First published when the ‘first’ Icelandic volcano went up! I phoned the Icelandic Tourist board last week and asked them how they pronounced the volcano that was gently smoking their backyard. We at the BBC like to get things write!

‘Hang on!’ said a Nordic voice. ‘I will put you through.’

Wow! I thought. They have a volcano hot line! A charming lady picked up the phone and started to explain the origin and broke it down for me.

‘Eyjafjallajökull is pronounced.. Alia…fiat la… your kult,’ she said. ‘If you break it down it means mountain, volcano, glacier.’

Very practical these Icelandic’s with their language.

‘We have names in Great Britain which can be broken down as well,’ I told her. ‘Erne.. e.. settle is one of them. It means Unattended… Pot…Hole…’ She didn’t sound too convinced.

I would love to go to Iceland but I do question a nation which has a capital called Reykjavik. Reck from the English meaning disaster and Avick from the Icelandic… waiting for a…! Apparently the Nordic people settled there because of the abundance of hot water. Didn’t they ask themselves what was heating that water?  And when they awoke in the morning didn’t they question why the country was another eight miles wide?

Anyway, I wonder if the Civil Aviation Authority are going to apologise to all those passengers who they managed to get back to Great Britain just in time for the next televised parliamentary debate? I would be furious in the knowledge that I could have spent another night in a bus shelter by the wheelie bins at the back of the Madrid Hilton rather than watch the next episode of the adventures of Compo, Foggy and Clegg.

Here I must apologise for very nearly wiping out two lines of traffic on the A38 on Wednesday when I started to point and shout…..Plane…plane…plane… it was childish and dam dangerous. However, just to the left of Ivybridge was a contrail, very high and very fast but definitely an aircraft. I started to follow its progress forgetting that  I was driving but I noticed that then car in front of me was doing exactly the same. Which reminds me, does anyone else remember that brilliant television series Fantasy Island? Once a week that little man would run out and point to the skies and shout the plane…the plane..the plane… Who would have guessed that nearly thirty years later the transport secretary would be doing the same.

Last Sunday I was transporting Ratboy, the son and heir and his friend ‘klingon’ to a football match when I noticed a typical reflection of modern British society.  As we ploughed a path up the A38, not a contrail in the sky, past a petrol station that boasted that it was selling diesel at ‘only’ £1.24 a pint, there was the only major form of transport which was actually running on time, un restricted by bureaucracy and full of happy passengers…..The Dart Valley Steam Railway.  Yep! The engine built in 1934 was bang on time, anything from this century was grinding to a bloody halt.