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five

The Avenue Verte sparkles and crunches. Immediately retreat to the main road where hopefully it’s just damp and not frozen but fear lingers. Straight line every slight bend, dare not touch the brakes. Pockets of even colder air, frozen slush crusted in the verges, shattered ice cubes in gutters. Tempted by a PMU bar shining in the darkness of a side street (stick a pin in the map of café stops). Ghost tyre tracks in the frost leading to the bar tells me I may not get to finish today. More crunching under tyres shocks me out of my meandering thoughts. Neufchâtel appears as a warm amber glow on the horizon, but it’s only the cold sodium hum of streetlamps. There’s no warmth, if anything it feels even colder. Rear wheel slips in a corner and the next. Through a window watch the palid mucky yellow-grey dawn of a damp winters day. Coffee and still warm pastries. Frozen blast of air every time the door opens. Any sun today will be low and weak unable to creep into the dips where there may be more ice laying in wait. Decide to turn back for a cosy bar and earlier ferry.

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