My tailgunner, code name 'Versys', gave me a lift to Q Branch to collect my vehicle, which had been fitted with a new rear tyre
Numbers were depleted thanks to a mole at the Met Office disseminating disinformation about thunderstorms, and it was an appropriate 007 agents who convened at the Sir Thomas Wyatt near Maidstone. Now a Beefeater, it's the hotel where Gala Brand stops off to read the notebook she's pinched from Drax.
From here we followed the route via Charing, Chilham and Chartham taken by Bond in his 'supercharged Bentley' from London to the Moonraker missile site, located somewhere between Deal and Dover (probably at Kingsdown). We made a lunch stop at the Duck Inn at Pett Bottom, where Fleming wrote You Only Live Twice. He liked the pub so much he put it in the novel as James Bond's childhood home.
After an overcast start, the clouds had broken up. We ate in blazing sunshine, taking photos for the taunting of those who'd pulled out. We set off again for Sandwich, home of the Royal St George's golf course on which Fleming based Royal St Marks, scene of the golf match in Goldfinger, and wound our way along the coast to St-Margaret-at-Cliffe. Ian Fleming lived here for several years, in a house he took over from his great friend Noel Coward. There's a lovely tea room and gardens with a small museum, and here we stopped for coffee and cake.
The country road to Dover was pleasant, with views of the castle and of a vast luxury liner in the harbour. One of our number volunteered to lead us to Samphire Hoe, where we parted after a final ice cream.
The rain started half an hour after I got in.