A friend of mine is stuck in Naples following the closure of UK airspace after the Icelandic volcano eruption - she's found space on a sleeper service from Zurich to Amsterdam and I spent the best part of an hour finding out whether she could get a reasonably-priced train from Cologne to London via Brussels. However it appears that Eurostar is clearly trying to make up for the losses it made just before Christmas and is charging silly prices for its trains from Brussels - something like £600. Stena Line meanwhile provided a single ticket for two from Hook of Holland to London Liverpool Street of 110 Euros. Their 'Dutch Flyer' is well worth looking into if you want to go to Amsterdam or easy connections from the Hook of Holland to other places in mainland Europe (but that's another story and the Man in Seat 61 covers that far better than me). Whilst I was sorting this friend out, another asked me how her partner should get back from Copenhagen - I suggested ferry from Esjberg to Harwich. The reason for mentioning this is that I am all too aware of the hassle that has been caused to thousands of British people by this abrupt and totally unplanned shutting of UK airspace.
This morning I went for a long run along the Thames from Greenwich to Crossness and back - my final long run before the marathon on Sunday - and it was absolutely lovely. The sky was clear, the sun was warm, it was very quiet, the tide was just turning and there were no boats meaning the river was very flat. But for the third day running I couldn't help but notice how quiet it was without the planes and that there were no condensation trails criss-crossing the sky. I'd noticed the same the previous two nights and the times I'd been outside in the garden. The peace and quiet was noted in areas around Heathrow as this article on the BBC websites shows