High Tea is the best… I’m no gold Rolex though. Whos’ been busy today?
Of all the things you could do in the mornings, afternoon, evening and nights… it is teas and cakes. One of the most quintessential British cultural things you could possibly ever do.
I have always been the sort of person who enjoys tea and cake or tea and scones or tea and sandwiches. In most cases though, and depending on where you go and the cafe, it will usually consist of tea, sandwiches, cakes, biscuits and chatter. I believe it’s the most potent stress buster known to mankind.
Examine the picture below and you will identify the posh fondant cakes (when I was a kid these were as I’d imagine as addictive as cakes come. They were lovely although it has been many years since I had them (pink was my favourite). You will notice in the background the classic Victoria sponge cakes. In the foreground the delicious cucumber sandwiches (I am also a big fan of these) along with classics ham and cheese. There is an assortment of scones with cream and jam available. Last but not least don’t forget the fairy cakes. All of these would make quite the British tea outing. However, given the current economic situation people cannot simply afford these luxuries anymore.
*Before moving on, my apologies if I ever gave the impression, I am somehow against British culture. I am not. I simply mock it occasionally. I would not openly insult my own nationality and have been proud to be British for a long time. I might speak of other foreign countries and such, but that does not mean I am making them out to be better than my own or worse. This is a blog site and a place for open speech. Please comment with concerns if you have any.*
So, Britain has the High Tea and cakes. We also have another secret – The English Breakfast. I’m talking about both the tea and the breakfast foods.
I start with the foods. A meal that is popular for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is still enjoyed by millions to this day. With the increase in plant based foods and vegans, there are now multiple vegan options out there.
The meal usually consists of fried bread and butter, fried eggs, fried sausages, black pudding (not a fan of more than 1), mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, bacon (although not as popular as scrambled eggs on this) and hash browns. As a side you might enjoy some classic porridge oats. Drinks as we see in the picture are usually teas, coffees or orange fruit juices. A meal I haven’t had in a long time – many years – but I have had the vegan equivalent only a few months ago at a lovely cafe where I live. Because most if not all of this is fried it is in fact quite high in fats. But why not enjoy this as a one a week meal?
Onto the English Breakfast tea – very tasty even without milk. I used to believe this was going to have a very difficult to handle taste. That was not the case. It is rich and surprisingly satisfying. I would recommend this with scones or cakes. Or try it with the English breakfast meal. These are all super satisfying.
What you can do to unwind and destress is to simply be more like the British! Drink teas in the afternoon, enjoy a well-cooked breakfast once in a while and of course stay pleasant. We have an array of fantastic cultural sites ranging from medieval castles and the Tower of London to Stone Henge and the Battersea power station. We’ve been the birth site to Pink Floyd and The Beatles. We built the Mini cars. We are the leaders of the industrial revolution, and we conquered Napoleon at Waterloo. Britain recently had the longest serving monarch in history. Britain is a country to delve into.
Vegans do not eat eggs, do not drink milk and do not make exceptions. I have encountered 2 people in the last 2 weeks claiming they know a vegan who eats eggs. They are not vegan, they are vegetarians, or some variety of vegetarian.
Now that is cleared up, I can move onto a brief poem to welcome the full forces of autumn and the upcoming month. Today marks the start of Black History Month in England. As you can see from the painting below, an iconic figure for the rights of minority groups.
Greens to yellows and reds
my bed of roses is now dancing in the moonlights shadow
jewels that hung on the balcony
wet days on the way
As we approach the darker months of the year it is so important to connect and be with other people. I think we should be connecting in person but talking online is just as good. Video calls would be better since you are able to gauge the facial expressions of the other person. As mentioned in a previous post going to church can be a good way to connect with likeminded people. Attending any group would be a start. I am of course talking to myself at the same time as typing this; I should be doing this and more often.
Coffee groups/ coffee morning meetups etc
Online groups – online quizzes and presentations or general chit chat
Religious groups – anything from church to a meditation group (lots online now)
Courses – like a short course either in person or online
As for solo activities I can think of a few to keep you busy! This is assuming you live alone though
Walking/dancing/exercise in any form at home and outside
Healthy eating/cooking/baking/dinner parties hosting or attending
Going to the cinema or to a show – with people as well!
