“I just ran out of the boat because I thought there was an earthquake”

Once, when I was working for Granada TV in Manchester in the 1980s, I was staying in a cheap Bed & Breakfast where the walls were thin.

I woke up early one morning, with my head against the pillow against the thin dividing wall. There was a vibrating rhythm which rose then stopped then re-started then stopped then re-started then stopped again. I was half-asleep and half-awake. I thought it was someone having sex. Well, two people having sex. It turned out it was a small earthquake in North Wales.

It is always a joy to get an e-mail from this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent, Anna Smith, who lives on a boat in Vancouver.

This is the latest:

Anna Smith ignores the BBC in Canada

Anna Smith: not yet President of UruguI just ran out of the boat because I thought there was an earthquake. It was really rocking. It’s also windy but not THAT windy. One of my neighbours was out tying something down.

I asked him: “What was that?”

“A boat,” he said.

There was no sign that a boat had gone by. It must have been going fast. The river was all choppy from the wind. There was no trace of a boat.

It was stupid of me to run onto the dock because I thought it might be an earthquake. If there had been one, I would have been safer inside the boat.

One time I did feel a small earthquake.

It was centered off Haida Gwaii (also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, off the Northern Coast). It was a quiet night and the boats rocked a bit quickly. It caused some damage on Haida Gwaii and an underwater rock slide blocked off a hot spring for a couple of years. It has just started flowing again.

There have been tsunamis on the coast, but it is not that likely here because we are protected by Vancouver Island. The whole of Richmond, which is built on an island of sand, is supposed to liquefy.

Local news is that someone has stolen two hundred magnolia trees.

When I decided to move back to my boat, I started telling people that I was sick of living in a metropolis (beautiful as it is, with all the tourists vomiting everywhere). Downtown Vancouver seems very loud and busy after being on the river. I always feel a bit like a tourist here anyhow. (I didn’t grow up here.)

This is a picture of President José Mujica

This is a picture of President José Mujica

My aim was to live quietly on the river and try to become more like José Mujica, the President of Uruguay, except I don’t want to run a country or grow a moustache.

It is very drab around here in the winter. There has been one tropical rainstorm after the next. Last week, I skidded down a path from the highway, completely lost my balance, fell down, got mud all over myself and didn’t even get hurt.

I landed strangely and I could hardly believe that I wasn’t hurt, because my legs seemed to land wherever they wanted and my feet were pointing in different directions. It looked pretty good, since I was wearing my white rat killer boots and the mud was like liquid black clay. It is known for its fertility.

Now it is a rainy morning.


My bilge just went off.

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