Adult Education And Silversmithing

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: 14th June 2008

I've been to many Adult Education classes over the years.  When I lived in Bristol I took A Level Literature at Evening Class - in Penn I went to Art Classes and when I moved down to Kent I took up Jewellery and Silversmithing.  I've had some memorable times making beautiful artefacts under the tutelage of the late  Peter Booker who taught Jewellery and was so wonderfully patient and kind, and under Owen Madhlope Phillips our lovely Silversmithing tutor. 

I used to attend both classes regularly until I began to spend a lot of time in Capetown but I do still attend Silversmithing when I'm able and tonight was one of those occasions.  You have to hone a craft to become good at it and because I dip in and out I've been left behind by many of my fellow students in the class but I still find it wonderfully rewarding to create something from a sheet of silver.  Tonight I was polishing, with great difficulty, a pierced Silver biscuit holder I've made,  based on the design of a plated silver holder which my Father and stepmother gave me years ago.  I'd always avoided 'piercing' work as I thought it would be too difficult but I thoroughly enjoyed it and ended up with a piece of silverware with which I am quite proud.

Owen is partly Sangaan (an African Tribe) and he wears a bracelet which most of us have copied over the years and I could have sold mine a dozen times over. 

Well, tonight as there are only a few weeks left till the end of term and no time to embark on a major project, I found myself making another of Owen's bracelets - this time at the request of my son.

We've got brand spanking new premises - due in great part to the largesse of Roger de Haan the instigator of Saga.  He sold the Company for a great deal of money and decided to put some back into the refurbishment of a down and out part of Folkestone and one of the benefits of his largesse was the new Adult Education Centre.

Over the years I've met so many lovely people at Adult Ed. and it makes me so cross that the courses are becoming so pricey and are geared towards Certification.  Quite a few of the folk who used to come can no longer afford the fees because they live on pensions - and yet the classes, for many of them, were a chance to have a social meeting.  I made the point to the Head of the College that surely it was better for these lonely old people to come out and do something and to socialize rather than stay at home and be depressed.  However I get the feeling that common sense doesn't come into it and the Powers that be would rather put them on Prozac than give them meaningful social intercourse.  And, remember, most of the older folk did not have any tertiary education and yet have been paying taxes all their lives - so is it too much to ask that they get a little something out of the system in their retirement years.

At downtimes in my life, going to classes was often the focal point of my week and I looked forward to the creativity and the company.

Why are successive Governments hell bent on Certificates for everything - what about learning for the sheer joy of it. 

I didn't go to University - parents couldn't afford it but I did have a very good Grammar School Education and, although less specialized,  I'm sure a more rounded education than children have now.

I feel so sorry for children today leaving school not being able to read - in my opinion one of the most precious gifts.  My mother left school at 14 but she was more than competent in the 3 R's 'Reading, Riting and Rithmatic' !!

My son went to University and I'm so pleased that I was able to afford to send him but when it comes to a General Knowledge Quiz, I can still beat him despite his being an avid reader.

I could go on and on philosophizing but it isn't my place - all I can say is that I'm glad I was young when I was and despite all the material wealth people have today, I still think that my generation and possibly the next had the best of times.  We had virtually nothing so the only way was UP.  We had aspirations and the thought of Living without Working was anathema to us.  In fact in the Convent the nuns would have us believe that to draw the dole was tantamount to a Mortal Sin!!!!!!!!!  Imagine that.

Bye for now.  Jan

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