Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

June 7, 2010

I am thinking of renaming my community garden plot The Chipper. This is my 3rd or 4th year in this plot and I am still removing rubble constantly from it. It’s a heart breaker!

The slugs have mown the two budding leaves off my cucumber plant in it’s less than 12 hour lifespan. Meanwhile the Manhattan high potato plant right beside it that could afford a bit of a trim they turned their sniffer up at. I went around pressing the earth round my poor beleagured beans today, hoping some kind of pressure point tactic might have a chat to the old roots down there to charge skyward before the slugs are reborn.

I put two wee containers of beer in to drown the blighters, but my slugs are a very intellectual variety who may also be yeast proof. They are destroying my dreams of having one good year in this plot. Picture the scene all around me are thriving garden plots, year after year.

But in the only bit of uplifting news the alpine strawberry plant that is the very essence of a miracle, because it has thrived in this concrete  Chipper, had strawberries on it today. Edible ones. Yum. So the rain fell, I pressed the earth pointlessly, pleaded with the non appearing lettuces, grieved the gone cucumber and snaffled the berries, decided the rain was insufficient, lugged galloons of water across the road, left, not long after the rain absolutely lashed it down.

I am looking forward to greeting my ma’s vegetable tunnel in rural Ireland. I have these illusions I am going to be helpful in it. It’s a great thing delusion …


In a non gardening astonishing achievement today I managed to crash the car into a static dumpster. (Lest readers may think it was chasing me) and it is showing dent and abrasion. The combination of going backwards when there’s things beside me is not a sequence to be repeated. It’s over for me and car parks. It’s over for me and dumpsters too. But I’ve good potential for driving that buggy thing that bounces on Mars.

The only good thing was as soon as I crashed into the dumpster three cars in the area took off rapidly and i had a nice bit of space to carry on….

May 31, 2010

Today another request! This time Eros! From a male friend could I read a paragraph of a love letter … which was a touching request. He and I don’t agree on much because he is full of youthful idealism, in contrast to my Beckettian acceptance of the awfulness of everything amen, so we often spar, however on this we agreed. The paragraphs were beautiful. Paced. Thought out. Painstakingly so. It was so moving. It was wonderful to see caution thrown to the wind over the more typical strategic cloaked murmurs.

I was rather lifted and moved by the romance of it all. “You’re such a sensualist”, he said critically, but I misheard it as “You’re such an essentialist.”

I like this accidental term essentialist.


On the ferry at the weekend it was rough and windy from Cortes to Quadra. I’d never been on a bumpy BC sailing before but I spent my childhood, being of the Sealink generation, back and forth on the vicious Irish sea. Sometimes it was sooo windy we’d have to pull ourselves along the rails outside on the boat and it wouldn’t be possible to get around the corners at the head of the ship. Your hair would be on end!

Between Nanaimo and Van on Sunday it was again windy, but nothing like as hard on the stomach as that Cortes ferry. I was pleading with my son to come out and run along the deck with me for the craic, but he was nervous at the prospect.  Given that sea air and fighting the wind is such a rare enough experience and it’s worth tackling nerves and I offered a few games of pac man in the arcade afterwards. Compared to the old Sealink winds of the 1970’s this was merely a bit of a breeze but we’d a hoot pulling through it.

The smell of boats has changed so much. There was almost a diesel or metal industrial smell that pervaded in the 70’s which would dissolve when everyone inevitably started puking their ring up. I recall if the sailing was rough, people had those bags to their noses and vomit would be the pervasive smell. I must look up and see whether things are just as rough between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire and Fishguard.

May 15, 2009


It usually takes an uncanny weather story to lift me from my bloggled somnolence.

This is the tale from today’s Graun about a gal nun that took to a cave for a number of years, hermit solidudette.

Here’s the para that sparked me up

I was ready to do a long retreat - three years in complete solitude.
Once we had a huge blizzard that raged for seven days and nights,
the snow covered the door and window and the whole cave
was in complete blackness. I thought: "This is it."
Looking back, I'm amazed I wasn't claustrophobic.
I felt perfectly calm and resigned. 
Then I heard a voice say, "Shovel out."
I used a saucepan lid and dug a tunnel out.
It took an hour or two and I did it three times 
but survived to tell the tale.

