The Anonymous Widower

Simon Calder

Simon Calder is my favourite travel writer and I spent quite a bit of the journey from Peterborough to Newcastle reading the travel section in The Independent.  Or should I say his travel section, as a lot of it seems to have been written by him.

For a start there was a piece about how to spend two days in San Francisco, although I don’t think it was written by Simon.  And as I am going there in May, it is something that appeared at the right time.

Simon’s editorial was entitled “The week of travelling dangerously” and was about the problems of the Icelandic volcanic ash. The last two paragraphs of a very good article sum up why we ended up in such a mess.

Travel, like life, is about risk management. Flying is far safer than travelling by road. Britain has the best aviation record in the world over the past 20 years, thanks to an obsession with safety on the part of pilots, air-traffic controllers and engineers. But there are limits, which were overstepped this week by a spokesman for the aviation regulators who insisted that only “complete safety” was acceptable. The only way to achieve zero risk: ground all flights, forever. If we all switch to cars, the increase in risk to us, and other road users, increases dramatically. This was the week of travelling dangerously.

“Complete safety” is a laudable but unachievable aim. To suggest otherwise gives credence to the assertion among some pilots that CAA actually stands for “Campaign Against Aviation”.

Taking up Simon’s point about increased risk in cars, how many people have been injured or perhaps even killed in their journeys home by perhaps dubious methods?  Thank goodness, I’ve not heard of any yet.

He also had a marvellous article about travelling on a container ship.  I’ll do that one day.

April 25, 2010 - Posted by | Transport | ,

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