2014 - Jan Leeming Blog

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.

ROYAL AIR FORCE IN CONCERT - Celebrating the Red Arrows 50th Display Season

Date: 21st November 2014

  My friend and I attended this concert at the Marlow in Canterbury and it was superb – far exceeding expectations. The choice of music was excellent and very wide ranging – from a Queen Medley and Nessun Dorma through Music of the Night to traditional Jerusalem and Rule Britannia. All the... Read more...


Date: 3rd November 2014

DORDOGNE - Rocamadour I love Provence and spent holidays for over a decade in that lovely Area but had no idea how beautiful is the countryside comprising the Dordogne and the Lot. I could hardly credit that at almost every turn of the road there’s is yet another ‘fairytale’ historic... Read more...


Date: 3rd November 2014

Château de Fénelon This chateau was very close to where I was staying and proved to be a very interesting visit. Obviously it has been much refurbished but it had many interesting features which are absent in most Chateaux. Inadvertently I picked up the French brochure so I cannot be as explicit as... Read more...


Date: 3rd November 2014

DOMME I can’t believe that it is so long ago when I had my brief but superb holiday in the Dordogne/Lot region of France. Promising to write about my visits etc. I will now have to rely on memory so these blogs might be shorter than usual. Domme is a fine Bastide - a fortified Mediaeval town with two... Read more...


Date: 29th October 2014

Do politicians ever really grow up - do they think we are all stupid. Just now on the Classic FM News, Milliband is berating Cameron for 'breaking his promise' to limit immigration and deal with the problem. Has Milliband conveniently forgotten that it was the Labour Government in power which... Read more...


Date: 29th October 2014

Although I have a mobile phone, I rarely use it unless I'm late for an appointment.  I don't like spending time on a mobile and much prefer my landline. I recently compiled a small list of phone numbers which I would accept and I never pick up on anything beginning with 0800.  However, this... Read more...


Date: 28th October 2014

Today is definitely not my day. At lunchtime I went to post a letter First class in the box which has a collection at 4.00pm.  Unfortunately I had already posted the missive when I saw that the collection times have now been changed.  If you want your letter to be collected today you have to have it... Read more...


Date: 22nd October 2014

The funeral of my father was held yesterday in the Forest of Dean Crematorium. It’s only now hitting me that he is gone and I’m fit for nothing today. My stepmother and her daughter and son in law put together a superb tribute to Daddy and the Service could not have been bettered. I knew my father... Read more...


Date: 18th October 2014

Please excuse lack of Blogs recently.  The death of my father has been part of the reason that I haven't had the time to sit down and write.   I had a fascinating 10 days in the South Eastern part of the Dordogne in the Sarlat region and will write about it shortly.  I was in seventh... Read more...


Date: 10th October 2014

At 99 and just four months short of his telegram from the Queen, my lovely Father has passed away. Born and brought up in India, he came to the UK in 1937 seeking a life with a better future than offered in his birthplace. He was always a highly disciplined and proud man and a wonderful father to a little girl. I... Read more...


Date: 27th September 2014

DAVE LEE TRAVIS I cannot believe that Dave has been found guilty of anything – other than actions of which a huge proportion of men are still guilty today -  just as they were decades ago and will be for time immemorable. I’m sorry but, as I’ve said before – it might not have... Read more...

NEW LAMPS FOR OLD - or rather Lampshades

Date: 27th September 2014

I have two very attractive Moorcroft lamp bases where the shades were decidedly past their best.  I liked the shape of the shade, bought about 20 years ago when there was a fashion for slightly oriental shapes. So, with the shade in a bag I made for my favourite store - John Lewis.  Although he was... Read more...

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Bleriot Airfield, Marck

Date: 27th September 2014

I went with friends to Calais yesterday to buy wine and cheeses and also to have dinner at an excellent restaurant the Côte d’Argent. They expressed an interest in seeing the Memorial to René at Bleriot Airfield near Marck, a small village north of Calais. I was very upset to see the Memorial... Read more...

Tamby - update

Date: 26th September 2014

Tamby had to have his 3 month test after the radiation treatment he received in May/June.  His thyroid levels are not stable yet but this could be the result of the iodine radiation.  However I had to take him back for a kidney test - not brilliant.  He will now have to go onto special food and if... Read more...


