Not A Norse Saga

(With apologies to the real Norse sagas, especially the greatest of them all, that unmissable TV staple of my childhood, Noggin the Nog.)


Runes the First

Harken, ye warriors, as you sit by your campfires in the long dark nights.

It was a time of heroes. To those who considered them so, these were Kor-binn the Mighty; Borrice son of Stanli, the slayer of Ee-ew the dragon; Donaeld the Wallbuilder; and Moggin the Mogg.

It was a time of villains. To those who considered them so, these were Kor-binn the Treacherous; Borrice Hairbrain; Donaeld Hairfail; and Moggbad the Bad.

In those times, there lived a bard named Davnar the Storyteller, who was accompanied by his faithful companion, Wend the Shield-Maiden.

And Wend said, ‘I fancy getting away from this winter weather. Somewhere warm, like the sun-drenched banks of the Orinoco’.

But Davnar misheard, and thought she said ‘Orkney’.

And so they ventured forth unto Asgard, the sky capital of the gods – or, as the non-Norse unbelievers name it, ‘Heathrow’ – and boarded the flying chariot that would carry them north.

Asgard. Baggage reclaim is on the second moon.

That is to say, the 1210 British Airchariots flight to Aberdeen, there being no direct flying chariot to Kirkwall – or, as the non-Norse unbelievers name it, ‘Kirkwall’.


Runes the Second

Harken, ye warriors, as you sit by your campfires in the long dark nights.

Lo, the flying chariot took off only an hour late, despite the arrival of the great apocalypse foretold in the Saga of A Fish Called Michael, the fearful storm that heralds the end of days, the harbinger of darkness, named by some as ‘the Beast from the East’.

Or, as others term it, ‘winter’.

‘Winter is coming’, to coin a phrase

The flying chariot approached Aberdeen, with plenty of time in hand to catch the connecting chariot. But what woe is this? The chariot could not land, for the runway was blocked by snow!

(For some reason, this amused another group of passengers on the chariot, namely the Canadian junior curling valkyries, who muttered strange incantations like ‘you call this snow’?)

And thus the flying chariot circled Aberdeen in what the ancient soothsayers term ‘a holding pattern’, as all the while the Beast from the East, whipped up by its undoubted master Loki, did its worst!

Or, as others term it, ‘winter’.

Alas, woe upon woe! That fabled palace of legend, Aberdeen Air Traffic Control, sayeth that the runway would not open until after our chariot’s winged steeds fell, exhausted, from the skies!

Or, as the non-Norse unbelievers term it, ‘run out of gas, guvn’or’.


Runes the Third

Harken, ye warriors, as you sit by your campfires in the long dark nights.

And thus the flying chariot was diverted to Valhalla itself, where He That is Called the Special One and He That is Called Pep do battle in the Theatre of Dreams.

Or, as the non-Norse unbelievers name it, ‘Manchester’.

British Airchariots Airbus A321

But what new calamity is this? Even as our winged chariot approached, Valhalla’s runway, too, closed because of the dread mischief of the Beast from the East!

(Or, as the Canadian junior curling valkyries had it, ‘Are you kidding us? You could bury Toronto under hundred foot snowdrifts and the airport would still be open’.)

Thus was the flying chariot diverted once again, this time unto the most dreaded place of all, Ragnarok.

Or, as the non-Norse unbelievers name it, ‘Liverpool’.

Or, to be absolutely precise, ‘Liverpool John Lennon’ – he, of course, being the greatest Ragnarokker of all.

(Seest thou what I didst there?)


Runes the Fourth

Harken, ye warriors, as you sit by your campfires in the long dark nights.

The guardians of the sacred mysteries of Ragnarok

Thus were Davnar, Wend, the Canadian junior curling valkyries, the Irish Bloke, and all the other passengers of the winged chariot, safe at last upon the firm ground of Ragnarok!

Alas! Woe, woe and thrice woe! British Airchariots fly not from Ragnarok, and thus the guardians of its sacred mysteries refused to provide fresh winged steeds, saying instead that everyone should calm down!

Verily, our charioteer offered to pay for new winged steeds with his own bag of gold!!

Finally, after several ceaseless eternities, during which stars were born and perished, gods rose and fell – or, as others term it, ‘two hours’ – winged steeds were obtained, and our chariot took to the skies once more!

British Airchariots pilot Timothy Poots-Blenerhassett

To Aberdeen, you ask, thus enabling Davnar and Wend to get to Kirkwall after all?

No. Back to Asgard, where the winged chariot landed dozens of millennia – or, as others term it, ‘eight hours’ – after it had left.


Runes the Fifth

Harken, ye warriors, as you sit by your campfires in the long dark nights.

So, after all of these mighty trials inflicted by the wrath of Loki and his Beast from the East, did British Airchariots provide warm beds before roaring log fires in cheery halls, endless flagons of mead, bags of gold, and fresh winged chariots to waft the weary folk to their destinations?

Did they fföäkk.

A self-respecting weasel

They provided one harassed maiden in a cloak of invisibility – or, as others term it, ‘a hi-vis jacket’ – who proclaimed baldly that all the cheery halls were fully booked, and proceeded to hand out instead a scroll of parchment bearing weasel words, which even any self-respecting weasel would disown.

So Davnar and Wend retrieved their own chariot (non-airborne) from the Cavern of Dark Mysteries that is Asgard Terminal 5 Meet and Greet, returned to their own hall, battened down against both the Beast from the East and the whispers carried by it (generally along the lines of ‘who the fföäkk goes on holiday to Orkney in winter anyway?’), quaffed flagons of mead, and rued the day they trusted to British Airchariots.

Thus your storyteller sayeth farewell. But, noble warriors at your campfires, if you consider this far too unlikely a saga even for what the unbelievers term ‘Norse myths’ – well, it’s even made the national press, with quotes from Wend the Shield-Maiden herself. So it must be true, because as we all know, the national press never, ever, peddles myths.

Let the last word be with Wend (as, of course, it always is): ‘next time, we’re taking the longship’.


And the moral of this saga is…

Keep on rune-ing.




  1. Ian Yeates says:

    Meanwhile, in very snowy Regina, we sit, close by the fire, wrapped in thick furs, and watch the national curling champanionship, not, alas, of the Valkiries in nature, but rather their spear bearing (aka broom) confreres. No airchariots took off today as visibility was 50 cubits and even Canadian pilots have to at least see the wingtips of their Great Roc before giving it a go. Tomorrow bids fair. Meantime the ever-pleasing task of digging out the driveway beckons, absent the presence of an entreprennerial lad or lass eager to earn a wee mite of geld and thus spare an aching oldster’s back. Such, sad to relate, are rarer than days warmer than -10C. A bracing hot toddy also beckons…




  2. Nicola Ramsden says:

    I feel guilty that I enjoyed this so much. We had an EasyJet flight that took off and landed on time last Friday (and not just Luton to Luton), and I still can’t understand how that miracle happened. More runes please!


    • J D Davies says:

      We were so near and so far…e.g. glorious views of the snowy fields of Aberdeenshire as we circled above! If we’d left at the scheduled time, we’d have made it.


  3. Louise Bagshaw says:

    Hilarious David fantastic I have really chuckled.


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