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Posts Tagged ‘volcanoes’

Trains cancelled due to ‘wrong kind of volcanic ash’ on the line

In News on April 19, 2010 at 10:46

Rail services the length and breadth of the country have been severely disrupted after reports of “the wrong kind of volcanic ash” covering train tracks.

Services run by Virgin Trains, East Midland Railways, and National Express have all ground to a halt after the discovery of the ash, which had originated from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull.

As a result of the volcanic eruption, rail customers nationwide have joined those abroad who found themselves stranded in their current destination.

The wrong sort

“If it’s a good enough excuse for the airlines, then it’s good enough for us,” said Bernie Southall, 54, a train driver from Stafford, as he sat out in his back garden in a deck chair, lamenting the news.  “Look, the thing is that our trains are all finely tuned machines, and they can only work at their optimum level when conditions are perfect.

“I mean, if it had been Norwegian volcanic ash, or even volcanic ash from Russia, then it wouldn’t have been a problem.  But this Icelandic stuff can be pretty tricky.

“Instead, we’ll have to just grin and bear it, and get on with the gruelling business of sitting outside and enjoying the warm Spring sunshine while everyone else is trying to get to places they need to be.  Oh well.  Fancy a beer?”

Melanie Jones, 29, from Norfolk, has been stranded just outside Leamington Spa since Saturday night, and added her voice to the chorus of disapproving voices.  “Listen, we just about bought it when they told us about the ‘wrong kind of leaves’ and then the ‘wrong kind of snow’ on the tracks  – but this is just a p*ss-take, isn’t it?

“What’s next?  Are they going to stay at home whenever it’s a bit rainy, or there’s something good on the telly?  I think we should be told.”

Meanwhile, union leaders have denied that their members are trying to find ways to cause more natural events in an attempt to gte more days off work.

“Rumours that we’ve sent three of our members to begin an evening class in vulcanology are only half-true,” said Phil Hedges from train drivers union ASLEF.  “Yes, we do have some guys taking the course, but there’s no sinister motive – they’ve always been interested in the subject.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with our drivers looking for more reasons to avoid doing any sort of work.  What’s more, if you suggest that again, we’ll strike.”


Icelandic volcano spews hundreds of consonants and vowels into the air

In World News on March 23, 2010 at 08:20

An Icelandic volcano, which had lay dormant for 200 years, has erupted near Eyjafjallajoekull, ripping a 1km-long fissure in a field of ice and spraying hundreds of consonants and vowels up into the air in the process.

The volcano, situated in Southern Iceland, 75 miles east of Reykjavik, began to erupt just after midnight on Sunday, spitting a molten stream of largely incompatible letters a hundred metres high.

A young baby surveys the devastation

“We have taken the step of closing all major roads,” a civil protection officer said. “We’ve also closed Icelandic airspace, diverting all the flights elsewhere until there is little or no risk of one of our pilots having to deal with a rogue ‘Y’ or ‘J’ through the windscreen of their cockpit.”

Sigurgeir Gudmundsson of the Icelandic civil protections department has issued a statement to emphasise that he does not expect anyone to be in any immediate danger because of the eruption.

He did, however, recommend that anyone looking to escape the area in a hurry should try to shed as many of the unnecessary vowels and consonants in their own names as possible.

“If you’re anything like me, you’ll have more extraneous letters in your name than a small mining town in Wales,” he told the press earlier.

“Cutting these out is critical if anyone is to make swift progress away from the volcano, as unnecessary letters can weigh you down and get in the way when somebody is calling you to urgently attract your attention.

“I was in the town earlier to witness the scene, and I’ll be honest – I had to cut my name to ‘Sig Gud’ just to get out in time before the last eruption.”

Meanwhile, authorities have confirmed that between 500 and 600 people are in the process of being evacuated.

“Eyjaf….Ejyafall…oh, bugger it, I can’t pronounce that. The place next to the volcano is being evacuated as a precaution,” said a government spokesperson.

“Many of those forced to leave their homes behind have been forced to witness the bewildering spectacle of seemingly random letters raining down upon their town.

“It’s no small wonder that these people are in a state of collective shock…I’d wager that not even Carol Vorderman herself could manage to make any sense out of this many random vowels and consonants.”

Number of super-villains hiding in volcanoes ‘decreasing alarmingly’ says leading vulcanologist

In Entertainment, Science on October 13, 2009 at 08:26
"I've been expecting you, Professor Ashborne"

"I've been expecting you, Professor Ashborne"

The number of volcanoes that have been hollowed out and converted into a secret South Pacific lair for evil super-villains bent on world domination has been decreasing alarmingly, according to a new study from a leading vulcanologist.

Speaking from the site of the dormant Mt Tarawera, in the North Island, New Zealand, Professor Harvey Ashborne from the Department of Vulcanology, University of Nottingham, complained that he had been examining the site for nearly two days now, with little or no sign of a protective metal casing on the surface to conceal the elaborate, Machiavellian scheming contained within.

“I’ve been in vulcanology for nearly 40 years,” said Professor Ashborne, “and despite researching volcanic sites throughout that time, I haven’t so much as had a sniff of a super-villain yet. The whole thing is very disappointing. All I keep finding is these rocks, occasional pools of molten lava and the odd eruption.  Bearing in mind the popularity of super-villains hiding in volcanoes in the 1960s, I make that a decrease of around 1000%. Probably more, actually.”

When asked what exactly he was hoping to find, the Professor became extremely animated. “Well,” he commented, “essentially, what we’re after is a man-made structure housed within a hollowed out volcano, with its own monorail system. A bit like Disney, I suppose, but with many more guns and a big nuclear missile.

“Also, there should be a bald-headed evil genius, stroking a cat, with a grand master plan to threaten world leaders with a nuclear device that should launch directly out of the centre of the volcano, or even, better, some kind of space-ship.  The evil genius should ideally be making a series of threats to a suave secret agent, and there should be some kind of clock agonisingly ticking down. Yes, the clock would be a nice touch.”

The Professor refused to be drawn as to how he could be so specific as to what he was looking for but did add that: “the fact I haven’t yet found it after so many years  is my biggest disappointment since starting my vulcanology undergraduate degree and discovering it had absolutely nothing to do with Star Trek.”