Chaos In The Skies (And Seas, And Roads…)

Towards the back end of the Noughties Iceland tried to break Europe.  There they were, just sitting there with their geysers and their Northern Lights, all smug as their bankers and volcanos caused chaos all over the continent.

It was the travel chaos caused when Eyjafjnallajokull blew its top that I was affected by.  I was working in Holland and that day was home day.  I went down stairs for breakfast in the hotel and one of my colleagues was explaining how we might not get home because of a volcano causing all our flights to be cancelled.

“Yeah, right!”

Turns out he was telling the truth.  Who’d have thunk it? I was put on duty trying to find ways to get us back to the UK and, well, couldn’t.  Even getting a hotel in the interim was nearly impossible as every other person trying to get a plane out of Amsterdam needed somewhere to stay.  My brother suggested that a Red Light District brothel might have actually been the cheapest place with room and he was probably right!

We found a very expensive hotel in Utrecht and on the Sunday morning I managed to get a seat on Eurostar.  I set off from Utrecht station eventually reaching Brussels (which, as it turns out, also has a Red Light District) and it was at this station that I truly experienced the full scale of the chaos.

It was bedlam as everyone was doing anything they could to get home.  The one I remember was one woman claiming her friend was pregnant.  She wasn’t.  She was overweight.  If she was pregnant, it was only a few weeks anyway.

I managed to get my way through the crowds and on to the train.  Turns out I didn’t have a normal seat.  I had a seat in the bit between two carriages, which I was sharing was an American guy who mapped golf courses for a computer games company and a Dutch au pair.  It was one of the most interesting journeys I’ve ever had and I was gutted that I couldn’t go and get a coffee with the au pair when we arrived in St Pancras.  Unfortunately I had to board another train back up to Liverpool in what turned out to be an 19 hour journey door to door.

And that was the thing about the chaos caused by Iceland exploding.  Out of that situation came a great experience and a fascinating journey.  I like to think I’m in control of most things, but it can be good to keep a little bit of chaos.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Let’s go!

Get on your marks, look up to the skies.
Up, up and away, let’s travel at the speed of light,
In a split second we’ll be out of sight.
Goodbye to the human satellite.
On your marks, runner,
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Oh, the chaos is everywhere
But what’s it got to do with us?
Oh, the chaos is everywhere
But what’s it got to do with us?
Oh, the chaos is everywhere
But what’s it got to do with us?
Oh, the chaos is everywhere
But what’s it got to do with us?

5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Get up off your knees; stand tall when you talk to me.
Never confuse lies and apologies.
Look into my eyes, believe me when I say
That you’ve been told a lie, but you still toe the line.
But I know that we still have time.
Goodbye to the human satellite.
On your marks, runner,
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

The Chaos by The Futureheads

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