Category Archives: eReaders

The Estate of Ian Fleming: GoldenEye


The name of the estate is GoldenEye.  It is located on the Caribbean island of Jamaica.  The person who gave it the name GoldenEye was Ian Fleming.  The character Ian Fleming made famous over the course of some dozen or so books was British SIS Agent Bond . . . James Bond, aka, 007.

Equally famous to the main house structure were also Mr. Fleming’s personal beach and lagoon, where he spent many hours of the day snorkeling and entertaining guests such as his neighbor Noel Coward.  Nearby you can still explore his personal cave.  GoldenEye’s detached garage still stands as well, but has been converted into a entertainment room for the guests staying in the five-bedroom main house.  The house still horseshoes around the small pond which so intrigued Mr. Fleming.  Inside the villa most of the furniture is post-Fleming with one very important exception.  Nestled against the back wall of the main living room is the desk at which Ian Fleming toiled to produce his literary works.

Many thanks to the GoldenEye staff (and in particular Ms. Geraldine Ridley) for allowing me to visit this historic site and to photograph it.  I also want to thank a very special taxi driver who made the trip to GoldenEye an absolute adventure and a wealth of information — Mr. Desmond Callum.  You can’t do any better in acquiring a fun and informative guide than Mr. Callum, who obviously relishes in showing guests his wonderful island of Jamaica.  Desmond Callum can be reached at his cell number of (876) 381-9708.

And finally I want to thank the person who made this whole excursion a reality by coordinating the visit with the GoldenEye staff before our arrival.  That would be my lovely wife Ursula, who understood exactly how much this pilgrimage would mean to me.  Thank you, Ursula.

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A Very Famous Estate Called . . .


. . . Well, we’ll get to that answer on Friday.  As for now, let us see how good a guesser you are.

As you may have deduced by now, Ursula and I have left Casa Wicker and our two kitties Max and Pooh in the ever-capable hands of our extra special neighbor Randi Brewer.  On Saturday we flew off to our embarkation port and on Sunday afternoon we boarded this little dingy:

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Aboard this ship we set sail to an undisclosed (for right now) island, whereupon we hired the services of this very capable driver (Desmond Callum — more on him Friday) for a guided tour to a very special destination.  And what would this very special destination be?

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Here are some hints:  After World War II a former Royal Naval intelligence officer and rather obscure reporter for the Times of London used to winter here three months out of the year.  Starting in the early 1950s until his untimely death in 1964 this reporter would write a novel, novella collection, series of short stories, or even the occasional nonfiction piece before returning to his home in London.

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His first novel was published in 1953 and garnered some very unfavorable reviews, but he soldiered on and refused to give up.  Over his short novelist career he produced an extraordinary body of works that would revolutionize a very specific genre and become perennial bestsellers.  His protagonist would become a household name, and films based upon this character appear more or less about every two years, with a few notable and very public exceptions.  Over the decades this protagonist has “officially” been portrayed by no less than six actors, and unofficially by a few more.  The latest film in this long-running series became one of a very few select movies to gross over a billion dollars worldwide.

This novelist’s works greatly influenced me in my formative years, and his tales in turn made me want to write something equally entertaining and extraordinary.  Today, his estate still stands, but as part of a much larger enterprise — a massive 52-acre resort featuring 21 units of high-end bungalows, cottages, and a villa.  That five-bedroom villa is, of course, the home of the aforementioned author and, depending on the season, commands prices of anywhere from $5,500 to $8,500 per night.

The actual villa (along with answers to the above questions) will be presented on Friday.  For now, enjoy pictures of some of the other amenities available at this very exclusive resort:

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Congratulations to Frank Van Haste


McDonnell 119 / McDonnell 220

McDonnell 119 / McDonnell 220

Yesterday I ran an aircraft identification contest with pictures I took of the one-of-a-kind McDonnell 119/McDonnell 220 business jet.  The prize for correctly identifying this relatively obscure example of aviation history consisted of Kindle or Nook versions of my two mystery novels:  Decisions and The Globe.

And the winner is (may I have the envelope, please) . . . Pilot, Aircraft Enthusiast, and Fellow Blogger Frank Van Haste.  You can visit Frank’s wonderful aviation (and occasional book review) blog at N631S.blogspot.com.

Frank recognized the McDonnell 220 because of his long-time interest in the Air Force contract that in the 1950s pretty much created the modern business jet.  That was the once famous but now mostly forgotten UTX/UCX (Utility-Trainer Experimental/Utility-Cargo Experimental) contract.  The eventual winner of that contract was the Lockheed Jetstar (L-329/C-140), an aircraft that sent shivers down my spine whenever it showed up at RAF Lakenheath because that was the aircraft used to evaluate air traffic control services at Air Force installations throughout Europe back in the 1970s.  If you’re a movie buff, you can see the Jetstar in action in the classic James Bond film Goldfinger.

Another winning entry for the UTX contract was the North American Sabreliner (N-265/T-39), which went on to become quite successful in the civilian market.  Indeed, over 800 examples of the Sabreliner were eventually built compared to just over 200 Jetstars.

Now for a bit of self-congratulatory housekeeping.  Yesterday’s post was the 400th for this blog.  That’s over three a week since this blog’s inauguration in January of 2011.  Looking forward to bringing you many more in the future.

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