'I Can't Come Into Work Because Of The Volcano'

THOUSANDS of people across Britain are planning an early start to the weekend today as the Icelandic volcano presented them a fascinating new excuse.

Innovative shirkers are claiming that ash from the massive eruption 800 miles north of the British Isles has interfered with the electrics in their car, or obscured their view of the bus stop.

Julian Cook, a sales manager from Peterborough, said: "It's very bad here. You can't see your hand in front of your face. In fact, I'm not 100% sure I still have hands. If I do I'll see you on Monday, probably."

Helen Archer, an accounts assistant from Stevenage, phoned her office to say that she would not make it in because her only pair of volcano-proof shoes are currently being repaired.

She added: "There's quite a lot of lava running up and down my street. Normally that would be okay because my Nine West pumps have a special anti-lava attachment, but unfortunately they are in the process of being cobbled. Good day."

The eruption has also stranded thousands of Londoners after tube drivers claimed volcanic ash in the upper atmosphere makes it impossible to drive a train through a tunnel.

Vulcanologists say the eruption has been caused by increasing pressure in magma chambers beneath the North Atlantic Plate, while leading economists claim it is nothing more than churlish, volcano-based revenge for Britain seizing the assets of Iceland's pathetic little banks.

Meanwhile there are growing fears that the massive ash cloud may be unable to prevent tonight's party leaders' TV debate.

Gordon Brown has accused the Tories of a 'do-nothing' approach to volcanoes, while Lib Dem treasury spokesman Vince Cable has chartered a steam boat to Reykjavik, promising to put all the ash and lava back in to the big hole in the middle.

Despite last minute appeals the debate is now likely to go ahead at 8.30pm and then take up at least 45 minutes of Friday morning as millions of non-volcano affected voters come into work armed with a series of teeth-grindingly vacuous observations.

Tom Logan, from Finsbury Park said: "Yeah, I've been telling people I'm definitely going to watch it but I'm not. I'm going to watch a DVD about freaks while eating a bucket of M&S cocktail sausages.

"I'll let you know how it turns out."


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Your Astrological Week Ahead With...

Psychic Bob

Aries (21 MAR-19 APR)
As a child you would always play with the boxes the toys came in, so your wife shouldn't be too surprised this week when she comes home to find you wearing her cocktail dress.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
The problem with this country is that some people don't actually want to go out and get a job that will pay for your spurious and fraudulent disability benefits.

Gemini (21 MAY-20 JUN)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it is broke, fix it. If you broke it, don't get it fixed because that'll only draw attention to it. Best to wait until someone almost dies while trying to use it, then someone else will realise that it's broke and it'll get fixed. Eventually.

Cancer (21 JUN-22 JUL)
You arrange to meet Mars and Jupiter for lunch but when you turn up Saturn is sitting there with them, bold as brass, smiling away as if she didn't, even though there was a really obvious lipstick mark all the way round it. This is going to be awkward.

Leo (23 JUL-22 AUG)
After a bitter divorce in which your wife is awarded sole custody, you contrive to see your children by dressing up as a fat, middle-aged Scottish woman and applying to be the family's housekeeper. After seeing off some bullies in a particularly unfeminine manner and gyrating to Aerosmith, you finally reveal your true identity in the hope of reconciliation. Unfortunately they brand you a pervert, change their last name and attach posters of you to every lamp-post within a five mile radius.

Virgo (23 AUG-22 SEP)
You'll get a visit from the police this week after emailing Blue Peter 3,200 times with the suggestion that they name their new tortoise 'Analingus'.

Libra (23 SEP-23 OCT)
You've been patiently stealing a handful of paper clips from work every week and finally have enough to complete that life-size replica of your boss sucking a chainsaw.

Scorpio (24 OCT-21 NOV)
This week the person standing next to you by the lift keeps pressing the call button with such frequency that you are forced to drag them outside, bundle them into the boot of your car and then push it into a quarry. But where's your parade?

Sagittarius (22 NOV-21 DEC)
Thank heavens for little girls. Especially the 20 year-old ones with huge tits and no 'moral compass'.

Capricorn (22 DEC-19 JAN)
This week you launch your manifesto by claiming that Britain is sick and tired of the same old politics without even realising that blow-dried ponces talking about the same old politics sounds awfully like the same old politics.

Aquarius (20 JAN-19 FEB)
As the old saying goes, 'when you're in a hole, stop digging'. But who the fuck are they to tell you what to do? Maybe you work in a cemetery or for the local roads department. Or maybe you just really like spades. Why can't they try minding their own business for five minutes and leave a man to enjoy his hole?

Pisces (20 FEB-20 MAR)
Tyne, Dogger, Hebrides. Northeast 4. Occasional sodomy, becoming good.