Weather or not? An author’s love of weather.

My Anglo/German ancestors led ordinary lives in extraordinary times.

When writing about their history, I embellish the hard facts from the archive. I imagine how they lived. Family stories, cards, letters and memoirs, inform my imagination. This, mixed with a very large dose of social history, makes up my writing resource.

Why have I written about my family, in historical fiction format? I hear you ask.

Well, to be honest, my research left family members, unimpressed. My accumulated pile of documents and certificates left them cold.  They just could not see the exciting story he records revealed to me.

So I decided that the facts presented in a story might grab their attention. To my delight, my family now love the story of their ancestors. And to my surprise and joy, so have hundreds of readers from around the world.

Many readers have asked me, why I mention the weather in my stories?

Well, I guess, being English, I have a predisposition to be fascinated by what the weather is doing.

As I start to write, I will check the archive record. I work on; date, location, names and action taking place, (birth, death, marriage etc.).

Armed with the date, I can set the scene, but researching the UK’s historical weather record.

For instance, I knew it was April 1911, when my Grandfather, went to the German Embassy in London. He had an appointment about his conscription. So I searched Google: Historical London weather April 1911.

This led me to: http://www.london-weather.eu/article.51.html

Scrolling down to April I discovered:

The month began wet, with over 25mm of rain falling on the 2nd. Cold northerly winds then set in for a while bringing wintry showers or spells of snow. After a minimum temperature near minus 3°C on the night of the 4th/5th, the high on the 5th was only 1.4°C. The weather became milder and mostly settled during the second week, and on the 15th the temperature rose above 17°C. The end of the month was unsettled with temperatures generally close to average.

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Assuming Grandfather’s visit was at the beginning of April, the storyline went as follows:

From Mizpah Cousins: Life, love and perilous predicaments during the Great War era

1911 Conscription

Emil is worried. He is on his way to the German consulate in London, having received an official letter requesting an interview. He guesses it is about his military service. As he gets off the Tube at Russell Square, he braces himself for a long climb, as there are many steps from the station, deep in the bowels of London, to the wet, blustery April day, in the square above. After a couple of minutes walking, deep in thought, he arrives at the embassy. Wet and dripping, he shows the letter he has received to the receptionist; he is then ushered into a waiting area. Removing his soggy coat and hat, he sits in a vacant chair, briefly glancing at the others also waiting. It seems an age before his name is called.

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It takes rather more digging to find historical records of non-British weather. But often the records hold insights, for instance, Paris flooding in 1910. So scenes in Germany and France are more generic on the weather front.

When you read, do you find knowing about the weather helps set the scene?

If you do, I wonder if you are of British decent. 😊

34 thoughts on “Weather or not? An author’s love of weather.

  1. As an author I fully apreciate the delicacy required when weaving hard fact and fiction. When
    it works and the line between the two dissolves it not only strengthens but subtly enriches text with its assurance. Margaret Lossl manages this art effortlessly.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the idea of turning my research into a narrative to draw more family member’s interest. So much work goes into genealogy research it is rather heartbreaking when they don’t appreciate the information collected. I did add some historical background but never really thought of going into fiction. What a beautiful photo too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Weather an endlessly fascinating topics for us Brits. Living in The Philippines I only have hot or hot and rainy which is a lot less nuanced than the homeland and I do miss it.

    It is always interesting when people find something uninteresting until put into a different context. I’ve never been interested in my family history but now it is something to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How is life in the Phillipnes? I love hot weather, hence I travel frequently. Love your observation. I’m happy to inspire an interest in genealogy. Family is an amazing source of social history. Realising how my ancestors lived, through two world wars, has defined the way I think about myself. I’m eternally grateful for this blessed life I lead. Lovely to hear from you. Thank you for your contribution.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s 30 degrees at the moment. It can be a crazy place to live at times but I am enjoying myself. I think my own aversion to family history came from all the people enthusing over discovering their own, oddly that put me off. However giving it a literary slant definitely appeals and allows for a different look at the subject.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Enjoyment for me, is the whole meaning of life. Congratulations. Sounds wonderful. Personally, how ordinary people navigated through challenging era’s, has given me an insight into social history. Also, a brilliant resource to create historical memoir.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Too many people grind out their days in meaningless jobs. At the moment I am between ‘proper’ jobs and just wondering where my place is. I like how your interests have created more interests and chances for you to write. You are an inspiration.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you. I’m excited for you. You’re on the cusp of change. With your positive outlook, you will do well. Steven Hawkins said we imagine first before we create ( we’ll words to that effect). So imagine well, my friend, life is yours for the living. Wishing you all the best. If you’re on FB, you might like to find me, Margaret Ann Lossl. Would be nice to keep in touch.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi thank you for dropping by. Am following your site. Love the ginger:) Have you elected to moderate your comments? This might prevent them going into spam. No I haven’t been a meteorologist. I was an IT consultant.used to write software manuals.you can imagine my joy, now, writing historical memoir:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure actually! I think it had something to do with a real bad storm that moved through when I was a little girl. I wasn’t scared at all just very curious about it. I’ve stayed curious ever since 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Leave it to the Brits to keep such keen records of the weather! 🙂

    Actually, we were blessed during the 90s to live at RAF Greenham Common and RAF Alconbury. Loved our three years in the U.K.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi…Since you ;’liked’ my post (mneset.me), I decided to check out your blog. Nice. I will enjoy following you. This whole ancestry thing could consume my life if I had time. I’m going to post some, what I guess would be considered, history-based fiction pieces written about my grandmother over the next few days. I’ve never posted stories before so this will be a new experience. AND I love weather…which is not easy living in New Mexico. Just wrote a bit about rain on my everyday blog roresandstrom.me. Thanks for reading my ancestry post. Marjorie

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi again…I mentioned my ancestry post on my blog mneset.me. I saw that you had signed onto mneset.com which I’ve closed down. Sorry for the confusion. Hope you’ll like mneset.me. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I found that most records are regional in the US. A tranche of my family emigrated there in the mid 1800’s. Because the UK is so petite, everything is one place. I love America, and have spent a lot of time there. I love your positivity and friendliness.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Here’s another weatherbug — me. When I worked in the property and casualty insurance industry, I served on the North Carolina Property Committee, where we helped set rates based on current and projected trends. Weather still fascinates me, though I haven’t featured it prominently in any of my stories. Yet!

    Liked by 1 person

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