Friday, 16 April 2010

Ash Wednesday... and Thursday... and Friday...

Here in Southern England, it is a beautiful day - hardly a cloud in the sky and not even a single vapour-trail from a jet aircraft. It has been 40 years since British skies have been free of con-trails.

What we do have though, which you cannot see from down here, is a cloud of volcanic dust hovering over us below the stratosphere which has stopped all flights to and from every British airport since last wednesday, and could carry on well into next week. It's all coming from that plume above, all the way up there in Iceland.

Pumice dust is so abrasive that it will strip the paint from the body of an aircraft flying through it, so you can imagine what it would do to the inside of a jet turbine engine. It has droplets of sulphuric acid mingled with it too, which helps. Apparently it is covering most of France and Germany too, and there have been about 20,000 cancelations so far.

It looks like all those people might have their Easter holidays extended, and everyone who lives under the approach flight-path to Heathrow suddenly realise what life can be like. I wonder if period film-makers are taking advantage of the clear, blue skies?


  1. Looks intense. And how strange that it is so destructive and immense, yet you can't see it from the ground.

  2. I'm just waiting to wake to an all grey landscape. Hope Geldof doesn't do a concert, although we could probably use an industrial pack of cough-drops (actually, make that wine-gums)!

  3. The Haddocks moon-scape? That's what the area down wind from the cement factory in Dagenham looks like all the time.

  4. The biggest inconvenience of this dust cloud is being experienced by Heather Cameron, who cannot receive the champagne glass until planes start flying again. Spare a thought for her.