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Home for Christmas, or not - The Ex-Communicator

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December 18th, 2010


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09:04 am - Home for Christmas, or not
It took four hours to drive 100 miles to Manchester yesterday! And then another three to get back (the roads were quieter by then). But we got back anyway, and I'm glad we are now all home before this happened. The kids are so happy to be back, it's heartwarming.

On that subject, one of my daughter's friends is from Northern Ireland. She was supposed to be flying to Derry on Ryanair yesterday, and they cancelled the flight because of the weather. Ryanair don't give you money back or an alternative flight, so she either forks out some extra airfare or she's stuck in Manchester for Christmas. My immediate reaction was, well she can come back to our house. But luckily, one of my daughter's flat mates, a really nice girl, lives in the Manchester area, and her parents are going to include her in their festivities. What a nice family. Or it may well be that the airports open again, and she can find the cash to get a flight.

My plan on Christmas Day is to drive up to my sister's house in Derbyshire. Her daughter is a bit of a foodie so I'm looking forward to that. It does occur to me that we might wake up on Christmas morning snowed in, with nothing for dinner. Well, if that happens we have festive pasta or something, and drink all the whisky.

Incidentally, the student loan people are months late in ponying up to many students, including my son. I got a letter threatening court action because he hadn't been able to pay his room fees. Luckily I had a fall back position - my son's dad (who predates H) is pretty affluent, so he's given him a load of money. I am only now gaining the rewards of my youthful rampage. The other students are now facing expulsion from their rooms, and their Universities.

(21 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:altariel
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:07 am (UTC)
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Very glad to hear you're safely home.
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From:communicator
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:20 am (UTC)
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Thank you! There were a lot of accidents by the side of the icy motorway, that was partly why it was so slow. Also, everyone had the same idea as me I think, better go now because the whole system might shut down today.
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From:sallymn
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:23 am (UTC)
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Nothing wrong with festive pasta... (though I admit it suits our sundrenched Chrissie better)
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From:communicator
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:28 am (UTC)
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My back-up plan is get everything out of the freezer and cook the lot, and then eat it in front of Doctor Who.
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From:lamentables
Date:December 18th, 2010 10:27 am (UTC)
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That broke my brain for a moment, having read it in a 'not in front of the Doctor' sense...
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From:communicator
Date:December 18th, 2010 11:46 am (UTC)
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Now I am literally sitting here sniggering. That Amy Pond ain't getting nothin'
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From:sallymn
Date:December 20th, 2010 09:42 am (UTC)
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Sounds like a plan I could get with, yes :)
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From:archbishopm
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:44 am (UTC)
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I am only now gaining the rewards of my youthful rampage

Fffff...well at least my child is tall and hawt (let us hope the insanity is recessive)...

:-D :-D
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:50 am (UTC)
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The good thing is that we literally regret nothing. I'd do it all again.
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From:archbishopm
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:58 am (UTC)
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Eh, you got me there. :-)
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From:dalmeny
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:48 am (UTC)
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Ryanair don't give you money back or an alternative flight

And that's not illegal in the UK? I'm pretty sure it is in Australia.

The other students are now facing expulsion from their rooms, and their Universities.

Again, I'm gobsmacked that the students have to suffer for someone else's incompetence.
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From:communicator
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:52 am (UTC)
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No refund - That's what they were all saying in the student kitchen last night. Ryanair basically take the piss.

I am also incensed about the threats. I am certain that threatening letters have gone out - because I've got one right here as I type this. Whether they follow through with court proceedings and expulsions - possibly not - it would be a massive test case, because there must be thousands of people affected.
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From:hfnuala
Date:December 18th, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC)
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I believe after the volcano Ryanair finally had to admit they weren't allowed to do this, but it is very hard to get them to pony up none the less. Bastards.

Back in the mists of time when I was a student in a country with fees and not a lot of loan availability, grants were administered on a county by county basis and there was always a couple of counties that still weren't sorted by Christmas. One friend of mine only survived his first year because his Dad wouldn't left the country to avoid paying child support suddenly got back in contact. Really, Ireland in the 80s/early 90s isn't a good model for the UK.

I'm glad to hear you're back OK. Edinburgh is currently still snow free, which is weird considering last week. We just need the airport here and in dublin to be clear on Tuesday.
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From:communicator
Date:December 18th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)
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It has been snowing very heavily all day and is now quite deep. H was out on a site visit with his new job but he called it off and sent everyone home. Looks like none of us will be going anywhere soon. Birmingham airport is shut.
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From:lamentables
Date:December 18th, 2010 10:28 am (UTC)
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Glad to hear that everyone is safely home. Pretty horrified about the student loan/housing situation.
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From:communicator
Date:December 18th, 2010 11:51 am (UTC)
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I actually think it's probably all bluster, but it upset me a lot, and I hate to think how many poor kids are literally scared out of staying at uni.
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From:lamentables
Date:December 18th, 2010 01:14 pm (UTC)
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I don't imagine it's a threat that will be carried through, but I remember the distress when the arrival of my grant cheque lagged behind having to pay room fees. (Back when I was naive and mortally afraid of anyone in authority.)
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From:glitterboy1
Date:December 18th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
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I was thinking of you last night - and then this morning, hearing the news of the M6. I'm glad you got back ok. It sounds like a tiring journey, but I think it was a very good idea to go when you did.

The situation with the SLC is ridiculous. A friend's daughter started here this term, and could have been out on her ear by now, for all the SLC were doing to help. I'm glad you had that fall back, but it's really not good that you needed it.

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From:communicator
Date:December 18th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
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I am so glad we got back when we did. Some people were stuck overnight on the M6. My daughter just got a - some kind of message - from her friend who has been travelling 11 hours from Manchester to Oxford, and isn't home yet.
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From:katlinel
Date:December 19th, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
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Glad you made there and back, and I hope you get to have a good Christmas together, whether in Derbyshire or at home with pasta and whisky. Hope your daughter's friend manages, one way or another, as well.

The snow returned here last night and it's coming down sideways at moment, which does not bode well for travel again.

As for the student loan - well, that puts paid to all the smug gits who keep arguing that no-one has to pay anything up front and therefore it's not a barrier to education. I would have been horrified by that situation (my equivalent would have been my grant not turning up, which was never a problem in my case) but not all parents have fallback money, and fear of debt is a huge driver in these situations. I hope that the other students don't have to go through expulsion/legal battles, when they should be free to do what they they're for, concentrating on studies and building their new lives.
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From:communicator
Date:December 19th, 2010 11:52 am (UTC)
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I shouted at my son, because I thought he had done something wrong, and gotten me a court order - like not apply in time. When I realised this was a mass problem I felt like shit.

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