Monday, 19 April 2010


So, Thursday morning and I'm all packed and ready for a week in Lanzarote when, just after seven in the morning, I get a get a call from my friend Ian P with whom I am going on holiday. Had I heard about the volcano? he asked me. I hadn't but checked it out. Sounded ominous. Maybe the plane might be delayed a few hours.

No matter, I left the house at 07.50 and within seconds caught a bus at the bottom of my street to the Metro station. Being early, as I planned, I picked up three cheese & onion pasties at Greggs with the intention of eating them on the flight, meals not being included and I wasn't going to pay their prices. Besides, I like Gregg's cheese and onion pasties. I'd arrived in time to not catch the first metro train which arrived as Ian was going to be on the next one. Except he wasn't, he was on this one. I hurridly jumped aboard and I'll pass on the story about following him down the train, luggage in tow and trying not to to wheel a heavy suitcase over the feet of other passengers, as he  looked for a convenient place to sit with our luggage and didn't find one. I leaned against a metal post until the next station, Sunderland Central, where a lot of people got off and we got the seats we wanted.

About 45 minutes later we arrived at Newcastle airport, noticing that some flights had been cancelled, checked in and then went through to the waiting area. Coffee, conversation, read The Metro (the free newspaper), after about an hour ate a cheese and onion pasty, started on The Times and watched the departures board.

Things started looking a bit grim as more and more flights were first delayed and then cancelled completely as, eventually, was ours. After some milling around with other now ex-holiday makers we were taken to collect our luggage and off home we went.

And that was my holiday.

During the afternoon, we separately checked websites and emailed each other with updates and thoughts. By Friday afternoon it had become pretty apparent that we weren't going to Lanzarote any time soon. I'd been so focussed on my holiday that trying to get back into a normal frame of mind was rather difficult. Even now, five days later, I still have my clothes in the suitcase.

An hour or so ago I emailed Ian to say that I'd pretty much given up and was preparing to get in touch with Thomas Cook to get the cost of the flight refunded rather than rescheduled (both ahd been offered). Ian, however, emailed me back to suggest that all might be not lost according to the website. Well, I'm not holding my breath but I'll hang fire on the unpacking for now.

To be continued...


Post Script.

Less than five minutes after publishing the above, I reading the following on he BBC's news website.

Airspace in Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England is due to reopen on Tuesday after days of travel chaos caused by a volcanic ash cloud.
The air traffic control body, Nats, said from 0700 BST on Tuesday airspace south to a line between Teesside and Blackpool will reopen.
It added that mainland Scottish airports would be open.
Nats said restrictions to airspace above the rest of England and Wales could be lifted later on Tuesday.

The game may yet be afoot.

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