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Day six of World of the Volcano
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Home? Don't think so

Home? Don't think so

Picture the scene. Warm air cooling as it wafts over pale grey marble floors. Palm trees swaying gently in the breeze. The children are in bed, having wolfed down a huge meal of fresh Mediterranean fish, and the weather forecast for tomorrow looks fabulous. Then listen to the dulcet soundtrack of a husband crashing around as his BlackBerry refuses to download a document he has to read and comment on before his office wakes up tomorrow. Meanwhile, the hotel bar entertainer ramps the synthesiser up another notch as he launches into a peculiarly Tunisian version of Isn€™t She Lovely? Welcome to World of the Volcano, day six.

Like millions of others, we€™ve been caught up in the travel chaos caused by the Icelandic volcano. Unilke millions of others, we€™re sitting pretty in a lovely hotel in Hammamet, on the Tunisian coast, instead of having to hang around an airport praying that the next update will mean a flight home. The three children are loving their extended holiday, as are their parents €“ while vaguely worrying about the hotel eventually pulling the plug on their beachside idyll. But it€™s a funny thing, watching how tourists, including ourselves, react to uncertainty. You see knots of the same nationalities swapping latest information in the lobby. The hotel shop has sold out of nappies and baby wipes. An enterprising group of fathers has banded together to discuss overland routes back to London, laughingly (but one can only suspect, seriously) talking about turning the trek into a race between different families. I€™m almost tempted to take part, though think the company of a five-, three- and one-year-old, not to mention a six-month bump, might just slow me down a little bit.

We€™re glued to the hotel€™s only English speaking TV station, BBC World, while snatching odd snippets from the plethora of French channels available. Family and friends back home are texting news, and plenty of gossip – the latest saying it might be months till flights resume should the volcano€™s €˜sister€™ also erupt. The news even started to get better, but today we woke to details of further clouds of ash heading south, and keeping UK airports, at least, shut for longer. We should really relax into being here; how often does one get an enforced, and paid-for, extra holiday? But… There are work deadlines that need to be met. Plans discussed with builders. Summer school uniform to buy, and haircuts to be booked. Buffet food is starting to pall, particularly trying to explain every time that no, three different balls of ice cream does not constitute a healthy meal.

So deep breath and get out of €˜setting up school abroad’ mode €“ we€™re off to the beach!

12 Responses to “Day six of World of the Volcano”
  1. An extended holiday sounds fab, wish we’d booked for Easter, lol !

  2. angels&urchinsblog says:

    Victoria – the novelty started to wear off, then I reminded myself that I needed to focus on the sun, sea and sand!

  3. MrShev says:

    Thought you were a bit quiet – is the hotel gratis, or do you have to cough up for the extra nights?

    I’m surprised that Ryanair hasn’t offered a take-your-chances package deal from France to London Gatwick…the shysters.

  4. I think YOU need a copy of Alice Griffin’s book! Something to look back on and laugh…

  5. theres nothing you can do about it, may as well enjoy it, eh? i wouldn’t mind swaping places with you.

  6. A friend of mine was stranded in Egypt – they had to drive across the Sinai and Suez canal -last heard from them in Cairo – they have four children under 7 ! Poor things x

  7. Oh! Sounds wonderful and fun. Have a great day!

  8. gail says:

    must say, doesnt sound too bad! Guess you are trying to get back now. Or maybe back already? Hope the airports were not too ghastly.
    Gxx

  9. angels&urchinsblog says:

    Mrshev – Club Med didn’t boot us out, well, only for three nights but they paid for an alternative hotel and let us slink back in for meals. Ryanair? Funnily enough, not paying compensation for anything at all. Oooh, can feel my blood pressure rising. Still haven’t got over being made to pay £80 for not printing out my own boarding card.

    Veryanniemary – You’re right. If only I’d packed a copy. Sigh.

    Heather – It was fun. Nice to be enjoying a cup of tea again, though. French resorts don’t really do the.

    WDLA – was both wonderful and fun, thanks!

    Gail – No, really wasn’t bad at all. We’re home, airports not at all ghastly, and on balance, think we made the right decision not to return via Tunis/Marseille ferry, train to Paris, train to Calais, ferry, train, taxi… Would have been an adventure, though!

  10. I was dreaming only the other day how great it would have been to be stuck on holiday somewhere. In my head I had it all planned out. My husband would make his way back to the UK on his own by boat, plane, hitch-hiking (any means possible) so he could get back to work. In the meantime, my 2 year old and I could enjoy an extended holiday until things resolved themselves.

  11. angels&urchinsblog says:

    21stCenturyMummy – It was lovely to be stuck abroad, particularly once the flights started taking off once more. Before that it got a bit stressful trying to work out an overland route via ferry/plane/taxi/train/ferry. Did enjoy my first cup of tea once we’d returned, must admit.

  12. Luigi Fulk says:

    I’ve just stumbled this post, thank you for telling.

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