2013 - 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.

Massacre at Paris - by Christopher Marlowe

Date: 24th December 2013

Any of you who follow my blogs will know that I regularly attend the Huguenot Chapel at Canterbury Cathedral. I first visited out of curiosity about 3 years ago and have got drawn in to the very tiny community - also it improves my French accent even if my French is still far far from perfect. A few weeks ago we... Read more...


AUSTRALIAN PARTY

Date: 24th December 2013

My son and his new girlfriend threw a drinks party last night - a very successful and highly enjoyable occasion. And Karen worked incredibly hard producing some really fabulous eats including an incredible 'dessert'. Karen is Canadian and it is a speciality of her home country. We've got some left over and will be... Read more...


EXETER CATHEDRAL

Date: 21st December 2013

EXETER CATHEDRAL In the 70's, I lived in the West Country for a decade and am ashamed to say that I never even thought of a visit to Exeter Cathedral. Part of my 'Oldies tour' was to have my hair done in Bristol and to stay with friends in Crewkerne. Most of us don't like change and I am a creature... Read more...


ELY CATHEDRAL

Date: 20th December 2013

ELY CATHEDRAL My next stop was to see my sister in Berkshire and, as my route took me very close to Ely, I thought it a good idea to make a slight detour and pay a visit. I'm so glad I did. Knowing nothing about the Cathedral, I was totally taken aback by it's famous Lantern tower. Apparently, at one stage in... Read more...


NORWICH CATHEDRAL

Date: 19th December 2013

Apologies for taking so long to get back to my Oldies Tour. My research and work towards producing a documentary on Rene Mouchotte brought me many delightful bonuses in the shape of friendships. One of our Battle of Britain veterans, Wing Cdr. Tom Neil and his wife, not only worked with Rene at Biggin Hill but... Read more...


PILGRIMAGE - BBC TWO

Date: 5th December 2013

PILGRIMAGE – BBC 2 I wasn’t going to write about this programme and how poor I thought it was but having read the critique in The Times, I now feel justified in putting pen to paper!  The Times critic gave it two stars out of five and I totally agree with him. I have to be careful as to how... Read more...


INSURANCE - Shopping around

Date: 2nd December 2013

INSURANCE – Shopping Around I am basically lazy when it comes to the Internet – and I go on the assumption that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – I’m loyal to companies and in the past have never shopped around for a possible ‘better deal’. Last year... Read more...


THE OLDIES TOUR

Date: 28th November 2013

I went on an Oldies Tour last week and visited Old friends, Old parents, and old Cathedrals - 3 of them in fact, Norwich, Ely and Exeter. Rather busy at the moment but just to keep you interested, I hope to write some blogs at the weekend and show you some of the photos taken at the fabulous... Read more...


MANAGEMENT CHANGE

Date: 12th November 2013

MANAGEMENT CHANGE I am now being represented by - Patrick James and Associates – full details to be found under Contact on this... Read more...


THE INTERNET - Travelodge

Date: 12th November 2013

THE INTERNET Very often I gripe about the Internet and all the attendant frustrations of dealing via the Web. Well, just as I feel one should speak out about a genuine grievance, so I think praise should be given when praise is due. Travelodge I was invited to a 70th Birthday Party in Portishead and... Read more...


CATS AND THEIR WEIRD WAYS

Date: 11th November 2013

CATS AND THEIR WEIRD WAYS I don’t usually share intimate/personal details on my website but I thought you’d find this amusing. My much loved Tamby was a scrap found in a country lane over 14 years ago. I love him to bits but he is, like most cats, very independent. When I have to ‘trap... Read more...


ROUEN

Date: 29th October 2013

ROUEN I asked my friends if they would mind visiting Rouen. I wanted to see the Cathedral, and the tomb which holds the heart of Richard the Lionheart (Richard 1st). For the life of me I have no idea why his heart is buried there. The wound which went Septic and caused his death was delivered at Chalus and his... Read more...


MONTREUIL SUR MER

Date: 28th October 2013

MONTREUIL I really like Montreuil or to give it it’s correct name Montreuil sur Mer although the Mer retreated a long time ago.  I've usually visited it en passant so the chance to actually spend time there was not one to be missed. The town used to be a major stopping point on the route from... Read more...


BARTER BOOK SHOP - ALNWICK

Date: 26th October 2013

BARTER BOOK SHOP – ALNWICK I apologize for leaving it so late to bring you the promised Blogs and having done so I won’t write at such length about all the lovely places my friend and I visited in Northumberland. Long ago, I’d heard about the Station/Barter Bookshop at Alnwick but nothing... Read more...


ALNWICK CASTLE AND GARDENS

Date: 26th October 2013

ALNWICK CASTLE AND GARDENS It was just as well that Sue and I visited Lindisfarne  the previous evening because Alnwick took us all day and then some. The weather looked a bit iffy so we started with the Gardens which are very interesting. I’ve seen better but they were certainly worth a visit... Read more...


DOXFORD HALL - Northumberland

Date: 26th October 2013

Doxford Hall – Chathill Northumberland If I lived near Alnwick, I’d spend a lot of my time in the Barter Bookshop- an ideal place for browsing, meeting friends, having a coffee or lunch and finding a treasure of a book. We left at late afternoon to go to Doxford Hall where Sue’s son had... Read more...


LINDISFARNE - Holy Island

Date: 26th October 2013

As it turned out we made the correct decision in visiting Lindisfarne in the evening.  Though most of the ‘tourist’ spots were shut we did have the pleasure of wandering round the island without the hordes so what we lost on the swings we gained on the roundabout. There is a special feel to... Read more...


RIEVAULX ABBEY

Date: 26th October 2013

RIEVAULX ABBEY Got there just at closing time. Again there are some benefits of arriving once the hordes have left. For a start you get much better photographs without people! Only had time to do a quick sweep around but found the Abbey stunning enough to want to make a return visit. I’d no idea... Read more...


