Grubby London

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.


Date: 14th December 2009


Heaven alone knows what visitors - particularly those from Scandinavian countries - must think of our Grubby Capital City.  On my recent Baltic Cruise (working) my son and I visited most of the Scandinavian Capitals and were so impressed with the cleanliness of their cities.  On my short walk from Charing Cross up St. Martin's Lane to the Noel Coward Theatre, I am disgusted at the state of our streets.  Chewing Gum is dotted all over the pavements - mind you it doesn't help that so many manufacturers now sell the stuff in little boxes where they rattle around loose - so there isn't even a paper in which to wrap the residue even if one were so inclined.

I've just read a letter in 'The Week' - an excellent periodical which looks at world events from every angle - left, right and in the middle.  The letter was from Robin Hanbury-Tenison (a delightful man whom I once interviewed and who, in turn, once rescued me from very personal and unnecessary questioning in an interview with the Irish Gay Byrne).  In his letter he wrote about   Chewing Gum.  Apparently until after the Second World War chewing gum was made from chicle, the gum of the chicozapote tree.  The gum is biodegradable, can be swallowed and if 'spat out' eventually turns to powder.  Synthetic gum which 'adorns' our pavements was invented in the 1950's.

Fortunately the 'chicleros' - who harvested the gum are finally fighting back and a consortium of 2,000 of them in Mexico are marketing chicle in Europe.  Waitrose stocks it and it is being distributed to all Universities in Britain.  So, if you must chew gum, how about a stick of chicle - you'll be helping to save the rainforest and its indigenous inhabitants (descendants of the Maya) and keep our pavements clean.  Sounds GOOD to me.

Do our 'Rulers' have one iota of common sense between them all.  I loathe smoking and always have so I've avoided pubs and clubs all my life.  That's fine - my choice is not to go to those smoked filled dens but if others want to - great - that's their choice.  Now, whether we non-smokers like it or not we have to walk through Arches of smoke around the doorways of public buildings and pubs where the smokers congregate for their 'fix'.  One of the worst through which I had to forge a path was the Side door to Moorfields Eye Hospital - it was like wading through thick and smelly fog and the noxious fumes lingered for many feet afterwards as I progressed into the building.  

Not only do you have to walk in the road to get around the masses standing on the pavements smoking but the sight of the 'butts' littered all over the pavements is positively disgusting.  Of course our 'Rulers' didn't think that far did they.  No, they live in their little ivory towers and their pads far away from the common herd - of which I count myself one.  And you can't totally blame the smokers because very little is provided by way of somewhere in which to dispose of their butts.

So many rules and regulations are passed as the result of minority 'pressure groups' and the end result is never debated.  When the smokers had their designated rooms in pubs, clubs and restaurants, that was far preferable to turning them in to pariahs who have to hang about on streets polluting everything in sight.  I actually feel sorry for them and for the rest of us who have to look at the discarded remnants on the pavement the next day.  But of course, government would never ban smoking - they get too much income from the Trade.  Sir Walter Raleigh has a lot to answer for.

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