Phrases And Their Origins
Cloud Nine is where we're said to be if we're euphoric
about something. But where is Cloud Nine?
What's so great about it?
And why isn't it Cloud Ten?
The winning entry gets a holiday in Cloud Cuckooland.
In 1611, an explosion from a yoghurt factory in South
Wales caused irreversible damage to the world's
skyline. Whereas beforehand there had only been 8
clouds, now the sky was full of the things. Huge gusts
of yoghurt reacted with some stuff in the atmosphere
and whipped it up in a frenzy of cloud-makingness. The
8 neat little clouds that were visible previously were
completely hidden by the new yoghurt clouds.
Now, the old clouds didn't look like the new ones at
all. For a start, they weren't fluffy. It was actually
the whipped up yoghurt that produced the fluffy effect
we see in today's clouds. The old clouds were
completely spherical with distict (almost sharp, some
might argue) borders. And they didn't drift either -
again, that's just the yoghurt. Moreso these old
clouds bounced, as you might expect a bouncy ball to
bounce, across the sky.
Now (also unlike the new clouds) the old clouds were
easily harnessable by us humans. Our ancestors had a
marvellous time playing with them, and indeed the
national sport back then was 'cloud bouncing'. This
sport was played by every school child, adolescent and
active adult in the country. Thousands of gold coins
changed hands for Cloud Bouncing merchandise, and of
course for the annual World Cloud Bounce
championships, which were held in a different country
every 4 years and caused a great deal of excitement.
Now, even though it has been argued that England
invented cloud bouncing, the truth was we just weren't
very good at it. Time and time again, our brave men
went off heroes and came back cunts. Time and time
again we raised our hopes and expectations, only to
have them dashed at the last crucial moment. Usually
by the French. The good people of England were growing
increasingly arsed off by this. In 1610, what would be
the very last year of the last World Cloud Bounce,
we'd just about had enough.
We turned, of course, to science to provide the
A very clever professor by the name of Franklin Von
Wankihanky came to the rescue. Professor Wankihanky
was an expert in 2 fields - the mating habits of
Argentinian Bowler Hat Lizards, and, of course, sports
science. He had been following the plight of the
English Cloud Bouncing team closely for many years,
and was convinced he had the answer.
The answer came in the shape of a young woman from
Myfanwy Valley-Muffgonebad had been born with one very
distinct congenital abnormality - she couldn't stop
laughing. From the moment she plopped sloppily from
the vast cavern of her mother's foul Welsh minge, she
was verging on the hysterical. As she grew, so did her
mirth. You could hear her guffaws all the way from
Gudfwbjcvbjklcabvjklfahuindidno cbnabv bfxsabvcksawith
to Brjobdjkabvjkavnkcakvnjkcasldundlidno. It was very
annoying for the peaceful Welsh farmers, who would
have given anything just to be able to fuck their
flocks in peace.
Now Professor Wankihanky had been interested in Miss
Valley-Muffgonebad's predicament for a number of
years, mainly because the only other documented case
of her condition had occurred some years previously in
an Argentinian Bowler Hat Lizard (another story, I'm
afraid). He had been unable to provide either with a
cure, but now he got to thinking...
Perhaps first I should explain a little about the
sport of cloud bouncing.
The object of the game was to out-bounce your
opponents clouds. Each team was made up of 4 members,
2 male and 2 female. 1 cloud was allocated to each
member. The clouds were then bounced as high as
possible, trying to avoid the clouds of the opposition
teams but staying as close to the clouds of the other
members of one's own team as possible. This was
because each cloud had a magnetic field surrounding
it, so if it came in contact with another cloud it
would bounce higher.
A great deal of confusion would inevitably ensue
during a cloud bouncing tournament. The clouds were
all identical, and notoriously difficult to
differentiate from one another. The most difficult
part of the game, and the part which required the most
skill and training, was keeping track of whose cloud
was whose. The briefest lapse in concentration could
cause catastrophic results - clouds bouncing off in
all directions, causing cracks to appear in the sky
and indentations in the surface of the sun.
