Volcanic Ash Crisis – being potentially stranded in Sydney

Last Thursday, I caught the end of the news while I was on holiday in Adelaide, Australia, and heard that a volcano had erupted in Iceland, leaving a large ash cloud around 3 miles high and heading towards the UK and the rest of northern Europe. It’s now Monday night in Sydney and since that first mention of the volcanic ash cloud, I’ve been checking the BBC and The Times websites approximately 5 times an hour to wonder at this “Act of God” and wonder if I’ll be catching my flight back to London tomorrow. Well, it doesn’t look good  – the latest information is that Quantas, the Austraian airline, have cancelled flights till Thursday, and there will be an announcement on Monday 5pm UK time. That would be 2am on Tuesday Australian time and we’re due to fly at 2.45pm so, the chances are very slim.

So, my boyfriend and I could be stranded here in Sydney until further notice. Don’t get me wrong, it could be worse – we’re lucky enough to be staying with friends in one of the most beautiful harbour cities in the world where the weather is unseasonably good and the people are friendly and laid-back.  But we really DO want to get back to the UK and we really DO want to get back to work but we really DON’T want to spend the next few days at an airport or trying every type of transport known to man to make it back, including naval war ships, only to find that we could have got a flight quicker.

So, in the absence of any certainty, I thought I’d share my feelings and thoughts as I experience this incredible, never-seen-in-this-lifetime, situation. If you’re stranded or a potential strandee, let me know what you’re doing and thinking!

Grammar spot:

  1. In the first paragraph, the underlined expressions are in the present perfect – do you know why?
  2. The items in bold are all modal verbs, denoting a mood or an attitude towards something, not fact. Do you know any other modal verbs?
  3. How many verbs in the past simple can you find in this post? Clue: the first one is “caught”… Why is the past simple used and not the present perfect in these examples?


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