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Compulsory leave! PDF
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 00:00

Because of the Europe-wide flight ban, caused by the eruption last week of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, thousands of people around the world are having to take an enforced holiday!

Many people who were due to fly home after flights were suspended last week are now in the position that they can't get home and back to work or school as planned. 

Great, you might think - extra holiday and there's nothing I can do about it! Maybe for some that's true, but what about the self-employed? What about people who have run out of money?  What about people who need urgent medication?  And don’t imagine for one minute that your employer will concede this time as extra holiday – it will come out of your normal leave allocation, thereby possibly disrupting other plans you may have had for a second or third holiday or to decorate the lounge!

Around my village here in the Serranía de Ronda there are a few who've been stranded.  Wolfgang, from Cologne, has to get back to speak at a conference he's organised!  He won't make it, I fear.  He's managed to book a flight for today, but with the huge backlog of flights, and planes being in the wrong place, it's doubtful whether it will take off on time, if at all.  Roger, a self-employed businessman, has resigned himself to staying put until 1 May.  Fortunately he has his own house here, so won’t incur any additional accommodation costs.  A Danish couple, Lars and Kristel, set off two days ago to drive back to their home in Copenhagen.

Further afield, the comedian John Cleese famously took a taxi from Oslo to Brussels last week at a cost of $5400 (€4000 or £3500) and Gary Lineker, who was on holiday in Tenerife with his family, managed to get a flight to Madrid, from where he hired a people carrier and drove all the way back to the UK in time to present Match of the Day

If Katla, the volcano adjacent to Eyjafjallajökull, also erupts, who's to say the ban might not be extended for weeks to come. 

On the other side of the coin, thousands will get no leave at all!  Due to depart for holidays abroad, they cannot get there at the moment and must stay put at home.

It's my 60th birthday party here in four weeks' time.  Will my UK family and friends’ flights get them here? I’m beginning to wonder...

©  Paul Whitelock



Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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