Omar Sharif

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: 7th October 2008


Well!  Who would have thought it?  I interviewed Omar Sharif on a BBC Magazine Programme called Pebble Mill back in the late 70's.  There I was, with two friends, having lunch in the delightfully scenic Port of Collioure - not far from Perpignan - and saw some film trucks.  They were filming 'J'ai oublie de te dire ' (if I've got it right - 'I forget what you say'!) and the star was Omar.  Having looked up the title on the Internet under the excellent IMDB, I see that the film is to be released in 2009 but don't know when.  I rather doubt it will go onto major general release.

I explained to the delightful restaurateur of La Marinade  that I'd interviewed him years ago and she conveyed this information to one of the Assistants.  He bothered to come and speak with me - I wrote a little note to Omar and the next thing, I was standing talking to him.  I'm sure he wouldn't remember me from a bar of soap but I distinctly remember that interview as though it were yesterday.  For any of you who used to watch Pebble Mill,  the head guy was Donnie McLeod and he always did the 'Personality Interviews' but on that particular day, he was fogbound in Aberdeen and I filled in.  It was a pre-recorded interview for transmission the following day.  Mr. Sharif was doing a tour promoting Waddington's Games.  We recorded the interview and at the end he asked if I were married - which I wasn't at the time.  I was given the next day off but when I returned to Birmingham and the Pebble Mill Studios, one of the researchers told me Omar had phoned in my absence and asked to speak to me.  Probably just as well I wasn't there ...........!!!!!!!

It really was an absolute pleasure to meet him again.  He is still incredibly good looking and has that gift of making every one to whom he speaks feel as though they are really special.  Well, I felt very special and it made an already lovely day, simply Wunderbar!


So what was I doing down in the South Western Corner of France!  My friends and I were travelling to a Juice Plus Conference in Barcelona and had decided to avoid Airports and take the less frenetic journey by TGV  down to Southern France.  It was a great journey - only marred by a ridiculously long Taxi wait at the Gare du Nord.  We waited an hour and only caught the TGV at the Gare du Lyons with 5 minutes to spare - So much for our leisurely lunch.

Discovered later that the Taxi Drivers in Paris charge 300,000 Euros for their licence on retirement (it is their pension fund).  Young people cannot afford to pay this sum so there is a dearth of Taxi drivers and the passengers are paying the price.

We stayed two nights at the Aragon a delightful B & B in Perpignan (clean, simple, no nonsense and and excellent Continental breakfast)  We had a day tour to Elne (where I fell in love with an apartment and would have bought it had I had the ready cash) Elne boasts a fortified church with a superb  marble cloister - a great attraction for visitors.  We lunched at the Port of Collioure - and not only did I meet Omar Sharif but a very pleasant group of people from the Westcountry who asked if I were 'Jan Leeming'.  They used to watch the Nightly News Programme which I presented for 7 years alongside the lovely Bruce Hockin.  They had a gorgeous greyhound with them - she was a rescue dog and a bag of bones when they found her.  I know that many greyhounds are abandoned when they are past their best as racers - how cruel people can be.  But it's good to meet kind folk who take them in and nurse them back to health.  Sorry I didn't get their names but I will try and get a picture of them and the greyhound up on the site.  You know I'm a technophobe and anything more than writing my blog is quite an effort.

Then it was on to Barcelona and the first major mistake.  None of us knew the Avenue Diagonal was 18 kilometres long (yes 18 and my finger didn't slip on the key) and my hotel was too far away from the Conference Centre - so I ended up paying top wack for a room more centrally situated.

The Conference was extremely informative and the Gala Dinner and Dance absolutely delightful.  I danced until they brought the lights up.

We managed a couple of the Tourist Bus Tours and WOW what a fabulous city is Barcelona.  At every turn you are gawping at the architecture and so much of it is of the 'Modernista' movement - which I probably know better as Art Noveau.  Of course a vast amount of these 'Over the top' buildings are the oeuvres of Gaudi.  I simply don't know whether he was Mad or way beyond his time.  However you respond to his works, he certainly generates heated discussion. And as for his main work - still not finished almost a hundred years after his death - the Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia!!!!!  It's weird, wonderful, exciting and you could study it for weeks without ever exhausting all its strangeness.  It looks like a mix between a Disney edifice and something shaped out of wet sand.  Actually it defies description.  When they started building it, the  Cathedral stood in meadows and now it's cheek by jowl with modern apartment blocks and looks totally incongruous - probably not much more so than the Pompidou Centre in France (which I dislike intensely).  i kept wondering how Gaudi got the City Fathers to agree to allow him to build his Cathedral.  He'd never get away with it today.

In Barcelona even the standard apartment blocks are beautiful and so many have the most intricate iron lacework balconies with lovely Art Nouveau decoration over the windows and doors.  I simply couldn't believe how stunning it all was and definitely want to go back for another visit.  I didn't think any city could compare with my beloved Paris but Barcelona, in some respects, eclipses it.

I've been so lucky to have visited three fabulous cities in the last few months - Bruges with it's glorious mediaeval architecture,  Rome and it's antiquity and now wonderful and exciting Barcelona.

Haven't got any more trips lined up, but life is ever changing and I really do believe in 'Carpe Diem' - Grab the day.

Fond wishes to you all.  Jan


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