Date: 24th September 2014

Having been recently accepted for Membership, I thought I'd better strike whilst the iron was hot and before I lost my nerve so I booked a place at the Luncheon on Wedesday.  I didn't even know who the speaker would be. She was absolutely fantastic - Jo Salter who was the very first female jet pilot.... Read more...


Date: 20th September 2014

HONOURABLE COMPANY OF AIR PILOTS Yours truly is very proud to announce that I have been accepted as a Freeman of the Livery. I became a Freeman of the City of London in 1987 but had never thought of joining a Guild. The fact that I could even think of membership was a revelation to me. However, because of... Read more...


Date: 20th September 2014

Anyone who follows my Blog will know about my passion for and dedication to the telling of the story of the Free French, and particularly Rene Mouchotte,  who fought in the Battle of Britain. Having met his sister the day after her 101st Birthday, attending the funeral of Henry Lafont who escaped with Rene... Read more...


Date: 14th September 2014

I stayed with friends in Paris prior to the Medal Ceremony at the Ambassador's Residence, and on Sunday they'd booked for a visit to St. Chapelle - the chapel created by King Louis 1X or St. Louis of France. I'd visited about 25 years ago but that was long before I really appreciated the creation of... Read more...


Date: 12th September 2014

APOLOGIES FOR LACK OF BLOGS So sorry that I simply haven’t had time to write any Blogs over the last fortnight. There’s so much to share, I don’t know where to start. However, pro temps, you will have to wait because I’m just about to go to Paris for the Medal Presentations to most... Read more...


Date: 7th September 2014

Very dear friends from Paris had done a swap with the owners of a flat in Bermondsey and they invited me to London for the weekend.  A bit coals to Newcastle but it turned out to be a superb weekend with visits to London Institutions I rarely visit. For a start, I've not been to the Tower for decades... Read more...


Date: 6th September 2014

I have absolutely no desire to live in London or any other big city but have often said if I had the money I'd love a 'pad' in London so that I could attend theatre, ballet, museums, talks etc. without having the constant threat of missing the last train. Having spent a long weekend in Bermondsey in... Read more...

BRITISH MUSEUM - Ancient Lives, New Discoveries

Date: 6th September 2014

If you have any interest at all in Ancient Egypt and also mummification, then do make the effort to go to this exhibition which is on until the end of November. Part of my weekend with my friends was the desire to go to this exhibition.   It is superbly staged and incredibly interesting.  There... Read more...

In My View - Weekend/Saturday Mail -23 August

Date: 28th August 2014

JAN LEEMING MY VIEW Why can’t today’s actors and presenters speak more clearly, says the former newsreader?   Throughout my career I was a stick- ler for good spoken English and it troubles me that so many of those appearing on television today – actors, presenters and yes,... Read more...


Date: 25th August 2014

One of the kind people who wrote in support of my criticism of poor diction told me that the BBC does have a Voice training department which costs £1,000,000 (unless he got his 0's incorrect) per annum. I simply do not believe it.  Please tell me it isn't true.  If it is - what a... Read more...


Date: 25th August 2014

I now understand that the original article in the Saturday Mail has been picked up, picked to pieces and put together again in a manner which has skewed the emphasis.   I suppose because I was a newsreader the journalists are trying to make my criticism of poor speech a sour grapes attack on the... Read more...


Date: 24th August 2014

A few weeks ago I wrote about the difficulty of comprehending many of the actors, presenters and young people of today.  The blog was picked up by a journalist and he politely asked my manager if he could interview me.  I'd voiced an opinion so it would have been churlish to have backed out. He... Read more...

RAC CLUB - Fab. lunch

Date: 24th August 2014

A friend of my son was over here on a visit and took me to lunch yesterday at the RAC Club - WOW - what an incredible buidling.  I felt really special just being there. My host apologized that the main dining room was closed and we would have to eat in the Brasserie.  Well, it was one of the most... Read more...

MOUCHOTTE - the finale to the story

Date: 24th August 2014

If you follow my blog you will be aware of the work, the documentary, the presentation of BOB medals etc. which were part of my project with regard to René Mouchotte. After the presentation of the BOB Medals to the families of Mouchotte and Lafont, there was a fair amount of publictiy.  This has led... Read more...


