Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Weather exile, nay exhilaration

Fog (Sun eve) my first official note of fog amid bewilderment as to whether in actual fact I merely need new glasses.

Fog – rain – rain – wind (bit) – immense over cast grey bulge — rain – rain – rain.

This morning it’s confirmed a La Nina Winter Forecast for us this winter. What this means will become apparent as I continue “past-casting”.


In Murakami weather moments I can report a degree of exhilaration running with water dripping off my sleeves and nose and eyelashes. I passed a completely bereft park and laughed out loud at how ridiculous running in pouring rain is.

But I admired the 8 people out strolling under umbrellas yesterday.

I’ve concluded the most accurate barometer on the weather is to go out each evening and run in it.

Thus yesterday I can report the first real chill to the knuckles declared. Only spotted rain mind joined the chill.

I had to cave in and turn the heat on and fill the hot water bottles.

It’s great soup making weather. The Potrebenko grown bay leaves are diminishing.

We had these past days a blustery weather event, with 2 wind warnings. I have never seen the title Wind Warning 2 on a wind warning so must try to figure out if it’s a higher class of wind warning. I was so consumed paying attention to the said bluster and drenching that I have little to report. This is the problem with past-casting rather than forecasting. What I am actually interested in capturing would be “right-in-the-middle” of it descriptions. But working life and feeding the chickens prevails over such indulgences.

The colour of the day during the storms was fascinating. Above the wallpaper paste pulpy usual, but yesterday my small male was unwell so I dispatched to fetch him various medicaments and during my journey was quite overcome by the beauty to be found in the moodiness that the weather was creating. There’s a fresh aroma that comes from those storms that reminds me so much of the West of Ireland, where the wind maintains a permanent rhapsody approx 11.5 months of the year.  I am often astonished at the predicted wind speeds the forecast shows for the region my mother lives in and how her house remains upright. Thank Christ for stone, I suppose.

The rest of the West Coast world audaciously announced yesterday as the last day of summer, whereas here at Literature et Folie the Autumn season is already four days underway.

A CBC report (what-do-they-know-wha?) declared the summer passed a “bummer summer”. What a ludicrous assertion, on what basis? On the basis of assumption. The assumption of what summer must be. It was certainly not a “bummer summer” rather it was a moody summer season with pronounced independent thinking and bouts of non conformity and an impressive last minute “up do”. The only mildly inconvenient aspect of it was the late start to the growing season, but my garden was suffering from drowning by peat so I think my peat flooding was more of a problem than the lack of sun.

I have to check the winter forecasts, the last time I looked they were predicting colder than normal temperatures for the Wesssst and warmer than normal elsewhere.

I am heartened by the arrival of our atmospheric rains. They are so temperate thus far. I am awaiting the first fog eagerly.

Saturday morning treat: Weather symbols of Japan. 

My favourite is fog






Heavy thunderstorm has a solid charm about it too


I was fortunate this evening to enjoy a walk home from gymnastics. The baseball match was on at the stadium so I took a lift up with my males who attended the match with Gpa. It was such a lovely evening, darker than I expected, as Autumn (fall) approaches. I knitted, while I walked which is something I love to do from time to time.

My shawl or cardigan, whichever it turns out to be, is a rainbow wool that is growing and becoming heavy on the needles.

As I wandered home knitting, I was thinking about the thunderstorms forecast on the other side of the country. The night was so still here.


Beckett’s letters have succeeded in doing what nine yoga classes failed to do for me. I read them mainly to discover what books he was reading and to read about his walks. He was a great man for walking.

Jack Layton

Death is such a blinder. It’s why I wrote the novel I did. Jack, Our Man, has died at 61.

Outside it’s a soaker of a day, grey and depleting. The weather pitch perfect in grief.

The PM, far from a poet, offers a limp remembrance, the people will out-articulate him on this, as they have so much else (except yet at the ballot box)

Politically it’s such a depressing time in this country, that Jack Layton’s death is like losing the goal keeper. Perhaps all deaths are like this. This being a more collectively felt one.

Nothing quite so reliable as the insomniac’s weather report!

At 1.07am if you were in the land of slumber I am pleased to report for you it was raining. And a most excellent rain it was too, coming as it did after the 27 degree scorcher of a day. (The employment of the gerund in this sentence is an absolute disservice to the quality and verve of the rain, but the insomniac weather report cannot focus on guitar solo grammar and must remain attentive instead to the finery of nabbing what you are sensibly missing by being asleep).

This is a fresh camping rain without the pain and discomfort of needing to go camping. This rain possesses a sense of contentment rather than entitlement… (the insomniac’s weather report is permitted to give the weather human qualities, since slumbering humans are not awake to dispute it).

