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24 March, 2005

Kiss and fly

"The road was curling now through pinewoods and burning red rock, the crickets were going up like rattles, the air was getting clearer and clearer. Up and up they went, round and round, until it seemed their car would touch the sky. Then, suddenly, like a sheet of metal glinting in the evening sun, sparkled the Mediterranean."

In Jilly Cooper's 1979 novel Imogen a jetsetting bunch of models, tennis stars and assorted glitterati pile into a Mercedes and head down to the Cote D'Azur, to romp around with various St Tropez celebrities.

A quarter of a century later and a far cry from this glamourous group was the band of shabby hacks journeying from Dubai to Nice for a Mercedes event. The sky was overcast: leaden and drizzly, the only VIPs were German car execs, and the nearest anyone got to a fast ride - euphemistically speaking - was the bumpy action (literally speaking) on the off-road track.

Despite the inclement ciel, just to be away from sandland in a place of real rain, trees, hills and valleys was glorious.



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