June 23, 2008


Prepare for flurry of weather centric posts …

In a round up of weather related worrying and reading I came across this article headlined Expert: Scientific reasons behind year’s weather. The second paragraph read

At least one Iowa City resident said she thinks the weather in Iowa this year, along with the seemingly apocalyptic flurry of earthquakes, deadly tornados and other natural disasters around the globe might be a sign from above.

“I think the end is near,” Linda Lewis said Friday.

I should point out the Mrs Lewis is not the expert in the article, but I was comforted to see another weather wonderer who relies on absolutely no science for her wondering.  I’ve questioned whether it’s resolvable being entirely illiterate in science and concurrently obsessed with the weather.

I’ve muttered my way through some hardware shop discussions with perplexed employees as I complain about the selection of barometers they stock, whilst not being entirely clear what barometers actually do. I’ll ask do they measure air pressure without really having a clue what the purpose of measuring air pressure is, but since it matters to weather people, so it too  matters abstractly to me.


June 22, 2008

Bangladesh is set to disappear under the waves by the end of the century

From Johann Hari’s piece in The Independent:

Ten years ago, the village began to die. First, many of the trees turned a strange brownish-yellow colour and rotted. Then the rice paddies stopped growing and festered in the water. Then the fish floated to the surface of the rivers, gasping. Then many of the animals began to die. Then many of the children began to die.

The waters flowing through Munshigonj – which had once been sweet and clear and teeming with life – had turned salty and dead.

Read the rest here.

Meanwhile on this side of the water they’re decking it out over whether or not to implement a carbon tax federally and some are hiccuping over the already introduced Provincial tax on petrol. Now lads, a bit closer to home, this might help you make up your minds…

The researchers say sea levels could be expected to rise by four to six meters by 2100 as part of a long-term trend towards five to ten meters. A six meter rise in sea level would put 91 per cent of Richmond, and 76 per cent of Delta underwater; the entire airport and ferry terminal at Tsawwassen would be lost to the sea; and the current erosion counter-measures around Point Grey and North Vancouver would be overwhelmed, threatening to plunge much of UBC into the ocean.

Read more here

Curiously there’s been recent, slightly rabid muttery protests about the introduction of a new bus route in our area! A bus, God help us.

October 7, 2007

c’est vous qui decide

An average Ridgways Organic Earl Grey retrieved from the compost on an average windy afternoon, not unfortunately at 4pm when such things should be reflected upon.

Looks a bit bulky to be mere dust.

Generally N America could use a little help on her average grade teabags. Hence the lean for Ridgways. My french could use an equal rescue.


April 8, 2007

Spotted: iceclimbers on global warming

Mountaineers are bringing back first-hand accounts of vanishing glaciers, melting ice routes, crumbling rock formations and flood-prone lakes where glaciers once rose.
The observations are transforming a growing number of alpine and ice climbers, some of whom have scientific training, into witnesses of global warming. Increasingly, they are deciding not to leave it to scientists to tell the entire story.
“I personally have done a bunch of ice climbs around the world that no longer exist,” said Yvon Chouinard, a renowned climber and surfer, and founder of Patagonia, Inc., an outdoor clothing and gear company that champions the environment.

February 20, 2007

Take it to the source

Here’s a man who took his feelings to the source (Dick Cheney) and said what many people may have rehearsed to deliver to any number of gobshite politicians. This, however, was the bullseye of all possible recipients. 

this clip features the part of the movie where Ben Marble, M.D. says “Go F*ck Yourself Mr. Cheney”

 This clip is from Spike Lee’s When the levees broke — a four part requiem. If there was any justice a great deal of the people in that documentary would actually be elected representatives for you’d be hard pressed to find a more articulate and dignified group of people. When you see the indifference these people have suffered it would make you wonder if “to have known some kind of real suffering” should be a prerequisite before you can stand up and represent anybody. Just the way you can’t operate a blood pressure cuff without showing you’ve grasped biology. There’s a great soliloquy in one of the final acts from an activist Fred Johnson (?) where he points out who these politicians work for. It’s bang on because even now in the aftermath there’s next to nothing being done to help these people and throughout the film you get little sense of the people through the politicians. You hear the words: business, resources, state guard, federal, city, you even get the mayor describing taking a shower in Air Force 1, (verging on blasphemous in the context of what’s happening outside in the streets), yet very little reference to their people.

February 13, 2007

Medical school in the front room anybody?

