Australia Day

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: 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 huge fixed umbrellas over the tables if they are outside. It was pouring with rain and I happened to be sitting under a portion which dripped and got a very wet backside. It was fun though to be sitting very close to the water and being able to observe the Ferry race etc. The weather improved and I eventually dried out.

Rather like the opening day of the Sydney Festival, there's heaps to do and so much going on that you don't know where to start. We walked up from Circular Quay towards the centre of town and Hyde Park. Along the way there was a display of old fire engines and very interesting they were too. J took a photo of me with a fireman in the uniform of the day standing against a delightful old machine - Hugs were for free so I had one. I'm also wearing a silly thing in my hair - me who won't even wear a paper hat at Christmas. But somehow you just let your hair down and join in.

Around Hyde Park there was a fantastic display of Vintage cars - one hundred year old Rolls Royces right up to 30 year old Ferraris. I even saw one Frog Eyed Sprite (they call them Bug-Eyed sprite) which was my very first car. I had it all of one day and it zig-zagged out of control and turned over trapping me underneath. I sustained facial injuries and various other cuts and bruises. I was extremely fortunate to have been put into the care of Mr. John Barron at Odstock Hospital in Salisbury. John had trained under Sir Archibald McIndoe who carried out the reconstructive surgery on the faces and hands of many fighter pilots who suffered burns during WW2. My father was quick thinking and had the AA look at the car. The reason for the accident was that there was one radial tyre on the front. If you use radials you must use them in pairs and then they go on the back. Not long after my accident, it became illegal to use one radial and to have it at the front.

We popped into The Historical society and listened to two very short talks on How Sydney got its name and Crook as Rookwood. Rookwood is the largest Cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere with over one million 'inhabitants'. Crook is the Australian word for not feeling well. Surprisingly, that talk was also very interesting.

Parliament House was open to visitors and we had free range around the Upper and Lower House and a look at the Members Garden which had in it a statue of St. Thomas More which I photographed to show people who visit Canterbury Cathedral. Thomas More was a trusted member of Henry V111's inner court but when he went against the King's wishes and stood up for his Religious beliefs, Henry had him beheaded.

Jonathan and I raced back to Circular Quay but just missed the Aerial display by some Tiger Moths. Having walked for four hours, I am now nursing a very swollen ankle and trying to rest it as much as possible. My holiday is drawing to a close and I shall be so sad to leave my lovely son and return to gloomy England. The only thought that cheers me is that I can get stuck into my René Mouchotte project which, with the help of Ian Reed - Director of the Elvington Museum - is coming along apace. So wish me luck and hopefully my long awaited documentary will finally get made. This has been a quest now for just under 5 years so if ever Patience is rewarded, I might get there. Bye for now, Jan

Flicky and Me with Fireman and one of the quaint old Fire Engines


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