23 July 2007

The Quest for Atlantis c360 BC - AD 2007

Today all of Britain (or at least that part of it which is not currently under six feet of water) stands (or wades) astonished at the death of the Quest for Atlantis, following the news that the fabled underwater civilisation has been discovered in the watery realm of legend that was, until yesterday, known as the Vale of Evesham.

The Quest for Atlantis was born, like Democracy and ... er ... Weekly Rubbish Collection, in Ancient Athens. It was in around 360BC that Plato described the island of Atlantis in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias(1). The great philosopher claimed that the rich and fruitful isle lay beyond the "pillars of Heracles" and was the home of a wealthy and noble race who received tribute from the peoples across Europe and Africa until their island home was plunged beneath the waves by a wrathful Zeus.

Inspired by Plato's words and ever eager to believe tales of lost civilisations (especially lost rich civilisations that might have left a bit of gold and jewellery lying about when they mislaid themselves) generations of adventurers were to go in quest of fabled Atlantis. Some claimed it was the birthplace of the Ancient Gauls, others that it was the true home of the Mayans and Aztecs. It has been located by scholars(2) variously in Antarctica, Indonesia, America and even below the Bermuda Triangle. Who could have known that Plato's references in fact pointed to a region of England best known for being a fairly good (if rather dull) base for anyone visiting the Cotswolds? And yet, who can truly doubt it? Is it not a fruitful region, famed for its harvests of plums and asparagus? Does it not still receive tribute from across Europe and Africa, indeed from the very Antipodes, in the form of assorted unseasonal fruits and vegetables flown into its Tesco Superstore? And is not the Vale's recent drenching by an inundation of a level so extraordinary and unexpected that the Met Office had only been warning the Government of it for the past 12 months, the sign of a renewal of Zeus's wrath (or possibly an incompetent Government)?

The conclusive evidence for the experts' conjectures that the Vale was the site of Plato's fabled civilisation came when a representative of Patrick Duffy - the "Man from Atlantis" himself - claimed the former Dallas star had agreed to appear in a production of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Evesham Arts Centre (although this was, admittedly, due to a mistaken belief that Evesham Arts Centre was a new West End Theatre). And thus has Atlantis finally been located and thus has the Quest for Atlantis passed, like so many gallons of floodwater, under the bridge.

The Quest for Atlantis will be buried on the seabed or in the middle of Evesham's main car park, depending on which is at the greater depth. The Reverend Captain Nemo will preside over the ceremony and the congregation will sing hymn number 423, "For Those in Peril Under the Sea" before hastily reaching for their aqualungs.

The Quest for Atlantis was predeceased by millions of pounds of funding for flood prevention projects cruelly cut down in their prime by wicked Chancellor Gordon Brown and now resurrected by our glorious Prime Minister ... Gordon Brown. It is survived by vast swathes of devastation, wholly inadequate and underfunded flood prevention schemes, plans to build thousands of homes on flood plains and the spectre of King Cnut rising from his (watery) grave to shout "Not such a laughing stock now, am I?" in Old Norse at any plucky soul that might pass by.

(1) also, coincidentally, the name of an Ancient Athenian department store.
(2) and loonies.


Lord Straf-Moran said...

A bit wet over your way, boys, is it?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

As ever, you have made my evening!

Ruthie said...

Love it!

I thought it ended when those animated Disney characters discovered Atlantis at the bottom of the sea. :)

Avon Fludd said...

Glad to have made Welshcakes day and Ruthie happy but why Evesham? You could have damned severn other places with faint...

The As A Dodo Team said...

Dear Avon

We feel we should assure you that there was no reason for settling on Evesham and in particular that our correspondent was in no way influenced by memories of childhood afternoons stuck in the Avon Tea Rooms while women in blue rinses tucked into fondant fancies. In any event it is perhaps best to draw a Vale over these events, which will undoubtedly continue to occur Offenham and on.

.ave atque said...

That's it. Now leave Offenham alone and any other place that could cause your loyal readers and the blue rinse brigade dismay.