WHITBY

Date: 19th October 2013

WHITBY WOW – what a find. I’ve had an interest in Jet for a long time and am kicking myself that I didn’t scoop it up thirty or forty years ago when it was so cheap because it wasn’t fashionable and no one wanted it – now you’ll pay a small fortune for a small piece –... Read more...


CHARITIES - Aggressive fund raising

Date: 15th October 2013

  I haven’t had time to write any blogs recently but I was quite incensed just now and so broke off writing a speech for a Prize Giving I’m attending tomorrow and decided to give vent to my feelings. I read that in the current recession Charities are having a hard time. Might I suggest that... Read more...


OTHELLO

Date: 2nd October 2013

Othello  Went with friends to see ‘Othello’ at the Gulbenkian Cinema in Canterbury transmitted live from the National Theatre. What an absolute treat. Quite frankly, I think I’d almost rather go to a presentation like this – better raked seating and a totally clear view of the... Read more...


PRISCILLA - QUEEN OF THE DESERT

Date: 2nd October 2013

Priscilla – Queen of the Desert Othello on Thursday and Priscilla on Saturday - from the sublime to the 'cor blimey' as they say. I loved the film which came out almost two decades ago. It’s a great film with which I empathized for having lived in Australia in the 60’s and made a... Read more...


ENERGY FIXED PRICES

Date: 25th September 2013

ENERGY FIXED PRICE Continuing in the same vein as my previous Blog about shopping around to save money, I thought I’d try out the fixed Energy Prices because my Direct Debits have gone through the roof with both Gas and Electricity. Mind you my Boiler has just given up the ghost so I am hoping that the... Read more...


AGE DISCRIMINATION

Date: 24th September 2013

AGE DISCRIMINATION We’ve got rules up the ying yang about discrimination in all directions, but discrimination against Age is quietly left to wreak its havoc. Yes, I am very put out and this is not the first time that I’ve found myself either a ‘non person’ or found discrimination... Read more...


FIRST FREE FRENCH CASUALTIES OF WORLD WAR II

Date: 15th September 2013

FIRST FREE FRENCH CASUALTIES OF WORLD WAR II The pilots whose Funerals René attended in Gibraltar were the first Free French Casualties of the war. They too had refused to accept the capitulation of their Government to the Nazis and, like René, they’d appropriated a plane and attempted to... Read more...


GIBRALTAR FROM THE SEA

Date: 15th September 2013

GIBRALTAR FROM THE SEA After our visit to the North Cemetery, John and Claire very kindly arranged to take me out on a RIB so that I could view the Rock from the... Read more...


PERFECT END TO A WONDERFUL WEEKEND ON GIBRALTAR

Date: 15th September 2013

PERFECT END TO A WONDERFUL WEEKEND ON GIBRALTAR My hosts rounded off my already perfect visit with a late lunch at the Marina. What more could a person ask for.  I really really did not want to come home.  There's so much history on Gibraltar that I could have done with many more days.... Read more...


KING'S CHAPEL, GIBRALTAR - Battle of Britain Service

Date: 15th September 2013

BATTLE OF BRITAIN CHURCH SERVICE – THE KING’S CHAPEL I cannot do justice to a description of this lovely little Chapel and had not taken my camera with me so I suggest you might like to look up its history on the Internet – it is quite fascinating especially the story about the Ghost! Over... Read more...


THE MACAQUE APES ON THE ROCK

Date: 14th September 2013

No visit to Gibraltar would be complete without a visit to the Rock Apes. Ch. 5 wanted to film my visit and for me to meet Dr. Eric Shaw in charge of Ape Management. I’d seen a couple of the programme ‘Gibraltar – Britian in the Sun’ so had seen Dr. Eric on the show. He is, of course, very... Read more...


THE GIBRALTAR TUNNELS

Date: 14th September 2013

THE GIBRALTAR TUNNELS There’s a network of 35 miles of tunnels honeycombing through the Rock – some are open to the public and some are not. I was fortunate enough to be taken to the Military tunnels and was staggered at their size. If you’ve ever been disorientated in the dark or even... Read more...


GIBRALTAR RAF HQ - MOUCHOTTE building

Date: 14th September 2013

GIBRALTAR RAF HQ – Re-named MOUCHOTTE Building Apart from renaming the HQ the event was linked to Battle of Britain weekend and in honour of the occasion Air Chief Marshal, Sir Stuart Peach came to Gibraltar. It was he who unveiled the plaque to René Mouchotte on the RAF HQ building. The two of us... Read more...


GIBRALTAR

Date: 13th September 2013

GIBRALTAR A really fabulous weekend in Gibraltar for the renaming of the RAF HQ – Mouchotte Building. I was staying with Col. Powell and his lovely wife Claire – he was the chap who, over 2 years ago, demanded to know what I was doing on MOD property when I was innocently taking a photo of the... Read more...


WHITBY, ALNWICK CASTLE, GARDENS AND FANTASTIC BARTER BOOKSHOP. RIEVAUX ABBEY - ALNWICK CASTLE

Date: 11th September 2013

WHITBY, ALNWICK BARTER BOOKSTORE, RIEVAULT ABBEY, LINDISFARNE AND ALNWICK CASTLE AND GARDENS Dear All who follow my blogs on a regular basis. I had a fantastic few days up in York and Northumberland. Went up for the Allied Air Forces Memorial Service and stayed with my oldest friend. I always pay... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE

Date: 22nd August 2013

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE It was René’s Birthday on Wednesday, 21st August and on the 27th August it will be the 70th Anniversary of his death. I shall be going to the Memorial Wall at Capel to pay my respects. I am amazed that the French have done nothing to mark this event – he was highly... Read more...


FRANCE

Date: 20th August 2013

FRANCE Coming home on Tuesday evening, I simply had to stop on the top road near Dover Castle. Often at night, you can see the lights of Calais but the weather conditions aren’t often right to see France clearly during the day. So I took this photo and wanted to share it with... Read more...


