The weather's been atrocious this last week or so. Real big winter storms with gale-force winds and rain squalls and ... hail!
It's impossible to relish winter in South Africa. Impossible for me anyway. All those 'winter delights' like open fires and red wine and hot chocolate and soup are tainted with thoughts of flooded shacks and cold children and desperate people.
I'm not a winter fan, I feel a growing dread as the nights draw in, but I can only imagine the fear of facing these harsh conditions completely exposed.
'The children, the children' someone tweeted this week, in a conversation about the weather and the homeless. But to be honest it's not the children who first break my heart.
It's the thought of the mothers, and their anguish at not being able to keep their kids warm and dry. I can't even go there, the guilt and pain and FURY of being unable to mother, due to circumstances so out of one's own control.
I met a young American girl this week, but from her name I could tell there was a connection to Africa. She said something about 'not having been back very often' and I asked her where she was originally from.
'Rwanda,' she said, 'we left when I was five.'
'1994?' I asked, and she nodded.
Instantly my eyeballs prickled, not at the thought of a five year old girl dislocated from her home, but at the thought of her mother, fleeing to save her children's lives.
Having my own children hasn't really made me feel differently about children, but becoming a mother has certainly made me feel for mothers, all mothers, the world over. And weeks like this make me realise anew that I have it so easy.