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Phrases And Their Origins

Cloud Nine

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 answers.

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 Wales.

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, the competition.

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 Myfanwy instantly.

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 wicked man!

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

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