A trip to the south of France would not be complete for Worth and Gates if they did not spend at least one afternoon on their favourite beach. Basically they head for L’Escalet turn right at the beach and park as far along as they can. Then they walk along the coast towards Cap Taillat, a small island that juts into the sea and which Worth thinks of as Kirrin Island from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. Halfway there they drop down to this small strip of golden sand.
Worth lay down and studied what he saw. High above jets had criss crossed the sky with their vapour trails. Christian crosses dominated the sky like signs for those who seeked a sign, or an omen for some, or just the ironic artistry painted by jets polluting the sky as they brought happy people to fresh shores for fun and frivolity.
As time passed, the vapour trails turned to wispy cloud, beautiful yet reminiscent of a white artex ceiling on a 1980s English home. Below this ceiling single engine propeller planes scuttled across the sky, bringing the noise of their engines to Worth’s ears and naturally making him think of Biggles. Below this seagulls floated on unseen currents of air, gliding over the beach and the sea looking for an easy meal. Their world mingled with man’s world sharing the same space yet living such different lives. Or maybe Worth is wrong. Maybe the seagull has read Biggles too and right now is pretending to glide across the border from a Spain torn asunder by civil war into the halcyon safety of a France not yet introduced to Hitler’s Stuka bombers. The seagull perhaps has an imagination as strong and rich as that of either Worth and Gates.
Following the seagull’s glide, Worth has his eye taken to the horizon, where the sky tumbles into the sea. The demarcation is clear as the deep blue sky nonetheless contrasts strongly with a line of dark navy sea. To Worth’s eye there is an inch or so of this navy sea before it turns to a beautiful turquoise blue. The colour of summer jewellery. This turquoise sea sits higher than where Worth is lying. It appears to cascade towards him creating bold waves as it nears the beach, waves that threaten to roll straight over Worth. Power and beauty.
And on the beach people play. A family shares a picnic. An adorable little boy rushes to meet the waves clutching a stick and a little red bucket. A lady walks by with a tall thin dog an Afghan hound and a tiny dachshund. The tall dog was on a lead, the dachshund bounced around and under the larger dog. An incongruous but irresistible pair of dogs. Three Canutes stand at the edge of the sea. All their power combined fails to stop the sea and three shrieks leap from their mouths to meet the sound of the lone propeller high above.
Gates opened the picnic and Worth felt like they were sat on two street facing chairs people watching as the world ambled past. They were the best seats in the cafe thought Worth and that was the main thing.