Painting and drawing
Writing and blogging of course!
Learning something new! online courses at home or even in person!
Travelling somewhere new
Movies and tv at home
Creating a routine if you want one
Connecting with other people – in any form
Visit historical places
There is a lot of things you could do in the autumn months. I can imagine taking a long walk in the countryside would be nice. Or perhaps going for some high tea in the local teashop. This is something I want to do, and I intend to go to London for some high tea. As for visiting historical places, you can do that with people too. I’d like to get down to the Tower of London and visit Clarkson’s farm at some point.
Welcome to autumn. Welcome to October. Spooky month for most of us! That reminds me, why not turn the entire month into an even for yourself and have a fantastic Halloween! No limits. No restriction on what you can and cannot do.
After starting and learning the rules of the miniature wargames last night I was able to complete a practice game alone. It lasted for a few hours believe it or not because I was going slow, learning and trying to understand many things. Overall, it was fun. Today I have started a new game. I didn’t play it length way yesterday but from the smaller width which proved quite tense. There is no real hard or fast rules here. It seems the main point is to have fun!
Given that the actual battles themselves were so complex; and the massive Waterloo battle boxset I bought is likewise complex, I need to learn the basics.
I was having quite the time despite doing this alone. I do intend to play with other people at some point. You can also see the fields are now painted brown, and the yellow base underneath helped create the impression that crops were coming through. *
Back in 1795 there was the bread riots due to increased prices and less availability. Inflation was at an all time high during the French Revolution whilst the rich (the Royal Bourbons for example) lived off the income of the poor. A period of poor harvests, high prices and general recession.
In England more people bought the bulk their food instead of growing it. Instead of working on the land, many gained employment and income in factories, mills and the growing towns of the industrialising North. The effects of the war, exacerbated by a series of poor harvests, were felt in all these areas and caused a good deal of unrest and discontent. It wasn’t until after 1803, when invasion seemed almost certain, that British people succumbed to a wave of patriotism. Not until after the great victory of Trafalgar in October 1805 did they show a real determination to see off ‘Old Boney’ for good.
Never Say Never Again blasted onto screens in 1983 and we sat back and let it rot as the black sheep of the franchise. It saw a lawsuit taken to the High Court in England to prevent its production. It is the least known and most under rated Bond movie ever, and I am going to look in more depth at the movie! What a final showdown for Sean Connery.
Released – 1983
Film duration – 2hr
Genre – spy, action, adventure, thriller
IMDB – 6.1/10 & Rotten Tomatoes 70
Starring: Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max Von Sydow, Barbara Carrera, Bernie Casey, Alec McCowen, Edward Fox, Rowan Atkinson.
Song – Never Say Never Again – music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman and performed by Lani Hall.
S.P.E.C.T.R.E has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find the targets before they are detonated.
A remake of the 1965 movie Thunderball (easily a top 3 Bond movie), Never Say Never Again (I won’t I promise), was one of the more mature and laid back Bond movies, but still packed a punch and left its heated mark on the world. 007 is re-activated in this movie and has to find two nuclear warheads in time. It is not made by Eon.
The movie does not have the classic shot down the barrel James Bond introduction, rather, we are introduced to the movie with a background song Never Say Never Again, music by Michel Legrand and performed by Lani Hall. It is a good song and quite memorable, and doesn’t lack a Bond feel, it is simply played out differently, without all the naked women, and instead we get to see Bond break into a complex with armed guards and fight them one by one, eventually revealing it is a training mission.
