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I spent a slightly freaky but very pleasant afternoon working in my silent garden on Friday, undisturbed by the constant sound of aircraft. Silent apart from birdsong and the occasional motorbike roaring through the village, which is not a completely unpleasant noise, I have found. My happy little bubble was burst, however, when I get news that my sister was one of the many thousands of people stranded by the Icelandic volcano. Even now she is trying to find a route from Stockholm to Amsterdam, where she has a confirmed berth on a ferry leaving for Newcastle on Thursday. The trouble is getting to Amsterdam in five days and, when we communicated by email yesterday, it sounded like she'd tried everything and was now prepared to walk. The last time there were 'refugees' crossing Europe like this was the 40's. It does seem, for now, that everyone is in good spirits embracing a Wartime mood of cooperation and, I suppose, resignation. I jokingly suggested we Brits should launch a flotilla of ships to go and pick up our compatriots from the beaches of Northern France! But it's not such a bad idea, is it? If the airports remain closed it might be fun. Anyone got a dingy or a small sailboat and fancy a little trip across the Channel?

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