Bond Book: the green fingered villain

‘You only live twice’

Of all the things to have in a ‘Bond’ novel, a garden being used as a weapon. ‘A garden of death’, pronounced Tiger, the head of the Japanese national secret service.

Okay, to set it into context, Bond is widowed and falling apart. Bunkered off to the Far East by a beleaguered M, Bond is trying to turn himself around. And that means Sake. Lots I of it. At least eight flasks, for one double martini.

But the horticultural aspect is amusing. Gardening is meant to be good for you. With a whole litany of positive effects.

My money, as I swiped the pages, was of course on Blofeld reoccurring. Swiss fella with an ugly wife, you start adding these things up. It does help if you read these books in order. As the reader, you are not as naive as bond; you can grasp the omniscience of Fleming as the writer. For all his braincells, Bond doesn’t seem to clock on.

He does eventually, as Tiger gives him an education and makes Bond a honorary Japanese. There is of course, a Bond girl. This one is not naive, having courted Hollywood and met the lovely David Niven.

There is of course the show down with the villain; bond having figured out who it is. All well and good, this appears to be a Fleming device. A laboured, protracted build up and wham. An episodic window where bad guy and bond meet.

The tail end, I did not see coming. It does however lend itself to the next book, ‘The man with the Golden gun’. What I did not see coming, were the words attributed to M and Mary Goodnight. A reminder, within context, of Bond’s human frailty. Summed up neatly by Blofeld terming Bond a thug directed by dolts in authority. Then there is the Bond girl, her actions are described in a vignette that makes you smile. All because the lady loves bond. Since he dressed as a ninja, that famous sales slogan seems apt.

Three more to go.

Grafting through Grafton

I have got as far as ‘L for lawless’, the alphabetic instalment of Kinsey Malone’s Private Eye detective series. I am aiming for a ‘Grafton day’ where I can read a good few of them and get through the books.

Having read some but not all of Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe novels, Kinsey Malone is the eighties, non noir crime equivalent gumshoe. Yes, the novels are formulaic, they plod through procedural stages as Kinsey pootles through in her well loved and fairly pranged automobile. But they are readable. There is the ability to be transported away to the fictional town of Santa Therese where you meet the varied strata that make up the spectrum of the local populace.

Having arrived half way through the eighties. I have few salient memories of that era and graftons description stucco houses and parcels of lands, evokes images of papier mâché models that architects might build. Reading, it does feel as though Grafton was sat in the cabinet war rooms in London. Moving Kinsey, the bad guys and the plot along, as though she was discussing a game of ‘Risk’.

Even at the K stage, we don’t know much about Kinsey. Yeah, she’s been married twice. And one of them, is a feckless toad with musical tendencies. She lives in a shoebox outhouse thing built by her landlord Henry, who I always imagine to be one of the fellas from Goonies. Her family, of which there was a only one aunt; is now coming into the picture. Kinsey is skittish and hesitant about what she might uncover. So yeah, she can go rattle the closets of crooks to shake out the skeletons, but her own cupboard under the stairs has a very a sticky door. Being an ex-copper, Kinsey has a yeah but no relationship with the local police department. Guess that works, even Batman needed a copper and so did Angel in the Whedon-verse.

Bond and the books

Going slightly crispy in the Ibizan sun, lends itself to reading more of the Ian Fleming ‘Bond’ Novels. Steady headway is being made through the franchise. With Octopussy/living daylights, you only live twice and the man with the golden gun remaining, the journey has been something of a roller coaster.

‘The spy who loved me’ was not the best. Mainly as Bond is reduced to a bit player, who conveniently just turns up. The female protagonist-the book is written through her eyes-is clunky, naive, scared and a sap. Characteristic, of all of Flemings females. I dislike his construction of female characters. In my humble opinion, Fleming would have benefited from a chat with Joss Whedon. Whedon, knows full well that strong female characters are more than capable of having a mind of their own, without having to drop their knickers. Often displaying bigger, and better balls of steel than their male counterparts.

So I was a bit cheesed off; not particularly relishing ‘on her majesty’s secret service.’ I have always known that there was a Mrs.Bond, albeit briefly. So this was the kicker for the book. How does the worlds ultimate diamond geezer get the girl?

Well, he has an epiphany. It is that simple. James-M calls him that from time to time-has a moment. And for all his toss pot ness, you could almost give him a hug and tell him well done. He is after all, slowly killing himself. Mrs bond-Tracy-is pretty much doing the same. Two kindred spirits who could mend each other.

