Saturday, 15 May 2010

Ode to Mount Unpronounceable.

Okay, so Susan had a direct flight from JFK to Glasgow. Naturally, it was delayed by two hours. Which meant she only got in THREE hours ahead of her originally scheduled time rather than five. Boo bloody hoo. We had a wonderful time together for a week and a half, including a stunning meal at Raeburn's which, remarkably, was entirely Scottish, including the wondrous cheeseboard. And I got a cheese shop recommendation from the owner's daughter, Melli's in the west end of Glasgow, which of course I shall have to try out. That cheeseboard had the most insanely fabulous cheddar I have ever tasted, as closely related to the average supermarket version as I am to a shrub growing on the side of an Icelandic volcano.

We got most of the marriage documents filled in (or out if you prefer), Susan got a look at the venue for our reception and approves mightily of it, but best of all we got to spend some time together. At the end of her stay, we went down to Glasgow Airport in time for her flight, couldn't check in immediately because no desk number was listed, so we went and had breakfast (which itself was a recurring theme of the visit). Once we had devoured that, there was still no gate showing so Susan went off to try and find out what was going on. It turned out the flight had been cancelled, along with all the other flights that day, due to a return of the sainted ash cloud. She rebooked and got a flight for two days later, on the Friday. So we got an extra two days out of it. We LOVE Icelandic volcanoes! That meant she got to be here for the general election to the UK parliament, and she was very game about it on the basis that in a few months she'll be living here. However, compared to a US election, it was all much too complicated for her: all those parties all over the place, some only standing in Scotland, some in Wales, some mainly in England, and then Northern Ireland has a completely different set of parties, at which point she gave up trying to understand it all, sensibly I think. She was confused also because of the two biggest parties, the most right wing one is blue and the slightly further left one is red, exactly the opposite of the US. And when all the votes had been counted, the winner was no one at all, only there were no court cases and no corrupt practices leading to that outcome. The Daily Show, which is available here on More 4 (but WHY no Colbert Report, hmm?), has been having enormous fun with it all, and Susan has been hugely appreciating their stuff about it. As have I.

Anyway, we are now separated again, communicating much more often than daily by phone, text message and internet. The difference this time, though, is that when she next comes here, we think in September, it will be forever; so I can now say to her "when you get back home" rather than "when you visit next", and we get to try to feel that she is just on an extended holiday in New York. Since her visit, my divorce from my first wife has been finalised, so there are no obstacles in the way now, well other than UK Immigration of course. Mind you, when she got here this time, an eager beaver decided she walked like an actress (I'm not making this up), interrog... sorry, interviewed her on the basis that he suspected her of being here to work and eventually phoned me on my mobile as I sat at international arrivals waiting for her. Oddly enough, our stories matched, mainly because his suspicions were bollocks. So he was kind enough to let her in. But Susan was rather excitimicated by the time she reached me, and it took her several days to calm down completely. In the circumstances, she is doing amazingly well with the visa process, although she is terrified at every turn that she will be turned down, even though she knows there is no reason for that to be the case.

So, in October we get married. We are both looking forward to that rather a lot, in fact we are being completely pathetic about it all. Watch this space.

Oh, yeah, I've written a poem, inspired by this most recent visit. Here it is.

And cups of tea and breakfasts and free baby food
and salads and scones and fruit loaf and bin bags and
toilet roll and buses. And drunks on the bus and tramps
in the street and junkies at the chemist's and news in the

paper and Jon Stewart on the telly and standing in the
rain and looking at trees and sitting on benches and
shopping for sandwiches and Indian takeaways and
Chinese prawn crackers and deep fried pizza and pints
in the pub and nothing is dull or everyday if you're there.


  1. So the ash cloud had a silver - or gold - lining for you two. Congrats on the upcoming nuptials.

  2. I like the way you refer to Mont Unpronounceable! I hear the newscaster mention the name of the damn volcano and think WTF???

    Anyway, I wish Sue and I could make it there for the wedding. I would love to visit Scotland. even though I'm English by ancestry... but you have given me a pass for that!

    Take care my friend. Loved the poem!


  3. Yeah well I tried to pronounce it properly, but when even my agile tongue can't manage to wrap itself round a word, you KNOW it's a horror! And now, when I think I may finally have it, I can't really be bothered looking it up to check. :-|

  4. The Volcano, in Iceland is fuming one more time,
    And for a poet theres a problem for I cant find a rhyme.
    Now Ive been told Ive a talent for the vocal.
    but I just cant say the word Eyjafjallajökull

    Its twisting me tounge, Its wracking my palete
    and its punding me brain like a hard swung mallet
    the eruptions in Iceland but the ash cloud is local
    But I just cant say it - Eyjafjallajökull

    Its wreckin' me head and its causin' frustration
    Unclimbable mountain of tough pronounciation
    Im try'n and Im cry'n and I yet might beat it
    But Eyjafjallajökull just has me defeated

    See, Id like to write a poem but its causing me panic
    That I cant say the name of that Nemisis volcanic
    Tried saying it early, tried saying it later
    And I'm down in the dumps - what a miserable crater

    Its causing annoyance, thats what its doin'
    And like every politician its blowing and its spewin'
    And up goes the lava and down come the flights
    Eyjafjallajökull gives me sleepless nights

    And were queing in the airports, waiting on the planes
    Jumping on the ferry boats and racking our brains
    The trips been cancelled, the service cut in half
    And Eyjafjallajökull is having a laugh

    Try it yourself, every murderous syllable,
    Torturing your tounge like something evil and killable
    Vulcanologists use it, Newsreaders refuse it,
    Eyjafjallajökull - why did they choose it

    Iceland - A nice land of glaciers and Bjork,
    But the banks there are buggered and theirs thousands out of work
    The economys battered and bloody and gory
    Eyjafjallajökull whats the bleedin' story?

    Say it with me reader, lets say it together
    Eyjafjallajökull means its dusty auld weather
    If you shout it at your screen maybe I'll learn,
    Eyjafjallajökull - burn baby burn

    Its after going off again, you must be bloody joking,
    Wish to high heavens it would give up the smoking,
    Travel plans pounded Jumbojets grounded,
    Peope must be wishing they could fly the planes around it

    I suppose, I should be happy Im not stranded overseas
    Because pronounciation problems arent much compared to these
    If I knew the right prayer I'd be happy to pray it
    Eyjafjallajökull - I just wish I could say it

    But saying such a mouthful is troubling and taxing
    And me tounge can't cope with an Icelandic accent
    For its supercalifragilisticexpialidoc-al
    But I cant get my head around - Eyjafjallajökull

    And whats it mean, whats the translation,
    No one seems to know in the whole United Nations,
    Were the victims of nature, its a bit of a farce
    Eyjafjallajökull means a pain in the --- neck

  5. Hope the wedding and all since went well

  6. Wow, thanks Simon! The wedding's not until 29th October. Right now we're struggling through the last couple of months of being apart. But the wishes and the lines are much appreciated.