A rain of convenience and I repeat finery. A fresh cross breeze included. The kind of breeze a random doorway smoker could absolutely destroy if they stood beneath your window.


I have been blessed yet again by tripping over literary treasure. This time a 12 cent copy of a book called Lifetime by Scott Sommer. It is sharp, short fiction. No one I’ve asked remembers him. (But those I’ve asked do not live in Brooklyn where perhaps he’s v well remembered) He died of a heart attack at 42. This book was published in (well it lists several dates so am thinking it must be a third printing, the dates offered are 78, 81 and 86. Sommer was a writer who certainly embraced new ways of cutting up his sandwiches. The form of these stories is lively and innovative.

Ochazuke weather today.

At the risk of creating uproar I have been enjoying the weather that has the city so sunken in the glooms. There are several reasons for this, firstly everyone is discussing it and noticing it and I’m a firm advocate for paying attention to the weather. (& mortality, unfortunately no one is discussing that) There’s plenty to notice about it.

I’ve observed that the rain, being the intermittent variety, means it’s perfectly feasible to work in the garden and have managed to do some excavating of my booming strawberry patch. However, I’ve also been engaged in the close scrutiny and spying and entrapment by my two not so fat fingers of the burgeoning slug increase. Ha! I’m onto these fellas finally. I’m getting crafty with them and scooping them out to a salty finale.

Second reason I’ve been enjoying the weather is how it reminds me of November and winter. I also appreciate the audacity of it that it will do what it wishes and that the population demands what has come before, what they know to be summer and for the latter few days it’s on its own drive and direction.

The third reason I’ve been enjoying it is the terrible news stories that are being written around it that contain the most unimaginative language and invocations. It’s a firm reminder that the weather is linguistically unchartered territory except for the brief literature we have and Gerry Gilbert’s weathery poems come to mind. I must resurrect the literary weather forecasts and make some more.

The weather has in fact been good clothes drying weather if you are attempting to dry them on an apartment balcony.  Friday was a faceful of fresh blustery wind that reminded me of the most blustery spot on the planet, which I am deeply familiar with. But if you can isolate these single elements within the weather system it will enhance your neurological weather noticing and then when those very blue skies come, which they have done this summer, well ditto you notice them.

Just noted the following weather numbers in the newspaper (accuracy is always debatable since they draw their forecast only from one source and I believe in consulting 3 sources and making my calculations somewhere between them)

Yesterday’s low = 2.4 (not according to my arctic reading weather device, but…)

Last year’s low same day was 8.2

Normal daytime low = 5.4

Record low for this date was in 1982.

In conclusion yesterday was quilt, thermos and legwarmer weather.


Volcano: An inquiry into the life and death of Malcolm Lowry was an NFB funded documentary made about Malcolm Lowry in 1976 by Donald Brittain and John Kramer.  (it’s viewable at the NFB site, along with a plethora of other documentaries, films, animation)

I was listening to the audio of this film while I worked today and the part that captivated my attention was the description related to the jetty that Lowry built by his shack in Dollerton, that withstood the weather and storms in the area. He was overcome with great sadness when he later heard it was no more.

Curiously he appeared numb or in the process of constant numbing to just about everything else.  (Except when his shack burnt down, did he also build the shack? I can’t remember)

My ears also piqued at his early mention of gardening, how if or when he had a garden he’d grow nothing in it etc. and the latter description of gardening that came up in the final fragment before his life ended.

I was just at a screening. There was one image that struck me. It was a shot of a park, filmed in Autumn, I think it looked like Robson Park on the Eastside. Is it high definition that makes the leaves that wholesome orange, and the ground that damp. It was remarkable to be able to experience the weather in this way and gave me gusto for the possibilities of more accurate weather depiction.

I should add that this shot was nothing to do with the weather nor the park really and was a spoof on Dr Spook/Star Trek. However I read that particular frame in this way. That one frame then coloured the entire piece.

I am dismayed by the inaccurate tinkering with the weather that takes place in our fiction (read: weather abuse) I don’t understand why the weather must be invoked as a vehicle for all kinds of things other than that of what it is and that if you actually pay attention to what it is, it becomes mighty compelling in its minutae.  Where there appears to be no variety if you examine it, you find infinite variety.

All credit for this goes to that Icelandic postwoman who I walked beside way back in 94 in the streets of Reykjavik for research on another matter. She spoke to me about this and awoke me to the weather. Call it my Michael Fish hurricane moment. Takk, takk (except it’s spelt with that funny P shaped letter)

Grim, still and foreboding outside.

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.


Insomnia fog

One of the good things about insomnia is, occasionally, during a bout, a weather event is glimpse-able

I am able to report at 2.14am there is a significant fog event underway in Vancouver.

