The James Bond actor on punctuality, packing and meeting Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.Great holidays…
Which was your best holiday?
My best ever holiday is coming home or being at home and being with my own computer, television set, my own things around me, and not having to bloody well pack a bag. I’m most comfortable with my wife, Kristina, at home, which these days is either at our chalet in Crans-Montana in Valais in Switzerland or at our apartment in Monaco.
We’ve enjoyed some fabulous holidays, though. Cruising down the Nile was unforgettable, and Sardinia, where we filmed part of The Spy Who Loved Me and stayed at the Cala de Volpe Hotel, was absolutely beautiful.
And the best hotel you’ve stayed in?
Certainly the Ritz in London. It’s not just five-star, it’s 10-star. It’s so elegant and comfortable and everything works. The Four Seasons everywhere are also fantastic.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
My own pillows. We stay occasionally at La Colombe d’Or in Saint-Paul de Vence, and Kristina takes pillows from home. Culture’s important, too, so we love Vienna and I narrate a chamber music festival every year in Dubrovnik, which is a stunningly beautiful place with some fantastic restaurants. People are of course vitally important too – the staff of the hotels; the kitchen staff even more important; and, most important of all, the sommelier.
What do you always take with you?
Apart from my pillows? No Bond gadgets, unfortunately. They took them all back. I wish I did have a few, then I could auction them off for Unicef. I take books. I’ve discovered a Norwegian detective writer, Jo Nesbo. You know those days when you try to hold onto that last chapter because you don’t want to finish it? He writes those sort of books. I like showbusiness autobiographies, too.
What’s your best piece of travel advice?
Don’t miss the plane. I’ve never missed a plane in my life. If I have any fault I’m always too early. With the help of Kristina I’m a very well prepared traveller.
Where do you want to go next?
I’ve got a little tour of theatres in England in October starting off with Malvern. About 10 dates. On my birthday I shall be at Kingston doing a Q&A and signing books that people have bought. There’ll be a curiosity queue: is he still alive?
We also had the pleasure of meeting Burma’s pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in Dublin a few weeks ago, so we’re looking forward to going out there and exploring that country.
Which was your worst holiday?
I don’t think any particular one would go down as a complete, or even a mild disaster. I’m acutely aware that I’ll find disappointment somewhere, so I’m quite happy when I do.
What has been your worst experience on holiday?
I was unfortunate enough to be struck down with an illness in Beijing. It was a Unicef event and I got the bad fish or whatever it was. We were supposed to go to Xian to see the terracotta warriors, but I was too ill to make the journey. There were 10 other people at lunch and I was the only one to be ill.
What’s the biggest packing mistake you’ve made?
I’m a very well designed planner, but I can’t pack any more because my back aches bending over a case, so we’re fortunate enough to have a wonderful lady who looks after us. And if she doesn’t, my wife does. If I find something has a slight wrinkle I hang it on a shower rail on a bath in the hotel bathroom and turn on the hot tap and shut the doors, which normally does the trick.
Except for the time we visited Prince Edward Island in Canada and I unfortunately had three suits hanging and the trousers slipped off into the hot steamy bath. That was at about 8pm; fortunately I managed to make the trousers that I’d been travelling in look OK with a jacket, so I didn’t have to go down to dinner in my Y-fronts.
The worst hotel you’ve stayed in?
In my touring days I stayed in theatrical digs. One in Bath, which didn’t have a bathroom, was on the top floor, the attic room, up five flights of stairs. I shared it with one of the understudies, a nice fellow, and we had this room with a bed down each wall, one under the sloping roof and the other going toward the centre.
That night we kept hearing this tapping, scratching noise on the wall and, thought, “God. There are rats.” Next day we discovered that in the next room there was Mademoiselle Fifi, the star of the variety show in another theatre. She was staying with her lover and the bedstead was a little far from the wall. But on the Friday an ambulance came and took the lover away. He’d knocked holes in the wall by that time. And her, I suppose.
That night I trudged down five floors to the lavatory, opened the door, and there was Mademoiselle Fifi sitting with a pair of blue knickers around her ankles, a fag hanging from her mouth and reading a paperback. I said, “Oh, I do beg your pardon,” and she replied in a thick Lancashire accent, ‘It’s all right, love, shut t’door on way out.'” I wouldn’t go back.
What do you avoid on holidays?
After my experience in Beijing – dysentery.
What do you hate about holidays?
Packing or unpacking. I find it to be a terrible waste of a day.
- Bond on Bond by Sir Roger Moore is published on October 4 by Michael O’Mara Books.
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