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Author Topic: Planes and trains, snow etc  (Read 3211 times)

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John Short

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Planes and trains, snow etc
« on: December 05, 2010, 19:39:34 GMT »
Arrived at Newcastle airport at 05.30 last Monday (29 Nov) to get flight to Brussels and then on to Freetown.  The usual journey from home to airport is some 20 minutes but with lorries blocking the A69 due to the snow this took somewhat longer - at least I had anticipated that it would take longer.  The taxi driver that should have taken me phoned at 04.00 to say he could not get out of Hexham, and fortunately I still had my vehicle at home which was being picked up for its annual service and MOT later that day. 

The airport was functioning, the KLM flight left, we were still in departures: delay due to a crew member being late in getting in from Teeside!  The snow came down - the airport was closed until 08.00 and then 08.45. My connecting flight was missed!  Phone Sierra Leone to explain that I would not make the next day's workshop on the PEFA results - and I was presenting!  Agreed that I would try to get the next day's flight from Heathrow and Brussels Airlines and BMI endorsed my ticket.  I decided that better not risk the airport being closed as more snow was forecast so I decided to take the train to London. At least my car could be MOTed and serviced!  On train, slower than usual, then a great noise as the iced up brakes decided enough was enough and broke down just under the M62.  Some 3 hours later we were towed to Doncaster and put on the next (also) standing room only train which had been held up behind the one I was on. 

Arrived in Kings Cross some 8 hours, after leaving Newcastle, instead of the usual 3 hours.  The Tube was on strike - or at least those who operated it were.  Got to hotel at 01.00.  Next day (or later that day, I suppose) checked in for Freetown, boarded and doors closed.  Then a passenger decided that he did not want to travel - the unloading of checked in bags and verification of carry-on bags delayed take off by two hours.  Arrived late in Lungi - the inevitable unloading of bags and river crossing meant that I got to the hotel I was booked in at midnight – or at least I thought I was booked in, but, as I had not turned up the day earlier the booking had been cancelled (the notification of the change was not registered).  But thankfully the hotel had one room for one night!   

Reorganised PEFA workshop 11.00 the next day (no that day!). At least the return journey would be straightforward.  Message from trusty travel agents, Norseman (aptly named in Newcastle), Brussels Airlines had informed that Friday’s return flight was cancelled!  Revised message later on saying that Brussels Airline had made a mistake – it was not.  Anxious period in between! Left hotel 14.45 for return journey – water taxi etc.  Plane late arriving as late departure from Brussels (snow) , so depart at 21.30, stop in Dakar, but can’t fly over Spain due to air traffic problems there.  Arrive in Brussels a few hour late.  Flight to Newcastle on time (ish), on plane, wait, wait – dispatchers had moved on, captain tries to find them, one hour later take off and in sunny (sic), cold and very white Newcastle one hour (or zero minutes with time change) later.  Taxi to Hexham where my car was waiting and manage to get home though very snowed up rural roads to 60 cms snow in garden and 1 meter + icicles. 

At least the PEFA workshop went well, the report validated (the Sierra Leonean process) and should be on a website near you soon.  Travel, you can take that, at least until next week anyway!
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 08:15:41 GMT by Napodano »

Albani

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Re: Planes and trains, snow etc
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2010, 16:45:03 GMT »
A good Radio Free Europe article on this issue in the following link:

http://www.rferl.org/content/snow_airports_europe_moscow_london/2254993.html

 

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