“The moon turned blue, or sometimes green.”

A short, and interesting, New York Times article by Simon Winchester on the artistic, and scientific, legacy of a previous volcanic eruption – Krakatoa in 1883 – was matched by the always readable Frank McNally’s slightly more locally focused piece in Friday’s Irish Times.

NO DOUBT scientists will tell us there are perfectly rational explanations for the current volcanic activity in Iceland. But surely the involvement of angry gods cannot be completely ruled out. The latest outbreak has coincided uncannily with publication of the long-awaited Black Report into Iceland’s banking scandal. And as large deposits of volcanic ash invade Irish airspace, causing the sort of civil disruption trade unions can only dream about, the eruptions seem to have a message for us too.

It’s unclear yet what the message might be: but my guess is that it’s aimed at the financial community and has something to do with the importance of large deposits – ash, cash, whatever – in general. Bigger eruptions are still feared in Iceland, literally and metaphorically. So if the gods really are involved, let’s hope they’re not as angry as they were in South East Asia in 1883. On that occasion, they lost the head altogether, conspiring in a massive volcanic event that put the small island of Krakatoa on the map and, simultaneously, almost took it off again.

Thankfully, Ogdy was not around this time.