Monday, April 19, 2010


Frankly, I’m a bit hacked off. This Saturday I had a plane booked to go to Iceland to see the volcano. And in a manoeuvre of some irony, the volcano came here and has likely enough grounded me.

It’s fun to write VOLCANO in huge letters through the ash on the roof of my car. It’s fun to look at the little glittering mites of grey glass on ones fingertips. It’s also extravagantly apocalyptic and cold-war-ish to drive along the M25 on a hot, clear morning under signs saying HEATHROW CLOSED. It’s the invisibility of the falling dust and the headlines BRITAIN CUT OFF FROM WORLD and the false-colour satellite-track maps of the threat as it slowly morphs and falls about Europe. It’s all a bit grand and alternative-history, a bit Charles Stross.

And there are no planes, so no contrails. The sky is a blank, steady, slightly rouged blue.

Meanwhile there is much talk about the lack of roses and the lack of miniature vegetables. “No we can’t just give mange-tout to the Kenyans; they don’t eat that kind of thing” was my favourite radio quote this morning. The plane companies are complaining of bad science, like there’s a tang of conspiracy in the air too, and our governmental national emergency committee springs into action. It’s called COBRA, which is so bloody Marvel Comics it makes me giggle. Their last meeting was, I think, on the occasion a dead swan was found in Fife.

On the radio yesterday, talking about the possibility of punctuated, yet regular eruptions from this volcano, it was mooted that we might just junk jets and go back to turboprops. The thought that flights to New York would make refuelling stops at Gander just gives me goosebumps of generation-x’y pleasure. Gander! And can we fly to Idlewild, too?


~~Just Me in T~~ said...

Strange as it is, with a very high percentage of Northern European commercial air traffic grounded, due to the risks associated with the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokul Volcano, a Major NATO military drill is taking place.

I have not found any reports of military aircraft involved in the exercise ‘Brilliant Mariner’, being grounded due to the dangers posed to other aircraft.

It does seem rather strange that while volcanic ash is keeping all commercial aircraft on the ground around the U.K. this exercise is taking place.

Tristram Brelstaff said...

Here in Reading, under the flight path in to Heathrow, it's nice and quiet. Yesterday afternoon a red Virgin hot air balloon passed over. For a moment I thought that Richard Branson must be on his way to the rescue the stranded air passengers, but the wind was taking it in the wrong direction.

Pluvialis said...

If it was Branson, I am sure he would refrain from rescuing anyone from the continent - unless they were hot chicks in red bikinis.

Radagast said...

BRITAIN CUT OFF FROM WORLD? Isn't that a bit melodramatic? Isn't there a perfectly good train? (when it isn't snowing, at least)

Pluvialis said...

That was a Daily Mail headline. By far our most xenophobic newspaper - all this is a kind of dream come true for them, I think. A neat way of solving the immigration problem/our relations with Europe.

dr. hypercube said...

Super connies!!!

The title of the head of the national emergency committee - Cobra Commander?

Pluvialis said...

TOTALLY Super connies. That would rock my world.