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To me, it felt as if the cold took hold right under my toenails and behind my eyeballs.

The fireplace was lit at dawn, even before the first pot of coffee was simmering on the stove. Because if that fire wasn’t on the go all day, by late afternoon I could hardly type, my fingers were so stiff.

A few years ago, I visited my new in-laws in Bloemfontein in the dead of winter. I fear I may not have made the best impression because I was either in a heap in front of the fireplace in the braai room, or in the bedroom under the down duvet – and in the morning I lay in bed, crossing my legs until my eyes watered because it was just too cold to go to the loo! What was it that Aunty Stienie from Agter Elke Man always said? “That one should suffer like this!” And just for the record: the in-laws are lovely hospitable people and I love visiting them. It’s my own fault that I get so cold!

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