living and learning

Monday, 19 April 2010

Eyjafjallajökull - a personal timeline

Unless you've been hiding under a rock recently, you must have heard about the ash. Lots and lots of volcanic ash in fact, freshly spewed out by the long-dormant volcanoes near Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland. This in itself is not terribly remarkable - what distinguishes this ash from its ash-brethren is that it's spreading rapidly over Europe and thus bringing worldwide air travel grinding to a halt.
Dear Iceland, we said 'send Cash' - can't you read? #ashtag
I had no idea a bit of ash would cause so much chaos, or even have a reason to affect my life. Well affect it did, and here's how the events unfolded from my unremarkable point of view.

Wednesday the 14th

Eyjafjallajökull volcanoes start erupting.

Thursday the 15th

  • I first read about the ash on Twitter, assuming it was a rare occurrence and not much else.
  • Read about cancelled flights on the Iceland-Europe route.
  • Talked to Dad about it - turns out he found out before I did.

Friday the 16th

  • Went to Notty House for dinner - housemate's friend from the US is staying over for the week and wanted to try out some proper English food!
  • Stumbled across the headline 'Volcanic ash found in Sheffield city centre' - realised this ash business might be more serious than I thought.
  • Looked up the pronunciation for 'Eyjafjallajökull' on Forvo - there were two entries, both pending pronunciation.

Saturday the 17th

Spent the day in the peaks doing conservation work and generally forgot about the ash.

Sunday the 18th

  • Was shocked to hear that housemate's friend was stranded here because all trans-Atlantic flights were grounded.
  • Housemate's friend emailed tutors about the situation, and was excused from attending lectures for the time being.
  • Starting to realise the scope of complications the ash has brought about.

Monday the 19th

  • Head of department sends out email titled 'teaching implications of volcanic ash' (you don't get that every day do you?:D)
  • Turns out 7 members of staff are stranded because of the ash. As a result quite a few lectures are cancelled.
  • Numerous helpful hashtags appear on Twitter, in an effort to aid stranded travellers.
  • I look up pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull again - and still it baffles me no end!

I vaguely recall notions of time-space compression/convergence/distanciation from first year geography...which definitely play a part in this ash malarkey. I suppose it's a classic example of 'you don't know what you've got till it's gone' - we don't realise how the technology we take for granted have shaped our world views and society, until the day it malfunctions and we are left with a gaping hole. Let's say this a blackout, only on a larger scale. Let's say instead of tearing our hair out we whack out the candles (trains and ferries). Let's say we start thinking about why we would want to tear our hair out over a blackout, and what does that tell us about our perceptions of space...


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