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?