A GOOD WEEK

Date: 19th August 2013

A GOOD WEEK Some of the people whom I love most in the world are still in relatively good health and my son has now got a new job – so I am very very grateful. On Monday visited my father and stepmother prior to his having a small operation on Tuesday. He is 98, has macular degenetation and is... Read more...


FONTAINE DE VAUCLUSE

Date: 23rd July 2013

I have been coming to Provence since 1974 and there are certain places I like to re-visit as a matter of tradition. One of those special places is Fontaine de Vaucluse where the water gushes from a massive cavern and cascades down the valley. The water comes from drainage off the limestone escarpment - it cuts... Read more...


GORDES - Michel Dalberto

Date: 23rd July 2013

The Roque d'Anteron Festival Hall cannot accommodate all the activities so many take place around the area.  One of these concerts was a piano recital by Michel Dalberto to be given at Gordes, a town perching on a hillside topped by a fortified castle. It is a very expensive place to live as... Read more...


MARTIQUE FESTIVAL

Date: 22nd July 2013

My week of varied culture continued with a visit to the Cavaillon market on Monday morning redolent of all that I associate with Provence - the lavender, herbs, brightly coloured pottery, household linen, endless colourful clothes, cheeses, meat, vegetables and the inevitable aroma of Lavender. I was tempted... Read more...


ALBI - Toulouse Lautrec Museum and the Cathedral

Date: 20th July 2013

The Toulouse Lautrec Museum and the Cathedral of St. Cecile are obligatory visits when arriving in Albi. They both had the WOW factor. Apart from being very well laid out, Lautrec's work is displayed in the incredibly palatial Bishop's Palace which, in itself is an amazing building. At the time of... Read more...


CATHAR COUNTRY

Date: 19th July 2013

CATHAR COUNTRY We set off on a two day trip to Cathar country. Finding a lovely spot for a picnic by the side of a very attractive canal, we indulged in a superb repast. There is so much to see and so much distance to cover we could only choose a couple of highlights. Minerve was a very popular choice -... Read more...


BEAUTIFUL PROVENCE

Date: 17th July 2013

These days, so disliking airports, if possible I travel by train. Last time I visited my friends in Provence, it was possible to take the Eurostar and, with an easy change of platforms at Lille, board the TGV to Avignon. On this occasion I wasn't so lucky and had to change from the Gare du Nord to the Gare... Read more...


BATTLE OF BRITAIN Weekend

Date: 14th July 2013

It's that time of the year again.  How time flies when one is older.  I can remember an old relation warning me, when I was longing to be 18 - not to wish my life away as it would go faster and faster the older I got.  She was quite correct. Very much looking forward to seeing my Veteran... Read more...


BOB weekend

Date: 14th July 2013

On the Saturday evening before BOB day there is a dinner for the Veterans and I was fortunate enough to be invited. Each year a few have left us - and one or two more are using walking sticks or need a wheelchair. CAS Sir Stephen Dalton and his wife were guests of honour and after his imminent retirement he... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Thanks to the Volunteers and Staff

Date: 12th July 2013

It is a Bi-annual event when the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral invite us - the volunteers and the Staff to a Drinks Party in the Dean's Garden. I had only just qualified as an Assistant when I attended two years ago and felt very much a stranger.  Two years have made an enourmous difference.... Read more...


FRANCE'S NATIONAL DAY - Ingrid Loyau Kennett

Date: 11th July 2013

FRENCH NATIONAL DAY - Ingrid Loyau Kennett Because of my research, documentary and ongoing work on the Free French pilot René Mouchotte, I was fortunate to be invited to the French Ambassador’s National Day Cocktail Party at his residence in Kensington Park Gardens. It was a most enjoyable... Read more...


THE BIG BANG - National Science and Engineering Competition

Date: 10th July 2013

BIG BANG – National Science and Engineering Competition (Yorkshire and Humberside) I know this is a trifle late but it really was such an exciting event that I thought I’d just write a few lines. Because the event was held at the Yorkshire Air Museum, in my capacity as a Vice President, I was... Read more...


COME DINE WITH ME repeat - again!!!!!

Date: 10th July 2013

Responding to the questions which bring people into my site, here are a few answers.   There never was a romance between Dave Spinks and myself. I have never seen any of the guests from Come Dine With Me again. The programme was made three and a half years ago and is constantly repeated. I have one... Read more...


GHOST - THE MUSICAL

Date: 10th July 2013

GHOST Whilst in Yorkshire, I took the opportunity to stay with my friend of longest standing. We met in 1966 at Granada Television and shared a cottage owned by Pat Phoenix of ‘Coronation Street’ fame. Sue had booked with a friend to see Ghost and they managed to get me a ticket. I had expected... Read more...


THE BIG BANG - Science and Engineering Fair

Date: 24th June 2013

THE BIG BANG Going up to the Yorkshire Air Museum to officially open The Big Bang – a UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair.  Have a look at this link. http://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/YorkshireandHumber/nearme.cfm Delighted to be doing so although I was useless at Science at School. Yet,... Read more...


MIDSUMMER OPERA GALA - Capel-le- Ferne

Date: 24th June 2013

There is a secret hidden away near Capel - it is The Lighthouse Inn. I happened to have a coffee there a few weeks ago and the delightful owner, Mair Rees Davies, mentioned that she was having an Opera Evening.  I'm not heavily into Opera but love some of the more popular ones like Carmen and Aida and... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Lycée Français, London

Date: 19th June 2013

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE – LYCÉE FRANÇAIS Had a wonderful day yesterday in London. 18th June 1940 is celebrated by the French as the day when Gen. de Gaulle put out his ‘Appel’ (Call) from London to Frenchmen encouraging them to continue the fight against Nazi Germany. There... Read more...


PHOTO GALLERY

Date: 15th June 2013

Just spent ages putting photos into the Gallery of my visit to the WW1 Memorials and Éperlecques and also the Founder's Day Ceremony at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.   Hope you... Read more...