The professor met Ms Valley-Muffgonebad in a secret
location somewhere in the Ghasowhvbdaksvhoefiubavcsvy
Valley. It took several weeks for him to explain his
plan to her (between bursts of hysterical laughter),
but finally she got the message and, much to the
professor's relief, she agreed to give it a go.
One by one, the authorities were informed as to
England's new tactic. The team were delighted! In
fact, everyone was delighted except one person - Ms
Valley-Muffgonebad's father, Ivor.
Ivor was an old-fashioned Welshman, who (when he
wasn't working in the local yoghurt factory) liked
nothing more than a good shag with a sheep on a bed of
leeks. He frequented Tim Jones (Tom Jones's great
great great great great great great great great great
great great grandfather) concerts and spat
enthusiastically whenever he spoke. He was also
passionate about cloud bouncing (believing it to have
been invented by the welsh) and believed the plan
devised by the professor constituted (at best)
cheating and (at worst) high treason and a variety of
other really bad things like that. He tried and tried
to dissuade his daughter from going through with the
plan, but she just laughed at him.
Anyway, to cut a very long story ever so slightly
shorter, the day of the 1610 World Cloud Bouncing
Championships finally arrived. England had
miraculously gained a place in the finals after Brazil
had had to drop out for political reasons. The team
members took their places and... they were off.
In the first five minutes, France had bounced their
balls a whopping 5000 metres. England looked like they
were sunk - they'd only managed 2500 metres. By
half-time France were 6-0 up. It looked like it was
all over. Then the secret weapon came on...
5 minutes into the second half, Myfanwy
Valley-Muffgonebad came bouncing into the sky on a
large man-made cloud. The cloud had been made by
Professor Von Wankihanky out of latex and hooves, in
utmost secret, and was an exact replica. Myfanwy
steered the cloud towards those of the opposition
and... voila! the plan began to work! The opposition
(who weren't in on it) were so confused by the
addition of the ninth cloud that they dropped their
own clouds and fell out of the sky with shock. The
England team were then able to make HUGE bounces with
their clouds, reaching heights of several hundred
kilometres and winning, for the first time in history,
Final result - France 6, England 600
It was a landslide! The good people of England were
jumping for joy! We had finally won something! Oh, the
parties that followed! EVERYONE was happy.
Except Myfanwy's father.
He had been watching the live satellite broadcast from
the Yoghurt factory, and was overcome with anger and
resentment. Myfanwy had gone against hs wishes and
turned the noble sport of cloud bouncing into a farce.
He vowed the England team should not be allowed to get
away with it.
Now by this time the English and the French teams had
climbed out of the sky and had hit the showers, where
they were comparing arse hairiness and generally being
exuberant. However, poor Myfanwy was having difficulty
with her cloud.
Professor Von Wankihanky had forgotten to programme
the cloud to stop. Poor Myfanwy was still in the sky,
laughing her poor head off miserably, unable to come
down. Her cloud bounced higher and higher, while down
below people could do nothing but watch.
Finally, the professor managed to turn off the ninth
cloud by throwing a bowler hat lizard into its path.
Myfanwy, still laughing, was dismounting when a huge
explosion occurred from below.
Her father had set the yoghurt factory alight in
anger. In the full knowledge that his only daughter
was still in the sky, his welsh principles had got the
better of him. Streams of yoghurt blasted upwards,
filling the sky with whiteness and killing poor
Not even Professor Von Wankihanky could reverse the
effects of so much yoghurt on the atmosphere. The 8
bouncing clouds were completely obscured by the
yoghurt, never to be seen again, and the proud
national sport had to be replaced by crappy old
football. It was terrible.
And the welsh Yoghurt maker? That scoundral didn't
even attend his own daughter's funeral! Instead, he
found the professor and shot him in the back for
coming up with the idea in the first place. What a
Anyway, the phrase comes from Myfanwy, of course,
whose laughter on her 'cloud nine' won the only game
England ever won, ever, in 1610.
And I'd better bloody win this.
Yes, very well done, Kate. You win the holiday in Cloud Cuckooland.
Consider yourself already there.
Phrases And Their Origins
You can't make this stuff up, you know