Adventure, America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, UK

Craig Sera Sera

Craig Sera Sera, that’s a wrap from the 12th Bond.. and he’ll sure miss those exotic missions.

So which countries has 007 visited most, other than England where he works?

Well of the 50 he’s been to, Italia would seem to have been his favourite with the spy having touched down in Il Bel Paese eight times. 

Pasta Master

Venice: And let’s catch a gondola back to Padova

Rome, Venice and Como have inevitably been stick-on locations for any filmmaker and international man of mystery.

And this time it’s the European City of Culture for 2019, Matera, which is getting its place in the sun this time. 

With its houses. built into caves, cobbled streets and high arches a dramatic backdrop for the opening scenes.

And Felice Giorni for Matera with the town’s mayor, Raffaello De Ruggieri, predicting its association with Bond will be worth $20 million to the local economy.

In truth this is probably the highpoint of the movie, and all before the credits and Billie Eilish’s disappointing dirge of a soundtrack.

As Daddy’s Little Girl rightly pointed out the best bits were the locales. 

Live and Let Spy

Love a duck: At Epcot Centre, Florida

With Britain and America enjoying that much feted special relationship it is unsurprising that The Oo Es of Eh is his next favourite stop-off.

And we particularly enjoy his forays into Florida and its keys… whose pleasures I had to put off on the outbreak of Covid but where I intend to fulfil just as soon as.

Ski another day

Like an Alpine skier: In the Austrian Tyrol

Next up might be less predictable, Austria, but then we have to remember its stunning snowscapes and Bond’s love of winter sports which of course we share.

Although we have never seen him on the slopes of Soll while we have enjoyed skiing alongside some dapper fancied-dressed folks.

And we look forward to seeing a penguin-suited Bond on the piste some time soon.

For Bond anoraks it’s an easy question but which is the only country in a film title?

The spy who came in from the Red

Dance away: Russia

Yes, the old Soviet Union, or Russia as we knew it in shorthand.

And as well as the titular film From Russia With Love, Bond turns up in Fabergeland another three times.

Turkish crossroads

Hamam bam: Istanbul

It has been the crossroads for espionage since first the first looked out over each other at either side of the Bosphorus.

And, of course, Istanbul, has been an ideal backdrop for Bond’s adventures… and yours, and mine with three films taking in Turkey’s biggest city.

Three’s a charm

Limber up: The next Bond?

And among those countries where Bond has a trio of visits is Hong Kong, Spain, the Bahamas, Scotland, his homeland and Jamaica where Ian Fleming penned the books.

And the West Indies’ biggest island is where we first fell in love with Bond on the Laughing Waters beach in Ocho Rios.

Or Sean Connery to be more precise, even if you were a red-blooded bloke, you actually wanted to be him.

Wear a swimsuit: Craig as Bond

And be with Ursula Andress.

There was much fuss too about Daniel Craig with his take on coming out of the water, ripped and in a pair of budgie smugglers.

Only thing is a budgie has more charisma.

Craig Sera Sera… whatever will be, will be.

 

 

 

Caribbean, Countries, Culture

Yeah Mon Jamaican Independence Day

Yeah Mon Jamaican Independence Day is in full swing and naturally will last a week.

It’s 59 years since the Jamaicans led the way by becoming the first Caribbean country to break from the UK.

Following the experiment of the West Indies Federation between 1958 and 1962.

Where Jamaica led (and leads) its Caribbean neighbours followed.

More independence

Ruby do: With Ruby in Barbados

And Trinidad & Tobago also took the plunge that magical year of 1962.

Barbados followed in 1966 before there was a rush of freedom in the Seventies.

With the Bahamas in 1973, Granada in 1974, Dominica 1978 and St Lucia and St Vincent in 1979.

And Antigua & Barbuda in 1981 and St Kitts & Nevis joining the gang in 1983.

All of which means that there will be a landmark every year to keep us all going for the next few years.

Jamaican jewels

Get down: In Jamaica

Now where once Britain left its footprint on the Caribbean,West Indians have transformed British life.

In the years since we put out the call to come here to help rebuild the post-war UK.

So we probably all think we know the Windies well by now, and Jamaica, and Jamaicans, in particular.

And its British, and more specifically Scottish and Irish links.

Jammin’

Bobbin’ along: Marley

But did you know?

That Jamaica is more than reggae, though there’s plenty of Marley which is good for me.

Try out the ska, mento, dancehall, ragga, dub and rocksteady. And soca, although there’s more of that in the southern Caribbean.

And it’s not just Usain Bolt though who has ripped up the sporting world, though he’s plenty good for us too.

Usain follows in the spikesteps of the marvellous Marlene Ottey and the Don, Don Quarry.

Other kings and queens of sport

Howzat! Chris Gayle

While Elaine Thompson-Herah led a Jamaican 1-2-3 in this month’s Olympics ahead of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson.

Mikey Holding, Courtney Walsh and Chris Gayle are just three of the calypso cricketers; Mike McCallum and Trevor Berbick are Caribbean kings of the ring.

While who can forget the Winter Olympics bobsleigh team who gave us Cool Runnings and the Jamaica football team who reached the World Cup.

