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My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Monday, 26 July 2021

Bond, a Javelin, an Enquiry, and a Tree

 Monday 26th July 2021

I recently decided to re-read some James Bond. I read them all as they were published from 1955 onwards. I decided to start at the beginning with Casino Royale

My memory, probably now coloured by the more extravagant films, was of a swashbuckling hard man with many technical and physical attributes enabling him to fight and escape and generally to be the consummate action man and successful lover.

The first shock came when I read “Bond lit his seventieth cigarette of the day…” Many characters smoke which is used to portray an image of macho-sophistication.

In this book Bond is a loser.

Bond looses to Le Chiffre at Baccarat and is only rescued from  disaster when the American secret service bung him a huge amount of money to continue.

Bond's beloved vintage Bentley is wrecked in a car chase where Bond is the loser and is captured.and   tortured. He is only rescued by outside agencies rather than using his own skills. He has to spend several weeks in hospital recuperating from serious injury.

Bond's attitude to women was unacceptable for me, and especially in the context of more enlightened attitudes today. In the first part Bond talks of women lasciviously and carnally as items to be used and discarded as and when needed, and elaborates on their propensity, in his opinion, to get in the way of men’s doings, and thus demanding time to be safeguarded and/or rescued. That becomes tempered later in the second half of the book when he falls for Vesper and his thoughts are turning to marriage, but again he loses when that relationship is doomed.

There is a fair bit of introspection and character building and philosophising in the second half of the book which majors on his relationship with Vesper after all the action has taken place in the first half.

“Today we are fighting Communism. Okay. If I'd been alive fifty years ago, the brand of Conservatism we have today would have been damn near called Communism and we should have been told to go and fight that. History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.”

Perhaps Fleming could have continued portraying his character as the incompetent secret service agent, but from memory I reckon the later books did the opposite.


Government enquiries.

I have lampooned the absurdity of Government enquiries (instituted by all political parties) a few times recently. I haven't researched the detailed  progress of the enquiry into the Croydon Tram Crash. But just the fact that it happened in November 2016 and the enquiry only reported a few days ago after four and a half years at a cost of goodness how much to the taxpayer is cause for concern and some explanation of why it takes so long. After all, I guess it was known at the outset what happened in broad terms and the enquiry should only need to confirm detail and assess for blame and make recommendations for the future. Surely that shouldn't take over four years?


Media jargon

A new one is creeping in. When an athlete or team  has just made some specific move commentators are saying they have "pulled the trigger." Such things I find quite witty the first time I hear them but become  irritating thereafter. Copycats.


Gloster Javelin - finished

Photo below. I was puzzled about the spelling of the manufacturer's name but Wikipedia came to the rescue:

"Founded as the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company Limited during the First World War, with the aircraft construction activities of H H Martyn & Co Ltd of Cheltenham, England it produced fighters during the war. It was renamed later as foreigners found 'Gloucestershire' difficult to pronounce. It later became part of the Hawker Siddeley group and the Gloster name disappeared in 1963."


Katie granddaughter update ( now 9yrs.)

This little painting looks naive but the composition and colouring are I think complex and satisfying. I can sense the movement of those falling leaves.


  1. I share your reservations for government enquiries. Rightly or wrongly, I do wonder whether Governments use them as a useful hiding place. After 4 years I'd suggest that a majority of the public will have all but forgotten about the event.
    In the meantime the government, any government, will be seen to have done the right thing....even if they don't always act on the result.

    In spite of it's intended use, that's a beautiful aircraft, and a lovely model too. But 'Gloster'? ;-)
    I'm currently on the Anglesey Coastal Path, very close to RAF Valley, watching all manner of military aircraft strutt their stuff - quite spectacular.

    Katie's picture is quite lovely - please tell her I said so.

  2. JJ - Glad to have your concurring input regarding enquiries and you pick up on similar points I have made earlier elsewhere. From what I have read the reluctance of governments (in general) to act on recommendations is high compounding the waste of time and value for money.

