The sun shone. The red convertible beckoned, roof down and inviting. It begged for a twisty country road. Worth gave the car what it wanted. He headed inland to Grimaud then beyond on the La Garde Freinet road. Someway down this he turned off left on the D14 signposted Collobrieres. The road got twistier. The road got narrower. Concentration went up. They took a right on a bend and turned into a farm.
Bond turned into John Wayne. Moneypenny turned into Velvet Brown.
A large brown mare – Ballin – was given to Wayne. Brown got a smaller mottled brown mare – Cisco. Brown was pleased with Cisco as she has a donkey called Cisco. With 4 others they headed out into the wild wilderness of Les Maures.
The horses stooped constantly to chomp on the abundant grasses, till you reined them in to the march once more. “Allez, allez” and Ballin would fall in behind the horse in front. Some of the tracks were steep and they kept the horses moving to stop them slipping.
All the while the countryside astounded with its lushness, its strength of colour and scale. Yet man’s touch pervaded through it all. Power cables here, concrete tracks there, fresh planting where the trees were being managed. Cork trees old and new, showed where the cork had been harvested.
The ride was a wonderful treat to their senses. The sights of the landscape, the sounds of the wildlife, the taste of Spring, the smell of the flowers fighting the earthy, dusty smell of the horses and lastly touch. The intimacy as they patted the horses neck, or felt the coarseness of their cropped manes. The feel of the leather reins in their hands as they fought to master their mounts.
Put simply this was a fun morning.
Soon enough Wayne and Brown became Bond and Moneypenny. They twisted and jived their red convertible to Collobrieres for lunch.
Bond and Moneypenny were once more Worth and Gates as they tucked into a lamb shank and veal respectively. A walk around the small town eating an ice cream completed their stop.
They headed for home via the D41 to Bormes les Mimosas and then the coast road to La Croix Valmer and then home.
Home at last, tired but smiling thinking back on a great day, Worth glorying in the joy of feeling so well, he though like Gates, wondered exactly who he was?