28 May

Ian Fleming's Birthday

Vesper Dry Martini

So we are drinking a...

Vesper Dry Martini

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, a fine drink to a fine man, and some rather fine movies. We also looked into Fleming's inspiration for Bond's Vesper Martini.

It's also Glyndebourne's birthday

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 which opened this day in 1934.

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.

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