Six weeks ago, Canada's most famous lying rodent outside Ottawa, Wiarton Willie, predicted six more weeks of winter.
At the time that was something of a disappointment. We'd had enough already of a winter that set in early and froze deep. But we grudgingly braced ourselves for that six week trudge to the finish line.
Last Tuesday I believed we had made it. I took the hounds on an extended ramble all the way up the escarpment. The sky was the bluest of blue and a hopeful spring breeze blew. We made an afternoon of it and arrived home exhausted, the three of us, but content and sure that spring was, if not quite sprung, then just around the next corner.
That evening I noticed a faint tickle at the back of my throat, but thought nothing of it. In the middle of the night I woke up drenched in sweat, fevered and freezing and my throat on fire. That's been the last three days; a cycle of semi-lucid consciousness followed by a deep coma, from which I emerge every few hours just as I am at risk of drowning in my sheets.
And the dreams.... a non-stop purgatorial landscape, heaven above and hell below, with those horizons stretching out to infinity in all directions with no way out. Searching in vain for a ladder or a trap door, searching... until the next awakening into the fevered and freezing reality of soaking sheets and a really big load of laundry to be done before I have any dry ones.
While I was dreaming winter returned. The promise of Tuesday was just wishful thinking. Today there is a full-blown blizzard rattling the windows here at Falling Downs. The temperature will plummet into the minus 20s tonight.
Thanks for nothing, Willie!