Saturday 17 April 2010

Volcanic fallout

Don't we live in interesting times! In the Chinese curse sense of the words, of course. 

Iceland seems surprisingly unaffected by the dramatic turn of events of recent days, and although I can't help worrying that matters may get much worse there, Icelanders themselves seem very laid back about life on an island with a very active volcano.

We, meanwhile, are almost relishing the break from media-manufactured election fever that the unpronounceably-named volcano has offered us. Television reporters drone on about empty airports and grounded planes. Awful tales of planes flying through ash clouds and losing all four engines are repeated at frequent intervals to help keep would-be travellers' frayed tempers under control. Lots of folk are stranded abroad, and for anyone trapped in an airport, that is seriously soul-destroying, and we must sympathise.

I haven't noticed many people sparing a thought for the Icelanders though. So careless of them to let all that toxic ash float into our air space! And they have another, bigger volcano that might erupt too! How thoughtless of them!

Are we really so self-obsessed and insular in our way of thinking?

I've had calls from two strandees (yes, I just made that word up). My sister Anne and brother-in-law John are stuck in Tenerife, on a cruise ship where Anne got so badly flea-bitten in the first cabin they were allocated that she had to see the ship's doctor. She described her bites as huge boils. Well, she is a drama teacher.... Their week's cruise was marred by very wet weather, with Madeira especially torrential. They can't wait to get home.

Friend Annie and her husband are stuck too, in Palma, Majorca, but in a very nice hotel, with friendly staff and a helpful rep. The weather is beautiful. Annie is making the most of her extended shopping opportunity, but clearly feels that this is an emergency situation - she could have been a drama teacher too - commenting in her phone call to me "It's like the war!"

I had to think about that one for a while. If our skies remain plane-free, and Eurostar continues to be fully booked for an extended period - or worse, if the Other Volcano decides to go off as well - can we expect the launch of a flotilla of small boats from England to Dunkirk to bring home the trapped and the stranded? Just a thought.

But planes do bring more than holidaymakers to our precious non-volcanic island. Just in case, I went down to the allotment today and made a (very late) start. So far, in the event of food shortages, I could be self-sufficient - in rhubarb and chives. Damn those Icelanders!


Val said...

Love the have visions of you existing on chives and onions

I've only experienced a light dusting of ash so far and quite frankly don't mind if that's as much experience as I get .. but they do rumble here so probably not.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Mother nature has a way of asserting herself every so often to remind us that we are at her mercy. There have been so many earthquakes lately and now the volcano - things are definitely moving around under us.

Von said...

Rhubarb and chives, now there's plenty you can do with those in an emergency especilly if the hens are laying!!
Think how good the volcanic ash will be for the allotment!

Linens and Royals said...

Haven't heard much of your election news here. Lots of news stories about travellers stuck in Sydney because no planes are flying to Heathrow or the rest of Europe. Strange how something so far away can cause trouble all over the world.

Rattling On said...

Just been reading the 'ash health advice' on the beeb

I don't think I'll worry too much unless it starts drifting at the sides of the road. Nature, eh!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Yes , Dunkirk is being mentioned with increasing frequency .... and the Goldman Sachs of this world are probably already being rowed over the Channel by some enterprising small firm , as we speak .
I couldn't understand the woman who was so desperate to get from Paris to Amsterdam that she was willing to pay 3.000 for a taxi .
Local transport still connects ? You'd just keep on getting on the next train/bus till you got there , I should have thought .
Tenerife might pose a greater problem , not the least of which might be being picked up as an illegal immigrant when you staggered ashore in Andalucia .
But we love a drama with our Telegraph , toast and rhubarb jam in the morning .
(Not too worried about the Icelanders yet . They've got Bjork to keep their spirits up . What's the Icelandic version of "There'll Be Bluebirds Over... " ? )

Linda said...

Jimmy of Jimmy's Farm did a fascinating TV programme about food growing/distribution a few months back. One part I found particularly interesting was the growing of green beans in Kenya, where the climate is perfect for them. They have no storage facilities - the beans go to the truck, to packing, to plane in a matter of hours. An example of the efficiency of supermarkets bringing us fresh food from all over the world.
This morning I heard on the radio that this crisis is causing a loss of $3m daily to the Kenyans.
We have created this market. We have built up our expectations on so many fronts, it is frightening at the speed at which things can topple.
Like Rachel, I will be tending my own little veggie plot today!

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

PMSL, I did hear someone on the news last night liken his wait for the seriously overbooked eurostar in Paris as being 'like Dunkirk!' Yep, but without the thousands of casulties eh?

Marie Rayner said...

I have been wondering about how the Icelanders are faring as well! I hope we don't have to put up with too many shortages food wise. I think we are going to start digging in our garden this weekend. Just another sign of the times I think!

Lucille said...

Chives and angelica here! Well at least we won't be short of a garnish.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Fantastic post and comments!

I have spent a couple of weeks reasurring my 4 year old grandson that 'there aren't any volcanos round here' (he's also frightened that lions, tigers and the BFG are going to 'get him' at bedtime). I hope he doesn't see the news.

love those cupcakes said...

Thought you might be interested to read this list:

Love number 10.

rachel said...

Some of the comments following that appalling article reduced my slight feeling of shame for being British. It's no defence to plead "It was only a joke" after being so offensive.

Or maybe I've lost the last remnants of my sense of humour...

Pam said...

Yes, I was vaguely worried about the supply of bananas (ok, shallow, yes) till Mr Life suggested that they might come by (banana) boat. So that's all right then. Isn't it?

Susan said...

I rushed over here (again*) this morning because I thought perhaps you were announcing a new meme - but ah yes you were referring to the Me ! Me ! Me! Me ! time my crew of associates constantly demanding of me (and I'm only to happy to oblige).

* Did not comment earlier on ash, Icelandic volcanic eruptions or travel interruptions (caused by) as they seem so very far away from me and my docile, decluttering weekend life here in this little seaside village. "And" I am always on the side of Mama Nature.

** meme -The term Internet meme, pronounced meem, is used to describe a concept that spreads quickly via the Internet. La lists etc (if I were a day of the week I would be ... and so on).

Cheers to the team from the Associates

love those cupcakes said...

No, it's most likely me, I frequently attract stares for laughing inappropriately. I put it down to being in social work for thirty odd years (where a weird sense of humour is just part of surviving). My boy just thinks I'm dolallytap.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Went for a walk this morning and foraged some jack in the hedge. no idea what it's botanical name is and might be just a local name but it is yummy as a salad leaf. So rhubarb, chives and foraging might do it!

rachel said...

Is it this: Jack-by-the-hedge (garlic mustard)?

If so, it's here:

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