Date: 22nd August 2014

For any of you who love Cats or have been following the progress of my darling little (not so little now) Tamby, I'm delighted to tell you that he is so much recovered from his hyperthyroidism that he almost looks better than he did before his illness kicked in a year ago. He had Iodine/Radiation treatment... Read more...


Date: 18th August 2014

ELECTORAL ROLE I’ve just had a communication from the local  District Council with regard to the new way you register to vote. Up till now it has been a form which you fill in and tick if you do not want to be on the Open Register. Not only was this always ticked but each year I scrubbed out British... Read more...


Date: 18th August 2014

AGE DISCRIMINATION A friend just sent me an email showing photographs of some absolutely amazing stairways around the world. I came across this one in China and though I?m highly unlikely ever to go there I did find it a bit unfair that you can?t climb it if you are over 60. I?m very lucky and have more... Read more...


Date: 16th August 2014

BOOMERS – BBC 1 – Friday 15th August I rarely watch anything on mainstream TV in the evenings, preferring repeats on BBC 3 and 4 and also on ITV 3. I’ve had it with all the Reality shows, make overs and fly on the wall documentaries on subjects in which I’m simply not... Read more...


Date: 12th August 2014

ROBIN WILLIAMS How very very sad to hear of the death of this delightful man. I’m sure people were shocked that a man who could be so funny and amusing was suffering from depression but you will find throughout history many suicides amongst those who dedicate themselves to making us laugh –... Read more...


Date: 10th August 2014

SHOPPING ON LINE - A convert. I have resisted this as much as possible. For one thing I dislike seeing our traditional shops closing down and, if I have a problem with a purchase, it is good to be able to relate to a person face to face. I also like to keep local tradespeople in business. However I think... Read more...


Date: 7th August 2014

I was invited to be a judge at the Awards Luncheon at the Savoy. It was a most enjoyable occasion sponsored by Purina.  I was sitting on the table with the CEO of Cats Protection and suggested, in all seriousness, that they should ask Kleenex to co-sponsor the Awards.  We were all dabbing at our eyes... Read more...


Date: 5th August 2014

I needed a new ironing board and though I don't like ironing I can't bear unironed sheets so my ironing board has to be quite a large one.  On visiting Tesco, I found one and asked if it could be delivered - apparently not if I bought it in store but yes if purchased 'on line'  How I... Read more...


Date: 3rd August 2014

HUGUENOT CHAPEL SERVICE – SUNDAY 3RD AUGUST A sort of baptism of fire as I read the service in French! I know I made some mistakes in pronounciation but otherwise the service ran fairly smoothly. We had an excellent preacher in the form of the Rev. Julia Pickles who is Chaplain to the Bishop of Dover and... Read more...


Date: 31st July 2014

GOOD ENGLISH I despair these days at how many people end sentences with a preposition, including TV and Radio presenters, writers in papers and those who ought to know better. It isn’t just incorrect it is actually rather ugly. I think I know why they do this in news bulletins – it is because it... Read more...


Date: 25th July 2014

GOZO Another friend has retired to Gozo and he invited us over for the day. What a difference between Malta and Gozo – but then, of course, Malta was bombed to bits during WW2 and so much of the building is either utilitarian or very much to accommodate the large tourism industry. With some... Read more...

MALTA - Valetta and Mdina

Date: 22nd July 2014

MALTA – VALETTA I have a dear friend with a flat in Malta and he very kindly invited me to stay for a week. I’ve visited before but that was about 10 years ago and my goodness how Malta has changed since it joined the EU – great roads, lots of greenery, fountains etc. which have considerably... Read more...


Date: 18th July 2014

GENERAL UPDATE I had hoped to write individually about all the fascinating places I’ve visited etc. over the last three weeks but, as always, I’ve been beaten by the clock. Literally, my feet have hardly touched the ground in the last few weeks – it’s all been interesting/fun and... Read more...


Date: 18th July 2014

WOMEN in the Workplace I am a woman who has worked all my life. I am not a feminist but I believe in Women’s Rights -  if a woman does the same job as a man, she should be paid the same rate – something which did not exist in the heyday of my career when my colleague and I were paid half the... Read more...


Date: 18th July 2014

PAPERLESS SOCIETY What a joke! I’d say that far from saving the planet it will disappear under a sea of paperwork. Two years ago, the car I had bought to see me out nearly saw me off when a tyre burst on the motorway. Needless to say, the write off value was very far short of the cost of a new or even... Read more...


