Volcano reminds us all there's life after aviation

user warning: Can't create/write to file '/dev/shm/mysql/#sql_38e_0.MYI' (Errcode: 13) query: SELECT t.* FROM term_node r INNER JOIN term_data t ON r.tid = t.tid INNER JOIN vocabulary v ON t.vid = v.vid WHERE r.vid = 1078 ORDER BY v.weight, t.weight, t.name in /var/www/clients/client32/web54/web/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.module on line 633.

Life's full of blissful little ironies. We've plotted and plotted and plotted to ground the aviation industry, only to be pipped to the post by nature. Which is funny when our understanding was that aviation was supposed to wreck the environment, not the environment wreck aviation.

One of the most striking impacts of the last few days without air travel is that not only is the UK much more peaceful with so many stag parties stuck in Prague, but day to day life seems to be carrying on. In fact, huge swathes of people across the country are being treated to a taster of a much better quality of life (although Tesco's is almost out of pre-packed pineapple chunks - oh, the humanity!).

It turns out the UK is actually rather a pleasant place to be when there's not a constant drone of aircraft overhead. Thousands of residents living under the flightpath have suddenly been blessed with a taste of life without being woken up at 4.30am on a daily basis by aeroplanes thundering overhead. Perhaps if we weren't tormented by high levels of noise and air pollution on a daily basis, fewer people would feel the desire to board a plane to leave the country for a break.

We're constantly preached at by the aviation industry about the essential nature of air travel. Like the 'essential' cargo flights from Nottingham East Midlands Airport to transport goods which are now being transported... wait for it... OVERLAND. According to a UPS delivery spokesperson, European roads are actually "very drivable".

So, Eyjafjallajokull, you may have an unpronounceable name and an odd smell, but nonetheless we thank you for giving us a brief glimpse of life without planes. And for demonstrating that, despite what the aviation industry would like to have us believe, a world without air travel could well be a very happy place indeed.