Memories of Bygone Days

Date: 15th June 2013

I have a flat in a large Victorian house and one of the other inmates has just unearthed this picture of the building when it was in use as a school and the girls were having a Gym lesson in the Garden. How I hated Sports and Gym when at school and I was reminded of that dreadful Vaulting 'horse' which... Read more...


UNSOLICITED ADVERTS

Date: 13th June 2013

UNSOLICITED AND IRRITATING ADVERTS I really do object to the way advertising is rammed down our throats. You want to watch a particular story flagged up on Google – but you are, invariably though not always, subjected to a video advert. Unlike your own TV where you can push the button and skip through... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Vitrine at Lycée Français, Kensington

Date: 12th June 2013

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE – Vitrine at Lycée Français, London On June 18th, commemorating the Appel of Gen. de Gaulle, part of the ceremony will be the dedication of the Vitrine in the entrance hall of the Lycée Français in London. For the next year the Vitrine will contain the... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - RAF HQ - GIBRALTAR

Date: 12th June 2013

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE – RAF HQ – GIBRALTAR I’ve just had confirmation that the RAF HQ in Gibraltar will be renamed after René Mouchotte at the Battle of Britain Memorial Weekend in mid September and they’ve invited me to attend the dedication etc. I know that the event has now... Read more...


JUNK MAIL & BULK MAIL

Date: 11th June 2013

JUNK MAIL & BULK MAIL I know I don’t have millions of followers but might I make a little suggestion to those who do read my Blogs. Please look regularly  into your Junk box and also your Bulk Mail if you have one,  Security is such these days that very often perfectly legitimate emails... Read more...


WISLEY

Date: 11th June 2013

WISLEY This is going to sound very odd but I recently took my sister to Wisley and we met some very pleasant people. They wanted a photographic record of their visit and I offered to take a photo and email it to them. I can only think that I misread the email address – you know how specific they are... Read more...


AMAZING MEMORIAL TO WWI

Date: 11th June 2013

  I've just been sent an email from a friend.  Isn't this heartbreaking. A boy chained his bike to a tree, then went to fight WWI.   The tree is on Vashon Island, which is between Tacoma and Seattle , Washington .. Quite amazing ! 98 years... Read more...


MAYERLING - Live on BP Screens

Date: 10th June 2013

MAYERLING - LIVE ON BP BIG SCREENS I got really excited when I read in The Week that Mayerling was to be broadcast live on BP Big Screens around the country on July 13th. Sadly there isn’t a BP Screen anywhere in Kent so that hope is dashed. Couldn’t believe it is even being shown in Woolwich... Read more...


MUGGING - 1987

Date: 10th June 2013

MUGGING 1987 I was just trying to sort out a lot of old paperwork and came across the Police Summons received for me to appear in court with regard to my mugging within the TV Centre in 1987.  That in itself was interesting because the four young men kept changing their plea.  Finally when they put in... Read more...


NOSTALGIA - St. Joseph's Convent Grammar - Abbey Wood

Date: 10th June 2013

NOSTALGIA – ST. JOSEPH’S CONVENT GRAMMAR SCHOOL – ABBEY WOOD Now I know why it always takes me ten times as long as I anticipate to sort out my paperwork – nostalgia. Came across a file with old school reports, old newsletters etc and though the School is now converted into flats, I... Read more...


WINTER - Will it ever end?

Date: 10th June 2013

WINTER – Will it ever end? I simply cannot believe this weather. Had to put on the central heating on Saturday night, yesterday evening I braved it out in a polo neck sweater and a cardigan. Now I’ve had to turn the heating back on again. Yesterday we were promised a temperature of 20 degrees... Read more...


SO WHAT'S FOR DINNER TONIGHT?

Date: 9th June 2013

SO WHAT IS FOR DINNER TONIGHT? I ask this in all seriousness. I often cook and then freeze portions as it is such a bore cooking for one. I put the food into plastic containers and am absolutely sure I will remember what they are, forgetting that when they freeze they take on an overall greyness. Consequently,... Read more...


LEGAL AID

Date: 9th June 2013

LEGAL AID I’ve just read an article about Legal Aid - copied from The Spectator -  and the ‘Gravy Train’ it has become for Barristers – the article was written by a former Barrister so he must know what he is talking about.  (And I love the way he refers to the impoverished QC... Read more...


ROYAL HOSPITAL CHELSEA - Founder's Day

Date: 5th June 2013

I was very lucky to be offered a ticket to the Founder's Day Ceremony at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and was particularly interested in attending because back in 1982 - at the height of my Newsreading Days - I had the honour to present the documentary on the Tercentenary of the Royal Hospital.  In fact, the... Read more...


MAYERLING - Kenneth MacMillan's Ballet

Date: 5th June 2013

MAYERLING I am an incurable romantic and having seen the film of Mayerling ages ago, I’ve always wanted to see Kenneth MacMillan’s Ballet of the same name which he choreographed in 1973. Not sure why it is so rarely performed because it is absolutely stunning. I don’t really enjoy... Read more...


SISTER QUEENS & JANE BOLEYN - by Julia Fox

Date: 3rd June 2013

SISTER QUEENS & JANE BOLEYN - by Julia Fox Have just finished reading these two absolutely excellent books. Julia is married to John Guy who had published last year the excellent book on Thomas Becket. (And I’m fortunate enough to have met them both when attending John’s excellent talk on... Read more...


MEMORIALS OF WORLD WAR I

Date: 1st June 2013

MEMORIALS OF WORLD WAR 1 Friends invited me to join them on a two day trip to Northern France to stay with friends of theirs and also to visit some WWI Memorials. We visited ThiepVal and Vimy Ridge as well as several other smaller cemeteries to the fallen. I had no idea of the immense size of some of... Read more...