It is clear that Bond is not much liked despite saving the world multiple times, as he is sent to a health center, after being told, “too many free radicals, that’s your problem, caused by eating too much red meat, white bread, too many martinis!” Bond (Connery) seems to have taken onboard the wit that Roger Moore was employing and using the same sort of accent by responding, “then I shall cut out the white bread, sir.” In this health center or spa, we see a fight unfold, and it happens to be the best part of the movie in terms of both action and humour. I find it hilarious yet really satisfying to watch. Bond and his larger, stronger attacker make their fight way through the kitchens, hallways, bedrooms and laboratory, and we get to see the magnificence of the building itself, being luxurious. Connery has no issues with the humour and seems to revel in it, throwing a sample of his own urine at the attacker stops him, so we think. It is just a good fight sequence, and the setting is perfect. Bond has aged, we see that, but is still very self aware and doesn’t shy from a challenge. It is laid back and so is Bond.
I would argue that Connery as Bond in this movie is actually better than the previous movies. Diamonds are Forever was good, so were the others. But this new one is just laid back and relaxing, we know Bond will win, which makes it satisfying to watch, because it is a struggle for him. Of course, it is because of a man called Maximillian Largo that Bond is attacked. Largo is under the control of Blofeld from Spectre. Brandauer plays the villain extremely well, giving him charisma and ego, and that hidden maniac within that we all fear. He does not have an eye patch like in Thunderball however, and does in fact have a bit more mystery to him. There is also no shark pool in this movie, but there is a lot of sharks further into the movie. The villain doesn’t mind getting close to Bond or letting him on his ship, with his woman Domino, or for that matter even in his casino.
We are introduced in the health center to Fatima Blush (Carrera), who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as the villainess. The woman has personality, hates men, abuses them, and is crazy and works for Spectre, specifically under the orders of Largo. She stands out as strong and not to be messed with, she sort of overshadows the first part until Bond eventually blows her up after an intense bike chase scene, he does that with a screw pen which doesn’t work at first and Bond remarks that it’s “not perfected yet.” The other Bond girl is Domino, who’s air force pilot brother Largo killed. She is always dressed to expose her toned buttocks or breasts and I noticed after rewatching the movie last night, that a lot of camera work is on them. Particularly during a scene when she is being auctioned off and we get to see her bum bouncing up and down on a horse. I am not complaining though, because she acted the part well.
So Bond has been introduced to Largo. It is the scene in the casino which is a real Bond moment. But before I talk about that, Bond has explored an underwater wreck, been surrounded by sharks, and has escaped. Brief overview, but the scene is only a little important. The film includes Felix Lighter and he works quite closely with Bond in this film.
So the casino, Bond turns up, not wielding his spy glasses this time that allow him to see through clothes though, dumps a pistol in an ice bucket (don’t ask why they did this, it makes no sense) and then he proceeds to a unique game with Largo, it is memorable and defines the film. The pair has to use two joysticks to fight for control or to defend the different countries of the world, the loser is given an electric shock. As you can imagine Bond never gives up, after a series of debilitating shocks decides to challenge Largo to the world. Largo loses and it shows Bond that he is “certifiably” , which means Bond is saying that Largo is certifiably insane. I agree, the whole scene is crazy, because what sane minded person get electric shocks for money? Seems like a game designed to control peoples minds more than anything. Anyway, Bond settles for one dance with Domino, which Largo agrees to. We know Bond doesn’t usually take money, probably because he has enough or no use for it.
During the dance, he exposes Largo to Domino, saying Largo killed her brother. It is a large and luxurious ballroom, a bit like the building. This to me is a statement of Bond. He is luxurious, among the elite in this fantasy, but is a killer, a spy. For the most part he has been among the elite and has blended in well. But I couldn’t help find the dance scene slightly amusing, because Bond and Domino are the only ones dancing, and when he is talking to her, it would be impossible for the guests not to hear him due to his proximity to them.
