Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Snow with purgatory

We are in the middle, or coming towards the end, of a protracted snow event. It’s very strange. The temperature doesn’t feel cold enough for snow and yet, it relentlessly falls. However, in different parts of the city it fails to accumulate and on higher ground.. e.g. further away from the water it piles. This has made driving quite manageable. But we have had every variety of snow flake from fine salt to sifting flour snow to quarter sized flakes. There has been variation in the speed with which it has fallen. Last night it veered into “drowse” mode and watching it was nothing short of being given an anaesthetic that did not quite take.

This weather event has been quite intriguing because the slight adjustment in say .5 of a degree produced immediate change in size of snowflakes.

I spent the weekend absorbed in a book about the history of confession which contained invocations of purgatory and hellish human behaviour. Inside I was convening with 15th century priests and 17th century self flagellating head cases while outside la neige tombe par terre.

I wonder if there’s a weather forecasting service in or for purgatory.

10cm event

I’m late to the weather station to disclose the 10 cm snow event. This was the second snowfall of the season to my memory. The first snow event was the icing sugar event. This weather event will forever be memorable because it blew the fuse on my windscreen wipers. Remarkably that is the second time this month I have blown my window wiper fuse. This has been a perplexing year for window wipers in my guard.

The arrival of this snow (now turned to rain) event was carefully observed by my team of weather watching compadres. Each of whom has a district, not unlike the electoral districts in the city. Each watcher reports on sightings and the start of the event, which we collectively anticipate. It’s much FUN. As the main weather-wonderer who calls all the weather-watchers to their stations (ie your flat window) I took to the streets to do a reconnaissance since none of us could determine whether the snow had started or not. I decided to go jogging and find out. Thus I witnessed the very start of it. A suspicious rain start which became small grains of snow by the time I realized my wind-pipe was appalled at what I was asking of it, at this late hour of night, in such freezing temperatures.

I woke at 5am as I usually do if there’s weather action and convened with the thick and settled snow. The snow shovels began at around 5.30 or nearer to 6am. The birds were on strike.

The forecast was for the snow to turn to rain around 10am, but it hung on for much longer. I had an Ernest Shackleton expedition to the off licence on foot and on bus to two friends who were jointly birthday-ing. Half way there I contemplated abandoning the mission except I had bought Prossecco and was certain I’d land on my arse if I attempted to turn back and climb the hill home. Better to arrive at destination with bottle intact, than retreat and offer the best Italian to the pavement. The house I visited had an under-stairs cupboard, which I appreciated. Since living in an apartment one isn’t privy to such. Technically I have a coat closet, but there’s something that doesn’t quite feel stooped and under-the-stairs enough about it.

Obviously our snow event is a minor freckle compared to what I saw in Ottawa recently; Likewise we could learn from their snow ploughs, orange tractors and salting trucks. However each weather event is worthy of a nod or notice. You do not need to be the tallest woman in the world to have good feet. The mystery of whether the snow had begun amongst our weather watchers was entertainment up there and beyond Netflix.

In this regard, I think we have the best vantage point for snow in this country. Its arrival provokes curiosity and it buggers off before we are mentally buried by it.


Low-pressure unison

There is another low-pressure system coming in that’s provoking yet another curious weather situation. Today, late in the day, wind, cold freezing wind with a snowfall warning. It looks like the snow will be slush but the combination of wind and nearly snow coldness was unusual for us.

The clouds hung low in that pre-snow mentality they possess.

The weather redolent of a shift and around us the talk is of a teachers strike and  this morning’s news of the death of Jim Green, (RIP), a long-term poverty activist and former City Councillor was written all over those sad, low clouds today. A strange unison between weather and change and sadness out there.


A unity that failed to occur today however was the chicken soup I decided to make (Asian style) before the misguided notion overtook me to hurl four lamb sausages into it. I am still several hours later wondering what possessed me to do such a thing.

Answers on a post-card to ….


A major woodwork undertaking that should not have been undertaken but God loves an ambitious palm-sanding woman, with her dressmaking measuring tape and her dremmel. An extraordinary sized shelf has resulted. I think a very spacious, high-class shoe rack is the outcome, which needs to have a back to stabilize itself. My first experiment with mad-sized lumps of plywood from scratch. It looks better than it touches. It touches, well, wobbly. Lesson learned= measure the space into which the intended shelf will dwell.

I had a beautiful walk last night and learnt that even those who wear snow boots take a tumble. A new addition to my tradition of falling over! Tho’ this tumble had the dignity to relate to a weather event. I was exiting the petrol station with my packet of chocolate buttons in hand ($5, they’re imported from Birmingham), it was snowing and all was peaceful and delightful til Whamble! down on my arse, the buttons took flight in an incredible arc into the air and flew two petrol pumps over.

Weirdly no one remotely noticed, so I was able to scramble up and over to them sans molto embarrassment. They were retrieved and with a bit of a batter to the kidney I took my snowboots onward.

I have to say the walk before the tumble was so beautiful and quiet it was worth falling over. I was stunned at how redundant cars are once everyone is asleep and had the whole road to myself, the snow was coming down, turning or rolling nearly in the light of the lamp posts and floating down to me. Perfection.  I had to keep stopping to admire it. You can see the photo of one such stoppage below.

Tea blend #9

The Almost a Snowy Day blend.


1 spoon of Murchies Earl Grey

1 spoon of Steeps Silver Tip Earl Grey.

(I may regret this — will let you know. It’s a lot of Bergemot but the cup will be carefully selected to contrast. Industrial mug perchance? To offset?)


A much loved friend bought me two tins of tea from New York recently that I have yet to crack. Small round tins. They look so delicious closed it’s a shame to disturb them.

The next blend may therefore be called: Disturbing New York tea blend #10.