Friday, 21 September 2012

Meanwhile, in other news

Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go. 
Nehemiah 9:19

You have to admit that a pillar of fire in the wilderness would be a pretty impressive sight. So here's a real photo of nature getting impressively Old Testament in the Australian outback.* The proximate cause of this startling phenomenon wasn't God leading His chosen people through the wilderness, but a dust devil sucking a bush fire into its ravening maw. It gets my vote for the coolest bit of freaky Australian weather since atmospheric dust turned Sydney an eerie martian red in 2009.

Moving from extreme acts of God to human nature at its most extreme, one Alison Whelan has just been sent down for the mother of all epic drunken benders:

A drunken woman stole a passenger ferry on the River Dart and shouted 'I'm Jack Sparrow' and 'I'm a pirate' as she drifted away from police on the shore, a court has been told.

Alison Whelan, 51, had been on a two-day bender drinking Lambrini and eating hallucinogenic plants when she sought late-night shelter with a companion on the Dart Princess Passenger Ferry. When police arrived to speak to her she unmoored the 45ft vessel from the Kingswear pontoon and set off up the river...

... Whelan later told police she untied two or three of the ropes connecting the boat to the shore because she kept tripping over them.

She said before she knew it she felt the boat moving and 'noticed the hotels getting a long way away'.

Police joined lifeboat crew on the river trying to intercept the boat. The harbour master was also alerted.

But the errant suspects shouted abuse from the out-of-control boat and made jokes about being kidnapped, the court was told.

Police watched as the vessel span into a £70,000 fibreglass catamaran called Force Majeure causing £300 of damage and a moored vessel called Tomcat.

It finally came to rest in still water about a mile or so upstream.

When arrested Whelan said they would have ended up in St Tropez if they hadn't been caught.

This is South Devon

It's hilarious to read about, but tragic to live. Whelan suffers from chronic alcoholism and is currently awaiting a liver transplant. It's all very sad, rather dangerous and hugely irresponsible, but the cliches about comedy and tragedy being bedfellows also apply. Talk about going out in a blaze of glory.

*via Boing Boing, originally from The Australian (registration required)