Every silver lining has a cloud

They have my sympathy, those poor folks stranded all over Europe because of nature’s big cough in the form of the volcanic eruption in Iceland, they really do. I was having lunch today with a friend, a charming Irish chap called Mike, who’s paella went cold as he took phone calls from his cousin stuck in Malaga with his missus and three small children, trying between them to work out how to get kit and caboodle back to Ireland. Instead of the ten hour or so door-to-door they’d expected when they booked their first week’s holiday in three years, the best they can come up with is a fifteen-hour drive from Malaga to Santander, twenty-hour ferry crossing to Portsmouth, another ten or so hours to Fishguard, another ferry crossing and a four-hour drive home from Dublin. That’s assuming, of course, that there are places on the ferries to be booked and cars to be hired. They are looking at a three-day trip, on the bright side, but as one of the kiddiwinks is in nappies and another is prone to travel sickness you can add another day for sleep stops, nappy changes and wiping up the vomit. And you can just imagine the smell! The alternative is waiting until Thursday at the earliest for a flight, depending on whether the missed flights are taken on rotation, which then means only God alone knows when they’ll get away. The tiniest of saving graces is that the family who had booked the villa for this week are stuck somewhere in a cloud-covered UK, so at least cousin and co. have a roof over their heads. And to top it all, the rain has been pisticulating down for the last few days, so there’s no paddling in the pool or stretching out on a sun bed to while away a few hours.

Mike’s Spanish lady, Pilar, a teacher, doesn’t really want to go into work tomorrow, She has to tell her students, most of whom have been getting over-excited about their first ever trip to London and first ever flight in an airplane that it just ain’t going to happen – at least not just yet. I don’t envy her having to face twenty plus fourteen year-olds who are desperate to get away from parental control for a giddy week away, and telling them, “There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the trip is postponed. The good news is that by the time we actually get to London, sometime in June, probably, given the utter chaos at the moment, the weather might well be sunny.”

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, www.derekworkman-journalist.com , and Spain Uncovered

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