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Concerning my hero Jimmy Stewart

Ken Bruce DJ versus James Stewart Actor

On his BBC Radio Two show this morning (9th January 2013) Ken Bruce asserted that various actors always played the same character and then sited John Wayne, Hugh Grant and James Stewart.

In that John Wayne played a lot of tough guy roles, cowboys and soldiers and the like I can see that argument. Hugh Grant has played a lot of hesitant, bumbling Englishmen, is he in fact acting one could even wonder?

James Stewart, however, the great James Stewart, who played roles as diverse as the eccentric Elwood P Dowd conferring with his imaginary giant rabbit called Harvey (a role Stewart played on stage as well as on film), through the altruistic nice guy in It’s A Wonderful Life and the determined naïve politician in Mr Smith goes to Washington, to a series of hard nosed western characters, is a different proposition altogether.

Stewart undertook, comedy, drama and horror with the same consummate professionalism. There are too many movies in his filmography to list them all, but many horror aficionados regard Hitchcock’s Vertigo as that director’s finest, starring Stewart alongside Kim Novak. I’ve already mentioned his foray into the world of the mind in Harvey, but he also played a hot tempered soldier, pleading insanity in the critically acclaimed movie Anatomy Of A Murder.

He played straight westerns and parodies of the genre such as Destry Rides Again. He was somewhat famous for playing American heroes, it’s true, but Charles Lindbergh and Glenn Miller are very different kinds of American heroes. I suggest that such versatility is beyond many actors and further suggest that Stewart’s distinctive voice did not come between him and the many and various characters he portrayed! Sorry Mr. Bruce but there it is!

Malcolm Snook – Jimmy Stewart fan

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My best pictures

My photo4me portfolio finally has over one hundred high quality images on it!

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Dreamstime Photographs

I’m using Dreamstime to buy and sell photographs, see the link in the right hand bar – under Links!!

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I’m now in London

I’m back for a long time, if not permanently. You can see my best photographs from nine years of travelling at There are only a few there so far but I’m adding to the site every day, so keep coming back!!!

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Update from Santa Maria

Hi Everyone,

Gill made it to Lagos, very late on the 11th July and we sailed for the island of Santa Maria in the eastern Azores as early as we could next morning – which wasn’t terribly early as we had to wait for the marina office to open so they could raise the footbridge. We were sailing rather than motoring in no time at all and for a while even managed to sail the course we wanted.

Once past Cape St Vincent that all changed and we started getting pushed too far south, although over such a long journey I wasn’t too concerned, we were getting west which was the main thing. Originally we sailed with genoa, staysail and mizzen, but that soon reduced to staysail and mizzen and then when things got really rough to just the staysail. This meant we held our course less well even than before but I deemed it safer and was considering just running before the wind in survival mode. However we hung on as best we could although a few waves did force themselves over even our high sided wheelhouse and inside – I hate that. Gill reckons all boats have water inside them but it offends my sensibilities I like the water on the outside! I particularly don’t like wet clothes and wet bedding, plus when salt water dries out it leaves the salt behind and that attracts moisture from the atmosphere so the fabric is never truly dry. Still, we got the mass of it pumped out OK.

During the first evening of this latest voyage, when sailing with just the staysail in terribly rough water we had to avoid no fewer than five big ships in quick succession, crossing our track and no consideration shown by them whatsoever. We don’t carry AIS but as a steel boat I’m sure we show up on their radar, not to mention we were in close visual proximity! Do they keep an adequate watch, or just have no concern for human life – I don’t know. I’m sure AIS which gives you their details so you can call them by name on the VHF radio makes a big difference. I have had much better experiences with big ships in the past though. Indeed when crossing the North Sea another yacht went missing and a large ship approached to ask if we were the missing yacht – very considerate indeed. I also well remember taking avoiding action when confronted with a big ship called Three Lochs, but actually the Italian captain wanted to get close for a look at me! He came on the radio and wanted to know why my yacht had an Italian name and all about my voyage – lovely man.

The second two days of this trip were uncomfortable but fast sailing, the next four were comfortable but less fast and the final twenty four hours we motored. We logged eight hundred and fourteen point seven miles, but probably did a few more as I didn’t keep the GPS on the whole time to save battery power and it will have missed some of our meanderings when the wind was less than ideal, logging a straight line from the last point whenever it was switched back on.

We’re now in Santa Maria which is lovely, however it’s been far too hot for a northern European like me, despite all the years I’ve been travelling I have never become used to real heat from the sun. Then last night we had a downpour that’s prevented me doing rust treatment or paint for the foreseeable. Sun’s coming out agaion as I write this, so maybe all will be dry in no time. Martin Shead, my buddy from NZ should join us for some island hopping on the 2nd August and I hope to sail for the Isles Of Scilly around the 16th, that will be the longest solo leg yet unless someone wants to join me – Gill and Martin will be returning to their respective homes.

More another time. Tis the season for Sperm Whales here so here’s hoping we see some.


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Update from Lagos – Portugal

Hi Everyone,

sailing friends, dancing friends and other friends. It’s the 11th of July 2012 and tomorrow morning I set out to sail from Lagos at the western end of the Algarve (more or less) to the mid Atlantic islands known as the Azores.
This year’s travels started in Licata in Sicily where I was made so welcome it was hard to leave. In Tunisia I had gearbox failure and other technical problems but thank goodness for Mick the British engineer in Yasmine marina who got me going again. If you need the contact let me know, but if you’re in Yasmine I think everyone knows him and his wife Jo, great people. From there I went to Sardinia, Menorca, Majorca, Ibiza and then round the Spanish mainland to Almeria where Freddie Shead joined me, he’s the son of an old friend Martin who should be hooking up with me in the Azores. Freddie and I sailed to Ceuta and then La Linea where we met up with Josh Joshua and Michelle. I was then joined by another much newer friend for the trip round to Vilamoura and then I sailed on to Lagos with a stop at Portimao to wait for Gill who many of you have met. So that’s where I am. I haven’t checked the mileage – well over a thousand this year but much more still to go.
I arrived this morning at Lagos marina pretty early, before 10 anyway, having left Portimao at 8am. Uncharacteristically the wind got up early and I arrived here in 25 knots plus and it’s still blowing now at 5-15pm. I’ve fuelled the boat, topped up the drinking water and hosed her down, I’ve made four trips to the supermarket lugging everything by hand after finding a cash-point because the fuel dock doesn’t take debit or credit cards and took all my existing €250, well except the last ten Euro which I needed for a deposit on the marina access card anyway, leaving me borassic. That’s cokney rhyming slang for those not in the know – borassic lint – skint which is still slang meaning no money!

I’ve now copied the pics from my cameras to a hard drive and am charging all the batteries to be able to take as many photos on and in the Azores as my little heart desires – here’s hoping for whales and lots of other wildlife, hopefully not aggressive wildlife!

I’ve got rid of the garbage and soon I’ll do the engine checks and a couple of other small jobs and then I’m all done, might even treat myself to a nosh ashore this evening. Gill reckons she won’t be here till gone 11pm, hope she likes the food I’ve bought for the trip, too late now, there’s fresh stuff for a while anyway, fruit, veg, eggs, cheese, bread, might not have bought enough tins and dried stuff, but my buddy Baz in Vilamoura gave me a load of tins of baked beans and some pot noodles, if we’re down to just them by the time we arrive expect climate change and the destruction of the Azores High – if it’s there this year, the weather is so strange.

Ciao all hope you enjoyed this update. From the Azores I’ll be going to the Isles of Scilly and that looks like being solo at this stage, then along the channel to London or an east coast river and a sabbatical or permanent end to the boat gypsy life.


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