Focus: They do what...? Byways of the charity world - The Cloud Appreciation Society

Anita Pati

No longer need you wander lonely as a cloud. If puffy altocumulus does it for you, unite with cloud lovers worldwide and together you can fight blue-sky thinking.

The Cloud Appreciation Society - a website that drifts in cyberspace - invites dreamers to share photos, poems, art and chatter that will inspire the kind of ethereal states felt through the ages by such as Aristophanes, Baudelaire, Wordsworth and David Longstaff.

David Longstaff? He's a poet, aged nine, who submitted the verse: 'I'd like to shout it really loud/Yippie, yippie. I'm a cloud'.

The society was set up by Gavin Pretor-Pinney to persuade the world of the "beauty and wonder of our fluffy friends". Clouds, the website whispers, are an "unjustly maligned" phenomenon, without which life would be poorer.

All this pleasure for only £3 for a badge and certificate. And the not-for-profit organisation uses a diagram of a cloud to break down its costs, the rain being the good vibes of the society poured down on a grateful world.

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