Sunday, 18 April 2010

The real face of the Volcanic Ash saga

So, a natural phenomena has caused more disruption to European travel than any of the recent industrial action. Yep, I have watched in amazement as an erupting volcano in Iceland has engulfed European airspace in clouds of ash, grounding every single plane in the UK and most of Europe.

Pic.No.1. Look at the size of that ash cloud

It is absolutely unbelievable. For four days now, not a single aircraft in England has taken off or landed. Normally this would just constitute an interesting news item, but this time I have a vested interest in the story. Yep, Izzy my daughter was skiing with her dad, Steve, in Serre Chevalier, France, and was due to fly back into Gatwick yesterday.

Pic.No.2. The gigantic ash cloud that is causing mayhem (who took this picture if all flights are grounded? Surely it's suicide)

There was most definitely a flaw in the plan. As flaws go, it wasn't a major one; being stranded on holiday would give Izzy more time to practice her skiiing, and I would save on food. Nevertheless, I thought it my duty to try and found out when I would get my daughter back. 

I picked up the phone and telephoned Izzy's dad, "what's happening?" I asked him.

"It's a nightmare," he replied, "the holiday rep has said that we are going to have to make it home by catching a coach to Calais Port at 5am tomorrow morning."

"Errrr, isn't Serre Chevalier in the south of France, and Calais in the North?" I said slowly.

"Yep, the coach trip is twelve bloody hours, then we have to catch the ferry to England, then another coach trip to Gatwick airport, then we need to get the final coach to Oxford." he answered despondantly.

"Ouch. Total bummer," I replied sympathetically.  

"I know," he answered miserably, "look, I gotta go, I need to pack."

"No problem, I will contact you to find out how you are getting on." I replied.


It was ten and a half hours into Steve and Izzy's horror journey when I texted them, innocuously asking:

"How is the coach journey going?"

 After a couple of minutes I recieved the reply: 

"Got put on a coach with a school trip. We are now 270km from Calais and the traffic is building up and the coach slowing down. The schoolkids stink. Six of them have now thrown up and the rest are sparring with each other. The teachers have sat at the front and left us as a barrier. To top it all off, its like a f***ing sauna in here and Izzy has just said she needs a poo. HELP!"

Wow! the real face of the air traffic disruption. It's hard to believe that Oxford is only a hour away from Heathrow and mega-mayhem as I look up at the clear blue sky. 

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed...... today is the day that I find out if I have got my daughter back.


  1. That sounds like the coach journey from Hell. It's funny how this ash thing has been a great blessing to some and really bad for others.

  2. Yikes.... great colourful description of the bus ride though!!!


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