Date: 18th July 2014

DRIVING LICENCE RENEWALS Just a word of advice. I had to present both parts of my driving licence a few days ago and it was pointed out that the photo card was very out of date though the paper part doesn’t expire till next year. I was in a panic because not having your documentation current carries a... Read more...


Date: 7th July 2014

Will tell you more anon but meanwhile just been sent this photo.  I know my dress looks a bit hectic but it was French blue and I had a Red fascinator in my hair.  The white of the tricoleur was provided by my bolero on... Read more...


Date: 5th July 2014

My feet have hardly touched the ground in the last 10 days and I've driven almost 1,500 miles culminating in the most laborious traverse of the Dartford Crossing - one hour to do 5 miles!! I had hoped to get down to writing up some of the fascinating places I've visited etc. over the period but have... Read more...


Date: 4th July 2014

YORK – CIS AND BARBICHE I’ve just got home after a week away and simply had to write a blog about ‘Cis and Barbiche’ just in case anyone still has a chance to see this very moving production. It is on at the Studio at The Theatre Royal in York and tells the love story, through almost... Read more...


Date: 26th June 2014

Whilst walking from the Castle Street Car Park to the Cathedral I noticed some very attractive ‘dangly’ earrings in the Stark Gallery. I’ve always loved drop earrings and have about 4 dozen pairs. The price was a pleasant surprise so I decided I’d treat myself. A life time in media and... Read more...


Date: 20th June 2014

CHARLES GUERIN & YVES BRIÈRE For those of you who read my Blogs regularly you will be familiar with my research, work and documentary about Free French Pilot – René Mouchotte. René died in 1943 and was one of many who did not receive their Battle of Britain Medal. In 2012 this... Read more...

La Grande Soirée des Officiers Français, York - Jean-Jacques Delaunay

Date: 10th June 2014

JEAN JACQUES DELAUNAY After the Garden Party Ian Reed (Director of the Yorkshire Air Museum) his wife and I made our way up to Montmartre. We wanted to again listen to JJ whom Ian and I discovered in 2014 when we repaired to Montmartre after the BOB Medal Ceremony at the Ambassador’s Residence. JJ is... Read more...


Date: 10th June 2014

Well, my little chap is home.  I always thought he was rather special but apparently he won the hearts of all the nurses who looked after him.  One nurse said she wished he weren't going and she'd miss him.  And whilst I was sitting waiting to see the senior Vet another Vet (French) came... Read more...

PARIS - Street Scene with Cat

Date: 6th June 2014

Whilst walking down the Rue Rivoli to the Eglise Protestant, I passed a couple of people begging who had  dogs with them - a sure fire for those of us who love animals.  Then, I did a double take because there sitting on a carrier was a cat - a rather lovely cat. I put some money in the owner's... Read more...


Date: 6th June 2014

L'église de la Madeleine is a Roman Catholic church occupying a commanding position in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. The Madeleine Church was designed in its present form as a temple to the glory of Napoleon's army.  I was staying in a boutique hotel close by so it would have been silly... Read more...


Date: 6th June 2014

Once again a link to my sponsorship of the name of a French Pilot on the Wall of Remembrance at Capel le Ferne. Because I didn’t think any of my immediate family were in the RAF in WWII, and because I knew my Maternal Grandmother’s name was Pettet, I chose to sponsor a French Pilot. This in turn has... Read more...

PARIS - GARDEN PARTY FOR THE QUEEN - Ambassador's Residence, Paris

Date: 5th June 2014

PARIS – Reception in the British Ambassador’s Residence - On the occasion of the State Visit to the Republic of France by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Prince Philllip, Duke of Edinburgh. I was thrilled to receive an invitation to this event – a Garden Party in all... Read more...


Date: 5th June 2014

DUVELLEROY FANS Any of you who regularly visit my Website will know of my lengthy involvement in ‘Searching for René’ – the Free French pilot René Mouchotte – of finding his sister through leaving a letter in the Mouchotte Tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and... Read more...

TAMBY - update

Date: 29th May 2014

Some kind people have asked for an update on my lovely cat Tamby.  As I wrote previously they have a sort of Facebook for pets at the Barton Veterinary Hospital and I get an update every few days. He is now out of the 'isolation unit' where he's been for 2 weeks, is allowed out to stretch his... Read more...


