This is to my knowledge the only indisputable evidence of a nimbo-cartographic simulacrum, ever! You’ll find it on the website of the Fortean Times, a monthly magazine dedicated to reporting on anomalous phenomena (type in ‘simulacrum’ in the search box).

This particular picture of ‘Britain In A Cloud’ was sent in to Fortean Times by a Rob Gandy, who took the picture near Wadebridge in Cornwall on the morning of August 3, 1996. He writes: “It had been more ‘solid’ before I managed to get my camera, and as I watched, it slowly but surely broke up. Perhaps it was a portent of the effects of devolution following Tony Blair’s election victory the following year.”

The main cloud formation to the right does seem to give a quite good proportional representation of the island of Great Britain, with Scotland sprouting at the top, East Anglia bulging away to the right and Cornwall sticking out quite life-like (or should that be map-like?) on the left. The southern coast of England even follows the orientation it has in real life. Wales could have been done a bit better (*) and that separate cloud where Ireland ought to be is completely wrong (*) – and if it were just Ulster, then it would be too big. But all in all, not bad going for a simple morning cloud in August…

(*): insert your own Welsh and/or Irish jokes here.