It has already settled in around the lamp posts and coddled its way over the light, lessening the orange from it significantly.

Would I rather be asleep than making these observations? Perhaps and yet no. I’d rather be asleep with these observations.

We are collectively pining for Kauai. It doesn’t need to be spoken of. We just look at each other, sometimes we assess the present tense aloud and recognize we’ve returned to this present tense and then laugh out a lick of a look-back at our wonderful week. For me the quiet moments stay with me, my trots, the birds, the flowers while my boogie-boarding boys, who were as elevated as Tour de France cyclists over the afternoon waves, give rise to a smile.

I still have to comprehend the entirely original weather patterns witnessed there. Many times I woke in the night to the reassuring sound of the trade winds between the trees and in and out a window.  Then there was the on-off switch of the rain and the built in mop up of the humidity.

During our last hour in Hanalei I examined Robin’s garden, she had told me something of the complexity of gardening — an insect or bug that attacked certain plants. I must read up and remind myself what it was since the height of everything suggested a robustness that anything planted would head skyward. I also didn’t see a single bee while there, but was assured they have massive bumble bees.


I have been having a number of adventures in ereading. I’ve held a long curiosity for web books and found myself thinking about how such might be employed when considering narrative ideas. I read a fair bit online, usually factual, anthropology, political, or some writers I’ve read exclusively online because their work can be hard to obtain or because my appetite for it will not wait until I can find a hard copy. And webcomics I’ve often enjoyed.

The reading is normally in intense bursts of middling duration. Rarely have I attempted to digest an entire 300 page text. Last night I did just that and the experience was a middling one. The book concerned contained images and I skipped rapidly through them. The text wasn’t too bad on the eyes, it was friendly enough (the content is another story), but I read it at a galloping pace which satisfied me. How and ever, I was disappointed by how little the images did for me that I declared it over to the ceiling for me and digitized images in books.

Today I tried the BC online books initiative through the Vancouver Public Library (available here if you hold a VPL library card

I examined several titles. Initially the BC online books beta reader gave me trouble, I could not understand how to turn the pages with any ease and efficiency, however once I established an account and downloaded the library ereader plugin, matters improved. The reader interface is fairly basic, but critically the quality of the print improved & the images were decent in comparison to yesterday’s experience during which I was ready to write off all images via ebooks.

The volume of information and access to 650 titles blows my head off my shoulders and around the room. However it returns to land when I consider that it is so uncomfortable for me to experience books on a laptop I might only manage a few chapters ….

I am now dead curious to try an ereading handheld device and see how it compares.

It concerns me, the strain on the eyes. My vision is now at the point where I can’t read information on jars and medicines. I have to put my glasses on. It’s certainly diminished compared to what it was. It was always good enough to get away without glasses despite being given them.


It’s a long time since I ran on pavement or grass. Yesterday time did not permit to do anything else and I was desperate for some exercise. God it is so difficult and hard on the joints, I’d forgotten. Also, how one experiences the damp whiff off fungus, trees and so on. I could not understand why it was so much more uncomfortable to run on what are normal everyday circumstances compared to the much more unnatural heave of an airborne ski shifting machine …. It was also cold. I ran in a thermal shirt with 2 further layers, despite two laps of a significant sized track (6 city blocks at least) I did not warm up!  But it was a great observational experience.

After the run, there were birthday’s to attend to and we had a visit from our favourite babog who has a sense of humour I’ve rarely encountered previously in a seven-month-old. He adores my son and lets this be constantly known by turning his head, seeking him out and letting out constant laughter at the sight or sound of him.  It’s currently one of my favourite soundtracks — the dotey dote that he is.


I am receiving constant and diverse weather reports. Shocking weather events taking place across the pond. The water was turned off in Dublin and other places from 7pm -7am to deal with shortages. My poor mam has no water at all. (only her well water requiring an icy trek ) She said it was so cold that the gas inside the cylinder, inside the house froze! She’s still chirpy in spite of it.

I should note that yesterday at 9am was one of my favourite varieties of weather. A bit of bluster, a pause in the rain, but still the threat of more. I call it the smell of washing that’s been out on the line weather.  Freshen the eyebrows weather.

Today, tho’ we’re now in the middle of the same weather system and it’s moved to a damnit I left the washing out and now it’s completely sopping wet weather. My fringe is in my eyes weather.

The BBC weather forecast has begun colour coding the clouds. I like this specificity! The forecast for London for the next three days reads: day 1 light rain, day 2, white cloud, day 3 grey cloud.

I have just checked and Vancouver is due to have Grey Cloud next Weds according to the BBC forecast. Be sure to look out for it now….

« Previous PageNext Page »