Tag Archives: air travel

This is how close we are to Europe

Wednesday 29th January 2020, 10.55am (day 3,079)

Strait of Dover, 29/1/20

I know that on my ‘About’ page I claim that this blog is intended to be apolitical. But now and again I make exceptions, and this is one of those days.

Today I have travelled to Romania (which you will see photos of over the next few days) for a conference that ironically is on cross-EU collaboration in higher education (a.k.a. the Bologna Process). I say ‘ironically’ because while I have entered Romania as an EU citizen, with rights here and indeed in 26 other countries across the continent, I will leave it on Sunday without these things, thanks to the piece of childish idiocy that has become known as ‘Brexit’, a shorthand term for the spasm of ideological, racist stupidity which a minority — and it is, be most assured, a minority of the UK population (do the maths) — decided in 2016 that they wanted. This then being reinforced by basically the same people who last month elected a lying, lawbreaking, over-privileged, credential-free buffoon to lead the country at this critical time.

On my way this morning from Heathrow I got the chance to take this shot: apologies for the alarming tilt on it but it was the only way to do it. Just below is Dover, its harbour walls clearly visible. And over there, under the plane’s wing, can be seen Cap Gris-Nez, near Calais. This is how close we are to Europe. I have flown over Lake Michigan and you can’t see one side from the other even from 30,000 feet. Here it took less than a few minutes to cross the Strait of Dover — or Pas de Calais, if you prefer.

And what do the Brexiteer morons and lunatics and bigots think will happen now? Do they think that the island of Great Britain is just going to float merrily off into the Atlantic, to engage in some blissful rendezvous with the Trumpiters somewhere near Bermuda? Are we supposed now to think that this narrow strait, this tiny defile that could still be walked across 6,000 years ago, is going to become a gulf and we will all get on with our Little Englander lives as if Europe, and all its economic and intellectual strength, its culture and history, wasn’t still there? Especially now that we have consciously revoked all ability to directly influence its politics, to vote in its elections, to oblige its ministers to hear us, as a member of a union, with all the deep legalistic meaning of that term?

I am ashamed.

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Snowdonia (probably)

Thursday 23rd January 2020, 3.15pm (day 3,073)

Snowdonia cloudscape, 23/1/20

Up in the air again, from Manchester airport heading roughly north-west, though not very far (so if you want, you can deduce where I travelled to before I post from t/here tomorrow). Not long after take off, visual interest was added to the flight to the south, where this cloudscape revealed itself. I wasn’t sure at the time where this might be but a subsequent look at the map suggests the hills in the background must be Snowdonia, in the north-west corner of Wales. It’s the general golden wash that I like about this photo, however. Far better weather up there than down on the ground today — as is often the case, of course.

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Loading the plane

Monday 4th November 2019, 1.25am (day 2,993)

Jeddah old city, 3/11/19

Artistic merit is one thing but the photos on here have to somehow epitomise the day, and as my journey home occupied the whole of the first ten and a half hours of 4/11/19, this was what had to be shown. It gets the ‘very early monring’ photo count up a notch, as well. Shot taken out of my window seat at 44K on the Jeddah – Frankfurt leg of my trek.

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Mountains/islands

Friday 1st November 2019, 3.15pm (day 2,990)

Mpuntain/islands, 1/11/19

I am speaking at a conference this weekend, so today was my first flight since the EasyJet Iceland debacle back in July. (NeverĀ ever again, EasyJet.) Fortunately all went perfectly today. As to where I flew to — well, you can find that out tomorrow. The flight meant it was my first opportunity in those four months to get shots like this. All of Europe seemed to be covered in cloud today; only these peaks made it up above the grey. I don’t know exactly where this is, somewhere toward the eastern end of the Alps so maybe Austria or Slovenia, but this will have to join the list of locations in which I can’t even identify a country for certain.

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Incompetence (not even peaked)

Wednesday 10th July 2019, 11.35am (day 2,876)

iIncompetence, 10/7/19

Our last day in Iceland was supposed to end around, oh, say 9am? And we were due home in Hebden Bridge by 2pm.

As you can see from this, this didn’t happen. In fact, we did not leave the airport until 9.30pm, after a litany of farce that I do not wish to begin to recount. Thus, another two hours after this take-off time was promised to us.

You can’t completely see the flight number to identify the budget carrier who inflicted this joke upon us (with no informational updates); let me just say they wear orange. A shame because otherwise this has been an excellent week in Iceland, if you get to visit it I highly recommend it.

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Reasons to fly

Tuesday 4th June 2019, 5.10pm (day 2,840)

Wet airport, 4/6/19

Yes, I’m going away again. The North European Monsoon missed out 2018 but it has hit on time, and wetly, this year. I wasn’t the only one here today happy to be heading out somewhere away from it. (No endorsement of airline implied. Other budget providers are available.)

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Frankfurt

Thursday 9th May 2019, 7.30pm (day 2,814)

Frankfurt, 9/5/19

Left Zagreb, with regret when it comes to the people and the general pleasantness of the place, but with no regret when it comes to the weather which was dreadful today. Further chewed up my CO2 allowance and hopped back to Frankfurt, which is one of the worst airports I’ve ever been to but at least you get a good view of the city on the way in. I’m here for just over 24 hours. This is about as intimate with the place as I’ll probably get.

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Somewhere between Abu Dhabi and Manchester

Tuesday 16th April 2019, 4.15am (day 2,791)

Asleep on plane, 16/4/19

The clock on my camera was set to 4.15am when I took this but I can’t remember whether this is before or after I adjusted it out of Emirates time when I changed planes in Abu Dhabi. Maybe it’s Gulf time and maybe it’s UK time and maybe we were somewhere over [insert Eastern European country of choice] at this point; either way the night was endless, timeless. This is only the blog’s third 4.nn am shot and the first two were both in its first year.

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Check-in line

Monday 15th April 2019, 1.00pm (day 2,790)

Check-in line, 15/4/19

So begins the long journey home. Allowing for the time difference, some 28 hours elapsed door to door, between leaving the office in Melbourne city centre at about noon (Eastern Australian time) on Monday and getting back home on what was Tuesday morning UK time, but felt like late afternoon to the body clock. This first shot of two was taken only an hour or so into it all. There is a strange levitaty quality about the bag, don’t you think?

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Welcome back to Australia

Thursday 4th April 2019, 9.15am (day 2,779)

Descent to Melbourne, 4/4/19

For four months from January 26th 2013, this blog featured a total of 97 photos taken in Australia, and that is still the second-most depicted country hereon apart from England. Norway had been catching up quantity-wise but it’s about to lose ground because as of today I’m here for 12 days until heading home on the 15th. It’s good to be back…. even if, once again, I failed completely to sleep on the overnight flight from Saigon. This picture was taken on the descent into Melbourne, but unlike the last time I took a shot from over said city, I’m staying there, so expect more of Oz’s second-largest conurbation over the next few days.

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