Jan Leeming

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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: 1st October 2011


I have been walking on Walmer Beach for over eight years and, apart from the odd pretty stone or geode with some sparkling crystal and the occasional dead starfish, have never found anything of note until yesterday.

When I came to live down here I was told that occasionally after the high Spring Tides, one might find amber down near the St. Margaret at Cliffe end of the Coast. Apparently it doesn’t often look like amber and can be a dirty greyish colour - a kind of skin covering the beautiful amber underneath so you could easily walk past and not realise what a little treasure might be at your feet.

Yesterday on the Walmer Beach which is all shingle, I looked down and saw a honey coloured ‘stone’ but on picking it up, the warmth and weightlessness told me I’d found a lump of Amber. I was as pleased as if I’d found a nugget of gold. When you think that my bit of amber was formed millions of years ago from the resin of pine trees no longer in existence and that it had taken a trip across the Baltic Sea, I was holding a tiny slice of history in my hands.

Several decades ago I interviewed an Amber collector who had a shop in Walberswick on the East Anglian Coast. I was totally fascinated by the amber story and persuaded her to sell me a piece which I thought was full of fish scales but later learned they were actually compressed droplets of water. I had the lump for years until a very kind assistant in Harrods sent it away (I think to Poland) and it was set for me. Harrods at the time were selling a lot of Polish amber set very prettily in semi-precious metal.

I cannot tell you how I felt finding my Amber on the beach.

I’ve not walked as often as I would have liked this summer because we’ve had bitter biting winds which are most unpleasant. However the last week has been absolutely idyllic and I’ve done four 3-4 mile walks. Today I walked for nearly two hours and came home really tired. Despite the long walk - No Amber. I doubt I will ever find another piece again.

Monday - 3rd.  Went for another 2 hour walk today along the beach.    Walmer beach is shingle - millions and millions of pebbles in all manner of colours, grey, blond, black, reddish and they shift massively with each tide.  The more I think about it, the more I think it was well nigh a miracle that I found my lump of amber among the multi coloured pebbles.  

This is my piece about - just over 2 inches long by 1.5 inches high and almost an inch wide.


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