A mammoth journey

I wonder how many classical performers found themselves stranded over the last few days thanks to the Icelandic volcano eruption (my headline of the year goes to the Daily Mail: "AWESOME POWER OF THE FIRES OF HELL. Poison gas, famine, catastrophe. How all the technology in the world can't save us from Mother Earth's fury".) Certainly, it's in the nature of our profession that on any given day there's a good change we're going to be abroad. As for myself, I was in Copenhagen to perform with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Ludovic Morlot (one of the most genial and intensely musical collaborators I've had the pleasure to work with). I was due to fly back on Friday morning for a concert that night in Carlisle with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. By late Thursday night, it was becoming clear that I was going to miss the concert, and I was trying to work out simply how to get home at all. In the end and after much research, I managed to book a berth on a night ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich leaving yesterday, which gave me time to make the trek down from Denmark (departing 7.45am on a train bursting at the seams with displaced air passangers, and arriving at the ferry terminal after many changes of train after 8pm). I arrived at 6.30 this morning in Harwich and am now, at 1.40pm on the last little train journey from Edinburgh to Linlithgow. I got off fairly lightly, because there were many at the terminal unable to get on the ferry, with the word being that there were no places available for several days. I knew I had a 2 berth cabin, so was able to take someone with me. The bizarre thing is that when I got to the cabin there were 4 beds in it. I know at least one other person who found the same. Moreover, while I was able to give a spare bed to someone, I know others who were not allowed to, being told the ferry was already full. So it seems like there was a great waste of capacity. There must have been many, like me, travelling alone and forced to book larger cabins because there were no single ones left. The refusal to allow those beds to be filled seems to me inexplicable.


It's not only 'Classical' performers who were influenced by the Volcano 'fallout'. Even scabby little 'Jazzers' had to resort to the ferry back from Shetland. Having said that...the sea had the calmness of a mirror and a serene sunset over Orkney was an unforgettable reward for enduring a somewhat protracted homeward journey.

Posted by Chick Lyall on 14 November 2010

re ferries - unfortunately, human nature being what it is, there will always be people trying to make a quick buck out of others' misery. I am looking forward to seeing you at Liverpool Phil with Vasily this week.

Posted by jill conlan on 21 April 2010