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The call and response of owls fades. The bell of a church concealed in the blackness strikes seven and the incoming day is heralded by the abrupt dawn chorus of crowing cockerels. Almost and hour later the arrival of the sun lights the sky aflame, incandescent all around with all the hues of red and orange and yellow and pink imaginable. A buzzard drifts across the hushed fields. Framed in an arch across the road ahead a cathedral imposes itself over the landscape, a medieval painting come to life. Drinking a café crème outside a bar on the edge of a square tricolors hang limp from the roof of the grand town hall opposite. An unremarkable grey sky hangs languidly above a lugubrious scene of a market where the only customers seem to be mannequins in summer dresses on an autumn morning, pretty colours dulled by the weather. A solitary carousel slowly spins on the edge of the square. It only adds to the melancholia of the scene despite its happy tune. Returning north long straight roads undulate like stretched out sine waves. Clicking back and forth between a couple of gears, slight drag up hill, spin down hill. Head down. Should have a tailwind soon.

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