Alas, mrs.bond is still a damsel in distress. And you will have to read it to know what happens; if you like me, are not likely to watch the film.

The plot itself is far fetched. I did laugh, and at bond being a faux aristo. Especially, when the movies give him that feel anyway. There is brief mentions of skyfall and world is not enough. A very short shutter lens moment into Bond’s background. Christmas dinner with M, is a cosy window that reminds us of how alone James Bond is and always will be.

Blofeld is indeed there, but a broad brush stroke. Reminiscent, actually, of ‘Thunderball’. The one thing that kept me going through the book though, was the sketch from the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. The one with Her Majesty and James Bond parachuting from the plane. Now I see the link!

Reading ‘for your eyes only’ was a disappointment. A little fish, that hildebrand rarity, is all it hinges on. A book, that I really didn’t get. Oh, and guano. I think there was poop involved.

It will be a year at Christmas, I chose to investigate Bond. The investigation, continues.

Tickle your aubergines

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Tickle your aubergines; as this is the only way I am having success. Water and feed them too, regularly. The current warm weather is envoy ageing the flowers; when all seemed to have stopped.

There are a handful of baby aubergines, all on the black prince F1 aubergines. the ones sown from seed are yet to do anything other than flower.

Feeling cordial: Rhubarb and Ginger

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Today we rhubarb’d. Same recipe. 1.5 litres of fruit. I had harvested a lot of rhurbarb, hoping to get a better fruitier flavour. No cinonman, but some fresh root ginger.

The sticks were chopped up into half inch pieces and boiled with the water. After some mashing, which happened rather quickly. The whole thing was passed through a tea cloth and a sieve. 400g of sugar was added and the liquid simmered to dissolve. Liquid was then cooled and decanted.

Feeling cordial: blackberry, raspberry and rhubarb

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This recipe required:

1500g blackberries, I had 1kg,
With a few raspberries, plums and 3
Small sticks of rhubarb.
400g of sugar
Enough cold water to cover them, but let say a litre per kilo.
A stick of of cinnoman, I used powder
A teaspoon of lemon juice.

I put fruit and water into a pan, and boiled til burst. I did mash to be fair and probably shouldn’t have. Then with Ma’s fine mesh sieve, filtered the juice. Returning this to the hob, I added cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice. The recipe said to simmer, then boil for 20 minutes. I got as a far as 11 and the sugar had dissolved. Cool and then decant.

The taste test. Well I had double measure in that glass as it wouldn’t fit into the bottle. Not bad! A bit warm, bit nice.

Caging cabbages

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It’s not that the cabbages are wild rampant beasts. They are quite slow and docile creatures really. They do need some structural support though.

Today about 30 plug plants were plugged in. These were Duncan and sennen cabbages, as well as claret brocolli, and dwarf Curly kale. Each plug was plugged into a small hole with some lime. I had already scattered chicken poop pellets across the bed.

Watered, there was some scattering of blue pellets of doom. Then came the cage itself. A structure made of bamboo canes, lots of them, lashed together. With yogurt pots perched on top to support the netting. Netting was then draped across the top and secured with heavy bricks. Also had to reinforce the structural integrity of the cage built previously. Whilst a few gave succumbed to slimers. Most are doing well. There are however lots of weeds in there that will have to be hoed out. Thinking about removing the make shift fleece and adding netting across now that we have a supply. My only fear is weather damage. Heavy snow or rain could finish the lot.

Alien oddities: decorative gourds

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As the vine has now got Powdery mildew and started to die back, these darlings have been harvested. A very productive vine, but so very viscous! Have an entirely scratched arm. Think altogether I have harvested 17 of these beautifully ugly orbs. No idea what to do with them though, as these are not edible.

Tickling aubergines

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Was doing a bit of clearing today, though the aim had been to plant Cabbages and other brassicas. The Cinderella pumpkin vine has been felled as the fruit are now off. So having harvested a few more green tomatoes, a couple of plants have to make way for the cabbage cage; I popped into the poly.

It has been very quiet in the poly, I can’t say it’s gone particularly to plan in there. There is lots of foliage, with flowers coming from time to time. There has however, been a flurry of purple flowers. These are on the diamond, dancer and black prince aubergines. So these have been tickled and carefully observed. In rummaging today, I have found a few of what look like baby aubergines nubs. It’s quite hard to spot them in all that foliage. Will keep an eye on them to see if we get anywhere.

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