That’s life Dar­rel Bris­tow-Bovey shiv­ers deep in the Ka­roo

It’s a sin­gu­lar feel­ing, to be ad­mired by chil­dren who are dear to you. And then they grow up… On an un­usual trip to Suther­land in the high Ka­roo, Dar­rel Bris­tow-Bovey was forced to face a few cold facts.


“A re you sure you’re not cold?” said the lit­tle girl, look­ing at me with wor­ried eyes. “You look like a Smurf.”

I looked down at my arms. She was right. She was only 10 but that is old enough to know the dif­fer­ence be­tween a man and a Smurf. Smurfs are meant to be blue; grown men are not.

“No, no,” I said. I pre­tended to wave at the bright stars in the inky win­ter sky, al­though se­cretly I was ac­tu­ally check­ing that my frozen body still obeyed my mind’s com­mands. “Don’t worry about me. I told you – I never get cold.”

She nod­ded thought­fully. She’s too po­lite and open­hearted to sus­pect I might be ly­ing, but I think she was be­gin­ning to have her first inkling that grown-ups can be very, very stupid.

We were in Suther­land. Peo­ple had warned me about the cold in the high Ka­roo. It’s not city cold, they said. When you’re out there on the high plains, with noth­ing be­tween you and the cold wind but miles and miles of empti­ness, you’ll wish you could fill up a bath­tub with

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