Next memorable scene, and so far the film has demonstrated that Connery is making a final statement, he is the ultimate James Bond, 007. Nobody will ever beat him, and he knows it, or so he appears to show he is the best. It could be that it is not an official Bond movie that makes it so good. Because of the new directors and writing, it has quirks and differences which highlight it as actually being a really good spy action movie. Forget the one liner nonsense, it is passionate and true to the original concepts. The scene where he goes home (safehouse) after the casino still suited, finds his female associate dead, killed by crazy Fatima on orders of Largo. He then cracks then bike open out of site and comes shooting out of the garage. It is a great scene and you can see that later movies that used bikes, made the scenes and action look awfully similar. No Time To Die did nothing but promote the opening sequence on the motorbike, but it was Connery who was jumping over ledges, riding down stairs, and doing insane jumps decades before. The entire scene is fast paced and fantastic to watch. It made me think of a completely different movie with Sean Connery called The Rock and you can find he review here! Overall it is classic Bond, say no more.
We approach the end of the movie and all is not lost. Another sequence involving a horse, similar to The Living Daylights scenes. Bond escapes his capture using a laser watch. This movie does well in regard to using his gadgets, and using many of them. We don’t see that in other movies. He whisks Domino away from the African warlords bidders, across the ruins of the castle and into the ocean. Some versions, and I believe the television people will cut the 8 second clip of the horse falling into the water on its back, because of animal cruelty or something. I suspect the animal was not harmed. They are picked up by Felix and Bond tells that one bomb is under Washington and the other they have to find. The tears of Allah a rather bizarre name for a terrorist operation, way back in the 80s of movies too. No mention of that in the original Thunderball. But nonetheless emphasises that Largo is crazy.
Final showdown in an ancient tomb and a good old fashioned shoot out. It is Domino who shoots Largo underwater. Oh well, fate eh? I think the movie offers a lot in terms of entertainment. I find the rewatch value to be high, meaning that it never becomes boring, and it will not leave you wondering when it will end. I suggest you watch the movie. I have many times. Last night just made me realise how under rated the movie was. Most people don’t even acknowledge the efforts, classing it as a rip off. He is called James Bond 007, it has Q & M, Felix, and spy gadgets, based on Thunderball. It has a theme song. It has spectre and Blofeld. What more do you want? It is a real James Bond movie and Sean Connery’s 7th and final outing. Imagine the fan base finding out that he was returning to the role after 12 years? The title is a clear take from Connery, who remarked after Diamonds are Forever that he would never play the role again. He was in his 50s! Filmed in France, Spain, the Bahamas and Elstree Studios!
On conclusion, the film is one of the better Bond movies. Connery is appealing, talented and imaginative as 007 reprising his role for the final time. The film is full of well timed wit, excellent dialogue and character development, brilliant storylines and script, effective and exciting fight scenes and action and a good production which was a commercial success.
Sean Connery leapt onto the movie screens as James Bond in 1962 movie DR NO. From there Connery went on to become the most recognisable British agent in the world, setting a legend and undefeatable position as the ultimate spy from British MI6. Nobody would ever beat him as 007.
However, Connery made a surprise return in super awesome Diamonds are Forever (1971), appearing slightly aged as he was now in his 40s. However this was the last film Connery would appear in as James Bond. The era that started the Bond franchise, the best movies ever made, the most underrated time for the franchise which later went on to be the biggest in the world. It was huge in the 60s, and thanks to the glorious novels that Ian Fleming gave us, the books provided a solid real grounding and likeable backstory for this icon. Fleming died in 1964 and did not see the success of the series as it was turned to film. He witnessed the beginning though, and probably knew what it would become. The James Bond novels which he wrote are great and I encourage you to read them even if you have seen the movies! He wrote them at his Goldeneye Estate in Jamaica!
Wait, there was a retelling of the story Thunderball in 1983’s movie Never Say Never Again! Sean Connery, despite saying he would never return to the role, came back 12 years after Diamonds are Forever at age 52 to reprise the role he essentially helped to create. Although the movie gets a bad reputation as being a rip off of actual Bond movies, it is in fact a James Bond movie, and a good one. It is enjoyable and thrilling, and Connery does not show any signs of slowing down in it. I do prefer the original Thunderball though, simply because it is the best James Bond ever made (Top 3 at least), but I will come on to that later.