Date: 24th May 2014

UKIP I don’t mind admitting that I voted UKIP purely as a protest. And many of my friends  did the same. I doubt that I shall repeat that vote in the General Election.  I’m sick of the Londoncentricity of our MP’s – most of whom are from privileged backgrounds and have... Read more...


Date: 16th May 2014

Dare I write about this subject!   Well it is supposed to be a free country. I am not a great meat eater and haven't eaten lamb and veal for 50 years.  I try to source what little meat I do eat from organic sources.  I don't think any form of killing animals is particularly pleasant but I... Read more...


Date: 16th May 2014

Barton Veterinary Practice have a delightful way of letting you keep in touch with your pet's treatment and when your little pal is going to be in for as long as my little Tamby, it's good to know how they are faring without having to continually bother the receptionist.    They have a sort of... Read more...

La Grande Soirée des Officiers Français - 2nd July 2014

Date: 14th May 2014

The Embargo is lifted and I can now tell you about this super (I hope) function which will be held in York on Wednesday 2nd July. Ian Reed,  Director of the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington booked the de Grey rooms last year and has worked very hard to make the evening happen,  but needed the Council... Read more...

Cis and Barbiche - 3rd July 2014

Date: 14th May 2014

At Elvington they found over two thousand letters written during the war between a French pilot and his English Sweetheart.  Although they didn't marry, Barbiche is still alive and living in Australia.  The letters were the basis of a play which opened in Perth a few months ago.  It was only a... Read more...


Date: 14th May 2014

TAMBY It’s been a very stressful couple of weeks with my adorable cat Tamby. He has a hyperthyroid condition - quite common in older cats and in some it can be controlled with pills. Sadly this was not the case with Tamby and he’s had frequent bouts of not eating, being sick and generally under the... Read more...


Date: 9th May 2014

FARES ON PLANES AND TRAINS I long ago resigned myself to the fact that I never get one of those fares advertised as FROM £? and always have to pay far more than the cheapies advertised. However this is one I simply do not understand. I often use Eurostar to Paris and have never managed to get a cheap... Read more...


Date: 9th May 2014

JULIAN LLOYD WEBBER In the 70’s when I was an interviewer on the magazine programme ‘Pebble Mill at One’ I was given the task of interviewing both the Lloyd Webers who’d brought out a rather unusual and highly enjoyable LP (that dates us doesn’t it) called... Read more...


Date: 8th May 2014

LOST CITIES OF THE ANCIENTS – Piramesse 8.5.14 Not only was this a superbly interesting programme but, thank goodness, it didn’t have one of the new breed of ‘experts’ who walk into frame, say something, and then walk out of frame. They are experts and one cannot dispute the fact but... Read more...


Date: 8th May 2014

CALL CENTRES I haven’t had a Gripe about Call Centres for ages but they are still top of my Irritation/Annoyance list. It is interesting to note that sometimes in its advertising, a firm will state that its Call Centre is in the UK – even if it is in Gateshead or Scotland where it is almost as... Read more...


Date: 6th May 2014

CHILDREN ON AIRLINES A few weeks ago I read an article about children on Airlines and the writer was definitely Anti. I hesitated to add my pennyworth for fear of upsetting the PC crowd – all about Rights without Responsibilities as far as I can see. We are supposed to live in a Country which allows us... Read more...


Date: 6th May 2014

I live so close to the Channel that invariably my friends and I make a day of going to Calais, buying wine, cheeses etc and then, with the money saved, having a superb lunch or dinner on the other side.  Nowadays our savings are little but we still enjoy a great day out. I am of French descent and possibly... Read more...


Date: 1st May 2014

HUGUENOT SYMPOSIUM – A LASTING LEGACY You know the feeling when you look forward to something and when the time comes, because of the anticipation, matters don’t match up to expectation. Well on Saturday I experienced the total reverse. I was looking forward to the Symposium but it was so good... Read more...

A LASTING LEGACY - Huguenot Symposium 26th April

Date: 26th April 2014

Very much looking forward to the Symposium next Saturday in Rochester. I am still not entirely sure whether my ancestors were Huguenots on my Mother's side or just simply French.  Rita Pettet who has done sterling work - and long before the Internet made things easier - has now, through obtaining... Read more...


