The Chill Factor

Nicholas Quirke was warned not to go outside on 29 December 2020. The forecasted freeze had arrived and a breeze blowing through the city gave it a chill factor of minus 12 degrees, that in Fragrant Hill Park, where he had recently enjoyed capturing the autumnal beauty of the mountain, it blew a fierce minus 26.4 degrees, breaking the record of lowest temperature in Dec since 1978. Despite the warnings and the cold conditions he found it impossible to to stay in, even if it was just to go and sit somewhere to have tea and with his favoured 1920 cafe in his sights, he thought it would also be a good opportunity to see the Guildhall. The Qing dynasty building which, was built in 1807, was on the opposite corner of the crossroads to the cafe. It boasted a theatre in its complex and played host to a significant historical in August 1912 when the revered Sun Yat Sen presided over a gathering of revolutionaries in the guildhall when the Kuomintang was founded. He was walking the mile to cafe and to prepare for the icy air he made and ate a satisfying warm vegan equivalent of a full English breakfast and donned his arctic wear. The sky was an astonishing blue and belied the freezing air and though he anticipated how cold it would feel, he had experienced minus 20 in Mongolia earlier in the year, h e was not prepared for the shock of the immediate biting cold when he removed his gloves to take a photo. The museum was closed, of course, ands he would have to make a return visit. He spent a long time in the cafe, working and enjoying the ambience and was reluctant to go back outside to head home, but he could not stay there and when he left and the day was turning to night the temperature had dropped even further. As a result of the cold and the Covid concerns he was wearing a mask and he felt his breath turning to ice on the fabric making it a very uncomfortable walk. He stopped at Holiland for some biscuits for Peng before getting home. They watched another dubious and unpleasant horror, ‘Hunter, Hunter’ before ending the day with the usual sleep.

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