Salt Fish and Ackee

In Dr. No, in the morning following their night at The Joy Boat, James Bond and Quarrel reconvene at Bond’s hotel, the Blue Hills.

‘Yes, come on in, Quarrel. We’ve got a busy day. Had some breakfast?’
‘Yes, tank you, cap’n. Salt fish an’ ackee an’ a tot of rum.’
‘Good God,’ said Bond. ‘That’s tough stuff to start the day on.’
‘Mos’ refreshin’,’ said Quarrel stolidly.

SaltFish and Ackee is Jamaica’s National Dish.

The Ackee fruit was originally native to West Africa, and was introduced to Jamaica where it has become the national fruit of the country. The fruit grows on evergreen trees, in pods which ripen from green to red, and then split open when completely ripe. Even then, care must be taken to separate the yellow aril from the black seeds.

The Salt Fish and Ackee dish is a common breakfast meal, as the edible part of the Ackee fruit when cooked, has the texture and even the taste, of scrambled eggs.

In addition to the Salt fish, onion and various colorful peppers are usually a part of the dish.

During my trip to Goldeneye, I was sure to eat Salt fish and Ackee each morning for breakfast.

It is traditionally served with those fried dumplings, which complement the dish very well.

I did not have the “tot of rum” with breakfast, however. Instead I stuck with the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.

Leica With Flash Attachment

After arriving in Jamaica in Dr No, and settling into his hotel, James Bond goes with his friend Quarrel for dinner at the Joy Boat restaurant.

A glint of light caught the corner of Bond’s eye. He turned quickly. The Chinese girl from the airport was standing in the nearby shadows. Now she was dressed in a tight-fitting sheath of black satin slashed up one side almost to her hip. She had a Leica with a flash attachment in one hand. The other was in a leather case at her side. The hand came out holding a flashbulb. The girl slipped the base into her mouth to wet it and improve the contact and made to screw it into the reflector.

This photographer was previously using the Speed Graphic Press Camera but has switched up to a smaller, more mobile camera for the restaurant. She was likely using either a Leica III or M3, two of the most popular Leica cameras during the 1950’s, along with a flash attachment.

Leica M3 Camera
Leica III Camera

The flash attachment could’ve been one such as this:

Or perhaps another brand such as Minox.

In Goldfinger, Bond uses a Leica M3 when going to Auric Goldfinger’s suite to photograph Jill Masterton assisting her employer in cheating Mr Du Pont.

Bond took the elevator up to his suite. He went to his suitcase and extracted an M3 Leica, an MC exposure meter, a K2 filter and a flash-holder. He put a bulb in the holder and checked the camera. He went to his balcony, glanced at the sun to estimate where it would be at about three-thirty and went back into the sitting-room, leaving the door to the balcony open. He stood at the balcony door and aimed the exposure meter. The exposure was one-hundredth of a second. He set this on the Leica, put the shutter at f 11, and the distance at twelve feet. He clipped on a lens hood and took one picture to see that all was working. Then he wound on the film, slipped in the flash-holder and put the camera aside.

He then startles her with the flash when photographing the scene.

Gin and Tonic

In Dr No, James Bond arrives in Jamaica and is brought to The Blue Hills Hotel (Not Myrtle Bank, as, in an effort to protect his cover, he told the eager photographer)  by Quarrel, Bond settles into his room, showering off “the last dirt of big-city life: and pulling on his favorite Sea Island cotton shorts. He then sets about relaxing with a drink.

Bond ordered a double gin and tonic and one whole green lime. When the drink came he cut the lime in half, dropped the two squeezed halves into the long glass, almost filled the glass with ice cubes and then poured in the tonic. He took the drink out on to the balcony, and sat and looked out across the spectacular view.

It’s a fairly straightforward drink. A couple of items which I find worthy of mentioning here.

The Limes

First, the whole green lime. In the past when making this drink following the instructions above, I found it a bit of a challenge to fit both halves of the squeezed lime into the glass, along with the ice cubes, a double portion of gin (4 oz, at least) and the tonic.

