Seasons greetings everyone. I know that, as you read this, Christmas will have passed — it’s almost time to usher in the New Year. I write, sitting in a sumptuous sunken garden, surrounded by leafy abundance, in a friend’s Graskop, Mpumalanga home. It’s a moderate 24ºC here on the very edge of the escarpment. The little town of Hazyview in the Lowveld, a mere 30-minute descent into the valley below us, registers a hot and humid 35ºC. News from Johannesburg and Durban is that the country is in the grip of a heatwave so intense that warnings have been issued. The old, infirm and very young need to stay indoors and keep hydrated. Here in Graskop, clouds have gathered over the vast valley floor below us and are being blown towards the high shelf on which we sit. It’s like an angry fight raging in your hat when those soggy black clouds dump their load, with much hissing and spitting and steam coming off the pavements and the hot earth. It’s that close. I’m a little obsessed by temperatur...

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