Date: 22nd April 2014

If I took to my Blog every time I am dissatisfied or disappointed with a programme, I'd hardly leave the computer.  And I wasn't going to write anything about Jamaica Inn until I saw that I was totally vindicated in my opinion - hundreds have complained about the incomprehensibility of the... Read more...

TAMBY - my darling cat

Date: 21st April 2014

Tamby has not been a well cat since last September when, after a nasty infection, it was discovered that he had an over active thyroid - a common complaint among older cats apparently. We've persisted with the thyroid pills but the poor little chap keeps throwing up - thank goodness the carpet is oatmeal... Read more...

AU REVOIR for now

Date: 21st April 2014

Having spent most of today catching up on events and writing about them for you, there's now nothing in the Diary of any interest so, unless untoward events occur, there'll be another break in communication. À bientôt,... Read more...


Date: 21st April 2014

APOLOGIES AGAIN. My apologies for not writing any blogs for a long time. I’ve been very busy with talks, visits and the multitude of tasks which seem never ending. I sometimes wonder how I found time to work. And today’s internet doesn’t really help. I think it makes more work. Once upon a... Read more...


Date: 21st April 2014

I'm sure you get worked up over certain things - I know I do. INCONSIDERATE DRIVERS Recently I had to travel cross-country and the road between Newent and King's Lynn was a nightmare because two vehicles - one large lorry and one small car were being driven at 40mph in a 60mph zone.  Nothing... Read more...

HUGUENOT CHAPEL - Possible Pasteur

Date: 13th April 2014

We had a visit from a charming French Pasteur - Madame Hélène Béguion and there's just a possibility that she might come over to be the Pasteur at our Chapel - it all depends on finance - doesn't everything. She spoke beautiful 'Parisien' French.  I say that because I... Read more...


Date: 11th April 2014

WOW. Sue and I had to toss up as to what we visited on our way back down from Alnwick to near Leeds. We decided upon Fountains Abbey and apart from one recommendation which did not live up to expectation, the ruins and the landscape were superb. Have you seen the film 'Sliding Doors'?  Well,... Read more...


Date: 10th April 2014

BAMBURGH CASTLE On our last trip up North, Sue and I were travelling back from Lindisfarne to our hotel near Alnwick. We had turned a corner of the road and been hit by the spectacular view of Bamburgh Castle. It was too late to visit and in the morning we had to commence our travels back down South so it was... Read more...

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE - Barter Bookshop, Alnwick

Date: 10th April 2014

RENÉ MOUCHOTTE – Talk at the Alnwick Barter Bookstore. Last September, my oldest friend and I had a few girly days up North taking in Lindisfarne, Alnwick Castle and Gardens and also the wonderful Barter Bookstore in Alnwick. It is a decommissioned Victorian Railway Station which is a fabulous... Read more...

MEMORY LANE - Inner Wheel Conference, Telford

Date: 8th April 2014

MEMORY LANE – Conference talk at Telford I was asked to be one of the speakers at the Inner Wheel Annual Conference in Telford – my brief was to be entertaining. On asking and being told that the average age was 50+, I reckoned that the audience would be those who would remember the stars of... Read more...


Date: 29th March 2014

My sincere apologies to those of you who tune in to my blog each week but I've had too much on my plate recently - a very sick cat and several talks to prepare, a mother with dementia and a frail father to worry over. There have been some interesting matters in the last few weeks and I will try to make time... Read more...

PILLARS OF THE EARTH - Ken Follett talk

Date: 26th March 2014

I love history and good historical novels and purchased and avidly read Pillars of the Earth when it was first published in 1989. I thoroughly enjoyed it but, as it was a very large volume, must have left it on the shelf in our holiday home at Alleins in Provence (sadly long gone along with the... Read more...

MASSACRE AT PARIS - Louis de Bernières

Date: 18th March 2014

MASSACRE AT PARIS – Louis de Bernières It is 450 years since Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury. In March three plays by Marlowe were performed in Canterbury - one in the Eastern Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral – Massacre at Paris. Massacre at Paris is a play concerning the massacre... Read more...


Date: 12th March 2014

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL – SOUTH WINDOW Up the scaffolding. Assistants and Guides were offered the opportunity to attend a talk on progress with the South Window followed by a trip up the scaffolding and an explanation of what is being done. It must be over three years ago that a lump of masonry fell... Read more...

