The Good The Bad And The Ugly

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: 18th February 2011


Well I couldn’t think of a title which would encompass all I want to write down. A very new friend read my Blogs and commented that, despite having strong opinions, feelings etc about current issues, I never write them down.

I had to explain that, in my opinion, we no longer live in a democracy and that it is no longer a country of free speech – yes possibly if you are left of centre but certainly not if you vere to the right. I was brought up in a world where we were taught a work ethic (in the Convent to not be employed was tantamount to a mortal sin) it was seen as a failing to have to ‘Sign on’ – but I have to admit that there were many more jobs available – many in manufacturing etc. But the world has changed and become Hi-tech and so much of our manufacturing has gone, sacrificed to the desire for ‘cheapness’ and the ability of previously third world countries to provide goods regardless of the price in human ‘sacrifice’ and I’m talking about slave labour. But if you look at the labels on most of our goods, electrical, clothing, etc. and so forth you will see hidden in the bar codes that many many originate in China, India and the emerging nations. Isn’t it a joke that our Prime Minister has gone cap in hand to India to curry favour for indigenous industries and yet, thanks to him, we are still handing out to them AID – despite there being more millionaires and billionaires than we have and despite the fact that they do not spend their wealth in educating the populace. Of course not, if they did they wouldn’t have the cheap labour.

So what has this got to do with my day.

I started off in the Dentist’s chair – one half of a crown came off last week and I didn’t want to risk an incident – do you remember when the late Kenneth Kendal lost a crown whilst reading the news!

My original crowns put on in the 70’s were for cosmetic reasons so I had to pay. They’ve been replaced a couple of times since then and the price has increased accordingly. The only reason I mention this is I wonder if the people who have the advantage of a National Health dentist have any idea whatsoever of the true cost of a crown - £450. And while I’m on the subject. Sadly my sister was recently diagnosed with the beginnings of Osteoporosis. Being a person who believes in Prevention rather than cure I asked my Doctor if I could have a similar test - No, unless there is a familial history BUT you can pay for a scan and it will be around £50. So off I went to the hospital and had my scan. I’ve just got the bill - £125! And yet, foreigners come here, immigrants come here none of whom have paid a penny into our system and they can have their ills treated, deliver their babies and take advantage of a system which used to be the envy of the world now creaking under the strain of delivering so much more than it was set up to deliver decades ago. There are children having bust enhancements, folk having transgender operations, obese people having gastric bands, and maybe these are regarded as essential for the psychological well being of the person but the National Health System was only dealing with TB and broken limbs at its inception.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d be the first to pay a few extra pennies in Tax if I thought it was going to the right people – the genuinely disabled, the sick and the elderly. But I object most strongly to the way so much of our money is spent especially when it comes to teenage girls who look upon having babies on the state as a life-style choice. It isn’t just the something for nothing culture, but I feel so sorry for those children so many of whom are brought up without a family structure, without fathers, without a work ethic and very often end up in a cycle of dependence which does nothing to enhance their lives nor the country in which they live.

I do sometimes wonder if people think that the Government has an orchard of Money trees which they are too mean to shake. A tranche of the public appear to think that hand outs are their ‘right’ without ever having put anything into the Pot.

So on with my day.

The GOOD was having a coffee with Mark Chapman whom I met just under two years ago. Mark was doing research with regard to a book his father had written – not published but excellent – on the work of the Ground Crews with the RAF in WW2 and with particular emphasis on the French Squadrons. Although Mr. Chapman senior had not worked with René Mouchotte, he knew a lot about him and wrote glowingly about him in his book. He had correspondence with René’s sister and it was Mark who furnished me with her married name. This was like the Open Sesamé key and when I saw that her name was not on the wall of the Mouchotte Tomb in Pére Lachaise Cemetery but that of her husband was inscribed there, I knew she had to be alive. So that led me on to a meeting, the finding of the omission of the Battle of Britain Medals etc. and so forth.

I want to try and help Mark get his father’s book published. We’ve now honoured the Fighter Squadrons, the Bomber Squadrons but we haven’t paid due homage to the Ground Crews who were the ‘glue’ which kept the whole thing together.

Then we came onto the BAD and downright UGLY. My poor mother has been slowly sinking into Dementia for many years now. In fact, as our lovely, kind, vivacious mother, she left us several years ago. She has now reached the stage of having to be in full time care. If I had the funds she would be in the best Care home that money could buy. Sadly although I had a high profile, the equally high and eye-watering fees that you get today just were not around in my hey-day. In fact we women also suffered from sex discrimination in that our male colleagues were paid considerably more than we were – I think the powers that be assumed that most women were working for ‘pin money’ and actually had husbands to keep them. Allied to all that there were no occupational pensions and I, unfortunately, invested every spare penny I had into the Equitable Pension Fund and most of us know what happened to that – it went belly up and wasn’t helped by Gordon Brown’s raid on the favourable tax incentives offered to Pension funds at the time. ( I didn’t choose to be Freelance – that is what ITV and the BBC wished for – so that if they desired it the Baby could go out with the Bathwater and all they had to do was pay you up to the end of your contract. Wham, Bam and Thank you Mam – off you go with that month’s cheque and nothing more)

I still go to my dentist in Marlow having lived just up the road in Penn for 15 years. And oh how I wish I still lived there. But I made some wrong calls and ended up where I am now. The only elements I enjoy about living in Kent are the proximity to France, my association with the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, my work in the Cathedral, my love of the Cathedral and Canterbury and that is about it. Although I would not give a thank you to live in London, at least in Penn I could get to London in just over a half hour – could enjoy the culture of the capital and then escape back to a semi rural environment.