Thank God for Jamaica

Praise the Lord: Gospel singing

That the island has more than 100 Christian denominations may come as a surprise.

And more churches, 2.75 per square mile, than any other country in the world.

And, of course, a morning in church (and it will be a morning) and a gospel choir should be on your must-do list when you visit.

And rum

Rum-making

As should the rum bars where for hardened rummies this is what you should order…

Jancraw Batty, which translates as ‘vulture’s ass’ and is under the rum bar counter.

There will be plenty Jancraw Batty raised today.

Yeah Mon Jamaican Independence Day.

 

 

America, Countries, Cruising

Edging closer to getting back on the seas

For some it’s the fanciest hotel, for others an exclusive resort, for us it’s a ship on the ocean…. we’re edging closer to getting back on the seas.

Our friends at Celebrity Cruises have brought us joyous news with this teaser about their flagship Celebrity Edge.

Edge will be the first Celebrity ship to sail from the US since March 2020.

Happy Days

We’ll be in the capable hands of Captain Kate departing on June 26.

And Europe too

Now we’ll take any shores just now and if you’re European then Celebrity have got this continent covered too.

Celebrity Apex is sailing to the Greek islands from Athens.

Tortoises anyone?

While further afield those giant Galapagos tortoises aren’t going anywhere but you could be.

On Celebrity Cruises’ Edge

There are three expedition ships all scheduled to resume services in the coming months.

So we’re edging closer to getting back on the seas.

Next question, what gives Edge, well the Edge?

Well in a word ‘luxury’. And in another couple its unique moving tender.

Let’s play on the tender slide

A memory stick in the shape of the ship sits on my terminal so that I can drift off to my days and nights on the inaugural cruise.

From Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas.

A touch of Scotland

Here are the unprofessional pics taken by your unprofessional cruiser (well, you have to)!

Mind you, I was the one who turned in early while the rest of our party took to the dance floor on our last night.

The cruise gang

There were some sights the next morning although the gorgeous Alesha Dixon didn’t have a hair out of place.

And I got the benefits as I was ship-shape for my day in Miami before I flew home… to get lost.

But that’s another story.

Edging closer to getting back on the seas? I’m already there in my head.

 

America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Sir Sean’s iconic sets (or should that be shets?)

Resht in peash, Shir Sean. And I hope Shaint Peter understandsh your acshent.

Living in Portobello, Edinburgh’s beach suburb for ten years I never heard anybody spik like Sir Sean.

But maybe thatsh moviesh!

Preparing for the role: In Portobello. www.twitter.com

First Porty of call

Portobello: And Porty is as good a place as any to talk about Sir Sean’s sets.

Because it was here in his hometown, and as a lifeguard at Porty’s outdoor swimming pool that he had his first stage.

The pool is now a five-a-side football complex, and we have both moved on.

Visitors to Edinburgh rarely go any further out of the city than Leith where the Royal Yacht Britannia is kept.

But they should. Porty is bohemian while still being grounded “, and if you can’t get to those beaches Bond did you can walk in Sean’s sandsteps here.

Bahama Mamma

Bahamas: And it’s fitting that Sir Sean saw out his days in the Bahamas.

He clearly enjoyed the island lifestyle as much as Ian Fleming who penned the spy which would propel Connery to fame just down the road in Jamaica.

We’ve all, of course, been reminiscing about who until today was the second Greatest Living Scot (it’s Billy Connolly now).

And my old pal, Rebecca Lee, who I sent out to the Bahamas reminds me of how she stayed at the hotel where he still played the tables.

And was beloved by the locals which is as it should be.

The daddy of them all: Indy’s Dad in Jordan. www.pinterest.com

Jordan and crusaders

Jordan: Sir Sean was always unmistakably Scottish… all Jocks look like movie stars after all.

And share his dry wit.

Sir Sean upstaged Harrison Ford in the Last Crusade, the climax of which is staged at The Treasury in Jordan.

Hardly surprising that proud nationalist Sir Sean should star in an Indy film!

For hire: With Kevin Costner

Untouchable in Chicago

Chicago: And the film for which he won his Oscar as Best Supporting Actor above the wooden acting of Kevin Costner.

You can truly believe Sir Sean as a gritty Chicago cop.

So we’ll pass over that he’s meant to be Irish.

Whodunit: In Orient Express. www.imdb.com

Murder on the Orient Express

Istanbul: The Albert Finney version of course where Sir Sean plays Colonel Arbuthnot.

And Istanbul is the terminus for the Orient-Express, although we all know that Poirot and his fellow passengers were on their way back to London.

And an example of how less is more… with Sir Sean, the upstanding stiff military man rather than than the dashing, reckless Bond.

Anyone for Venice? James and Tatiana. www.pinterest.com

From Russia (really Istanbul and Venice) With Love

Istanbul and Venice: And this being released in the mid-60s and in the middle of a real Cold War the filming was done in the West.

There are some iconic scene in this my favourite Bond.

I love Commie kicker Hleb’s kickathon with Bond and who can forget Bond and Tatiana sailing under the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

There’s definitely something about James… or should that be something about Murty!