August 1st: the sound of silence

We know that August 1 is a day when there is a lot of noise (fireworks), but it can also be a day of unusual silence.

I noticed the unusual silence when I walked out to fetch my morning newspaper. Silence: just some starlings twittering and a dove cooing. There was also the occasional car passing slowly on the nearby route de Lausanne, obviously in less of a hurry than on a work morning. I even managed to get back with my newspaper before hearing the first (of many) jet aircraft overflying Versoix on its way to land at the airport.

I think that many of us have forgotten the pleasure of listining to almost-silence. In and around Geneva this is becoming more and more rare, so that we have to go somewhere in the countryside, even to a different canton, to appreciate it. In this period of hot weather it is also especially nice if we can go up into the mountains and breathe fresh, less polluted air, whilst looking down on the pollution haze over the plain.

image001.pngOf course, the sound of silence disappears at the end of the day, when all the fireworks go off to celebrate Swiss national day. In one of the airport noise measurement stations the amount of this noise, even when averaged out over the whole month of August, is perceptible on the noise graphical plot. That of the station in Bois-du-Lan, Meyrin, is a particular example of it, with the curiosity that August 2006 seems to have been particularly quiet: if anyone has an explanation ...

It seems also to be a rule that there is at least one very late (after 11pm) takeoff of a jet aircraft, most often over Vernier) to add to the firework noise. This year it was the flight of easyJet EZS8481 to London Gatwick, which took off, well over 4 hours late, just 5 minutes before midnight. I have a good idea why this happened, and I may return to this subject in another blog. In the meantime, I would think that any passengers on this flight, or on some previous delays of the same flight, could choose to claim an indemnity according to the current regulations on delayed or cancelled flights.

As for me, I will be off to the mountains for a few days, to a place where the sound of silence is that of running water in a mountain stream and perhaps the ringing of distant cowbells.

10:06 Posted in Special days and notable incidents | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: airport, gatwick, fireworks | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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