ÉPERLECQUES BLOCKHAUS - René Mouchotte's last mission

Date: 26th May 2013

Two very good friends of mine in Folkestone are kind enough regularly to invite me on their trips to France. Normally they are only day trips where we do shopping for wine, cheeses and other lovely foodstuffs and then go for a delicious French meal. This time they were staying with friends near Arras who were... Read more...


HYDE PARK BOMBING 1982 AND WOOLWICH SHOOTING

Date: 22nd May 2013

WEDNESDAY 22nd MAY What a strange day of coincidences. I was sitting typing my Blogs for the website and up came the news. One item was about the sentencing of the man who set off the Bomb in Hyde Park in 1982. I remember the event very well indeed. I was about to do a presentation for some Corporate Event... Read more...


70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1000TH

Date: 15th May 2013

On 15th May 1943, René Mouchotte and Canadian Jack Charles shared the 'honour' of downing the 1000th Enemy Plane.   They were based at the famous Fighter Station at Biggin Hill.   There was great media interest and the BBC's Gilbert Harding went to Biggin to interview the men.... Read more...


WHAT IS IN A NAME? INCREDULITY

Date: 15th May 2013

INCREDULITY I sometimes cannot believe what I read in the papers – total stupidity, ‘yuman rights’, political correctness but this one really takes the prize.  If it had been April 1st I would have assumed it to be an April Fool's joke but we are in mid-May. Apparently an old lady... Read more...


WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL

Date: 13th May 2013

WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL I last visited Winchester Cathedral when I was in my twenties. I had a boyfriend whose great friend was the son of the Architect to the Dean and Chapter – a Mr. Carpenter Turner who lived in the magnificent Close. I remember that lunch so well because Mr. Carpenter Turner realised how... Read more...


JERSEY

Date: 7th May 2013

JERSEY Had a short sojourn on the Channel Island of Jersey. I can only recall visiting it decades ago when I was presenting my own show ‘Women Only’ for HTV in Bristol and we went there to make a short documentary on the Cabbage Stalk Walking Stick Industry. The weather was dreadful –... Read more...


SINGLETONS

Date: 3rd May 2013

SINGLETONS Apart from the lack of companionship, Singles are discriminated against in so many different ways. If you are a single woman, you are not totally persona  grata at lunch and dinner parties or anywhere in a mixed gathering for that matter. But if you are a single man – short, bald, fat... Read more...


UKIP

Date: 3rd May 2013

UKIP Well well well – it doesn’t surprise me how well they’ve done in the Local Elections. I know that this rarely translates into votes at the General Election but I sincerely hope it serves as a wake-up call to David Cameron and even more so to Nick Clegg and alerts them to the... Read more...


BOMBER COMMAND MEMORIAL - Tunisie and Guyenne Squadrons

Date: 2nd May 2013

BOMBER COMMAND – Tunisie and Guyenne Squadrons Last week I attended a small ceremony at the Bomber Command Memorial in London.   It was to commemorate the two French Bomber Squadrons stationed at RAF Elvington during WW2. Afterwards we crossed the road (with great difficulty – you have to... Read more...


SABC TV Licence - Eureka - Success

Date: 2nd May 2013

SABC TV Licence – Eureka- Success I know that many of you in South Africa tune in to my Blog so I must tell you that at long last the wretched business of my SABC TV Licence has been sorted. Just a brief resumé – I had a flat in Capetown and went there for 3 months each year for seven... Read more...


HOTEL de FRANCE - MONTREUIL

Date: 29th April 2013

HOTEL de FRANCE – Montreuil sur Mer Two of my Capetonian friends own an Hotel in the lovely town of Montreuil sur Mer – though the Mer retreated a very long time ago. Not only is the walled town lovely but it is full of history and the Hotel de France is no exception. It is described as the oldest... Read more...


The Institute for Health and Wellness - CAVEAT EMPTOR - Green Coffee Maxx and Liposom

Date: 24th April 2013

CAVEAT EMPTOR –  Green Coffee Maxx and Liposom This will teach me to read the Terms and Conditions. On Google, there are often health tips – good recipes, products etc. I’m not usually so gullible but I fell for a specimen offer of Green Coffee tablets and Liposom for cleansing the... Read more...


ABU QATADAR - DEPORTATION

Date: 24th April 2013

ABU QATADA – DEPORTATION I was just thinking about the outcry with reference to the expense of Baroness Thatcher’s funeral. I wonder how much the bill amounts to with regard to all the Legal Aid given to the Qatada Deportation case, and to the benefits off which he lives. You don’t hear... Read more...


BIRTHDAY ORCHID

Date: 23rd April 2013

I love Orchids and some kind friends bought me one for my Birthday on January 5th.  And here it is over three months later still giving immense pleasure.  I know they bought it in a Florist shop and not from a supermarket.  I say that because often in a supermarket the poor orchid might have suffered... Read more...


St. GEORGE'S DAY - Capel Farmers' Market

Date: 23rd April 2013

ST. GEORGE’S DAY – Capel Farmers’ Market I had a lovely day – not only did the sun shine but for the first time in months the bitter, biting wind had gone and one could actually feel some warmth permeating into our winter-frozen bones. Having said that as I passed Shakespeare’s... Read more...


SPITFIRE AND HURRICANE - on the move

Date: 23rd April 2013

SPITFIRE AND HURRICANE on the move On my arrival at Capel, I was surprised to see two huge transporters. They were there to take the Spitfire and Hurricane back to Gt. Yarmouth to be spruced up in time for the Battle of Britain Memorial Day this year which marks the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the... Read more...


De Bradlei Outlet Centre - Dover

Date: 23rd April 2013

De Bradlei Outlet Centre – Dover. I’ve lived in this area now for 15 years and it was only last year that I set foot over the threshold of the Outlet Centre and was very pleasantly surprised at what was on offer for a fraction of the original cost. I don’t have the kind of life style any... Read more...


