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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Dr Jean Watkins (McMillan)

Jean McMillan has had a rich and varied life. Born in North Wales; she lived a happy childhood before going on to study medicine at the Royal Free Hospital. She worked as a GP in several practices around the country and currently enjoys lecturing about her foreign travels to local groups and is also active in village life in Burley in the New Forest, Hampshire.

Jean Watkins has had a rich and varied life. Born in North Wales; her happy childhood in Blackheath, South East London was interrupted by forced evacuation to Cumbria during the Second World War. She studied medicine at the Royal Free Hospital where she developed a keen interest in sport becoming British Junior Squash Champion in 1951. She worked as a GP in several practices around the country and currently enjoys lecturing about her foreign travels to local groups and is also active in village life in Burley in the New Forest, Hampshire. 


When Jean first visited China in 1978 she had no idea on the impact it would have on her life and the enthusiasm for other cultures that would be inspired in her, going so far as to return to twenty years later to observe the changes the culture had undergone. in between those trips she thoroughly explored areas of Africa, America and Asia; all of which she would return to again later in the interest of learning more from the people there, and eventually travelling on to Europe and the Middle East. An enthralling and enlightening read, Itchy Feet will leave you with a thirst for experience around the globe. 

We all hope Jean will carry on with her captivating travels and continue to inform us of these fascinating ways of life.

Foreword

Jean McMillan has travelled with me regularly since 1995. I am a tour operator and ran many of the trips featured in Itchy Feet. Having organised many tours over many years you learn that the variety in destinations and cultures is matched by the variety of those travelling.
There are many types of traveller. Many are looking for adventure or to escape from their less exciting day to day lives, for others it is to fulfil a life-long dream to visit a particular place or see a particular site.   But for some it is to broaden their horizons and to learn and absorb from other cultures. Jean with her insatiable curiosity, enquiring mind and wide range of interests definitely falls into the latter camp.
A regular traveller, there is no bias or preference to where or how Jean travels. It could be by bus through rural Bulgaria, a light plane to southern Venezuela, the Shanghai express or by canoe along a tributary of the Amazon. Jean is equally at home in a grand Hotel in Cape Town as she is in a rest house in the Tibetan lowlands.
What makes a tour special for Jean is meeting the local people, seeing how they live, learning of their health care, education, hopes and fears for the future and for their children’s future. There is no starry eyed enthusiasm for the simple lives of the people. Having practiced medicine as a GP Jean knows the stresses and realities of life. Many will visit a destination and enjoy its wonderful scenery, its art and architecture and history.   For Jean the experience should be deeper it should tell us of how a country really is for the majority of the people who live there. I do not envy the guides on a tour Jean travels on. There will be steady stream of enquiring questions and brush-offs will not be tolerated!
Many is the time when planning a tour I have contacted Jean for her advice, and she will tell me to include a community centre, a rural clinic or school, that we need to meet the locals and be able to spend time with them.
Travelling to so many countries over the years has allowed Jean to cut through the accepted view of national progress. Her perceptive mind and experience allows her to see through the shiny symbols of modernity to the more fundamental aspects of a society – how it cares for its sick, elderly and children. In this sense Jean follows in the grand traditional of travellers from Marco Polo to Freya Stark. Her writing provides a snap shot of real life, all around the world over many years, making Itchy Feet a fascinating, informative and revealing book.

Jon Baines 

Part family history, part personal memoir and part travelogue Lucky Genes is a unique book and one that deserves a wide readership. Her travels are fondly remembered and eloquently recounted, particularly her first eye-opening and adventurous trip to China in 1978. A reflective and warm-hearted book it is full of interesting anecdotes about family life and foreign travel but also touches on subjects as varied as scientific progress and local history.





Reviews

"I have just completed the first of Jean's books "Lucky Genes". Absolutely brilliant insight into the times, changes and lives of others from a time previous to ours. Gratifying and Inspirational. Please feel free to pass this critique on to Jean on my behalf, as the book is now doing the great northern run."

A brilliant review by a local reader who thoroughly enjoyed Jean Watkins 'Lucky Genes' and is now embarking on her more recent title 'Itchy Feet'.




To order Itchy Feet:

Price £15.00  P & P £2.50 UK £3.30 Europe £6.00 ROW
Available on http://www.thememoirclub.co.uk/ email: memoirclub@msn.com or tel 01913735660
with card details and address

Available on the internet go to link:
http://www.bookbutler.com/compare?isbn=9781841045238



To order Lucky Genes:
Price £12.95  P & P £2.00 UK £3.30 Europe £6.00 ROW
Available on http://www.thememoirclub.co.uk/ email: memoirclub@msn.com or tel 01913735660
with card details and address

Available on the internet go to link:
http://www.bookbutler.com/compare?isbn=9781841045009


Order both books for £27.95