MARY BERRY - Cheese before Dessert

Date: 12th March 2014

MARY BERRY – Cheese before Dessert I couldn’t believe the fuss in the papers about Mary saying that she serves Cheese before Dessert at Lunch and/or Dinner. I’ve been doing that for decades – the French way. To my way of thinking, you’ve had your main dish which is savoury and... Read more...


Date: 27th February 2014

Last year there was an unfortunate accident which resulted in damage to the mullioned window on the East side of the Chantry Chapel at Canterbury Cathedral. The Huguenot congregation have a quarterly newsletter for which I have been writing short articles on matters such as the serene Green Man and the superbly... Read more...


Date: 24th February 2014

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL – Guiding It is almost the highlight of my week going in to do my duty hours at the Cathedral. No matter how well you know your ‘stuff’ the way the questions are asked means you have to be on your toes all the time. You meet some interesting people who are fascinated... Read more...


Date: 24th February 2014

Any of you interested in old planes might like to read about this historic event.  I've copied and pasted from RAF News - I hope this is OK   RAF BBMF To Host Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster During Visit To England The last two Lancaster bombers still flying in the world will... Read more...


Date: 24th February 2014

Some time ago, through the Cathedral office, we had a request for volunteers to work with the War Memorial Trust to go into schools and inform the youngsters about the importance of War Memorials.  I've been horrified at the desecration of War Memorials and also the theft of the plaques naming the men who... Read more...

HENRY V111 & ANNE - WHITE SLUMS of South Africa

Date: 24th February 2014

HENRY V111 & ANNE - THE WHITE SLUMS HENRY V111 & ANNE Quite a contrast in the title. Those of you who read my blog regularly know how I get ‘hot under the collar’ about presenters with arms like windmills who know nothing about good delivery. What has happened over the last few... Read more...


Date: 24th February 2014

A few weeks ago I wrote an extensive Blog in support of my friend Dave Lee Travis.  I was ordered to take it down - which I did. Dave was acquitted on 11 of 13 charges.  On the news just now it was announced that the Crown Prosecution Service is going to mount another trial on the two counts over... Read more...


Date: 18th February 2014

CHATEAU DU BOIS Many years ago I visited the Musuem of Lavender near a beautiful village called Gordes in Provence. The Museum had many beautiful old copper stills and all the paraphernalia used to extract the oil from the lavender. The story of Lavender is a fascinating one. There’s true Lavender called... Read more...


Date: 17th February 2014

FEELING OF CONTENTMENT – JOB DONE I’m one of those people who tend to leave difficult jobs to the last minute – especially those which are going to cause me grief. Some years ago, when I gave many talks on P & O Cruises, I worked very hard and put together 4 talks in the Apple Keynote... Read more...

'I DON'T BELIEVE IT' - Victor Meldrew's famous catch phrase

Date: 10th February 2014

I DON’T BELIEVE IT!!!!! - VICTOR MELDREW If you ever watched the series ‘One Foot in the Grave’ with the Grumpy Old Man – Victor Meldrew – you’ll probably remember one of his favourite phrases was ‘I don’t believe it’ said in the inimitable style of the... Read more...

Ch 5 - Gibraltar - Britain in the Sun - MOUCHOTTE BUILDING - RAF HQ GIBRALTAR

Date: 9th February 2014

In September, I was invited to Gibraltar where they were about to rename the RAF HQ - Mouchotte Building in honour of 'my' French pilot Rene Mouchotte.  He was the French pilot whose name I sponsored on the Wall of Remembrance at the BOB Memorial at Capel le Ferne and about whom, after five years, I... Read more...

633 Squadron

Date: 1st February 2014

Just been listening to the magnificent Ron Goodwin composition - 633 Squadron.  But did you know there is not nor ever was a 633 Squadron.  I can only imagine that when Ron did the composition he might have thought it unfair if it were attributed to any particular squadron - hence the mythical... Read more...

THE MASSACRE AT PARIS - Christopher Marlowe

Date: 30th January 2014

THE MASSACRE AT PARIS by Christopher Marlowe Marlowe died very young and there aren’t many of his works extant. If you visit the Internet and type the title, you’ll find some excellent information particularly that written by The Marlowe Society. The Massacre at Paris is the story of the... Read more...


Date: 29th January 2014

The Massacre at Paris is the story of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve when the Huguenots were slaughtered in huge numbers – the survivors stayed on to continue the wars. Immediately following the massacre, Henri of Navarre became a Roman Catholic – for obvious reasons - & then changed... Read more...


