The end of the first full week in January 2010 and we are still surrounded by the white stuff. It looks very pretty but I think that most of us are starting to get fed up with it and wish that "Global Warming" would return. I am lucky in that I can work form home and have done so all week. Those that have to travel in are not so fortunate as not only is it cold but they have had to contend with the vagaries of the public transport
system which tends to cease at the first sign of snow.
Work has been relatively quiet this week which has given me a chance to do all the things that I wasn't able to do during the year end rush; filing and archiving of documents, reading all the stuff that I had put to one side for later. This should put me in good stead for the rest of the year. I have also been saying goodbye to colleagues who are leaving IBM. This has been brought about by draconian changes to our pension scheme, in particular the vast penalties which will be charged in the future to those taking early retirement. Currently someone retiring at 57 would lose 9% of their accrued pension, in future this will be over 40%. Consequently many people are going earlier than they would have wished. Most of us see this as a no cost redundancy scheme, instead of offering people money to go they are saying go now or we will punish you later. This may a harsh judgment on what has taken place, but I doubt it.
I am fortunate in that the pension scheme which I am on pays out at 63 which I reach in October. I will probably stay on for a few months as one can now work and draw a company pension; more of that in future posts.
Politics has been interesting this week. There was an attempted "coup" against the prime minister by members of his own party who wanted an internal Labour Party election on "our" Gordon's future as its leader and hence Prime Minister. On the surface nothing happened in that no election will take place. However the Prime Minister's position has been weakened and he has been forced to adopt some polices that he was reluctant to do. Namely that the country is in mess and that there will have to be severe cuts in public expenditure if we are to get on an even keel. He was still talking about "investment" earlier in the week. Now the talk is of austerity, I do wonder what kind of fools he takes us for.
Religion as always plays a large part in my life. As some of you know I am in my propaedeutic year of formation to the Permanent Diaconate. This means that I have been accepted for training but there is this year of further discernment and contemplation before it starts. As with all things in the Catholic Church nothing happens quickly. I have started reading a two volume tome on Catholicism by Richard McBrien loaned to me by Father Tom our Parish Priest. It is talking about Vatican II and the effect that this had had on the Church and how it is still trying to resolve some of these issues. It is interesting but not a light read, no doubt a taste of things to come in the formal trainng.
Next week, well tomorrow Sunday actually, I fly out to Boston on business. The forecast daytime high is -7 C or 19 F so I doubt if I will doing much sight seeing; a pity as I have not been to Boston before although I will be working some 50 miles north