PENSIONERS

Date: 22nd April 2013

PENSIONERS I really do hope that I didn’t hear what I think I might have heard on the Classic FM early news this morning. I was in another room so didn’t quite hear the whole item but it seemed to be about penalising pensioners who own their own homes – which apparently is ‘holding up... Read more...


KILLER ELEPHANTS - Ch. 5

Date: 21st April 2013

KILLER ELEPHANTS – Ch. 5 I watched a fascinating documentary on Channel 5 about Killer Elephants in an Indian Wildlife Sanctuary in 2009/10. Most of the dead elephants were female and had been attacked in a particularly nasty way. It was thought that one Young Rogue Bull was the culprit and then it was... Read more...


BARONESS THATCHER - FUNERAL

Date: 19th April 2013

I thought David Dimbleby did a sterling job on Wednesday commentating on Baroness Thatcher's funeral.  It was obvious that he had done his homework and had the confidence to leave long silences when appropriate.  (I wonder if the BBC decided to make use of his services after the debacle of the... Read more...


THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Date: 14th April 2013

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY   I actually wrote this some time ago but a friend counselled against it knowing that journalists trawl through the internet and could read it.  Well, we don't yet live in a police state so I will go ahead and enter this blog.  I couldn’t think of... Read more...


SABC - The ongoing saga.

Date: 11th April 2013

I made the trek to London yesterday in order to have the thin sheet of paper, witnessed, stamped and beautifully bound in ribbon,  declaring that I left SA on 10th April 2010 and gave my television to the local Hospice shop.  In fact my friend in Capetown thinks it was actually scrapped.  It was not... Read more...


JAN as a Brownie

Date: 9th April 2013

Having got so worked up over Baroness Thatcher's death and being genuinely upset, I set to and started to try and clear the multitudinous boxes of photos and memorabilia that I have to take my mind off the nastiness from so many quarters.   Came across this one - I think I was about seven. Anyway... Read more...


BARONESS THATCHER

Date: 8th April 2013

It has just been announced that Baroness Thatcher died a short time ago. I had a very high regard for her and met her on several occasions. After I’d been mugged within BBC Television Centre, she made a point of coming over to me at a Charity Event and asking how I was. When Margaret Thatcher came to... Read more...


SSE - Massive Fine

Date: 3rd April 2013

Well Well Well.  I didn't realise I was with SSE until yesterday when I was taking a look at my Direct Debits and though my Gas states Southern Electric Gas Ltd.  I then found a DD to SSE for Electric (all a bit confusing). I thought I had a contract with Marks and Spencer! It so happened that I... Read more...


ENERGY COSTS

Date: 2nd April 2013

ENERGY COSTS. Phew! I simply cannot keep up with the increasing costs of Energy. As fast as I increase my Direct Debit and pay the extra each quarter when the bill comes in showing I'm in debt to them, I’m still in the Red. My DD’s for Gas and Electricity have doubled in just over a year. This... Read more...


The Grass is Greener

Date: 2nd April 2013

Just down the road from where I live, there's an idyllic scene which looks like something out of Constable.  The fields surrounding Walmer Castle have, for most of the year, sheep grazing. I passed the field this morning and had to go back to take a few photos of the lambs - mind you they are quite big... Read more...


BENEFIT SYSTEM

Date: 2nd April 2013

THE BENEFIT SYSTEM Much as I approve of Ian Duncan Smith’s efforts to reform our broken Welfare System and get people off benefit and back into gainful employment, I can only think that he must have been misquoted as saying that he could live on £53 per week. I eat hardly any meat but a do eat well... Read more...


ONLY CHILD SYNDROME

Date: 2nd April 2013

SINGLE CHILD FAMILIES Reading recently that the percentage of families with only one child had risen markedly, I wasn’t surprised to see that Cost was the reason. A child does cost a great deal and over its lifetime they are eye-watering. So, responsible folk are limiting their families. But where are... Read more...


SABC - BEWARE

Date: 27th March 2013

SABC – BEWARE South African Broadcasting Commission – Television Licence – Harrassment and Hounding. I was fortunate enough to have a little flat in Cape Town and went there for the winter months for 7 happy years. In 2010, friends of a friend asked to buy the flat and as I needed the... Read more...


KNITTING

Date: 25th March 2013

KNITTING They say there’s nothing new under the sun, but I can hardly believe that Knitting has come back into fashion. I was an ardent knitter in my youth – and a very good neat knitter I was too. Trouble was that I could never successfully put the garments together and had to get my very able... Read more...


MAJOR EDWARD MANNOCK, V.C. - Canterbury Cathedral

Date: 22nd March 2013

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL – Major Edward Mannock, VC Was it coincidence that immediately behind my seat in the South Nave aisle, there was an RAF wreath. It immediately caught my eye and above it there was a plaque to this gentleman. I’ve copied this from the Internet and a list of VC holders. Hope you... Read more...


ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY - Enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral

Date: 21st March 2013

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY – Enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral I am so delighted that I was able to attend this ceremony even though I was at the back row of the South Nave and the BBC screens were woefully inadequate. To be fair I suppose they didn’t want them to be intrusive but at the back of the... Read more...


ENTHRONEMENT - ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

Date: 20th March 2013

ENTHRONEMENT OF ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY Very excited and anticipating the service tomorrow and thank goodness they aren’t forecasting snow.  A few seats were allocated by a ballot to the 800 volunteers at the Cathedral and I was lucky enough to get one. Apparently I’m in the South Nave so... Read more...


TAMBY

Date: 20th March 2013

TAMBY Any of you who visit my Website regularly will know that I am a romantic sentimentalist. I recently had a major upheaval trying to sort out my crowded study and can actually see the carpet for the first time in years (have moved the piles of paper). I also brought in a chair which had its home in the... Read more...


SPIRAL - French Crime drama

Date: 16th March 2013

SPIRAL Oh dear – what am I going to do with my Saturday evenings. Almost the highlight of the week watching the double bill of Spiral for the last six weeks. It really was aptly named Engrenages – cogs, wheels, spirals. There were so many interconnecting filaments and so much corruption in the... Read more...


