Friday, 31 August 2012

Sorry, Rog, You're Up The Creek

So Roger Moore jumps on the populist bandwaggon to promote his book Bond on Bond and pronounces that Daniel Craig is the best Bond yet. I would say that I don't understand it - but I do - he says it almost certainly because he thinks that this is what people want to hear. I dare say that Craig is a good actor but he looks like a bare-knuckle fighter who has had his ears boxed once too often and he lacks any dash at all in his grossly over-developed frame, which is dressed in the dullest clothes which Wardrobe could find. Quantum of Solace is actually rather a dull short story in which James Bond is simply the audience to the story of a faithless wife's downfall and the film's plot is nearly opaque. Further films will lack any original Fleming link at all apart from the regular character's names. I still remember the thrill of the first Bond film that I saw on the big screen - Goldfinger - in the dear old St Austell Odeon (now smashed down) and I just don't think that Craig can do quite the same  for the current generation of youngsters but then again, I don't think that the current generation wants more than action and violence at the level that it is now being presented - and they certainly have to do without humour.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Thank Goodness for That

I was shocked and appalled to read that The Dandy comic was closing production. It is not: it is going online instead of in print; although the annual will still be printed. My sister and I always had The Dandy and The Beano and the world would be the poorer without them.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


King Edward VII's last dog, a fox terrier, was called Caesar and he wore a collar which bore the legend ''I am Caesar. I belong to the King''. Here are photographs which show the little fellow following the King's charger (boots reversed in the stirrups), behind his coffin (right click to enlarge):

Julie Andrews as Gertrude Lawrence as Burlington Bertie from Bow

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


We have been planning a garden, with both productive and ornamental areas, for some time and have come to understand what Francis Bacon had to say about gardens; this is from the beginning of his essay on them:

''God Almighty first planted a garden. And, indeed, it is the purest of
human pleasure. It is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man, without which,
buildings and palaces are but gross handiworks. And a man shall ever see that when
ages grow to civility and elegance, men come to build stately, sooner than to
garden finely – as if gardening were the greater perfection.''

A couple of general inspirations are the (lost) gardens at Heligan, in Cornwall:

and Sir Roy and Lady Strong's creation at the Laskett:

However, we are fairly unrestricted in what we can grow, subject to the reservation that the climate is tropical and, therefore, deciduous plants and trees need special care as the seasons are indistinct.

First, there is the need to find a suitable plot. 

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Queen Alexandra's Generosity

According to her grandson, the Duke of Windsor, Queen Alexandra's generosity was a source of embarrassment to her financial advisers. Whenever she received a letter soliciting money, a cheque would be sent by the next post, regardless of the authenticity of the mendicant and without having the case investigated, and she would dismiss protests about her heavy spending with a wave of the hand or by claiming that she had not heard. Her generosity and patronage of several charities is commemorated on June 8th each year; Queen Alexandra Rose Day.

In the picture, Queen Alexandra is at the far right, next to her mother and, on the far left, The Princess Royal.

Tobacco Packaging

It is about time that the government introduced a new, mandatory warning on the packaging of good tobacco (I have in mind especially the Fribourg & Treyer snuffs which recently arrived from Blighty):


ASH should seriously consider rebranding its prohibitionist outfit ''A ASS', which is what it is trying to make of the law with its demands for 'plain packaging' of tobacco products. Why don't they try to stamp out pornography, the drug trade, gratuitous violence, child abuse, street robbery and burglary instead - as all these things seem to be rampant in 'modern Britain'. Don't get me wrong I still love my homeland and some of its people but, in a very real sense, the England that I was born into has vanished and absurd campaigns to control people by restricting even the packaging of tobacco is just going too far: Those concerned in it should be put in the village pillory for a full twenty four hours and pelted with rotten fruit, vegetables and stinking fish. Then they might start to appreciate Liberty.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Jardim Botanico, Rio de Janeiro

A friend from UCL days, Ron Collins, came to stay and we all went to meet Rio friends Marcelo and Eva at the Jardim Botanico in Rio de Janeiro. These gardens are like Kew with the roofs off. Unfortunately, it rained cats and dogs and we did not stay long. However, Ron took some pictures and here is a selection. 1-3 are in the orchid house; 4 is of a lake and water lilies; 5 is the pergola where Emperor Dom Pedro II often used to lunch; 6 is back at the lagoon in the Sleepy Hollow; 7 is me enjoying a pinch of Fribourg & Treyer's Macouba snuff. Ron also brought a small consignment otherwise comprising F&T Bureau (recently brought back into manufacture); Prince's Special, and Old Paris (together with Macouba, a Brummell favourite), plus a couple of tins of Rose of Sharrow, which is a nice mild post-breakfast snuff. Number 8 is a parting shot.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Gone Fishin'

I am off to build a garden. End of this nonsense! I began this blog and have blogged like hell, elsewhere, in order to promote my books; according to the diktats of my sometime agent. It has all failed; as have the books. I am off to do something worthwhile. If I can totally disable the blog, I shall do so. I have come around to the view, expressed by George IV's only direct heir that: ''The more that I see of the world, the less I want to have to do with it.''

However, I thank my half a dozen or so real followers, and wish you well. I also suggest that you all go off and do something worthwhile with the earth between your fingers.

As they say:



Thursday, 2 August 2012

Hobson-Jobson Dictionary

A tremendous find of Anglo-Indian words, deriving from British rule in India and still very much at large and alive in the world.