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The Spy Who Loved Me

Let The Sky Fall

I'd had the idea for a while that it would be nice to do a ride themed around Moonraker, which is largely set in Kent. (Moonraker the novel, that is, which bears about as much resemblance to Moonraker the movie as 2006's Casino Royale does to the 1967 Woody Allen version.) When the Kent tourism board helpfully published their own guide, I stole it shamelessly, and last Saturday the ride was ON.

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 and ejector seat, then we were on our way.

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.

007 ride


Neat! :)

It was a fun idea for a theme - and there are other places you could stop off, too.
The south-western section of the M25 was down to its worst on Saturday, but the Met Office's forecast was a mite wide of the mark, and the kids out in the garden only got a little damp at intervals during the afternoon. It did chuck it down here Saturday evening, though.
Yes, we got it around 7, with thunder and lightning. The coast enjoyed nicer weather than inland Kent/south London, it seems.
The south-east corner of Kent caught a little heavy rain early in the day, but the heavy rain the Met Office had forecast apparently took a slightly more southerly path, and drenched northern France instead, I think...
That sounds like great fun.

All those places are within our range now. Yeah!
The Duck is very pretty, though my advice is to have a baguette rather than a hot meal! Bekesbourne, nearby, looked nice too.