    I am now awaiting another model kit of another icon from my youth: The Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider 1300.

    Your message for Katie is being passed on.

  3. that sketch shows both great talent and subtle insight - entitled 'premonition', the trunk made slightly less 'modelled' - and it could be by any number of on-trend designers or artists . . .

  4. Apropos Government enquiries, I totally agree - 'too little too late' Today's example is the disgraceful cover-up of child abuse in care homes,
    What is more worrying is the Governments (Boris) recent decisions not to even have an enquiry. I think the latest was not to reveal Matt Hancock's personal emails used in Government Covid policies. Hiding behind private documents that shouldn't have been used in the first place. They should be in the public domain. The odour of corruption permeates this Government.

  5. The odour of corruption certainly permeates this Government.

    Katie's tree permeates this posting. It's lovely.

  6. gimmer - Yes. One often looks at such things, and one hears such comments as "I could have done that." Most people could make a reasonable stab at copying something of that nature but what matters is having the initial concept - the links between subconscious, brain, hand, brush and paper, and the gift of being able to see the world from another perspective, perhaps stripping out the extraneous and emphasising the essential.

    BC and Phreerunner - I purposely avoided making my post party-political and whilst I have similar misgivings about recent happenings I was questioning the need for so many enquiries and why they take so long to establish and conclude, and why governments are reluctant to act on their recommendations. I have not researched how many of these have been instituted party for party but my general feeling is that this is an across the board way of wriggling out of a potentially politically damaging situations. I can see instances where much time is needed, but how much?

    Take the Manchester Arena enquiry, it certainly demands plenty of time where perhaps hundreds of people give evidence in the interests of fairness allowing everybody involved to have their say - fair does. But, the event happened on 22nd May 2017. Sir John Saunders, was appointed to chair the Inquiry on 22 October 2019, nearly two and a half years after the event. The enquiry didn't get underway until nearly a year later (7th September 2020) and it has now been running for just short of a year, over four years since the event by which time memories will have faded and the whole effectiveness diluted. It will be interesting to see how much longer it takes and what influence its findings may have.

  7. Katie's tree is very lovely Conrad. The Javelin's pretty good too!

  8. Afoot - I hope you haven’t been able to enlarge the Javelin photo too much thus showing up the many imperfections.

  9. I did enlarge it but any 'imperfections' are purely down to it having been in combat. All my models have imperfections but my last one was of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module which in real life was a very rough looking affair, so I happily reproduced that look. No masking - sheer joy. I don't think I got round to posting photos so I'll do that in due course. Enlarged or not, it will look much the same.

  10. I think you are right, Conrad. It's all a bit disappointing, especially as I don't think there's much that people like us can do to improve things.

  11. Daniel Craig is a more plausible Bond, with dialogue to match. Asked whether he wanted his martini "shaken or stirred" his reply was admirably terse: "Do I look like I give a damn?" Daughter PB (Professional Bleeder), who is staying with us, tells me that in the original script that last word was quite different. Wiser heads (ie, sharper commercial interests) prevailed.

  12. RR - One of the little gems (from the book) that has stuck in my mind, and I quote just from memory:

    "The word "actualy" wasn't part of Bond's vocabulary."

  13. i'm sure it wasn't - he would have used 'actually' (sorry about that) - with a sneer, of course. I always preferred Dick Barton.

    Having been involved in some public matters, one finds that these apparently endless delays in starting and completing 'official enquires' are usually due to the exacting evidentiary processes necessary and actually required by law - they are there to examine facts and records, not impressions or opinions.
    Preliminary reports are often flawed or even biased.
    Whether or not 'recommendations' are enacted is another matter. But a surprising number are, in the end.
    Rushed legislation is usually bad law.
    Neglect/negligence is a human trait and over-legislation won't eliminate it. Only vigilance - and, of course, that rare and precious commodity , common sense.
    What surprises me most is the length of criminal trials - 'two days should be enough to hang a man' (as I once heard say)