I wanted to take advantage of the cooler evening air and, hoping that the roads should be much quieter with pretty much the whole of France watching the World Cup game last night, I started out on the bike around 5.30pm. It was still skull-crushingly hot out in the open but much nicer under the trees. Tracked across country to pick up my favourite Green Way – traffic-free and a smooth surface – a mostly shady low-level route that was originally an important north/south railway line across central Brittany. Followed this south for around 25km then cut off west just before the Nantes-to-Brest canal to connect to the E side of the Ninian valley. Oh, my Lord …it is so pretty here – it’s impossible to cycle quickly: I just dawdled and gulped down the beauty and, at the same time, felt a bit sorry for other cyclists who are locked into biking on urban routes. I followed the line of another more obscure railway for a while then decided to head for home. I noticed a couple of cars travelling very fast around 7.50pm and realised that they were desperate to get in front of a TV before kick-off. Looped NE and started climbing up through the small village of Moivran. An explosion of noise to my left – a yippy/yappy creature hurtled out into the road, furious at my presence. Slightly larger than a mouse – perhaps a miniature Yorkie? Up on his hind legs he’d have struggled to get to the height of my pedal. Such a small dog that you could easily put it into a shoe box - and still have plenty of room for the shoes. Being “attacked” by little yappy dogs isn’t unusual but what happened next certainly was. No doubt attracted by the noise, the dog’s best friend then appeared – a small black sheep (larger than a lamb but not fully adult) started chasing up the road after me and the little dog. If I hadn’t been so tired and hungry, I’d have stopped and taken a photograph, if I’d had the camera with me. Should I slow down and be savaged by a sheep (vague memory of a reference to Geoffrey Howe?) – or keep pedalling uphill and wonder who said it – was it Dennis Healey? Store the memory and move on – need a shower and some food. Passed through a small town which was spookily quiet – not a soul on the streets and absolute silence, no traffic at all. Such bliss to be on the bike when it’s like this. Back out into the countryside – a few combines rumbling around in the fields creating such enormous clouds of dust that you could probably see them from the Space Station: thank God for the snood. And then home: time for some serious rehydration and a chance to top up the nicotine levels. As France are now into the World Cup Final, there'll be one more chance to experience unbelievably quiet roads.