28 JUNE 1963, Page 7

Fed Up

1 have long made it my practice, when a new James Bond book appears, to forward to the author a list of corrigenda compiled by Dr. Knittpik, the well-known savant and man-about- town; to the Doctor's charges of inaccuracy Ian Fleming normally returns a scholarly though sometimes rather far-fetched riposte. •In the last book—the best, I reckon, so far—Knittpik found a reference to a Scottish baronet gralloching a stag in December and pointed out, with his usual ponderous glee, that the stalking season ends in the second week of October; Sir Hilary might have been gralloching a hind but not a stag. On normal form Bond's creator would have had the Doctor back on the ropes by claiming that all the stags in Glen Clore had been doped by Smersh and, by attacking workmen engaged on the demolition of the local railway line, were sabotaging the Beeching Plan and thus putting paid to Britain's hopes of economic recovery. But no reply came for Knittpik, and when I next saw Fleming I asked him to account for this lapse. The fact of the matter was, he confessed, that he had had more than enough of correspon- dents who wrote to put him right on matters of detail. At the beginning of On Her Majesty's Sec- ret Service, thinking no evil, he had made the heroine drown her sorrows in half a bottle of Pol Roger; a small but vocal section of his public wrote to point out that Pol Roger is the only champagne which is never put on the market in, half-bottles. But the last straw was a man who 'took him up on a reference to Bond driving through Regent's Park to his office on an autumn morning and savouring the smoke from bonfires of burning leaves. 'Don't you realise,' wrote this furious booby, 'that Regent's Park has been in- cluded in a smokeless zone for three years, and that all the leaves are removed for disposal in an incinerator elsewhere? Really, sir, I am com- pletely fed up with your inaccuracies.'