Friday, 17 September 2010


I feel like I’ve got something out of my system with that last rant about the long haul flight from London to Singapore, so as this blog’s Fotherington-Thomas yin to last blog’s Victor Meldrew yang, here’s a little about the extraordinary joy that was the short haul flight from Singapore to Jakarta.

It all started with the clouds. I don’t know whether it was something about the weather, the fact that we were just over the equator, the height we were at relative to the clouds, or just some happy circumstance of nature, but it was the most wonderful display of collections of 10 micron suspended water droplets that I’ve ever seen.

That, coupled with the easy view of the many islands as we flew over, entirely changed my mood. The books say that ‘Indonesia has between 13,000 and 17,000 islands’. Between? Between? That means they’re not sure of the whereabouts of up to 4,000 islands. That sounds more like something out of the Lost City of Atlantis, or some of the stranger meanderings of Terry Pratchett.

Even the names of clouds are evocative; cirrus, cumulus, nimbus and their conjuncts cirro-stratus, cumulo-nimbus and so on, roll off the tongue, the pen and the qwertyuiop in a meteorological wave of assonance and resonance with soft elegance and easy charm. Who wouldn’t be a weatherman?

  • Note to self: do not attempt to describe something that’s been done before, better, by master wordsmiths. For example, do not, under any circumstances, attempt to describe the suicidal ramblings of an orphaned Danish Prince or the remarkable sensation of eating biscuits your grandmother used to make.
I’m afraid I’m going to ignore my own advice. In spite of some of the most wonderful literary landscape artists having already turned their hands to describing weather, in the next blog I’m going to have a go. Wish me luck. I just need a day to prepare myself. Wish me luck.

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