A river of ice flows over the roof and down the windshield of our car. Outside, here in Toronto, the temperature is (relatively) moderate, only a few degrees below zero, but the mercury is set to plummet overnight, to a low of minus 18, minus 27 with the wind chill.
By way of contrast, my mother tells me it has been a record-breaking 40 degrees in Cape Town, the hottest day in a century: and the sky is black and red and laden with smoke and soot from the fires that have been burning, and are continuing to burn.
Take a look at the story – click on the link below to follow. I look outside, at the snow and the ice, the dull grey sky, and find it hard to imagine. The last time I remember such a fire must have been fifteen years ago, maybe more: I can still see in my mind the blackened ruins of the forest above Silvermine, like some devastated wasteland from the Great War that my grandfather fought in.
I leave for Cape Town, my home town, one week from today, exactly.