Only Hours Away From Boarding

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.

Only hours away from boarding

Date: 29th March 2008

Hi There,

Am only hours away from boarding the Oriana for my cruise back to the UK.  Due to immigration problems here in South Africa (surprise, surprise) they are having so much difficulty in boarding passengers that I've been told I must board as Crew - puts me in mind of bell-bottom trousers and a jaunty hat.

My good friend Doreen is accompanying me on the trip home.  We are a bit like a couple of naughty school girls so the trip should be fun.

What have I been doing over the last few weeks - Well, my son Jonathan came out for a holiday.  I caught him between girlfriends! 

We had a fabulous time.  As an early birthday present for him, I booked us in for two nights at Sanbona Wildlife Game Reserve.  It was a very interesting experience.  It was at the sister game reserve - Shamwari - that I participated in the making of 'Safari School' almost two years ago in which eight of 'celebrities' were trained as Game Rangers.

Sanbona is very different from Shamwari in that it is situated in the Karoo and there are far fewer animals.  The Reserve has only been going for 7 years and it's a slow process reintroducing the animals that would have roamed the terrain before we humans devastated the area.  I think that's one of the reasons I liked it so much - we really felt we were searching for the animals and that they weren't just sitting there waiting for our visit.  Probably because I lived in Australia when younger and love the aridity of Provence in France, I find the Karoo quite breathtaking.  It's arid but the terrain is so interesting with it's folding limestone hills and scrub.

Sanbona has two Lodges - Kanni which is more family orientated - and Tilney which has six suites. They are exquisite with stand alone baths and outside showers.  Tilney was actually the 'weekend pad' of a Magistrate called  Tilney - infamous for signing the document which made it legal to shoot the indigenous Bushmen as vermin.  I hope he got his come-uppance in the hereafter.  Near the lodge there were some Bushman and San paintings.  My son wasn't very impressed but then he's not as steeped in the Cape and South African history as I am.

The highlight of our two-day stay was locating 5 Cheetah which we watched for about half an hour from very close. 

Jonathan has never been on Safari before so everything was new and exciting for him.  Having said that, I don't think one can ever get tired of going on Safari - every day is different and every experience unique.

We were very lucky in that the other four on our truck were great fun - one couple were on honeymoon and the other couple were German, delightful and with a great sense of humour.

From Sanbona we traversed across country to Paternoster.  My friend Doreen introduced me to Paternoster a few years ago.  It is still lovely but being developed fast.  It's a fishing village and got it's name from some sailors who survived a shipwreck and ended up on the beach - they must have been saying their prayers and so the place became Paternoster - latin for Our Father.

Jonathan was very impressed with our superb B & B - The Dunes - and we arrived on a gloriously sun and almost windless afternoon.  Windless is fairly unusual for Paternoster where one can often get a free exfoliation walking along the beach.

J did his Sky Dive for Charity on Good Friday and the Gods were smiling on us.  We've had very unseasonal weather with horrendous winds but on the Dive Day, the winds dropped to almost nothing, the Mountain shed it's table cloth and he had a wonderful dive with a superb DVD presented to him 15 minutes after landing.  He's now raised over £3,500 for Orchid a Cancer Charity dealing specifically with Male Cancers.

Afterwards we went to the Waterfront and had a fish lunch.  Again J. was very impressed as the last time he came out here three years ago, it was Christmastime and we couldn't get near the Waterfront for people and cars.

I then took a chance on going up to the Cable Car.  I'm not a great one for queuing and sometimes one can stand in line for hours waiting to go up the Mountain.  A friend told us the time to go is early morning or late afternoon - and so we chanced it at 5.00 pm and only queued for about 15 minutes.  I've never been on the Mountain at sunset and it was very moving.

We also did a mini wine tour of some of the Vineyards which I know best.  J was in seventh heaven.  He's done two parts of a three part wine course and knows a thing of two when it comes to the Grape.

All too soon his holiday had come to an end and I regretfully took him to the Airport on Tuesday evening.  Now it's Saturday and I'm still trying to pack and fretting because I haven't fine tuned all my talks for the voyage on the Oriana.

Apparently we are not going to have much in the way of telecommunications whilst on board so I may not be able to update the Blog till we dock on 16th April.

If there is a chance to do an update before then, I shall try - otherwise I'll let you all know about the Cruise once my feet hit Terra Firma.

Jonathan has entered me on Facebook but, as yet, I don't know how to use it. 

I apologize for not showing you the Sanbona photographs but I'm really up against it timewise and am not the most dextrous when it comes to utilising the Internet.

I'll owe you photos from both the Safari and the Cruise so - WATCH THIS SPACE.

By the way, I'm very curious as to how people from places like Korea and the USA are tuning in to my site - perhaps they are googling something like Cheetahs and get me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be back soon.

Affectionately, Jan

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