Ash cloud days

Not exactly apocalyptic cloud.

“I am disappointed in the ash cloud” twittered an old friend. “I had expected something more apocalyptic.”

I certainly wasn’t disappointed, but I understood the part about it not being very apocalyptic. In fact, it looked like normal summer clouds, white and varying from gauzy to cottony.  I would not have known that they were made of ash (actually pulverized stone) if I had not happened to read the news.

Despite their innocent looks, these clouds can destroy the engine of planes that fly through them. Even where the ash is so thin as to be invisible when seen close up, it can still damage engines, so all planes were grounded yesterday, and most of them most of today. This will likely continue on and off through the next days as well, depending on the movement of the ash clouds. The eruption is only intensifying so far.

Our prime minister got stranded in New York and managed the country from his new iPad.  Now that’s what I call “small government”.  (That was a joke. The iPad story was true though and Apple is likely to use it for all it is worth. It will be extremely hard for Microsoft to disparage the iPad as a toy after this. Of course, I could have managed Norway from my HTC Hero. Norway is a very well-behaved country.)

According to the latest projections I have seen, a thicker ash cloud should hit us in the evening or night of Monday 19th. The World Health Organization has recommended to stay indoors if it rains, but the Norwegian government says there is no reason for that.  It will rain tomorrow here. On the west coast of Norway, it will rain very much, according to meteorologists.  (At least it is not raining meteors, despite their title.)

Norway is a very long country, made up mostly of mountains and fjords. Planes are essential for society to work normally.  In addition to people (especially from northern Norway, which does not have railroads) planes also carry most of our mail. Luckily most people use email now, so physical mail is mostly used for mail-order and some bills.

And of course our connection to the rest of the world is greatly slowed. Not that I care, since Norway is the world’s best country and I am already here. And I have enough dried plums to continue regular life for weeks yet.

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