The Traveller’s Tree

When James Bond is preparing to take on the case of Mr Big in Live and Let Die, he refers to this book by Patrick Leigh Fermor for some background on voodoo and Baron Samedi.

travellers-tree

The Traveller’s Tree: A Journey Through the Caribbean Islands

The book is recommended to Bond by M, who says:

‘It’s by a chap who knows what he’s talking about,’ he said, ‘and don’t forget that he was writing about what was happening in Haiti in 1950. This isn’t medieval black-magic stuff. It’s being practised every day.’

Fleming then quotes several pages of the book, which detail various rituals.

A recent biography of Fermor – Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure – notes that Fermor, who live until the age of 96 and died in 2011, was at least an acquaintance of Ian Fleming having visited Goldeneye with Fleming and wife Ann on a couple of occasions.

While in Jamaica Paddy, Joan and Costa spent a day at Goldeneye, as guests of Commander Ian Fleming and his not-yet wife, Ann Rothermore, whom Paddy had met through Emerald Cunard. Although Ann and Fleming had been lovers for years and she was about to leave her husband Esmond Rothermore for him, the proprieties had to be observed. Ann was making her first visit to Goldeneye chaperoned by Loelia, Duchess of Westminster.

The house was modest, Spartan, surrounded by trees on all sides except where two great glassless windows looked out over the sea. Loelia was swimming languidly when they arrived, while according to Ann, Ian had not yet emerged from the study where he spent his mornings on the typewriter ‘bashing away at a thriller.’ This was his very first Bond book, Casino Royale. When he emerged from his study Paddy described Fleming as having ‘a strong sneering face, but not a sneering character.’ Much later Ian Fleming was to borrow heavily from Paddy’s description of Voodoo in The Traveller’s Tree for another Bond novel, Live and Let Die.

 

Advertisements

B.O.A.C. Stratocruiser

Boeing Stratocruiser.series one

From the moment the B.O.A.C. Stratocruiser taxied up to the International Air Terminal at Idlewild, James Bond was treated like royalty.

Live and Let Die.

This is one case where the old days were definitely better. More comfortable at a minimum.

Bond enjoys the luxury of the stratocruiser, flying it also in Diamonds Are Forever.

In For Your Eyes Only, Bond laments that he isn’t able to take the Stratocruiser:

Two days later, Bond took the Friday Comet to Montreal. He did not care for it. It flew too high and too fast and there were too many passengers. He regretted the days of the old Stratocruiser — that fine lumbering old plane that took ten hours to cross the Atlantic. Then one had been able to have dinner in peace, sleep for seven hours in a comfortable bunk, and get up in time to wander down to the lower deck and have that ridiculous BOAC ‘country house’ breakfast while the dawn came up and flooded the cabin with the first bright gold of the Western hemisphere.

Bond feels everything is too rushed on the Comet.

At the end of Goldfinger, Bond is a captive aboard a Stratocruiser hijacked by Goldfinger and his crew.

boac-ad-1952

This 1952 ad gives you a feel for the experience.

My feeling is that Bond would eschew the downstairs cocktail lounge:

boacBar

Preferring instead to have a drink in his seat, or sleep in a private berth. (Though in Diamonds Are Forever, Bond notes that he booked too late to get a sleeping berth.) Young lady presumably not included.

b4

On all three occasions above in which Bond flew the Stratocruiser, the airport involved on the United States end of things was Idlewild, which is now John F. Kennedy International Airport. Here’s a peek at it back in the 1950’s:

boacNY2

 

For much, much more on this plane and wonderful era in airplane travel, check out this page.