It's Ian Fleming's Birthday
James Bond's creator Ian Fleming was born on this day in 1908. And we will be toasting the creator of the immortal line "shaken, not stirred" with his most famous recipe.
An extraordinary man, Fleming worked in Naval Intelligence during World War II, running commando operations in the field. He published his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1953, retiring to his Jamaican estate Goldeneye to write in peace once his creation took wings.
After a 1967 spoof version of the book, starring David Niven, a serious adaptation of Casino Royale did not make it to the screen until 2006. In the movie, as in the book, Bond creates this drink. He explains to its namesake, Vesper Lynd, that he called it after her "because once you have tasted it, you won't drink anything else." We are, honestly, inclined to agree. So we are drinking a Vesper to a fine drink, a fine man, and some rather fine movies.
It's also Glyndebourne's birthday
It's not over, as they say, until the fat lady sings. And plenty of fat ladies have sung at Glyndebourne, an English institution that opened this day in 1934.
Back in the 1930s, John Christie thought that England was missing out on opera, and decided to bring it to his stately home, Glyndebourne. He built a theatre, hired talented opera folk escaping from the early years of Nazi Germany, and created an institution.
And not just any institution. Glyndebourne is the sort of place where folk will pay more than £60 per head for a picnic, and as much as £260 for an opera ticket, to watch people dying of diseases of poverty on stage. Yet Glyndebourne puts on 120 performances a year, reaching around 150,000 people, while its education programme does more than 230 events a year, bringing opera to people who'd never otherwise have heard it. We're toasting their success with an Opera.
It's also the anniversary of Pakistan going public with its nuclear weapons
On this day in 1998, Pakistan exploded five nuclear weapons, underground, in a very public demonstration to its rival India that it, too, had nukes. Which, given that India and Pakistan have fought three wars and a heap of minor border skirmishes since the modern states were established in 1947, was about as good news as the news currently emanating from North Korea.
Feel like a stiff drink? Us too. So we're enjoying a Nuclear Daiquiri, a potent blend that includes both overproof rum and Green Chartreuse.