Thursday, 15 April 2010

Eruptions and clouds of ash! Whatever next?

On the whole, it would seem that we chose the right Thursday to travel back to the UK. Had we been travelling today, instead of Thursday of last week, we would probably have been stuck in Oporto airport wondering when the sky was going to be declared free of volcanic ash and safe to fly in once more. Scenes from disaster movies flashed through my head as I heard about the eruption of the volcano in Iceland, which has led to skies free of aircraft all over Europe apparently today.

The television showed would be stag ni
ght revellers drunkenly chanting, “We hate Iceland”, as if the country and its government were responsible for the eruption. An ex-student of mine on the other hand has rejoiced on Facebook as he has a free extra day in Tenerife, courtesy of the volcano.

I am assuming that the cloud of volcanic ash which is causing all the problems will have settled somewhere by the time we fly back to Spain next Thursday. A friend of mine reports that there have been temperatures as high as 25° on at least one day in Vigo in our absence. It
’s fairly normal that the weather should improve once we go away for a while.

Here the weather has been m
ixed. Some days have been pleasantly warm, permitting sitting in the garden watching children through assorted projectiles around. Others have been seriously chilly. Mostly there has been that very North of England thing of not letting you decide what kind of clothing to wear: very cold in the morning but quite balmy by mid-afternoon. Mind you, this is exactly what I was hearing gallegos moaning about before we came away.

Clearly there is nothin
g new under the sun. Apart that is from the numerous new lambs which abound in the fields just up the road from our UK home. That’s why the weather is so changeable; it’s just what you expect in the lambing season.

Getting back to volcanic activity, it was perhaps rather ironic, perhaps just quite appropriate in a way that planes were unable t
o fly today as this was the day that we had chosen to take my granddaughter to visit Manchester’s Air and Space Museum, celebrating planes built by Manchester and Salford engineers but also generally displaying the way air travel developed over the years.

En route, we
admired the old, stopping to look at the John Rylands Library, and marvelled at the very new, failing to see to the top of the Hilton Tower.

And then we just wandered around looking at cars, bicycles, planes, satellites and roc
kets in the museum itself, well worth a visit.

Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg were supposedly in Manchester as well today. The first of their presidential campaign-style debates is being broadcast from Granada Studies in this fair city. I am carefully avoiding it. We did not see hide nor hair of the three politicians, nor even a great deal on enhanced security in the city centre, although I expect there has been some.

The sun was still shining on us as we made our way homewards. And we didn’t see a trace of volcanic ash anywhere!

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