Can’t be the only one out there with medical envy… not sure if it’s the white coats, the strolling about with pencils in the pocket, the pulling across of those unfortunate curtains or just the ability to stare into someone ear with intrigue on its top setting. I fancy the most likely envy is the ability of doctors to stay awake as long as they do.

 The only time I had television channels I spent the entire televisual time on Channel 42 watching those three pronged fork yokes puncturing dodgy gall bladders. I had to cut it out when one day the much younger Puffin climbed up beside me and clunked me on the nose with his plastic hammer and announced he was giving me a Rhinoplasty. Should add that I was constantly dizzy watching those procedures, but reminded myself to stick with it, since medical students pay thousands of dollars for such information and here it was gratis thanks to the TV channel trial offer on a postcard.

 It’s a grateful day when one finds handy medicine with no pictures: Andrew Cunningham writes and narrates a major new 30 part narrative history series charting the development of western medicine. Six weeks of radio programmes in this series.

Unlikely you’ll actually get any directions on how to deal surgically with bursitis, but who can miss episode 7 about fever. TV adaptions of books owe so much to the flannel patting rituals fever requires at the side of the four poster beds as the husband/ wife watches their loved one pass on from the doorway.  Even today with a packet of tylanol extra in the cupboard fever still has that threatening quality that drags you back and forth to the forehead, esp if presenting in a small Puffin. It’s rather like a politician you can’t trust exactly how it presents itself.

February 2, 2007


Seismic scientists say there is a greater probability of a major earthquake on B.C.’s South Coast in the next week, following a series of minor quakes that have worked their way up from Washington.

Books become all powerful in the event of the shakes as they rain down from the shelves. Put on the bicycle helmets.

November 28, 2006

La Neige: brooming the tree

 Up the road, in the dark, walking in the very deep snow, I notice a man and his pregnant partner in the middle of the road with a boxy camera down in the snow. They’re taking a picture of the hospital they say because it looked nice and creepy. A discussion about the usual terrible state of arts funding blather ensued as another 5cm of snow fluttered down.

 Up the hill, inspired by these two Urban, reproductive types I decide to take a picture of an orange road bollard. In the lense though I can’t see any sign of the bollard, so snap any old thing.

At the intersection of two roads I see a man, with woman and a dog, and a broom. He is putting the broom up into the tree and brushing it. He is definately brushing the tree. I know because I stand five minutes in the chilly conditions to be absolutely certain. 

Two young fellas approach with the broom business directly in their line of vision. One has a set of googles like a snorkle on, so I remark on its functionality. The other one, seemingly jittery, says: did you see that flash before?” and anxiously scans the pavements for its source.

 Too embarrassed to admit that was me taking a pic of a road bollard that I couldn’t actually find when it came down to it. I suggest it’s someone taking a picture.

I found it mighty curious that a man sweeping a tree didn’t create any consternation, yet an average flash sent him snorkelling into detective mode.

The man with his broom up the tree worries me. I have that furry foreign moment of I’ll never come to terms with this city until on a radio program today I hear someone describe tree branches heavy with snow, cracking and landing on the power lines, and rewarding the population with instant darkness on top of the troubling conditions.

 The man brushing the tree is actually a visionary. 24 hours and a warm oven to cook his chicken in ahead of his time.  It was the broom more than the camera that mattered.

November 19, 2006

Boil Water Advisory

For days we have been on a city-wide boil water advisory after a significant storm last Wednesday, which put trees down and turned off the lights. Naturally everyone largely overreacted and got terribly excited about acquiring the last litre bottle of boiled water on the shop shelves. Curiously unnecessary since they only told us to turn on the kettle. I observed several advantages to the boil water advisory: First a distinct lack of that dreadful slurping noise one is accustomed to hearing in your left ear at the cinema. Yep no soda drinks sold in the cinema. Gracias. The unmentionable multinational coffee chain have had some service interruptions!  Maybe now they’ll think twice and pay those Ethiopian coffee farmers the 23 cents per kilo they deserve rather than the 8 cents that is further impoverishing them.

See this film for more on the farmers:


And finally an increase in charming notices pinned up in public places such as one yesterday at a deli that read  “we are washing all our fruit and vegetables with bottled water.” It’s quite the irony that the water supply would not have been interrupted if we weren’t tinkering so violently with the entire weather system with all these green house gases. When you think about it if people weren’t driving these ridiculous gas guzzler cars, they’d be able to turn on the tap with confidence. So there’s this interesting warm arse = no clean water conundrum. There’s no telling them, as my mother would say.