When I went to Jamaica in 2106 and stayed at GoldenEye, there were limes provided in my bungalow as part of the mini-bar. I noted these limes were much smaller, paler, rounder and firmer than I was used to purchasing in the U.S, perhaps 1/2 to 1/3 the size of a supermarket lime. At first I thought maybe I had been provided some old shriveled limes, but upon cutting them, they were very juicy inside. They were also seedless. (No, they weren’t Key Limes.) When in the local markets, I saw all the limes for sale were also of this size and type. I’m fairly sure they were Persian Bearss limes, which are a variety grown on the island.

I remember it striking me then – this was probably the size of the lime Bond used to make his gin and tonic – it made sense; it fit into the glass better, leaving plenty of room for the rest of the ingredients, and it still contained plenty of juice. A small detail, and perhaps obvious to others, but something that clicked in and felt like a revelation to me at the time.

Supermarket (Mexican) lime on left. Persian lime on right.

The Tonic

As for tonic, I’d grown disillusioned with modern-day tonic water, the major brands are all sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. This ingredient did not exist in Fleming’s day, so I always felt I wasn’t getting an authentic taste for what they were drinking. (The same with other mixers such as ginger ale.) A few years ago I began seeking out smaller brands which were using pure cane sugar to sweeten the tonic water, brands like Fever Tree. I can honestly say that it does make a difference, so now, even though I don’t drink much soda or tonic, the ones that I do use when mixing these Bond drinks are sweetened with sugar. I’ve been using a small bottling works located in my area called Squamscot Beverages. Their motto is even – “Experience the Past… One Sip at a Time”!

The Gin

I’ve recently discovered Diplôme Dry Gin Original 1945 Recipe which seems a natural fit for this drink.

Speed Graphic Press Camera

In Dr No, As James Bond arrives at Palisadoes Airport, he is greeted by Quarrel, and they start to head out to the car.

They were moving towards the exit when there came the sharp crack and flash of a Press camera. A pretty Chinese girl in Jamaican dress was lowering her Speed Graphic. She came up to them. She said with synthetic charm, “Thank you, gentlemen. I am from the Daily Gleaner.” She glanced down at a list in her hand. “Mister Bond, isn’t it? And how long will you be with us, Mister Bond?”

The Graflex Speed Graphic camera is perhaps the quintessential press camera. It was in production for 60 years, and many of the most famous photographs of the 20th century were taken with it.

The company began in the late 19th century as Folmer and Schwing Manufacturing Company. It was acquired by George Eastman and became a division of Eastman Kodak until the company was forced divest itself of the division. It was spun back off into its own company, becoming Folmer Graflex Corporation and then in 1946, Graflex, Inc. The last Speed Graphic cameras were produced in 1973.

 

In their next encounter with this photographer, she is using a different camera.

 

Palisadoes Airport

This entryway into Jamaica (now known as Norman Manley International Airport) is featured in three Ian Fleming novels – Live and Let Die, Dr No and The Man With The Golden Gun.

In Live and Let Die, Bond is met at the airport by Strangways following his departure from the United States via Tampa, a brief stop in Nassau, and a bit of a rough approach and landing in Jamaica.

This happy landing at Palisadoes Airport comes to you by courtesy of your stars. Better thank them.

Bond unfastened his seat-belt and wiped the sweat off his face.

To hell with it, he thought, as he stepped down out of the huge strong plane.

Strangways, the chief Secret Service agent for the Caribbean, was at the airport to meet him and he was quickly through the Customs and Immigration and Finance Control.

In Dr No, Bond is met by Quarrel.

Slowly the great aircraft turned in again towards the land and for a moment the setting sun poured gold into the cabin. Then, the plane had dipped below the level of the Blue Mountains and was skimming down towards the single north–south runway. There was a glimpse of a road and telephone wires. Then the concrete, scarred with black skid-marks, was under the belly of the plane and there was the soft double thump of a perfect landing and the roar of reversing props as they taxied in towards the low white airport buildings.

The sticky fingers of the tropics brushed Bond’s face as he left the aircraft and walked over to Health and Immigration. He knew that by the time he had got through Customs he would be sweating. He didn’t mind.

In The Man With The Golden Gun, Bond is killing time at “Kingston International Airport” before a connecting flight to Havana when he stumbles across a lead which changes his plans and keeps him in Jamaica.