Sean was young, following a brief stint as a bodybuilder he became the ultimate spy, a womanising secret agent who smoked, drank and gambled with no remorse, and he killed people. Who was this cool, laid back, 6 ft dark haired gent with thick accent? It was every mans fantasy, or how they might see themselves. Bond was how many men wanted to be, and at a time of great changes, it is understandable that he was very popular. The 60s movies don’t come across as offensive toward women either, they do objectify women slightly, being Bond’s sex and nothing more. But, many of them are villains, play strong characters and don’t just sit in the background. I think the films are still good, and still acceptable to watch.
The first 3 movies solidified his position and it paved the way for a high standard. Actors had to be in top physical condition and all Bond actors including Daniel Craig have complained at least once about the requirements for the role. I believe actors like Pierce Brosnan jogged on moving trains for the movies, jumping carriage to carriage. Sean Connery had the edge from the beginning, being a bodybuilder. He had that physical strength and in the movies you can see the muscles on his shoulders, particularly in Dr No, when he is captured and put into the cell, wearing a white t-shirt. What came after the first 4 movies was more about the character already being well-established. It gave fans nostalgia of the previous movies, and relied not so much on the original scripting and direction as it did stunts and ‘being cool fighting’.
One scene in You Only Live Twice, when Bond flies Little Nellie, a cool little copter, is a stand out scene. Alongside the jetpack in the opening to Thunderball. Or the scene where Bond swings from a skyscraper in Diamonds are Forever using 2 thin sets of strings. What about in Goldfinger, when Bond is driving his car down the alleyway directly at an oncoming vehicle, only to crash into the wall, and we discover it was a mirror? All memorable and tense moments from a series of movies which will always be the best. I say again, Sean Connery’s movies were the best. Yes, there were other great films to come, some of which are my favourite, but the originals really are special. They are nostalgic, magical, professional and extremely well made. I cannot imagine how excited they must have felt in the 60’s going to see one of these classics at the movie theatres.
My reasoning could go on, but the main winning point being the fantastic scripting, acting, direction, music scores, drama, storytelling, humour and wit and winning production crew making the most fantastic worthwhile movies in history. No expense spared in terms of quality, which is what makes them the best. You see, a fantastic line, delivered in the perfect setting can win a scene more than shooting and action ever could. The 60s was a decade of good movies, period. James Bond being born in that decade is no coincidence. An era of genius film makers and dedicated studios, including Pinewood studios where Eon Productions filmed the movies.
Dr No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Thunderball – to demonstrate my point it gets the full 5 stars. This is the high point for Sean Connery and the early Bond movies. You need to watch this to appreciate the scale of both the acting, script writing, direction, and overall production, being one of the best movies ever made, in film in general.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
You Only Live Twice, Diamonds are Forever – not that I don’t think they are great, just to prove that the peak resulted a inevitable decrease which would continue.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
NeverSay Never Again – the rogue Bond movie of 1983, and aged Connery but nonetheless a gripping retelling of Thunderball. What a hidden gem, and having the original Bond return for the role must have been a brilliant surprise.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
We said goodbye to a 90 year old Connery in 2020, but his legacy lived on for many years. He went on to star in so many famous movies after James Bond that to think he played the original is a little surreal. I really am grateful that I have had the joy of his movies since I was a child. Without him as Bond it would not be the same. I don’t want to discredit other actors playing the role, as they all brought unique qualities to the position. For me, Timothy Dalton was brilliant and so was Pierce Brosnan, both for the same reasons, their movies were high tech, multiple gadget action movies which had such thrilling action. I rate The Living Daylights and Goldeneye in my top 10.
It is time to end this post here. Thank you for reading. Which Bond actor is your favourite? Which Sean Connery movie was your favourite? Which Bond movie is your favourite? What do you get nostalgic about?
Mysterious stranger becomes visible through thick fog
"I remember my father once said..."
'Now shall we praise the Warden of Heaven-Kingdom
the might of the Measurer and his purpose
work of the Wulder-Father as he of wonders
Eternal Lord the beginning created'
She stands upright
Knight is nodded into aura
"Time to begin again, the time has passed, to venture into the darkness"
He kisses her hand outstretched
"I'll belong one day, be long gone."