Long haul

We’re flying today. Total time in the air should be around 18½ hours (Cape Town is long way from anywhere), but then when you add check-ins and door to door stuff, you’re probably looking at nearer a whole day.

We could have gone on a much more direct route (and potentially avoided this), but that wouldn’t actually have saved much more than 3 or 4 hours and would have wasted half a day at the other end. It would have also cost a lot more (like almost double), and to be honest we would rather spend that money on experiences and beer than on a slightly more direct flight.

That slightly more direct flight would also be on a very old plane, instead of the shiny new ones we will be enjoying.

And although BA have now done away with their 747s, they are still running 777-200s mostly built in the last century, on the Cape Town route. Those outdated aircraft don’t offer much comfort for passengers, given that it’s their 5th longest flight at around 11½ hours.

BA’s longer flights are:
4: Gatwick to Mauritius (also on 777-200s and doubly awful because you start at Gatwick)
3: Heathrow to Singapore
2: Heathrow to Buenos Aires
1: Heathrow to Santiago

That discomfort noted, it’s worth remembering that BA have been flying to Cape Town for over 90 years now. The first flight (albeit operating under Imperial Airlines, rather than the BA name at the time) was on January 20th 1932. The distance of er… 6000 Miles… being a bit much for aircraft back in those days, there were numerous stops along the way, and the journey took 11 days rather than 11 hours.

Better book a bit more annual leave.

A few things

Firstly, go and play Puzzgrid. It’s like the wall on Only Connect, but online.

And if you want a 4-star difficulty challenge to begin with, try this one that I made earlier. I’m planning on making a few more (mainly they’re stored in my head at the moment, and quite honestly, I need the space.)

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Next up, remember this quote?

Well, my rule of thumb is going to be a bit broken if this happens

Wait… Watt*?!?
But that would mean 32 hours… and there are only 24…

Wow. Who would have thought that the straw that finally broke the network’s back was simply running out of enough hours to shed in a day?

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Then: Was Eyjafjallajökull the final volcano?

Year 9 iGCSE Geography dictates that one must do a class presentation on a volcanic event. And additionally, that one must build a model of said volcano to demonstrate your knowledge thereof.
I helped transport a model of Eyjafjallajökull (remember him?) into the school today, and was asked by the principal, who we saw along the way, if this was the final volcano project for our family.

I hadn’t really thought about it. But just maybe it was.

Volcano models are a rite of passage throughout your school years. You can learn more, and more, and more about them, depending on how far you want to go. You can do loads of geography, sociology, history, English, art and science about them. And yes, you can build models, from the super simple, through the vinegar and bicarb stage, and onto geographically and morphologically accurate representations, including glaciers, treelines, and – somewhat inexplicably in this case – a café.

And we’ve done them all. Twice over.

In total, our kids have over 24 years at that school.
And yes, this might well have been our family’s final volcano project. That’s actually rather sad.

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Also: Qatar Airways unilaterally cancelled several of our flights this morning without any explanation. And then emailed me and asked me to “Acknowledge the changes” or “Request a refund”. I think I’m going to have to click both buttons there, aren’t I? I don’t think it’s quite enough for me to choose between the two, given how much COLD HARD CASH has gone into buying the tickets, and the CONTINUING NEED to be in certain places at certain times – with accommodation and car hire and connecting flights already booked. Because of many reasons (but mainly because of emigrating nearly 20 years ago), I have done a lot of international flying. This is the first time that I have used Qatar Airways. And this really is the first problem I’ve ever had.

Sadly, we’re kind of tied in with them now, so we need to rearrange another lot of flights with them, and hope that these ones actually exist when we try to fly on them.

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And finally – in the style of Trevor MacDonald – this:

I mean, if even he is saying it, then it must be true, right?
Full marks for whoever cropped this meme (it wasn’t me) so that we were spared a sight of the offensive (and sinful) footwear.

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* so many apologies for this