There are few less prepossessing places to spend a hot afternoon than Kingston International Airport in Jamaica. All the money has been spent on lengthening the runway out into the harbour to take the big jets, and little was left over for the comfort of transit passengers. James Bond had come in an hour before on a B.W.I.A. flight from Trinidad, and there were two hours to go before he could continue the roundabout journey to Havana. He had taken off his coat and tie and now sat on a hard bench gloomily surveying the contents of the In-Bound shop with its expensive scents, liquor, and piles of overdecorated native ware He had had luncheon on the plane, it was the wrong time for a drink, and it was too hot and too far to take a taxi into Kingston even had he wanted to. He wiped his already soaking handkerchief over his face and neck and cursed softly and fluently.

 

palisadoes-customs
Immigration and Customs at Palisadoes Airport, late 1950’s – early 1960’s.

The airfield was constructed in the late 1930’s, the location was selected because it was close to Kingston (10 miles), and Port Royal (5 1/2 miles), could handle land and sea planes and there were good roads in the area.

When World War II broke out, the civilian airfield became a Royal Navy Air Station, commissioned on 21 Jan 1941 as HMS Buzzard. It was closed on December 31st 1944, and returned to civilian use.

In 1948 the Palisadoes Airport opened. This aerial shows the site in the late 1940’s:

In these 1962 stills, you can see the view exiting the terminal and curbside of the Palisadoes Airport, as well as the view from across the road. Interestingly these are before Ian Fleming wrote The Man With The Golden Gun.

Port Royal Lighthouse

plumb-point-lighthouse-port-royal

 

Dr No:

The other side of the mountains was in deep violet shadow. Lights were already twinkling in the foothills and spangling the streets of Kingston, but, beyond, the far arm of the harbour and the airport were still touched with the sun against which the Port Royal lighthouse blinked ineffectually. Now the Constellation was getting its nose down into a wide sweep beyond the harbour. There was a slight thump as the tricycle landing gear extended under the aircraft and locked into position, and a shrill hydraulic whine as the brake flaps slid out of the trailing edge of the wings. Slowly the great aircraft turned in again towards the land and for a moment the setting sun poured gold into the cabin. Then, the plane had dipped below the level of the Blue Mountains and was skimming down towards the single north-south runway. There was a glimpse of a road and telephone wires. Then the concrete, scarred with black skid-marks, was under the belly of the plane and there was the soft double thump of a perfect landing and the roar of reversing props as they taxied in towards the low white airport buildings.

The Plum Point lighthouse in Port Royal was built in 1853. Made of stone and cast iron, the 69-foot tall two-stage structure flashes every nine seconds, alternating between red and white. It sits adjacent to the end of the Norman Manley International Airport, (the Palisadoes Airport in Bond’s time) as can be seen here:

plum-point-lighthouse

The light on the tower has reportedly only gone out once, during a 1907 earthquake. A year earlier, in 1906, the cruiseliner Prinzessin Victoria Luise (the first purpose-built cruise ship) ran aground near the lighthouse and was wrecked.

plumb_p

Here is a look at the Harbor, and you’ll note that the lighthouse is not in the town of Port Royal proper, but is near the airport. This could a view similar to what Fleming described, with the “far arm of the harbour and the airport.”

aerial-photograph_palisadoes-spit_highlights

Grumman Amphibian

GrummanIn Dr No, M is giving James Bond some background on the case in Jamaica which he is turning over to his still-recovering agent.

He has described the private island of Crab Key, and notes:

There’s an airstrip on the island. This Chinaman’s got a Grumman Amphibian for bringing in supplies …

Grumman was a major manufacturer of both civilian and military aircraft during the last century, one line they built was a series of Amphibian aircraft, designed for use on land or water.

Either of these could be representative of the plane that Dr No owned.

grumman-amphibian
Grumman G44-A Widgeon ZK-AVM

 

Grumman Goose
Grumman Goose

After disposing of Dr No, Bond postulates that some of the remaining men will attempt to flee to Cuba in the plane.

Reflections in Goldeneye

ge-pan
A panoramic view of Goldeneye.

For anyone who is a fan of the Ian Fleming James Bond novels, a pilgrimage to the spot where Fleming wrote the books is high atop the wish list.

