Antalya Celebrity Five Go To 2011

Jan Leeming

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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.

ANTALYA - Celebrity Five Go To ............ 2011

Date: 31st January 2017

This is a bit of a cheat but I found this article when I was trying desperately to empty some of the 'stuff' off my computer which is horrendously full but I never seem to get the time to go through the hundreds of Files nor to pare down the Photographs which now numbet over 29,000 and that is only since digital cameras came into being - before that I had sacks full of photographs most of which I threw away.  As my good friend Doreen said 'After you are gone, who will want them' and she is right.

I'm not sure whether it was ever published but it would have been my copyright so I am at liberty to print it here.  And I also mention my trips to a Siberian Gulag town,  Norway in the Winter and Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. (Isn't it sad that today you would be advised not to go to Turkey on a visit.)

This was the first in a short lived series taking 5 strangers to a venue and seeing how they got on.  Our team comprised Astrologer Russell Grant, Wild Child Emma Ridley, Derek Conway, Anthony Costa, and myself.

Bring together five strangers. Put them in a luxury villa and give them tasks ranging from adventure to culture and what have you got – A TV programme of course. Our destination was kept a secret until the last minute so packing was more difficult than usual. We met at Gatwick and discovered we were off to Antalya in Turkey.

Events got off to a bad start when Emma Ridley (a child-woman - described in the publicity as a Wild Child of the 80's) pushed Russell Grant into the Villa’s pool. He can’t swim and his language was ripe. Emma burst into tears and I comforted her but my compassion wore very thin very quickly. Emma was to prove to be a loose cannon throughout our stay but I’m sure she made for good reality television.

I got on particularly well with Derek Conway whom I found to be a highly entertaining and pleasant companion. To him fell one of the first ‘Tasks’ which was to host a cultural visit to Antalya aided by a Guide dressed in his finery and strutting like a peacock. We visited a Mosque and had explained to us the washing ritual which was very interesting and suitably attired we went inside although Emma objected loudly to having to cover her body – don’t know why she didn’t remain outside and continue her shopping for Bling!

I hosted a visit to the Duden Falls - one of the most beautiful Falls I've ever seen - at every twist and turn of the path there was more water gushing out of the hillside. The main beauty of the visit was being able to go into caves behind the Waterfall. Our trip should have ended with snacks and a bottle of Bubbly but Emma had slipped away from us and shinned down a vine to have a swim in the Falls pool. This is dangerous and forbidden. She had to be rescued and the paperwork to release her took ages holding up filming for 2 hours. She was not the most popular girl on the block especially as the guys – Russell, Derek and Tony Costa were rather hungry and when she eventually got back onto the people carrier, there wasn’t a word of apology. Tony Costa from ‘Blue’ is of Greek origin and there was a great moment when our Turkish guide and Tony exchanged a friendly hand-grip (Greece and Turkey are traditional enemies)

Whilst Russell, Emma and Tony went on a ‘Safari’ Derek and I visited a Moslem Family high up in the Taurus mountains. Our hosts were illiterate and their village primitive but the warmth of their welcome was humbling. Our lovely producer Peter Usher and crew, Derek and I were very moved by their happiness and lack of material possessions. ( The visit was similar to the one I experienced in Siberia many years ago - we couldn't speak a word of each other's language but there was quiet empathy and liking all round.)

We had our own chef in the Villa but I didn't enjoy the food. It was mostly meat based and predominantly lamb. It’s my preference not to eat lamb and we didn't go to any of the up-market restaurants so can't really make a studied judgement on Turkish cuisine.

For me the absolute highlight of the trip was swimming with Dolphins. I'd touched dolphins in The Keys in Florida but not had the joy of swimming with them. They really are the most wonderful creatures and really seem to enjoy human contact. Our sound man told us how, when he was surfing on the Barrier Reef, some tiger sharks appeared from nowhere so he and his chums pulled up their legs, sat on their boards and prayed. Along came a pod of Pink Dolphin and circled them continually until the Sharks swam away.  (Since I wrote this I've been made aware that it is not acceptable to keep Dolphins in Captivity even if they were originally orphaned so I would no longer participate in this type of experience)

Hopefully you'll have a great laugh at our antics on a Banana Boat and yours truly catapulted into the sea - absolutely drownded and laughing like a drain especially when our ‘posh’ guide helped heave me out of the water, fell on top of me and got his lovely clothes soaking wet. Heaven alone knows what I looked like but it really was a hoot.

I had no idea Turkey was such a fascinating country with a wealth of history and very much hope to be able to visit again - more for the culture than a Beach holiday which you can get almost anywhere in the world. Sadly, for the immediate future Turkey is not a place to which I would return.

I love lying on a beach with a good book but enjoy equally learning about different cultures and having new experiences. Although it was only for four days, my trip to Norwegian Lapland – offered by the Norwegian Tourist board after I’d been in I’m a Celebrity …., was fabulous. I took my son and we dog-sledded and helped feed the adorable Husky dogs, sprinted eight metres over the snow to sit in a hot tub drinking champagne and looking at the stars, slept in an Ice Hotel at minus 5 degrees, visited the Sami and snowmobiled on a frozen lake at night. We were out so long they were thinking of sending out the search party!

A decade ago I was very fortunate in visiting Zhelesnogorsk – a Closed town in Siberia for which one had to obtain all manner of documentation from the Russian Government. Seeing how these folk coped with living at minus 40 degrees for up to six months; experiencing their culture and folklore and yet again the warmth of their welcome was something I will never forget.

I’ve just returned from a visit to Australia where I made contact with actors I’d not seen for over 40 years, with relatives I didn’t know I had and fulfilled a lifelong ambition which was to go to the Barrier Reef. Lizard Island is a fifty minute flight from Cairns and is one of the northernmost islands of the Reef which is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing visible from space. I’m not a diver and not even a strong swimmer so I booked a ‘private’ snorkeling expedition and can’t tell you what it was like seeing the vibrant colours of the fish, the brilliant blue of the Stag coral, and the giant clams closing as we swam over them.

I adore traveling and really envy the Pilgers, Dimblebys and Simon Reeves of the world. Today’s young executives are probably unaware of my long history of reporting, interviewing and presenting prior to Newsreading. Today I am always the Bridesmaid and never the Bride which is quite funny when you think of my marital history. I accepted ‘Celebrity Five Go To ……’ knowing that I would be laying myself open to the Editor’s scissors which can make or break you but at least I got to see and experience another part of the world. I do hope you enjoy the programmes – I certainly enjoyed taking part.

The Duden Falls - One of dozens of photos I took of these stunning Falls. 

ANTALYA - Celebrity Five Go To ............  2011

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