English culture at its best?

I travelled into London this morning on a GWR train, in a “Quiet Carriage” where you are not supposed to play music or use a mobile phone. (I think that you are allowed to talk to people.)

In the set of fours seats across the carriage, the stillness was broken by the noise of a woman loudly starting a phone conversation with a friend.

You could watch the glances around the carriage as everyone wondered who would break the news to this 'innocent' rule-breaker. The three men sitting near her closed their eyes, folded their arms, and gave other strong body language to say, 'we're going to try to ignore this.'

As the minutes (it seemed like hours) passed I could feel the tension in the carriage rise, until the silence was broken further by a man some distance away shouting something like 'Madam, do you know you are not allowed to use your mobile here.'

Here's a moral question for those who love commenting on random articles on blogs. If you are the person sitting next to someone who uses their mobile phone in a Quiet Carriage, is it your duty to tell them? (Or do you wait for the tension to rise, so someone starts shouting from further away?)

CMS Restructuring

Further to my last article about redundances, the last few months have felt like a time of uncertainty. We have been wondering what will be the shape of CMS for the next few years, and what impact that will have on particular jobs.

Certainty seems to be have been growing over the last few weeks, and at a team meeting today it was encouraging to hear talk of job descriptions being completed for new posts and reruitment for those starting soon. This doesn't answer questions about my own future, but nevertheless it feels better to be travelling in company that is “moving forwards.” The continued vision for CMS' work is an exciting one: it seems a shame that at just the same time the staff numbers available for this are reducing; but maybe we need to take hope from the story of Gideon in the Bible.

Further encouragement comes from the mutual support within CMS, and within our teams in particular. When “external forces” seem to be causing pressure points, it is a challenge not to fall out with one another but to stick together instead. We seem to be succeeding, Praise God! I am also aware of, and thankful for, the prayers and companionship of those whose jobs are not vanishing.