Fly With The Stars The Duchess

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: 8th September 2008


A Tribute to the Few

My son Jonathan and I went to the Palladium on Sunday night to see 'Fly with the Stars'.  It was a Charity Gala Performance in aid of The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust in the presence of Prince Michael of Kent.

The show was superb - rather like a scaled down Royal Variety Performance.  As it was an evening of 40's Nostalgia, I was a trifle concerned that Jonathan wouldn't enjoy the show.  I needn't have worried - he loved it and was very touched at meeting a couple of the Veterans of The Battle - a handful of whom were in the audience and at the After Show Party.

As with the Royal Variety - all the stars gave their time for free.  The line up included Brian Conley (extremely funny and also a very good singer), lovely Millicent Martin, Alistair McGowan (whom Jonathan was thrilled to meet and talk with), Charlotte Page, Su Pollard (whom I've not seen for ages but she greeted me as if we'd been together yesterday and was concerned about Jonathan's health - having seen the Article about his Cancer), Robert Hardy (whom I interviewed an age ago on the Pebble Mill at One programme) and Trevor McDonald.  Haven't mentioned everyone as the list of talent was endless. 

One of the funniest numbers was 'Please Leave my Butter alone' performed by Celia Imrie and Sally Ann Triplett in their forties wrapover  'pinnies' and with their hair done up in turban-like headscarves.  I can dimly remember women looking like that during my childhood!!  And my own mother wore a 'pinnie' although I never saw her in a headscarf.

Another lovely number was performed by the 1960's Tiller girls - all probably drawing their pensions but dancing superbly and all of them had fine pairs of pins.

Su Pollard surprised many of us by her remarkably good and strong singing voice and then we learned that she is to appear in a new musical called 'Shout' - as it will be going on tour, keep a look out for it.

I met Trevor, and his lovely wife Jo, at the Airport in Belfast last year on my way back from cooking for Children in Need.  On Sunday, they had their charming and very good looking son with them so Jonathan and he were talking universities.

The four-man group Blake sang 'Up Where We Belong” - four gorgeous hunks and I'm sure many in the audience were wishing they were up there on stage with them.

There were the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Central Band of the Royal Airforce, looking resplendent in their uniforms and playing sublimely.  And of course, there were the delightful Pearly Kings and Queens.

The Palladium was full and I do sincerely hope that the audience was not heavily 'papered' - when they give the seats away rather than have them empty - because it really was a superb show and deserved to raise as much as possible for the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.

So why am I writing about a show which was only on for one night, predominantly to bring your attention to the Battle of Britain Memorial and what you might be able to do to help.  Also, I'm hoping the response was good enough that there will be another show next year.  It was so worth attending. 

If you are interested in helping in even a small way, you could sponsor the name of a pilot - a Member of The Few -  as I did when I was 'given' Rene Mouchotte.  It can cost as little as £25.

If you are interested, phone Group Captain Patrick Tootal on 01732 870809.

And I will end this little piece by quoting Sir Winston Churchill's immortal words .....

Never in the field of human conflict

Was so much owed by so many to so few



Went to see 'Duchess' which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Thought Ralph Fiennes was superb. He had very little dialogue but what he conveyed without words was the art of a true actor.  And on the one occasion when he let himself smile, you actually felt sorry for this hard, manipulating chauvinist.

I'm afraid I am Kiera Knightley'd out.  She is lovely but my credibility is suspended because of having seen her star is so much over the last couple of years.  She looked absolutely stunning and was moving when her baby Eliza was taken away from her.  But for most of the time, she just looked gorgeous as she pouted and smiled her way through the film.

The settings were stupendous but then it would be hard not to be pleased with the likes of Althorp and various other gorgeous establishments.


On the personal front, I'm going along this week for a taste of Salsa - if I like it - or more to the point am able to do it, I shall take it up as a hobby.  I do so love to dance and it's very difficult when you don't have a partner and are way beyond the age of going to Disco's.  Mind you I did disco till they put the lights out at 4.00 am whilst on board the Oceana on the Norwegian Cruise earlier this year.  Although he pretended to be cross with me, I think Jonathan was rather proud that his mother could keep up with the young dancers from the Shipboard Shows.  Come to think of it, I was rather proud of myself.

Then there's The Butterfly Ball at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington which I shall be attending this coming Saturday. 

Take care - a bientot.   Jan





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