Date: 16th January 2014

My son declared that I couldn't possibly visit Sydney and not do the Opera House Tour. I have to say that it was never a pressing need as I don't particularly like the building (Sacrilege!) However, as we'd booked to see La Boheme, an Opera House tour immediately before hand seemed like a reasonable... Read more...

LA BOHEME - Sydney Opera House

Date: 16th January 2014

I must state at the outset that I am no great Opera Buff. There are a few I very much like and would go a long way to see such as Bizet's 'Carmen'. However in the main, I'd rather go to the Theatre or a Ballet. Jonathan insisted that I really must experience Opera in the Sydney Opera House and... Read more...

MOLECULAR COCKTAILS - The Rabbit Hole, Sydney

Date: 15th January 2014

Although not officially part of his job spefication, my son often writes reviews for restaurants and bars in and around Sydney. Last night, his girlfriend gallantly allowed me to accompany him to a fascinating 'Watering Hole' on Elizabeth Street - The Rabbit Hole which specializes in Molecular... Read more...


Date: 15th January 2014

I met Julia and Derek Parker in the 70's when I presented my own TV show 'Women Only' in the West region of England. Julia was very high up in the Astrological world and came onto the programme to demonstrate monthly the kind of 'Dinner Table' and the food which might be prepared by people... Read more...

THE ILLUSIONISTS.2.0 - Sydney Opera House

Date: 12th January 2014

Although it was very sad that one of their number had fallen to his death, the show went on as it always does in best theatrical tradition. There were varied 'Illusionists' ranging from a young Chinese man who recently won the coveted title of The Best, at the Convention of Magicians, to a Warrior dressed... Read more...

Blue Mountains - Katoomba

Date: 11th January 2014

Jonathan and his girlfriend accompanied me to the Mountains - again a very inexpensive and delightful journey. I've known Michael Laurence since we played a season in the Union Repertory Theatre in Melbourne (now no more although it enjoyed a tremendous reputation back in the 60's). The season comprised... Read more...

Quorrobolong - Old friends

Date: 9th January 2014

One of the several dwellings I shared when living in Sydney was at Mona Road, Darling Point. Back in the 60's it would have been unheard of to share with any other than your own sex so we were four young ladies. Two were British nurses, one worked in the accounting world and then there was me who worked at... Read more...

Portrait of a Killer - Patricia Cornwell

Date: 7th January 2014

JACK THE RIPPER Normally I probably wouldn't be interested in reading a book of this nature but, as I participated in a documentary in 1988 about Jack the Ripper, I thought it woul be an informative read as indeed it was. In 1988, the centenary of the notorious Ripper murders in the East End of London,... Read more...

Birthday Dinner - La Brasserie

Date: 5th January 2014

When I celebrated my Birthday here two years ago, my son insisted on taking me to one of the most prestigious restaurants in Sydney - you know the sort - very good food, very good write ups and rather pretentious. I like value for money and that it was not, though I was very touched that Jonathan 'only... Read more...


Date: 3rd January 2014

AUSTRALIAN MARITIME MUSEUM Jonathan and I paid a visit to this splendid museum the other day and even though we gave ourselves 4 hours, it still wasn't enough time to do justice to the place. Also they have a wonderful Viking exhibition which we were keen to see and that too took far more time than we... Read more...

ENSEMBLE THEATRE - Kirribilli, Sydney

Date: 2nd January 2014

A DAY IN AND AROUND SYDNEY My son doesn't go back to work until 6th January so we have a few days doing things together. Yesterday we went on a cliff walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee. I'm afraid big flat beaches with hundreds of people do nothing for me - I didn't like Bondi when I lived in... Read more...


Date: 2nd January 2014

The Opera House was built after I lived in Sydney and though I've been back here many many times, I've never attended a performance there. As we never know what life has in store and I've no idea if/when I'll come back to Sydney, Jonathan felt we ought to rectify the omission and attend a show.... Read more...


Date: 1st January 2014

A Happy New Year to you all. It might be a big wish but let's hope there is more peace in the world. And personally I wish you all Good Health, Good luck, and Happiness. My son arranged us to watch the New Year fireworks from Clark Island - a nature reserve in Sydney Harbour. It was an all inclusive price... Read more...