(UPDATE: also just heard B&R conductor Alan Morrison, who is supposed to conduct rehearsal tonight AND the show Saturday is still stuck overseas…. guess we’ll just show up tonight and see what happens)
This is another installment on the Volcano (what’s its name?) Ash story from the local paper here in Huddersfield.
Hannah attends Salendine Nook High School. About 30 of her classmates went on a school trip to Disney in Florida over the Easter Recess. Guess what happened? They got stuck thanks to the volcanic ash/UK airspace shutdown. They were supposed to be gone a week…..they are now in week 2 with at least another 4-days more.
Disney has given them free passes to the parks, unlimited drinks in the parks (just what those teachers need-kids with an unlimited supply of sugar and caffeine!) but the school has to continue to pay for the rooms and food. Cost comes out to about 3,000 pounds/day extra. So for those of you math whizzes out there, the current extra bill is (3000 pounds/day) X (7-days) X (exchange rate)) getting close to $33,000. OUCH! And it isn’t over yet.
Their airline is Continental. For at least another week, there are no Continental flights out of Florida that will get the teachers and students back to the UK. That could add another $33,000 to the bill. But it gets worse. Continental has offered to fly them back to the UK this Sunday but OUT OF HOUSTON! Further, Continental has said “You are financially responsible for getting the kids and teachers to Houston” AND “We can not guarantee the HOUSTON flight won’t be cancelled due to new volcanic ash.” You may realize reading this, that if the kids did indeed get to Houston and their flight was again cancelled due to UK airspace restrictions, they would be without a place to stay so they might end up in the airport halls……
And the final piece is this: Since Continental has offered a “solution” that will actually get them home, they are bound to accept that solution or forfeit whatever Travel Insurance they had taken out to cover this whole mess.
Hannah’s reaction on the walk to school this morning was “Wow, can you imagine being stuck in Disney? What a great experience!” We just laughed.
The other “close to our hearts” stories include Neville Young who is stuck in UGANDA! Neville and Deborah went to visit their daughter there and of course can’t get home. It appears they have been able to get a flight to Amsterdam today and will then make their way back to London.
AND Sarah’s parents get to spend an additional fortnight here. They were supposed to leave on Monday but were able to come back down here on Tuesday to see all of us and attend our Lindley Band show at Town Hall. They will head home on 3 May, but because they are here, Sarah gets to see them on her birthday (she’s 43 on Saturday but don’t tell you I told. She not dealing well with this b-day at all) AND her Father’s birthday is on Sunday, so there is a bit of a sliver lining.
AND, the Lindley Band Flugel player (Nicola) is stuck in Shanghai, China. She went with her husband for a week long holiday. Now they are in week 2 and won’t be able to get a flight back until 6 May. We hired a flugel player for the Tuesday show but have a major contest on 15 of May and Nicola isn’t sure she’ll be up to the task only 9-days after she returns.
The good news is that the planes are flying again! There was a story on BBC Leeds Radio about a small town near the Leeds-Bradford Airport where there was almost a traffic and pedestrian stand-still when someone stopped and pointed up at the first plane to go over the town in a week. Everyone stopped, looked, and pointed like it was some sort of strange happening. Kind of funny.
Finally: The results for ABB at NABBA were not good. Not to worry folks, we’ll do better next time. Congrats to Fountain City and JMU on continuing to set a very high standard but you had better start looking over your shoulder, next April in Michigan may be a whole different story.
Hang in there everyone.