Big hurrah for Air Mauritius who have been extraordinarily helpful … flight rebooked for Sunday 15th May.

So – volcano – start behaving please, simmer down and stop with the whole ash cloud thing – thank you.

Brian Donaldson has been so helpful on the ground in Madagascar and is replanning the schedule of visits to projects – and has fitted in a weekend break at Vakona Forest Lodge to look at some lemurs which will be exciting (if a little expensive but hey this really is a tremendous opportunity) … I have totally self funded my trip and pay for own accommodation out there … all the money raised (now £925 – on the justgiving page) goes directly to the Kitchen Table Charities Trust (and has gift aid added to it – so all the more reason to donate).

http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley

So strange sitting here on a very windy blustery blue kind of day in Cambridge knowing that as I type Brian is at the inauguration of the Water treatment centre with all the villagers and so on… I hope it is a glorious day there and so look forward to seeing all the photos.

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Map of the ash cloud taken from the MET office website - illustration of volcanic ash dispersion up to 20,000 ft, issued at 7 am on 18 April. Advisory charts are issued every six hours, for up to 18 hours ahead, by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.

The unpronouncable Icelandic volcano continues its eruption (and according to the MET office the eruption is ‘possibly intensifying’,  and the vast dust cloud has  thickened over England – and most of Europe – 20 countries have closed their airspace now … quite remarkable when you think about it all; all that glass, sand and rock wafting around in the sky high above and down here all this mere mortal is aware of is an impossibly blue sky and slightly itchy eyes.

So – this morning I will endeavour to rebook flights for 14th / 15th May in the  hope that it will have settled down again by then.

http://www.nats.co.uk/ is the website to watch for airport updates – the National Air Traffic Services site for UK, the MET office is also helpful http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2010/volcano.html

In the meantime all the mosquito repellent and water purification tablets have gone  into a large box ready for departure hopefully now mid May (volcano permitting).

In the meantime donations to KTCT at http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley have gone up to £900 – which including gift aid is a hefty amount … target is now £5000 so keep spreading the word and clicking the Donate button.

Sadly now time to email Brian Donaldson to break the sad news that we won’t be at the village water purification plant inauguration on Tuesday morning.

Humph

airline just phoned – flight cancelled – unless volcanic ash cloud changes course over night …

fingers crossed but seems unlikely

will just have to reschedule … more time to raise money for KTCT

please click the big donate button
thank you
http://www.justgiving.com/elliestoneley

Just spoken to Air Mauritius;  the flight is still scheduled for 9pm Saturday night – blow away dust cloud blow away out to sea …

all being well we will take off at 9pm, have 5 mins transit in Mauritius and then arrive in Tana at 1.30 on Sunday to be met by Brian Donaldson the chairman of the grants committee for KTCT and also director of the Madagascar Development Fund – and former British Ambassador to Madagascar.

So … fingers and toes crossed.

If all goes according to plan then this is a flavour of what I will be doing in Madagascar (taken from an email just now from Brian):

As part of your programme we have arranged the inauguration of a clean water project in a far-distant village on Tuesday, (early start) which it is now too late to change (villagers and local authorities informed; plaque – with date of inauguration already made). It would be a great pity if you were to miss it. The scenery is breathtaking.

Please ash cloud blow in the other direction …

volcano and very large ash cloud throw spanner in works …

just have to wait now and see what happens I guess … fingers crossed that the flight will / can go – otherwise I guess change plans for later in the month, Air Mauritus and KTCT willing

but

totally awed by the beauty, the impact and the drama of the eruption (but I hope the wind picks up and takes the cloud somewhere else)

bugger!!