At least it was for me.

After many years of thinking about it, I decided to do it. There was a lot happening in my life at the moment, and an escape to wander in the paths that Ian Fleming himself walked and lived seemed like the ideal way to find my own direction. I’m close to the age that Fleming was when he was writing the books, living in Jamaica for two months a year, and this seemed the perfect time to take the plunge and really immerse myself in finding out what appealed so much to him, and if it would give me similar inspiration.

Arriving at the Goldeneye Resort after a two-hour drive from the Montego Bay airport, you wonder if you’re even in the right spot. There is no sign out front announcing the resort, just a simple gate. It’s later explained to me that because of the celebrities who come here, any little bit to throw off the paparazzi is attempted.

A gracious welcome in the Ian Fleming lounge is the first stop, a simple room much in the feel of the original Goldeneye house, with open, windows and familiar, black-and-white images of Fleming adorning the walls. (Most of these images can be found in Matthew Parker’s excellent book.)

My stay was not in the actual Goldeneye house (Referred to as the Fleming Villa on site) but instead in one of the new beach cottages recently added to the resort. The next afternoon I would have a chance to visit the Fleming Villa.

Just coming here was something of a risk, as I wasn’t sure if I’d be allowed to go to the house. I was informed ahead of time that if there were guests staying in the villa, obviously I would not be able to tour the house. As it was the off-season, the house was empty, and with wild anticipation, I was brought up to the house that Ian Fleming built.

The villa is fenced in for privacy, so as I stepped through the gate I caught my first glimpse of Goldeneye, I saw only the roof and top of the walls over the tropical bushes, but recognized the building immediately. I walked along the side path and through the side entrance of the house. It opens into the living area, where there are a few bits of furniture set around a glass-topped table and a large day bed. While not quite as spartan as when Fleming lived there, the house remains simple. No television, no clocks or other visible electronics, save a speaker in the bedroom.

The wide windows with the opened shutters and broad sills had me imagining the people sitting in this room over the years and the conversations that were held here. The cocktails. The meals served by Violet. They took place in this very room. 

Moving through this large room, I stopped briefly at the door in the front of the house to admire Fleming’s sunken garden, where they would sit and read in the tropical sunshine, and where Ann would be painting.

Turning back into the room, you see the door leading into a bedroom with a desk set into the corner. This is where Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond novels. I nervously ask the guide if I may sit at the desk, she says “of course.” It is the original desk, and from all the photos I can find, this is the original chair as well. I sit in the chair, at the desk, and gaze out the window. Fleming would close the shutters on these windows when he was working, and then throw them open when he was done for the day and head down to the water.

What a moment.

I took a little bit to just absorb the moment. To reflect on the history here. Events 60 years ago in this very structure. It was actually pretty humbling.

Out the side door of Fleming’s bedroom led to a path down to the cliff side, and down the stairs that have been built into the cliff. Not the original stairs, but heading down them was still another thrill. There was the private beach. About the size of a cricket pitch, with the large rock about 10 feet out.

Another moment to pause and think of the hours Fleming spent exploring the waters here.

After a few minutes, it’s back up another set of stairs in the cliff which bring you up to the other side of the property. Getting more of a frontal view of the house allows you to get the measure of it. Back near the gate where I came in, I pause to look at a disheveled looking sign on a tree. This is the tree planted by the British Prime Minister Anthony Eden during his 1956 stay at Goldeneye to recuperate from Suez.

It’s one of the last things I see as I exit Goldeneye.

But I will certainly never forget this visit to the spot where it all began for James Bond.

(Stay tuned for more of my tour of the North coast of Jamaica, seeking out Fleming/Bond connected locations.)

Gallery

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Roseate Spoonbill

In Dr No, when James Bond is being given the assignment to close out the case of the missing Strangways, a detail from the last case that the Station Head of Jamaica had been working on before his disappearance catches 007’s interest. The Chief of Staff had referred to it as “Only that damned business about the birds.”