So after my dental appointment I paid a visit to my mother. While I was there a couple arrived – both of foreign extraction.  One has to say that because so many immigrants never speak English properly that they could have been here for 10 years of 10 months.  One of them sat and started asking my stepfather about my Mother’s medication which I thought was rather odd. My stepfather is trying to find a home for Mummy and obviously price is an issue. He thought this person had come to talk about the ‘relative’ fees but she had taken it as a foregone conclusion that this visit was tantamount to an ‘admission to the home’.

I also took exception to the other person, whom she explained was the ‘handyman’ for the home, sitting in my mother’s living room and being privy to information to which he had no right. Apparently the woman – I’ve no idea what her role was as she didn’t explain – doesn’t drive so he acted as her chauffeur – and that sent warning signs – since when do you use the handyman to chauffeur you to official appointments. He was of foreign extraction too- possibly East European. This begs the question – with over 3 million unemployed why are so many foreign immigrants in jobs – is it because they are prepared to work for the absolute minimum wage, cash in hand, or some other fiddle which might be being worked by the Care Homes?

(I recently heard from a woman who does work in a care home owned by yet another foreigner – who owns a chain of them – that they have to buy teatowels which are dirt cheap and then cut them into four to act as flannels for the elderly residents. Isn’t that appalling! If you had the money to set up a chain of care homes or even had shares in them, it is a licence to print money.)

And now we come to the nub of my discontent. Despite all the Government blathering on about how much they are going to take care of the elderly, it’s a smoke screen. If you have worked all your life, paid your taxes and your N.I. and live in a home that you own, you will be ‘taken to the cleaners’. And yet if you have been profligate and spent all you ever had on anything, smoking, drinking gambling and have nothing, then the state has a duty to take care of you. In Heaven’s Name where is the justice in that.

Fortunately I don’t know the name of the care home, nor the woman and her chauffeur but I do know that the cost per week was £950 and she was proud to say that the state would reimburse £108!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Alleluhia. So, at a conservative estimate, and we are not talking about the Ritz, my stepfather is going to have to pay nearly £40,000 pa for my mother’s care. They aren’t rich. They bought their house in Windsor over 50 years ago for about £3,000. And of course the value has magnified beyond belief but it is their home – and just because it is worth nearly half a million does not mean they are millionaires. So what is the answer?

Cameron can generously give Aid to countries in many of which that Aid finds itself within a couple of years in Swiss Bank Accounts, we are made to take in millions of immigrants who can almost immediately sign on for all the benefits of our Welfare State and our own people who have worked and paid tax are treated appallingly.

One often reads about the dire state of affairs where it is the taxes of the young which are funding the care of the old BUT if successive Governments had husbanded all the money they’ve taken off us over the decades there would surely be a healthy financial balance but they haven’t – they’ve spent it on other things.  When I was a little girl this country had a population of 58 million. That has now increased to 68 million but there are fewer jobs for the working population and facilities are being tested to the extreme. We are a small island and we simply cannot cope with this population explosion.  (However our ruling classes who live in a bubble of wealth and private education, have no idea how the rest of us live.  I bet they have never had to juggle the bills till the end of the month so they can blithely continue to welcome with open arms all who wish to come here and take advantage of a very generous welfare state and benefit system - that is unless you are OLD)

Feeling very upset, saddened and angry, I began my journey home thinking that at least I would enhance the day by a visit to the NHS Gardens at Wisley where they had a Butterfly Exhibition in the Glasshouse. I couldn’t believe my luck, I was waved into the first car park available. That is where the luck stopped. Not having grandchildren I was totally unaware that it was half term. On going to pay the entrance fee and just about to tap in my pin, the nice young man mentioned that there was a one and a half hour queue. I couldn’t stop for that would have put me back onto the M25 during rush hour. That is bad at the best of times but it is even worse now because of major roadworks around J 5 due to continue till Autumn 2014.

So no beautiful butterflies to calm my raddled nerves and then I spent the whole journey debating as to whether or not I would give vent to my spleen and share my thoughts with you. Well, at least they can’t lock me in the tower!

And to cap it all I returned to the BT Broadband not working – YET AGAIN – and nor did the oven work. The latter was due to, I think, a power cut and I did get that working. And after a long call to INDIA BT Broadband was re-installed. Oh how I wish I were rich – I’d buy an island in the Seychelles, take my watercolour paints, some books and go native. DREAM ON.

Off to London tomorrow to discuss staging an exhibition at the Institute Français – the subject – René of course.




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