Strange old world isn’t it? Who’d have thought we’d ever have a reason to put a picture of an erupting volcano on the front cover of a magazine about service stations? Or have cause to write the phrase ’volcanic ash’ a couple of words which seem to have now infiltrated the general vocabulary and become the latest excuse for anything that’s late or not working properly.


There’s never been a time in modern history when the skies were empty and the airports closed for so long. A real shock to the system, affecting many things in different ways. It was misery for some, but an opportunity for others.


In our sector (see News Extra page 10) it was a story much like the volcanic ash itself of ups and downs. Service stations near ports Dover in particular had a party, with burgeoning queues and booming sales of fuel and shop goods. For the Hammond Group it was a great chance to show off the fantastic facilities now in place there and for the team to see how it coped in making the most of such a scenario.


And while service stations around the airports suffered, there was some good to come out of it for the Roadside Group. The company made a positive discovery at its Newcastle Airport site which it wouldn’t otherwise have done. It was able to test the strength of its store business minus the airport traffic, and was heartened by the results. Although this was exceptional, airport sites are doubtless more able to cope with ebbs and flows as air travel can be unpredictable. They will doubtless make up some lost volume as travellers flock back in great numbers.


Next big thing on the agenda is the election. By the next issue all hell could have broken loose, as at this stage, with the talent show-style campaigning making it more of a three-way race, who knows what will happen. Whatever the outcome, make sure if you have a new MP that you go and bend his ear as soon as possible!