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Archive for April 17th, 2010

Oh yes sirree, Mama has stamped her foot again and boy is she mad; spitting fire and ice, her fury can be seen and felt for hundreds of miles as plumes of smoke spill forth from her nostrils. 

Keeping watch on an angry volcano

For all our advances in technology, science and understanding of our universe, when Mother Nature stamps her foot; we are but puny flotsam tossed about in the winds of fate, at the whim of her fury. 

Who knew that when the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano in Iceland erupted last week Wednesday that by Thursday we would be grounded!

 With 7,500 airplanes normally flying across our skies on a daily basis, surreal would be a perfect way to describe the lack of planes now. We are so used to vapour trails that to look up now and only see blue sky and clouds is weird to say the least, and yet unless you actually think about it and pause to look, it is not immediately obvious, with the exception of folk who live in their flight paths. 

Iceland is 600km away and the winds have blown the ash, now reaching 8km’s high first here and then into Europe. Not since WW2 have we been grounded…….you’ve been bad little people and now you are grounded.   Go to your room and stay there for the next 4 days! 🙂 

Bizarre true, real absolutely. 

One of my twitter friends asked me yesterday if it was ashy here and my reply was no!   Well I now have cause to retract that comment….the floor this morning was covered in a fine patina of grey ash!    The bird bath is covered with a fine film of dust and my eyes have been burning since I woke this morning.

It has been both fascinating, exciting and a teensy-weensy scary watching all the news reports.   We are truly at the mercy of the winds and the ash spewing forth across the skies, to all intents and purposes cut off from the rest of the world.   The ferries and trains still run, overloaded with people suddenly desperate to get home; onto familiar ground.

The cost to the economy has so far been £600million and with 6million passengers stranded in airports or lands far away, the costs mount up with no absolute guarantee it will soon be over….we are at the mercy of the winds.

On the plus side, coz of course there is always a plus side:  the people who live in Richmond (and other areas) are enjoying the peace and quiet.  With 1 plane every 90seconds on a normal day, now they are free to open their windows without the rush of noise from above, can stroll through the park and actually hear the birds, free from the 200,000 tonnes of Co2 which will be saved every day.   Joggers and kite-flyers are out on the runways, making the most of the space.

Meanwhile the volcano continues to erupt, and reports suggest that it is more active than it previously was.   As it continues to blow, we remain in a state of suspended wonder, with no noise pollution above our towns, the airports are eerily empty and businesses are counting the cost, waiting for the all clear to resume travel plans.  

How small our planet has become of late, with cheaper travel and a multitude of airlines all clamouring for our business, we travel to far-flung countries and islands wihout a 2nd thought, eager to explore the world.    And yet, how far away is home when you are stranded in a foreign land; no money, no visa, no food and no place to stay. 

How life is disrupted and thrown into turmoil and there is nothing we can do about it, while in the skies above us 3 layers of volcanic residue continues to rain down.

Found this link showing the effects of the ash cloud from above.

Here are some photos I took this morning 08:30 at Hampstead Heath.   I stood in one spot and did a 360degree circle.   No planes in the sky; surreal.

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