MORTALITY

Date: 11th March 2013

MORTALITY Oh dear – hardly a week goes by without hearing of the death of someone I have known even if only vaguely. When working on that lovely show ‘Pebble Mill at One’ in the late 70’s, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen were regulars playing us out of the show. The other day it was... Read more...


SPIRAL - French Crime drama

Date: 7th March 2013

SPIRAL A couple of ‘crime dramas’ have been launched this week on main stream television – The BBC’s Mayday is being shown on successive nights and Broadchurch went up against it at the same time on Monday on ITV. I’m no television critic and they are both OK but they bear no... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - GIBRALTAR

Date: 6th March 2013

RENÉ AND GIBRALTAR Having had a debilitating cough and cold and also suffering from SAD, I was feeling decidedly down and then an email plopped into my box and suddenly my day was transformed. Nearly two years ago whilst collecting information and photos for my René project I paid a visit to... Read more...


ZYGOPETALUM

Date: 3rd March 2013

In a previous blog I wrote about my disappointment at not being able to see the Butterfly Exhibition at Wisley and that I'd purchased an orchid and a camellia to make up for it. Well, I had a lovely surprise yesterday.  My orchid blooms had opened and  were giving off the most fragrant perfume -... Read more...


UKIP

Date: 2nd March 2013

UKIP So Ukip came second in the Eastleigh By-Election which I understand was a safe Liberal seat anyway. (Liberals who wasted time and money on their demand for an AV vote and yet did not keep their word with regard to Boundary Changes.  I understand that were the Boundaries more fairly organised, then the... Read more...


LIONHEART - Sharon Penman

Date: 25th February 2013

LIONHEART – by Sharon Penman What an absolutely delightful person Sharon Penman appears to be. Through her website I discovered that she was going to be conducting a tour to Fontevraud where Eleanor of Aquitaine was ‘incarcerated’ for many years and where the Tomb effigies of both herself and... Read more...


READING PAST BLOGS

Date: 24th February 2013

READING THE BLOGS Dear All, As I am a technophobe and maybe some of you are too, I just thought I’d tell you how you can look back over past blogs. Go to the Archive column on the Left and click on a month. A page will come up with some resumés and invite you to Read more. When you click on... Read more...


RENÉ - BBC Trailer

Date: 24th February 2013

I don't know how people do it or even if they have the right to do so but I've just been told that the BBC Online trailer for my René programme is now on Youtube -  this is actually illegal and to my annoyance there is an advert preceeding it.   Despite years of research and expense,... Read more...


FAN MUSEUM - GREENWICH

Date: 24th February 2013

FAN MUSEUM – GREENWICH As I am at home with a cold and don’t want to start on the ironing (I loathe ironing but as I equally dislike sleeping on un-ironed bed linen, it is a chore which has to be done)  I thought I’d tell you about something I haven’t even visited yet. Whilst... Read more...


SOE Weekend

Date: 23rd February 2013

SOE Weekend. Ian Reed and I met in London on Tuesday to discuss, with a member of Souvenir Français, having a René Mouchotte exhibition this summer in one of the cabinets at the entrance to the Lycée Français. Whilst there our contact Brigitte mentioned an event this weekend in... Read more...


YORKSHIRE AIR MUSEUM - AWARDS

Date: 23rd February 2013

YORKSHIRE AIR MUSEUM – AWARDS As you know I’m a Vice President of this Museum and very proud to be. I have the greatest respect for the work, devotion and dedication of the Director, Ian Reed and his hardworking staff. Just as an aside – Ian and the crew have had to bail out their offices... Read more...


DICKENS FELLOWSHIP - CHATHAM

Date: 21st February 2013

DICKENS FELLOWSHIP – CHATHAM Many of the members turned up in Dickensian costume and very authentic they were – I wouldn’t have liked to encounter them down a dark alley. Although I was an outsider they were all so welcoming and friendly and made me feel very much at home. The star... Read more...


POCAHONTAS

Date: 21st February 2013

POCAHONTAS On the drive to Chatham we took a slight detour to Gravesend so that I could view the statue to Pocahontas. It was almost night so the photos are not brilliant. I didn’t know the correct story so looked her up on Wikipedia and this is what I found. I think it is fascinating. Pocahontas... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - BBC North Region

Date: 21st February 2013

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE It is interesting isn’t it how often I was turned down by Production Companies, Commissioning Editors etc. when they were offered the story of my search for René Mouchotte. This time last year the Commissioning Editors of BBC 2 and 4 declined to take up the story and yet the... Read more...


ENTHRONEMENT OF NEW ARCHBISHOP

Date: 19th February 2013

Hey,  I've just had some good news. There are over 800 Volunteers at Canterbury Cathedral - Guides, Assistants, the Holy Stitchers, the Holy Dusters, the Flower arrangers, the Welcomers etc.  We were allowed to enter a ballot for 50 seats at the Archbishop's Enthronement in... Read more...


BUTTERFLY EXHIBITION AT WISLEY

Date: 18th February 2013

I had to go to my dentist in Buckinghamshire  having lost a dental crown last week.  I still go back there near to where I used to live because I have been going to David Harris for decades and know and trust him.  It also gave me an opportunity to stay with my sister and visit my mother.  Poor... Read more...


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Charming Children

Date: 10th February 2013

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL – Charming Children On a Sunday when I do my volunteering at the Cathedral, the vast proportion of visitors are adults but occasionally there are children and for the last two Sundays I had some very pleasant encounters. The Gabriel Chapel (and the St Anselm chapel above it) are... Read more...


PET TALES - TAMBY

Date: 7th February 2013

I was very pleased that the Sunday Telegraph people thought my piece on Tamby was worth printing.  Of necessity, it was edited but as I wrote it, I guess it is my copyright - so here's the unedited piece. TAMBY – Stable Cat (Full name – Tamburlaine the Great) Tamby was about eight weeks... Read more...


