

One cannot download an Ecard on an Ipad. Apparently the late Steve Jobs didn't approve of the stranglehold which Adobe had on the market so the Ipad doesn't offer the facility. So thank you to all the lovely people who sent me the Jackie Lawson Greetings for my Birthday but I won't be able to view them till... Read more...


NEW YEAR'S HONOURS LIST

Date: 8th January 2012

I have been awarded my own little honour! The Director of the Museum at Elvington near York - which has promoted the memory of the French Bomber Crews in WW2 among other valuable work - has asked me to be a Vice President of the Museum - an honour I'm thrilled to accept. Whoever would have thought that... Read more...


CHINESE GARDENS - SYDNEY

Date: 8th January 2012

I forgot to tell you about a really lovely experience on my first day in Sydney and that was a visit to the Chinese Gardens down at Darling Harbour. Created by the local Chinese Community to celebrate Australia's Bicentenary in 1988, the gardens are a result of the close friendship and cooperation between... Read more...


SYDNEY FESTIVAL

Date: 7th January 2012

Jonathan loves his music and was determined to enjoy the first day of the Sydney Festival. It was quite an experience with most of Hyde Park given over to the festivities and the roads blocked to traffic. Jonathan was very excited about a DJ from the UK - Norman Jay who apparently has an MBE for his services to... Read more...


A GREAT BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

Date: 5th January 2012

My son organized a really wonderful day for me. I was woken with Stevie Wonder singing 'Happy Birthday to you' and Jonathan with two massive bouquets of flowers - an enormous one from him and another from a friend who'd asked J to arrange it. We went out for Brunch in a local Café. Jonathan... Read more...


ANNIE - THE MUSICAL

Date: 4th January 2012

What a wonderful start to my Birthday Celebrations. A friend of Jonathan's asked if we would like to go to the Preview of 'Annie'. I'd seen it absolutely decades ago but, as I love theatre, was only too pleased to accept. We met up in a Cocktail Bar and had some amazing cockails at exorbitant prices... Read more...


Apologies for lack of blogs

Date: 1st January 2012

Have been so busy with work to do with Rene - information coming from all directions. Friends came from Paris for Christmas which was fabulous including the Carol concert at Cathedral. Met Archbish again. Now at Airport waiting to take off for Sydney to celebrate my birthday with my son. Thought I had all sorted... Read more...