April 17, 2010

Planes, Trains And Automobiles

Icelandic shenanigans, pictured earlier today.

My liver screameth. It is as dry as a camel drivers flip-flop.

So I am setting off tomorrow, and with a bit of luck and a fair wind, I will arrive back in Scotland in time for the general election.

The route is pretty convoluted and I was never one for "It's the journey that counts". People who come out with shit like that only travel once every five years. I would very much like to see transportation of the Star Trek variety. You know, step into a cupboard, blink, and step out of it thousands of miles away.

Instead, I will be doing a lot of blinking, and getting nowhere fast. First leg is Tripoli to Rome. (If the plane takes off tomorrow*). Then a train to Paris. Then Paris London, and finally, London Aberdeen. Or, I may hire a car and do some of the journey avoiding a high-speed death.

*If not, I will fly from Tripoli to Malta, Malta to Madrid, then use a train or a hire car. If no planes are taking off, I will get a ferry to Malta, then a ferry from Malta to Sicily, swim from Sicily to Italy, and then up through Italy on a train or on a donkey, whichever is available. Plans are fluid. Which is handy, because my back teeth will be floating in alcohol. I may even end up in Gdansk. Or Melbourne.

Word on the street is that all those super-fast trains are jammed tighter than Talibans in a cave, so I may well be using those stop/start scenic trains. Be still, my beating heart.

Every cloud, though, has a silver lining. I estimate that I can be hammered shortly before climbing onto the train in Rome, and if I put in some effort, I can stay three sheets to the wind for most of the trip and still have time to sober up before I get to Aberdeen. Result!

If I get access to the internet along the way I will blog. I rarely have "adventure-free" travel, so it may be more interesting to read about than to actually experience. I regularly get arrested in Africa, so I wonder how the European cops will compare....

We'll see how it goes.



Anonymous said...

Sounds bloody horrendous CR.

Here's wishing you a bon voyage and that you manage to get suitably rat arsed enough to make the long journey home seem shorter.

Hope you don't have my kind of luck, which would mean all flights back to normal just as you arrive back (in Aberdeen) after a 10 day trip!

All the best ;-)

Captain Ranty said...

Thanks Grumpy.

You're right. The binge drinking will help.

And I know for sure that bastard cloud will disappear faster than my tax-money the minute we take Option B.

Brown hasn't visited Reykjavik just lately, has he?

I'd love to be able to pin this on him.


David M said...

Good luck!
I find myself stuck in Gothenburg, trying to get home to Glasgow.
If Monday's Ryanair flight doesn't happen, I think I'll be looking into the traini option myself.

Captain Ranty said...

Same to you David. I hope you make it home safely.

I saw that Ryanair cancelled all of their flights until Monday at 2pm.

What time does your flight leave Gothenburg?


Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

I'm trying to go the other way - Lagos - it's odd in fact that this bit of dust seems rather wimpy compared to the Saharan Harmattan that annually (Nov>>Mar) blankets large bits of West Africa under enormous loads of sand - and nobody says much of SFA about it.

Flights in my experience are sometimes cancelled - but only when you can't see the runway.

I have a strong feeling that they are over egging this particular pudding.

Captain Ranty said...

I agree Gordon.

How can this fugly cloud be seen from an aircraft at the same altitude but invisible from the ground? I reckon they are being mind-crushingly cautious.

Keep your eye out for smaller news items that are being buried under this ash cloud.

In Libya they call it the Khamsin or sometimes the Gibbli. As you say, millions of tons of fine dust is dumped daily and no-one bats an eyelid here.

Good luck with your travel to Lagos. That is a favourite haunt of mine. Not.

In fact, I have thrity or forty thousand Naira that will probably be worthless by the time I get back to Lagos....


Anonymous said...

Can you email me?

Captain Ranty said...


Check yer inbox. Mailed you a moment ago.


Anonymous said...

"Cant wait to get back to Scotland"
Yes, I know North Africa is a grim hole,but surely not that grim.

Who on God's earth wants to spend
polling day in a Gulag with thistles.

Whiky in the Jar

Captain Ranty said...


Freedom-wise, I'd rather be in North Africa than North Scotland.

But it's where I hang my hat, and where my one vote will be cast against LibLabConSNP.

That alone is going to be worth any pain I endure on the trek I begin tomorrow.


Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Mind crushingly cautious is one reading - judging by the way the UK Met Office PR crew has kicked their staff, NERC and Uncle Tom Cobbly n all and into action I think there's a "climate change" agenda seasoning in here somewhere. AlBeeb has trawled "be afraid of the super volcano" onto iPlayer and much dimwit prattling.

Mountain, molehill. I mean... this is dust....

I note that none of the MSM has elicited much extended comment from plane makers, engine manufacturers and airlines and are concentrating on human interest like bankers on bicycles.

Ah, Naira - the currency that gives a whole different meaning to the words stinking rich - hope you've got them in an airtight container :o)

Unknown said...

Why do I keep thinking that Phileas Fogg had it bloody easy CR?

Come home safe, that's all that matters mate, even though it is to that hellhole which is knashing at the bit to be a slave under the EU yoke, Scotland, the place of my birth.

Lost said...

Good luck and a safe journey Cap'n.

The media do seem to be over focusing on the demon cloud. I've had my eyes peeled for buried bad news but haven't seen anything untoward.

Or should that be anything NEW untoward.

As for being overcautious, the passengers and crew of Speedbird 9 may beg to differ, fast jets and volcanic ash really don't mix.

Hope your journey does indeed bring adventure, but only the good sort!


Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

In equatorial pitch darkness the BA 747 ran into that soddin great opaque cloud of hot gas and dust that is familiar to most folk as spewin out the top of a volcano. Many accounts I've read (AAIB etc)indicate that the engine stops were most likely due to lack of oxygen to burn kerosine.

Nope, the virtual cloud London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (Prop: The Met Office) in their PR frenzy are going to end up with egg on their faces from trying to stir too much into this particular pudding.

A plague on John Hirst and his ilk. The Met Office's shameless political weather forecasting agitprop and seeming inability to look out the window is a national disgrace and in this case it's looking increasingly as if they're hell bent on destroying their last shreds of integrity.

That's what you get when you put propagandist whores in charge of outfits like The Met Office.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...


damn this amnesiac clipboard

Lost said...

Yep Gordon fully agree, BA009 and KLM867 flew directly through the worst of it. (only occurrences of jet liners and ash I can recall).

lack of ox due to the melting and solidifying of ash in turbine core (compressor stall).

Just trying to say it is a risk, I agree its over blown, the stated affected area is just too large, we've been flying around this sort of thing routinely for many years, but never has it been such a large area.

Read your link, interesting that klm sent one up, they've got previous :-)