PET TALES - Sunday Telegraph

Date: 1st February 2013

PET TALES – Sunday Telegraph A dear friend recently gave me a cutting from the Sunday Telegraph – Pet Tales. She suggested that I ought to write about Tamby. I literally dashed off a piece and sent it little thinking that it would be published but lo and behold it is going in this Sunday. So... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - North Region

Date: 1st February 2013

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE I had some fabulous feedback from the programme and there was a common appraisal that the programme was too short and that it was obvious there were many omissions. I can assure you I could fill an hour with all the film and information I have on René and his family but I must be... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Top hit online

Date: 29th January 2013

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE The producer was kind enough to share with me the hits on the BBCNewsonline site – René was the top hit all morning and top of the day with 109,070 hits – Fantastic It was difficult for me to judge ‘Searching for René’ – I’m too close... Read more...


THE MOUCHOTTE DIARIES - 1940 - 1943

Date: 29th January 2013

There has obviously been interest in the Diaries. Might I offer some advice. If possible try and obtain the 1956 English hardback edition published by Staple Press Ltd. England. Although there are no photos this edition does contain the very interesting Appendices concerning the Death certificate, the... Read more...


SEARCHING FOR RENÉ - 28th January 2013

Date: 28th January 2013

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE I’ve just heard that the BBC trail for my programme is the ‘most watched’ clip of the moment. This vindicates all the set backs, the refusals, the lack of interest, the turn downs and proves that my respect for and interest in the delightful man called René... Read more...


DEAN OF CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Huguenot Chapel

Date: 27th January 2013

DEAN OF CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL – Huguenot Chapel. On Sunday 27th January, we had the great privilege of a visit by the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, Dr. Robert Willis. He has the most beautifully modulated speaking voice and his sermon was superb. I didn’t want it to stop. I don’t think... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Documentary 28th Jan. 2013

Date: 27th January 2013

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE – DOCUMENTARY This time tomorrow I will be preparing a very small party for the half dozen people who have helped and encouraged me in my long trek to get a documentary made about this interesting man.  (Those in France will have to wait till I go over there next time) I... Read more...


PLANNING PERMISSION - MADNESS

Date: 22nd January 2013

PLANNING PERMISSION I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that the world, in many respects, has gone mad. I live in a flat in a large converted house built around 200 years ago and of no particular architectural merit. There are eight flats and over the years since conversion people have... Read more...


SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT - what a joke!

Date: 22nd January 2013

SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT – WHAT A JOKE You can tell I’m in grumpy mood probably occasioned by the bad weather – not just the cold but the greyness – and I suffer from SAD. We are supposed to be helping save the environment and yet one sees everywhere instances of unnecessary use of... Read more...


PET TALES - Saturday Telegraph

Date: 21st January 2013

Recently a friend remarked that I should write a piece about my adorable cat Tamby and submit it to Pettales at the Saturday Telegraph. Now that my René Mouchotte project is almost at an end, there’s a bit of a hole in my life and I must find another project to keep the grey matter alive and... Read more...


SNOW STOPS PLAY

Date: 21st January 2013

SNOW STOPS PLAY A variation on ‘Rain stops Play’. Should have gone to York today to film an insert for inclusion in the René Mouchotte documentary for when it airs in North Region. Was really looking forward to the outing – staying at Middlethorpe Hall and having dinner with my... Read more...


CONFIDENTIALITY

Date: 20th January 2013

CONFIDENTIALITY I don’t know if it is a kneejerk reaction to the very unfortunate incident last year with regard to the suicide of the nurse in the ‘Kate’ and the Australian journalists incident but surely ‘confidentiality’ has gone too far when you cannot get information about... Read more...


THE MAGISTRATE - National Theatre production at the Cinema

Date: 18th January 2013

  What a wonderful experience – seeing a National Theatre production live beamed onto a Cinema screen. Having never experienced one of these relatively new Theatre/Cinema projects I wasn’t sure what to expect and that sitting in a cinema seat would detract from the magic of the theatre. Far... Read more...


ROMEO AND JULIET - Laurence Harvey & Susan Shentall

Date: 16th January 2013

Romeo and Juliet – Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall Among my Christmas presents from my sister was a DVD of the 1954 film ‘Romeo and Juliet’ starring Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall. An odd choice of gift you might think. But it has many memories attached to it and my sister and I have... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Allied Air Forces Museum - York

Date: 15th January 2013

  Weather permitting I shall be going to York on Monday 21st to record some inserts for the North Region edition of ‘Searching for René’. Apart from the story reaching a wider audience, I’m delighted that those watching will be able to see something of the Elvington Museum. It... Read more...


LES MISERABLES

Date: 12th January 2013

LES MISERABLES Forgive me for being an old spoil sport but I really do find it amazing all the publicity this very mediocre ‘Musical’ is receiving – by that I mean the original concept because I haven’t seen the film. Don’t know if I am on my own but I don’t see the sense... Read more...


MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT

Date: 11th January 2013

  If you follow my blog, you’ll know that last July I had a tyre blowout on the motorway. Two absolutely delightful ladies from the Highways Agency looked after my friend and myself and couldn’t have been more kind and helpful. Marie has now told me that in May she is doing a sponsored walk... Read more...


RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Documentary

Date: 10th January 2013

The good news is that BBC North Region are going to show the 'Mouchotte' documentary.  This is predominantly because of the involvement of Ian Reed of the Yorkshire Allied Air Forces Museum which gives the film a North regional association.  Ian gave  invaluable help in obtaining the Battle... Read more...


JESSOPS

Date: 9th January 2013

JESSOPS I do hope it won’t happen but I daresay it will. I read today that Jessops is likely to go into Administration. I know we can’t halt the march of progress but these days it’s like a full scale running marathon. I know I’m a dinosaur and a technophobe but I really do not... Read more...