The Audubon Society had been making noise in Washington, even getting the British Ambassador involved, which was how the case came to the attention of the Secret Service. Bond presses for more information. Tanner relates:

“It seems there’s a bird called a Roseate Spoonbill. There’s a coloured photograph of it in here. Looks like a sort of pink stork with an ugly flat bill which it uses for digging for food in the mud. Not many years ago these birds were dying out. Just before the war there were only a few hundred left in the world, mostly in Florida and thereabouts. Then somebody reported a colony of them on an island called Crab Key between Jamaica and Cuba. It’s British territory-a dependency of Jamaica. Used to be a guano island, but the quality of the guano was too low for the cost of digging it. When the birds were found there, it had been uninhabited for about fifty years. The Audubon people went there and ended up by leasing a corner as a sanctuary for these spoonbills.

The Chief of Staff goes on to relate that the Island of Crab Key was then bought by a certain Dr No, with the stipulation that the sanctuary not be disturbed. A few suspicious incidents resulting the deaths of the Wardens and of a couple of members of the Audubon really caused things to heat up. But Strangways had not reported back anything in his investigation prior to his disappearance.

Dr No would've been better off leaving these birds alone!
Dr No would’ve been better off leaving these birds alone!

Berns Martin Triple-Draw Holster

In Dr No, James Bond has just been given the news that against his preference, he will be receiving a new weapon, the Walther PPK 7.65 mm. Bond reluctantly accepts the decision of the Armourer as to choice of weapon, and the inquires as to the best way to carry the gun.

“Berns Martin Triple-draw holster,” said Major Boothroyd succinctly. “Best worn inside the trouser band to the left. But it’s all right below the shoulder. Stiff saddle leather. Holds the gun in with a spring. Should make for a quicker draw than that,” he gestured towards the desk. “Three-fifths of a second to hit a man at twenty feet would be about right.”

The recent release of the book The Man With The Golden Typewriter is a boon for Bond researchers as it shows you directly how Fleming got much of his information. In this case a fan named Geoffrey Boothroyd. There is an entire chapter in the book entitled ‘Conversations with the Armourer’, in which the extensive correspondence between Fleming and Boothroyd is chronicled.

Geoffrey Boothroyd and Ian Fleming
Geoffrey Boothroyd and Ian Fleming

In his very first letter to Fleming, Boothroyd gives his opinions on the firearms Bond is said to use and what he should use. He suggests a Smith and Wesson .38 Centennial Airweight. (In a later letter he mentions the Walther PPK 7.65 mm) Then he says:

Now to gun harness, rigs or what have you. First of all, not a shoulder holster for general wear, please. I suggest that the gun is carried in a Berns Martin Triple Draw holster. This type of holster holds the gun in by means of a spring and can be worn on the belt or as a shoulder holster. I have played about with various types of holster for quite a time now and this one is the best.

Boothroyd sent Fleming a series of prints to show the various ways in which the holster could be worn.

‘A’ Series. Holster worn on belt at right side. Pistol drawn with right hand.
(Boothroyd notes: This draw can be done in 3/5ths of a second by me. With practice and lots of it you could hit in figure at 20 feet in that time.)

‘B’ Series. Shoulder holster. Gun upside down on left side. Held in by spring. Drawn with right hand.

‘C’ Series. Holster worn as in A, but gun drawn with left hand.

‘D’ Series. Holster word on shoulder, as in ‘B’ series, but gun drawn with left hand.

Boothroyd provided Fleming with 2-4 points of note under each of these series.

A later letter to Fleming has Boothroyd answering the writer’s query as to where he can find more about the holster:

The Berns Martin people live in Calhoun City, Mississippi, and a note to Jack Martin, who is a first class chap and a true gunslinger, will bring you illustrations of his work. Bond’s chamois leather pouch will be ideal for carrying a gun, but God help him if he has to get the gun out when the other fellow is counting the holes in Bond’s tummy.

Berns-MartinLightnincut

 

Here is a closeup of the brand mark on the holster:

berns-martin

And then here is the entire rig:

berns-martin-rig

 

Even after getting the information here, it was still a little inaccurate. When Fleming wrote Dr No, he had Bond issued the Berns Martin Triple Draw holster, but with the Walther PPK. Boothroyd wrote to tell him that the holster could only be used with a revolver (such as the Smith and Wesson) and not his new Walther, which was an automatic.